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Unworthy Teacher Can Never Help You Attain Liberation

Some seekers may be tempted to take up the role of a guru even before reaching the goal, themselves. This is perhaps the most serious distraction in spiritual life which has an adverse effect both on the 'master' and 'disciple'.

Sri Ramakrishna has cautioned seekers against such a tendency. The following is a dialogue on the question:

Question: What do you think of a man who is a good orator and preacher, but whose spirituality is undeveloped?

Answer: He is like a person who squanders another's property, kept in trust with him. He can easily advise others, for it costs him nothing, since the ideas he expresses are not his own but borrowed.

Question: What is your opinion about the methods employed by present-day religious preachers?

Answer: It is like inviting a hundred people to a dinner where the food is sufficient only for one. It is pretending to be a great religious teacher with a very small stock of spiritual experience.

The following is another saying of Sri Ramakrishna in the matter:

One day as I was going through Panchavati I heard the fearful croaking of some frog. I guessed that one must have been caught by a snake.

When after a long time I was returning that way I heard the same noise again. Peeping through the bushes I saw a water snake with a frog in its mouth. It could neither swallow it, nor let it go, and there was no end to the agony of the frog.

Then I thought, "Well, if it had been the victim of a venomous snake, it would have been silenced for ever after three croaks at the most. Now the snake's suffering is about equal to the frog's".

So, if an unenlightened man takes upon himself in his foolhardiness the responsibility of saving another, there is no end to the misery of both. Neither does the ego of the disciple go, nor are his worldly ties cut asunder. If the disciple comes under the influence of an unworthy teacher he can never attain liberation. But under a competent teacher the egoism of the soul perishes in three croaks.