Guru Shishya Sambandh (Guru-Disciple Relationship)

This sharing is a compilation and translation of a favorite talk by my Guru and a favorite poem by Saint Kabir Das to his Guru.

Every time I listen to this talk tears of joy flow through my eyes. Yesterday, as I stepped into Gurudev’s birth-day listening to this talk, this translation flowed through and beautifully combined with the painting that I created a few years ago, for one of my favorite Kabir poems ‘Sahib ne Bhaang Pilayi’.

An offering of love and devotion to the One, who held my hand and walked with me through the most intense phase of my life and enveloped me with His Love, graced me with His Presence and opened my heart to the Infinite Wisdom of Shakti pulsing through this entire Creative Consciousness.

Happy Birthday Gurudev !

That which is ‘not a relationship’ is the Guru-Shishya relationship.

We play various roles through various relationships in life – father, mother, daughter, wife and so on….

However, who are we to our own Self ? 

What’s the nature of our relationship with our own Self ?

This relationship that one has with one’s own Self, is the relationship that one has with one’s Guru.

This is a connection  that  is truly free from the usual boundaries and limitations of a typical relationship. There are no bondages or boundaries of any kind. It is a Presence that graces us with freedom, belongingness, stillness, fullness, emptiness and Love. We feel completely free and fearless in this Presence. In fact it’s so atypical that it can easily be called as a relationship that’s ‘not a relationship’!

Usually relationships in our life have their appropriacy and do’s and dont’s.  However in a Guru-shishya relationship, this decorum exists only in the eyes of the external world. Within there are no rules, no do’s or dont’s and no judgements. For a Guru the shishya does not even exist as another, there is no separation. The shishya resides within the Guru as his/her own Self.

A Guru just takes birth to have a playful and joyful existence, not for liberating anyone. There is nothing and no-one to liberate. This  is the ’Maya’ (illusion) and the Guru is just here to blissfully play their role in this illusory experience/existence, and this is the ultimate wisdom coded within each atom of this Divine Creative Consciousness.

A Guru does not see any wrong in anyone. However he/she brings awareness to the vasanas (latent tendencies) within and works to dissolve this by grace, compassion and love. This dissolution is a two-way street, and happens only through deep surrender. If the shishya is not open to receive or to surrender , and wants to hold on to the vasanas and samskaras (conditioning), then the Guru does not  interfere in their resistance, as this may create yet another karmic pattern. Being open to the wisdom of this awareness (Guru Tattva) and being in complete surrender dissolves the vasanas effortlessly through the intention, attention and grace of the Guru, and the Guru paves the way for one to be free from their own distortions and karmic patterns.

Thus, that which you don’t consider as a relationship and that Presence where your heart and mind both feel completely free and restful, is the true Guru-Disciple relationship.

Five things happen while we are in the Presence of a Guru, for no apparent reason

  1. Dissolution of sorrows.

2.Amplification of happiness: Joyfulness manifests in life without any effort from any of the sense organs. Atma-sukh (Bliss) awakens and fills us up just by the thought or remembrance of the Guru, just by the Presence and Grace of the Guru.

  1. Manifestation of Abundance and Fullness within and without.
  2. Awakening to Wisdom : While it’s easy to acquire information and knowledge, we cannot assimilate this knowledge and translate it into wisdom and embodiment. In the Presence of the Guru wisdom dawns and gets embodied into each moment of our existence.
  3. Manifestation and Awakening of talents and creative skills (siddhis) –  Blossoming of siddhis that we didn’t even know we had happens in the Guru’s presence

While we initially need the physical Presence of the Guru, gradually, over time, just a thought or an awareness about the Guru in our consciousness will bring us into this ever loving Presence.

(This is a translated excerpt from the talk Guru Shishya Sambandh by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar given in Hrishikesh in March 2000. This sharing is a translation through the lens of my understanding of this transmission by Gurudev as an offering on his 64th birthday on May 13th 2020 – Rashmi Thirtha Jyoti / Photo Credit: Unknown)

Bhaang Pilayi : Love Intoxication – Kabir Bani

Sahib ne bhang pilaayi

Ankhiyon mein laalan chhaayi

          Peekar pyaala hua deevaana

          Ghoom rahaa jaise matvaala

          Janam janam ka taala khul gaya

          Mere jyot lagi ghat maa(n)hi

 Jhad bind aur jeev charaachar mein

Phool rahaa mera Saa(n)i

Jahaan dekhoo(n) voh reeta naahi(n)

Sab ghat rahaa samaai

          Guru Ramanand tumari balihari

          Sir par thokar aisi deeni

          Sahib Kabir baksees kar lo

Ya agam baani gaayi

English Translation

The Guru’s intoxication is beyond clue

My eyes see everything in a rose-red hue

          From the chalice of divine elixir I drink

          In a high I dance away in barely a blink

          The alchemical key has unlocked the pin

          And the flame of Love has ignited within

In the water and in all beings animate-inanimate

The Beloved’s Love must blossom and permeate

Anywhere I look there’s no sight of end

          The Love is brimming over every bend

          Guru Ramanand I thank you truly

          For the hard knocks in times unruly!

          Oh Beloved do accept Kabir’s offering

          Through the word and song of awakening

( Kabir bani by Saint-Potter-Weaver Kabir Das (dated to 15th century) ; Kabir Bani via Kabir Project by Shabnam Virmani; Hindi seed translation via Pallavi Garg; English interpretative poetry via Shahana Dattagupta;  Art by Rashmi Thirtha Jyoti /Shaktikalaya Sacred Arts )

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Rashmi Thirtha


  • Deep insights beautifully crafted and written.
    “Being open to the wisdom of this awareness (Guru Tattva) and being in complete surrender dissolves the vasanas effortlessly” – Experienced it..Jai Gurudev !


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