Nurture the sapling
When the seed sprouts and grows into a sapling, a fence must be built around it to prevent goats and cows from eating it. It must be nourished with enough water. It must be given enough shade so that it does not wilt. However, once it becomes a tree, then one need not tend to it anymore. One can even tether an elephant to it. Likewise, until we attain the goal, the fence of yamas and niyamas and the shade of a guru are necessary; one we will do only good to the world. Nothing will bind us. We can progress towards the supreme goal only if we can break out from the shell of ego, the “I” sense.
At present, ours is like a journey based on a map. From the map, we know that if we take a particular route, we will reach a particular destination. However, we have no practical experience of it; we lack knowledge of ground realities. We do not know if the conditions are conducive for travel. There might be wild beasts or armed robbers on the way. The roads might not be good. If someone who has travelled along that route accompanies us, we can set out courageously. However, it is not enough to find such a person; we must trust him, too. Only then can we travel with confidence. If we doubt him, we will have no peace of mind. In the same way, only one who had known the Truth can lead us to it. Only he can advise us when the need arises. We must have total faith in such a guru.
The guru is trying to take the disciple to the goal as soon as possible. If we just read books, we will not reach the goal. We must put into practice what we have read. We must open out heart to the guru. Only then can he fill our heart. In order to do so, we must renounce the ego and cultivate an attitude of surrender.
Just as moisture causes a seed to sprout, and just as the warmth of a mother hen causes an egg to hatch, in order to realize the Self, the shell of the ego must break. For this, the water of the guru’s grace and the heat of discipline are necessary. The real guru is within us, but we do not realize this because of the ego. The ego pushes us into darkness.