July 12, 2018
The qualifications necessary for discipleship are fundamentally based upon sincerity. The tradition is that when there is this sincere inner questioning, I go to a Guru. In order to ask a question sincerely, I must have reached the end of my own resources. I must have come to the cross-roads, to the point where my whole being says: "I do not know the answer to this, I do not know the way." Only such a person can go to the Guru.
What does the student do when he approaches a guru? There are a number of possibilities, but one common factor is dialogue. Either the disciple asks a question, or the Guru volunteers a statement - in either case dialogue ensues. During this dialogue the disciple listens (this is called sravana). It is beautiful. Only if his whole being is questioning will listening take place. All his energy is in hearing only. He does not think, he does not feel - nothing functions except his ears. If you have ever listened with this concentration, you realize that this hearing is of a special quality.
What is the next step after hearing? Having sat near the Guru and the dialogue having come to an end, the mind begins to work. In the presence of the Guru the mind was totally absorbed in hearing. But now, as you are alone or with some other disciples, the mind is working (manana). It is possible to resolve the arguments within yourself alone or with the help of another disciple who heard the same teachings.
You came to the master as a living question and now you are the living answer. In the Bible there is a beautiful expression, "Knock and it shall be opened." You go to the Guru and knock. You do all this (sravana and manana) and suddenly the door is opened. That which appeared to be a stone wall opens up. This is nidhidyasana - total atonement or enlightenment.
Sravana means hearing the teaching and manana means saturating the whole mind with the teaching. When the mind is thus saturated, whatever you are thinking will be in accordance with the teaching. What has happened? Your whole body was the question and now your whole being is the answer, because your whole mind is saturated with the teaching.