“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.10)
ददामि बुद्धि-योगं तं
येन माम् उपयान्ति ते
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
“As my comments will be offensive to devotees, I am doing it behind closed doors. Sharing these sentiments anonymously, I feel I need to get some things off my chest. At some point, trying to hold in laughter, being aghast at the ridiculousness of what I hear, is too much.
“My complaint is that devotees tend to ask the dumbest questions of their guru. I am referring to the specific sadhu who has been designated as their spiritual master. Through mutual consideration, though there are certainly societal pressures in the background. If you hang around the community long enough, people will wonder why you haven’t accepted the ‘shelter’ of someone else.
“If you think I am judging on too high a standard, let me review for you some of the questions I often hear. This is after a lecture or seminar. The questions are in the public domain; everyone in the audience can hear.
‘O guru, I have trouble waking up on time in the morning to chant my rounds of japa. What should I do? O guru, I notice that my phone keeps interrupting me while I am chanting the maha-mantra in the morning, what should I do? O guru, I have found that I eat so much throughout the day that I don’t have any energy left in the evening time to do any seva or bhajana. Please help me. O guru, can you explain to us what is soul?’
“Are these people serious with these questions? I feel like smacking them across the head. Am I out of line here? We are supposed to accept a spiritual master to guide us with these simple problems? Do these people have no shame? I feel sorry for the gurus, to be honest with you. Just see what they have to deal with!”
The obvious missing factor in this equation is intelligence. The same person posing such questions had no issue figuring out how to pass twelve years of primary schooling. They made it through college, with the many distractions around them. They likely landed a high-paying job and earn enough to live in a comfortable and spacious home.
We see from Vedic literature that if a person is passionate in a certain direction, they find a way to progress. For instance, the famous Daitya leader named Hiranyakashipu knew just where to turn to satisfy his desires.
He sought world domination fueled by his supposed feud with Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hiranyakashipu underwent severe austerities to please Brahma, the creator. The Daitya king knew exactly what he was doing. He had heard from authority figures on which way to go for fulfilling extraordinary desires.
उत्तिष्ठोत्तिष्ठ भद्रं ते
तपः-सिद्धो ’सि काश्यप
वरदो ’हम् अनुप्राप्तो
व्रियताम् ईप्सितो वरः
uttiṣṭhottiṣṭha bhadraṁ te
tapaḥ-siddho ’si kāśyapa
varado ’ham anuprāpto
vriyatām īpsito varaḥ
“Lord Brahma said: O son of Kashyapa Muni, please get up, please get up. All good fortune unto you. You are now perfect in the performance of your austerities, and therefore I may give you a benediction. You may now ask from me whatever you desire, and I shall try to fulfill your wish.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.3.17)
The worship was sufficient, and Brahma was pleased. Hiranyakashipu tried to get immortality, but that was not available. He settled for a collection of boons of protection, hoping that every inch of possible vulnerability was covered.
The entire episode indicates that a person has enough intelligence to figure out ways to succeed in their chosen path. They may not always achieve the desired outcome, but they find avenues for the potential to turn into a reality.
In the same way, if someone is truly desirous of succeeding in yoga, in connecting the individual consciousness with the Divine consciousness, they will find a way to make the achievement a reality. They will not fall back on silly excuses like outside distractions or difficulty in falling asleep on time.
Just as a person maneuvers the roads in the case of a traffic accident to finally reach their intended destination, so the devotee who sincerely wants to keep a smile on the lotus-like face of the all-attractive one will look for ways to succeed.
They get help along the way from the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord Himself. Shri Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita that He lights the torch of knowledge from within, thus dissipating the darkness of illusion.
Finishing years of college four,
Then career success more.
But with guru question to ask,
Of basic time management task.
Or about distraction removing,
Appearing that intelligence losing.
If truly seeking success in sight,
Krishna torch of knowledge to light.