Teachings of Sri. Ramana Maharishi
The upadesa of Sri Bhagavan, that is to say the guidance or instruction given by Him was secret in a sense. Although he was accessible to all alike, although questions were normally asked and answered in public, the guidance given to each disciple was nevertheless intensely direct and adapted to his character. When asked once by Swami Yogananda, a Swami with a large following in America, what spiritual instruction should be given to the people for their uplift, he replied: “It depends on the temperament and spiritual maturity of the individual. There can be no mass instruction.”
Sri Bhagavan was intensely active and yet so concealed was his activity that casual visitors and those who failed to perceive believed that he gave no upadesa at all or that he was indifferent to the needs of seekers. It is generally agreed that Realization is possible only through the Grace of a Guru.
Sri Bhagavan was as definite about this as other Masters. Therefore it was not enough for the sadhaka (aspirant) to know that his teaching was sublime and his presence inspiring; it was necessary to know that he was a Guru giving diksha (initiation) and upadesa (instruction).
Submission to this Guru is not submission to any outside oneself but to the Self manifested outwardly in order to help one discover the Self within. “The Master is within; meditation is meant to remove the ignorant idea that he is only outside. If he were a stranger whom you were awaiting he would be bound to disappear also. What would be the use of a transient being like that? But as long as you think that you are separate or are the body, so long is the outer Master also necessary and he will appear as if with a body. When the wrong identification of oneself with the body ceases the Master is found to be none other than the Self.”
It is axiomatic that one who is a Guru in this supreme sense of having realized his identity with the Absolute does not say so, inasmuch as there is no ego left to affirm the identity. Also he does not say that he has disciples, for, being beyond otherness, there can be no relationship for him.
However when a devotee was genuinely distressed and seeking a solution he would sometimes reassure him in a way that left no room for doubt. An English disciple, Major Chadwick, kept a record of such an assurance given to him in the year 1940:
Ch. Bhagavan says he has no disciples?
Ch. He also says that a Guru is necessary if one wishes to attain Liberation?
Ch. What then must I do? Has my sitting here all these years been just a waste of time? Must I go and look for some Guru in order to receive initiation seeing that Bhagavan says he is not a Guru?