What sort of a person is able to teach us
spiritual truth in the absence of an omniscient Master ? When we have
attained the right attitude we shall feel convinced that the only kind of
person who can teach us the truth about spiritual matters in the absence
of the omniscient Master is one who has the five characteristics mentioned
below. Such a teacher may be a man or a woman.
1. He does not destroy
any form of life, animal, vegetable, or mineral (water for instance),
through carelessness of body, speech, or mind. It is, therefore,
impossible for him to be a layman.
2. His speech is actually
truth in fact, and is spoken in a pleasant way, and is spoken only when
the teacher thinks that it is beneficial to the person to whom it is
3. He does not take
anything which is not given to him by its owner, and he takes only those
things which are necessary for the maintenance of his body.
Things which can be given are of two kinds : (1) animate, (2) inanimate.
Of animate objects he does not accept any, even if offered by its owner;
because although the owner of a parrot, for instance, may be willing to
hand the bird over to a teacher, there is the question as to whether the
bird is willing to be handed over; and as all things should claim their
freedom, the teacher would not take the bird even if it were willing.
Of inanimate objects he will not take anything that has been made
specially for him, food, etc., because by doing so he would share in the
consequences (karma) of producing the article.
If the teacher has a superior teacher, or the Master, and is told by him
not to take certain things, then these things must not be taken. The
obedience here required is not like that of a soldier to his superior
officer; the teacher would not kill if told to.
4. He has entirely given
up the sex passion.
5. He does not own any
property in the sense of ownership as understood in law. His clothing is
given to him, but he does not have them as "owing" them.
It is said that there are at present
living in India monks who possess there five qualifications, and who could
be found by inquiring.
RULES OF CONDUCT
This is the third subject upon which very
defiant convictions are held when we attain the right attitude the signs
of which are now being added to. A body of rules of conduct does two
things: it keeps a man from falling, and it helps him to advance.
These rules are rules relating to social
life; because all living beings are social. It is by means of our
relations with other living beings that our development progresses, and
not in solitude. The ultimate outcome of these rules is the doing of good
towards other living beings.
When a person has reached the right
attitude he is convinced that any body of rules of conduct must be based
on sympathy, love, pity, compassion, etc., (daya); he is convinced that
any body of rules of conduct which is based on injury or killing of living
beings cannot be the truth. And this conviction is very strong. He cannot,
therefore, follow any religion which requires the sacrificing of animals;
there must be a feeling for others.