The Dead Icarus
Paul-Ambroise Slodtz

There are as many reasons for devotee's failing as there are for not doing my homework. Here are a few:


• Want to hang on to delusion


• Do not want to give up addiction or attachment to someone or something


• Fear of change. I am petrified to change my lifestyle, beliefs, usual way of being. I call this 'devotee transition trauma'


• Loss of faith, confidence and love in the guru. Got my devotion shook up


• Exhaustion during the sadhana. Just gave up, fell apart, must rest and be my old (not so great) self again. (This parallels with the inability to give up old lifestyle)


Here is an analogy. A person is living in a dim room. A large, dim room filled with myriads of objects, shelves, furniture, pictures on the walls, and thousands of paraphernalia. There are a few bulbs in this room, here and there, with a bit of light, but the entire room is not illuminated.


This large room in dim light is the life of the devotee. Now what happens when the devotee gets a huge dose of Light from the guru? The entire room gets filled up with a powerful thousand watt bulb, and everywhere, the person can see what s/he never saw before!


Some of this is frightening, because the person did not want to see it, or not in such clarity. Some of these items here require change. They are delusions, addictions and attachments. Delusions include items from the past, the old things we thought we were, or that someone else was, and now we see them for what they are. Example; we thought our spouse was the cat's meow, but now we see she is just a set of whiskers. Or the old man is a Knight in Shining Armour, but now we see he's just a horse, and a nag at that. And what does that make us? The man or woman who put up with the person we thought and wanted to think was the greatest, but we deluded ourselves. And why did we delude ourselves? Because it worked, being some sort of physical, mental or emotional survival. But now that the Light is here showing all this up, does the relationship change? What do I do now? Give up the old relationship? Give up my view of it? This can be incredibly scary, like losing all the security one held on to. These thoughts frighten a devotee, and at this point, the guru who brought the Light can be rejected.


Then there are the habits and addictions. People are addicted to medication, food and drugs, to sex, and even to sin. They are addicted to doing something sinful - like deceiving their spouse. And they do not want to give up their junk food, their medication, their unhealthy lifestyle, and their sin. As the devotee comes closer to the guru and the guru notices these failures, the devotee feels pressure. The devotee does not have the resolve and courage to give up these addictions, and instead, gives up the guru.


Then there are those I call the 'devotee for a day' crowd. They only call or contact the guru when they need help. They do nothing in return. That is to say, they make no commitment to the guru, they have no contribution, no prasad, no donation. They pop in, praising the guru, and get what they want. Then they disappear until it is next time I need something. Although they aren't total failures, some of these people have a shallow love and commitment, and cannot make great progress in their sadhana.


Last but not least, there is the devotee who receives a great gift, but has not had time to let it grow. S/he wants to do battle with the world, but isn't ready for it. This person is foolhardy and reckless, presumptuous in his own power. He needs the help and support of the guru, but wants to prove himself. So he goes out, without the gurugrace or sanction, and battles. Then he falls, like a soldier in the battlefield. How does he fall? It could be exhaustion, but worse, it can be that unbelievers made him turn against his guru.


This person had a great love, but his roots were not yet deep enough. You might call it a shallow oak tree, and although he has a good tap root, it had not time to grow. The big animals, brutes, trampled on him so badly, he got knocked down, even though he is a great oak, if he had grown.


Now we come to devotee 'Love'. Devotee Love says he will now go off until he finds perfection. Having been beaten up by unbelievers, he leaves. He loses his original faith and love in his guru and goes off - by himself - to find perfection.


Why does he think he can find perfection by himself? He waited for a guru. A guru came. God came. He fell because he was not obedient to the guru - did not stay close in intimacy. What should he do? Fall to the mercy of the guru and ask for help. Instead, he makes his second mistake. He, without making amends, leaves the guru and friends (or so he says, but let's see how long.) Supposedly, he will now work on his sadhana and find God alone. But is that kosher, when God came to him as the guru and gave him grace? But now he denigrates, demotes the guru in his mind, diminishes the guru. He even judges the guru, writing a diabolical set of axioms a guru must embody before he will accept her. This set of perfections Jesus Christ Himself couldn't keep. But this is what he now expects from a guru, and any less, he will reject.




If you want to be a good devotee, and find a good guru who loves you, you are to stay close to the guru. You are to in some aspect, be obedient. This does not mean being slavish or obsequious, it means respect and love. You respect and love the guru the way you do God. You imbibe the teachings of the guru. You listen and learn. You ask questions.


Most devotees make demands on the guru and do not give back much. The guru is the servant of the devotees. It is true, the guru has more to give. But the devotee should also give to the best of their ability - whatever it is that they have. If one finds a good guru, they are worth serving and worth giving to. Naturally, use discretion in your choices.


I myself have had two living gurus. The rest were intense relationship with those on the Other Side. I received more from my gurus than from any human on earth, in any way. Gurus are the gateway to God. Even the worst gurus, be they of God, the most left handed and maddening ones, are better than ordinary people. If anyone brings you the grace of God, that Anointing, Shakti that gurus give, such a person is worthy of respect. Be on your toes, be careful, how you treat the guru, for God judges you on it. If you do not respect the one God sends, you do not show respect to God. This is how love for God is proven.


Rasa Von Werder
February 9, 2006





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