Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights The Guru’s Examiner Role

The Guru’s Examiner Role

Guru’s teachings are indeed inspiring and empowering. But His compassion doesn’t stop there. He not only teaches, He also examines, to ensure that we have imbibed His teachings in the right way. Pujya Gurudevshri explains the importance of the examiner role of the Guru in a disciple’s spiritual journey

Sadguru showers His grace upon us by giving us right understanding of the nature of the soul, and also of the world. From this standpoint, He is a teacher. But a Guru is not just a teacher; He is also a trainer who disciplines our lives. Not only does He impart knowledge, He moulds us to make us wise.

Dangers of Mere Listening to the Teachings

There is a danger in merely hearing Guru’s teachings. The words of the Guru sound so logical, so easy to understand, have such deep impact on your intellect, and fill your heart with such joy that you feel you are transformed, that you have realised the truth! And with this, your search for truth ceases. Instead of turning towards silence, towards the truth that transcends the words; you get caught up in them.

Truth lies in experience alone, not in words. Truth can’t be put completely in words. Words do not have that same feeling, spirit, or class that experience has. If these were present in the words, then everyone listening to them would show the same transformation. A hundred people may be hearing the same words and interpreting in the same way, yet they are not at the same level. Only those who transcend words, experience unique ecstasy.

Guru as an Examiner

When the Guru sees that the disciple has developed an ego of being knowledgeable and shows no improvement in his behaviour, He puts the disciple to test. To break his illusion, He adopts the role of an examiner. He makes the disciple realise whether what the disciple has started believing in and is talking about is truly imbibed or has he just increased his memory power. The Guru does not just check how much the disciple has understood or memorised, He checks his level of purity and peace.

If the disciple has intellectually comprehended but hasn’t experienced truth, he may know the way to deal with any situation, yet he fails to do so. There are some who do not know the doorway and try to escape through the walls, but here, the disciple ‘knows’ the way out, yet tries to go through the walls. What difference has that knowledge brought in him? The ego of knowledge deludes him, ‘I know the door to freedom, now I will not make any mistake. Until now, I was unaware and so was getting trapped. Now, I have caught the truth.’ Therefore, it becomes necessary for the Guru to give him tests and make him realise his delusion.

Guru’s tests make the disciple introspective, ‘I know the way out, and yet, why do I try to escape through the walls? I know all, yet, why do I do the opposite? Where am I stuck? If I am able to understand everything outside, why do I yet fail in understanding my inner world? Have I really understood it at all? I don’t understand anything whatsoever! I know nothing because I see no transformation in me.’ In this way, his ego of ‘I know all’ crumbles, he realises the importance of transformation. This painful realisation ignites in him the fire of genuine longing for the truth. Whether the Guru is in the role of a teacher or an examiner, the most essential thing is that disciple’s insistences break and his ego gets diminished.

When Does the Guru Give a Test

Soon after the Guru has taught and the disciple has accepted the teachings, the Guru rushes to assess whether the knowledge has remained intellectual or brought any real transformation. While the disciple is still in the feelings of gratitude, ‘how beautiful are the teachings! I would surely crossover my ignorance with the help of these teachings,’ the Guru instructs the disciple to begin to swim. The disciple talks of trying to cross in the future but the Guru makes him swim in the present.

Also, when the knowledge is fresh, it is malleable and can be easily moulded. Once it loses its novelty and fluidity like the flowing lava that solidifies into rocks, giving test becomes difficult, and doesn’t even benefit that much.

The Guru does not pamper while He is testing the disciple. He knows that if He remains easy-going, the disciple will not realise and overcome his shortcomings. In the demolition of the disciple’s ego is the power for the reconstruction of his future. And so, the Guru gives him tests. As soon as he passes one test, the Guru gives him another. He doesn’t allow the disciple to feel content with the fleeting successes. He doesn’t let anything wrong or harmful happen to the disciple. Before it starts growing, He uproots it. He teaches the disciple to have patience when it is necessary and instructs him to be diligent and vigilant where required. His only goal is that the disciple must grow strong and independent.

The Unworthy

The disciple loses his worthiness if he doubts the Guru while he is being tested. This is possible only when he becomes oblivious of ‘who is a Guru?’ and ‘what is the Guru’s role in his unfoldment?’ Only when he has severed his connection with the Guru can he doubt the Guru. By doubting, he creates an abyss between him and the Guru. He has distanced himself from the Guru so much that he cannot even hear His call, as though they are miles apart, eras apart.

Under the spell of ego, he doubts the Guru and His ways. Instead of basking in the warmth of His selfless love, he feels scorched while taking the tests. The ego tries to defend, to prove the Guru wrong, and to support itself with so-called logic.

The Worthy

A true and worthy disciple doesn’t feel such things. To increase his strength for passing in the Guru’s tests, he takes refuge in the Guru Himself. Instead of defending the ego, he longs to surrender. He is ever ready to take the tests for he sees therein, nothing other than selfless compassion of the Guru. He pleads Him to test him. And the Guru too, responding to his plea, keeps giving him tests to promote him to higher and higher levels of spirituality.

A worthy disciple never feels that, ‘my Guru knows me inside out, then why does He still put me through tests? Why does He fail me in His test? Instead, why can’t He teach me straight?’ The worthy one knows that ‘my Guru certainly has some reason, a purpose, in giving me this test. Right now, I am not capable of catching it, but the test is for my benefit alone.’ Where there is surrender, there is always a glad acceptance and a feeling that my Guru is constantly protecting me.

Why Test?

Why does the Guru give the test? Does He not have the capacity to assess the disciple’s worthiness, his inner state, without giving any test? Guru knows, yet He gives the test not just to examine or assess what he has learnt, but it is a way to get a commitment from the disciple for future. A learning of how he should respond in a similar situation in the future. The test thus becomes the cause for his progress.

The test is a touchstone for the past study, mirror for the present inner state and guide for the future. It is the best means, a precious opportunity to give birth to a beautiful future. If the disciple focuses on this perspective, he will never see it as a trial. He will look only at the learning, peace, purity and happiness he gets from it.

The Guru is called a gymnasium. He is a training ground. Having trained under the Guru, if you give a fight to your karma, you will surely be successful. He who is successful in passing the Guru’s tests is sure to succeed in any test given by the world.


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#SadguruWhispers You are short-sighted if you can only plan for this life but cannot envision beyond death.