Jab mein tha tab Guru Nahin, ab Guru hain main nahi
Prem gali ati saankri ta mein do na samahi
(Kabir says that when in a state of ego a disciple cannot connect to his Guru. And when he does achieve that connection with the Guru and absorbs true knowledge, ego vanishes. So narrow is the lane of love between the Guru and disciple that it has no room for ego.)
Ego has its uses and Kabir knows about them. Ego is a defense mechanism. It helps you defend your interest. However, one should use ego as a rain coat only. Only when there is rain, do you use a raincoat. It is not part of your daily attire, you don’t wear it all the time. If you were to wear it everyday or all the time, then you would be uncomfortable. You would also make others around you very uncomfortable.
In this verse, Kabir says that ego is of no use in the classroom. But how is ego in a student born? The first reason for the birth of ego in the student is exploitation by the teacher. Many a teacher have exploited the student. By asking him to obey blindly they have hurt the student. Infact, history is full of teachers like these. And in such a case, ego surfaces in a student to defend his own self-interest. The other, more important reason for the birth of ego is because of all the egalitarian talk happening in the West and coming to the East. As the world has become a global village whatever is uttered in the West, almost simultaneously reaches the East.
Cultures have always been porous to external influence. When Alexander came to India, he found that in India the king is treated like a God. So he declared himself as the king- God. In the West, when Aristotle’s nephew protested against this declaration and said that he did not accept Alexander’s God-hood, Alexander had him executed. Then when Aristotle, who was Alexander’s mentor, went to him and told him that he had made a grievous error by executing his nephew, Alexander said, even philosophers are not immune to my wrath. He was telling Aristotle that in case you also do not accept my God-hood, I will not hesitate in executing you as well. Such was the East’s influence on the West. This was the time when the East was culturally and socially, far ahead of the West. Today we have the western influence on the East. The educated yet ignorant people in the West are saying that all men are equal. They are talking about egalitarianism and this is even reaching the ears of the student. It has become another reason for the birth of ego in the student.
A true guru-disciple relationship is founded on love. Where there personalities start fusing. Both protect each others interest. In fact the identities so fuse that it is difficult to discern their interests as separate. Such a relationship is rewarding for both the guru and the shishya.