20 August 2013 - QA 5

Does the Guru choose the devotee or does the devotee choose the Guru?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

It doesn’t matter! As long as they choose each other! (Laughter)
In Sanskrit, it is said that there are 2 ways for this: Whether the Divine chooses you or you choose the Divine. They say it is like the monkey and the kittens. The mother monkey just roams around and it is the young ones who are watchful and follow the mother. But on the other hand the kittens don’t worry about the mother, and they don’t even look at the mother. They simply play around and it is the mother cat that takes care of the kitten, and holds the kitten by its own jaw and takes them around.

Here the cat is concerned about its kittens. There, it is the baby monkey which is concerned about the mother. The mother monkey does not watch, the baby monkey goes and clings on to the mother. So there are 2 things: One is the way of the devotee. The devotee is like the kitten, allowing God to guide. And a philosopher or a yogi is like the baby monkey which holds on to the mother, which just latches on to the Divine. So one is a Karma Yogi (here meaning to know that every action is anyway being guided by the Divine), the other is a Bhakt-yogi (here meaning to be totally immersed in the devotion to the Divine for everything). You can choose to be either one or both also at times.