EXCERPTS FROM A DIALOGUE BETWEEN GURU NITYA AND DON BERRY
August 28, 1977
Guru Nitya: "Naturally, each student in the wisdom context has
specific, individual aspects. The teacher, even if he is representative
of the purest wisdom, if he does not take into account the need
of his student, if he does not, with his empathy, come to the
level of the student and understand what emotional conflicts he
has, what intellectual blocks he has, what spiritual needs he
has, and if he does not understand what idea or concept the student
already has of what he seeks and how it is wrong and to what direction
he should be lead -- without these pure wisdom can never be brought
to the student.
So the teacher, with pure wisdom remaining as such right in the
core of his heart, has to meddle with things which are not pure
and which are part of this world and the problems of people. At
that level, what do you expect a teacher to do? Just to say, 'This
is my pure wisdom,' and leave it at that? Or to say, 'This is
pure wisdom, but this man also has these certain needs to be fulfilled,
these trainings to be given and this much work to be done with
him'? You are an artist, a sculptor, and if you take a piece of
marble or granite and you see the pure form that has to come from
it and how much to chisel off, that chiseling off is not anything
pure. It is the impure aspect that you are dealing with to arrive
at the pure."
Guru Nitya: "If there is a spiritual teaching which is beneficial
to people, it should be beneficial when one sits in a closed room
where there is no one to offend him and it should be beneficial
right in the market place where he is confronted by so many problems
and people. All through he should be able to keep up his spiritual
light as his eternal guide, under all circumstances, in all places,
and in all kinds of social and nonsocial situations.
Otherwise I do not see any value to that wisdom."
Guru Nitya: "In every spiritual discipline you are one with that
Supreme --whether you call it God, Jesus, That ,Silence -- where
there is no society. The next moment you bring that oneness to
society. In the Bible it says, 'You love thy Father thy God with
all thy heart and all thy soul and love thy neighbor as thine
own self.' You are bringing that oneness and love to your neighbor
and to the society. There is no spiritual life where there is
not a Jesus going to the mount alone and coming back to the multitude.
This we all do. We go away, we ascend the mount, and we come back
to the multitude. Again and again and again.
"And when one is going to the mount he is a sannyasin, when he
is coming to the multitude he is a tyagi. That is why in the Gita
tyaga and sannyas are unified as one discipline. That is a revaluation
of the old discipline of running away from society and calling
it sannyas. .A sannyasin is equated with a tyagi in the Gita.
So I am not taught by my Guru to sit in a cave and be lost to
the world. There are many bodhisattvas who believe that by being
in their meditation of universal goodness, say the amitabha, the
unlimited light that is emanating from them will go to all sentient
beings, and everybody will be benefited without going and studying
with a teacher.
That is one way; but the choice that is given to me is to live
with the multitude but not become one of the multitude. The example
that is usually given is of a lotus leaf where the stalk of the
leaf is in water, its roots are in mud and water, and all the
time it is touching water, and yet if you pull the leaf and look
behind it, it is as dry as toasted bread. Like that a sannyasin
lives in society, all the time dealing with society, and yet he
is not wet."
Guru Nitya: "I don't believe or think that truth is monopolized
by someone and that it should go only to a negligent minority of
people. It should be made available to all. Even to the extent
that someone can receive a little of it it will benefit his life.
So why should we say ,'This is very precious, you are unworthy
for this, so I cannot give this to you?' In the Gita it says,
'Even if you take only a fragment of this, that will help you.'
And in the Bible it says, 'This is the leaven that leaveneth the
whole lump.' So I believe in that leaven that leaveneth the whole
lump, and in that little fragment of dharma which can save you.
So I am willing to go to the level of anyone who comes to me."
Guru Nitya: "Buddhi, or the intellect, is the greatest friend
to take us up to the door of realization. And then it becomes
the greatest stumbling block. It won't leave you, it holds on
to you, making demands for one more logical ramification. And
thus you are caught by the very reason that was helping you to
come that far. For this reason Sankara and Narayana Guru have
called it the grandham; grandham is a grandhi which means that
a book becomes a binding knot.
The scripture itself, which is meant to guide, finally becomes
the bondage, you won't be able to get away from it. But if you
cut across that limiting barrier of hidebound dogma and go to
the other side and become illuminated, then you have to jump again
to this side of the murky world and ask for your old friend and
enemy, the intellect, to come back to you so that what you have
now gained can be related to others."