Sacred Mountain Retreat

Guidelines for Potential Students

by VIrochana Khalsa February, 2003

Coming to Sacred Mountain Retreat Center for long term teachings

The Student Teacher Relationship

A teacher has a unique and different relationship with each student whom they serve. This relationship is one of the most sacred of all relationships, and one that takes time to understand.

For some, a teacher is simply a conveyor of information that may or may not be helpful to them. Similar to the ways of a schoolteacher, the skill and heart behind the way this information is conveyed can have a big impact on how it is received. Likewise, a book can be a source of teachings for us.

However, within the context of the spiritual path, the student-teacher relationship is much, much more than this. It has the ability to transform not only our immediate life, but also the manner of our soul and bring us to the doorstep of liberation. It has a long-term objective, which can span many lifetimes.

Even the transformation of emotions, skilful means gained, and the polishing of a rough-cut personality into a refined and elegant personality is not the true fruit of this relationship. The student-teacher relationship, regardless of its start or early years of not understanding its nature, only finds true meaning through the ability of the teacher to help the student receive the transmissions of buddhic awareness and to chart their way through the desires of the soul from a limited view into the fullness of the soul who is inherently aware of their spirit.

Virochana, Shantara, and Dhaya in Tamil Nadu, South IndiaIn discovering ourselves beyond individuality, we naturally discover the oneness of this relationship.

The first guideline to bring forth in this relationship is one of trust.

Virochana with a Black Swan in Lake Taupo, New ZealandA spiritual teacher will at times challenge you. Sometimes what is being asked is easy to see. For example, helping you through a lazy moment. Sometimes, you may not have a clue as to the why, and it is purely a matter of trust. A true spiritual teacher feels when you are not in alignment with the truth of your spirit. Even when your heart says yes, and your teacher says no, you have to trust that. There are many reasons why. Perhaps the views of your soul are being expanded upon. It may be a manner of not allowing a karma to ripen before you have the capacity to grow through it quickly.

A spiritual teacher will help to bring you into alignment with the awakened awareness within the Body of the One, what we call the Ascended Masters. One of the results of this is that you are no longer living just for yourself, there is a bigger picture at work within your life that both affects you and you it.

From the higher realms, a lot of permission is given by the Masters to each other. This is a very sacred trust that has been earned through the eons. While the differences of each of us are honored, the commitment to keep this alignment to the depths of our soul is the trust that is earned. It is only in this way that you can become part of the active presence of the Body of the One.

So on a practical level in forming a relationship with your teacher; this includes an honesty with the teacher. That means that you honestly communicate. Making up white lies is not an example of this.

This brings us to another very important guideline, which is:

Surrendering to a Spiritual Teacher

Deer Buck outside our House in CrestoneWithout surrendering to your teacher, there is no point in having this relationship at all. A teacher will sometimes test this, for its early cultivation is paramount for events in the future, of which the success or failure in a high-stakes transition of your soul may very well be totally dependent upon.

This means you do not become overly argumentative and righteous with your teacher. You may not understand. Your teacher may even be unfair to you, and appear to be picking on you. You have to trust this.

Many are confused as to what surrender is, equating it with a giving away of ones power and decision making ability. True surrender, is surrendering the outer position that you mind takes and shifting the perspective within yourself. Before this, there is no real surrender.

Occasionally, a teacher will ask you to give away some of your power or decision-making ability in order to help shift this focus. A teacher may even appear without spine, asking you to make every little decision, and what your wisdom is for every movement. This tantric style of teaching is extremely sacred in its trust. Never forget what real surrender is, the going within and dissolving of the outer mind.

This brings us to another guideline, which is:

Without true spiritual practice, there is no true (active) relationship with a spiritual teacher.

Shantara in Onepoto Caves, New Zealand src=Spiritual practices, such as meditation, kriya, and consciously applied activity, help us to surrender the importance of our outer stance. We shift our whole way of seeing everything and come to understand first-hand the clarity of the emptiness in which everything, without exception, resides. Spiritual practice when truly understood is one’s lifeline to the enlightened view.

Without this commitment, our ambitions will eventually poison this relationship and make it unworkable, for your teacher and you have two very different aims. It really comes down to what you want.

This Relationship is the most important anchor you have.

In the process of letting go, one by one, the crutches by which we gain definition and identity in a limited framework, we are also loosing our touchstones; all of the formulas we have so long co-created that help us to believe whom we are. This can be disorientating, it can become a delusional process at times, and it can be very scary. The limited-ego is dying into soul awakening.

It is the inner relationship with our Spiritual Teacher that is the one anchor through which we stay awake in the process. Moreover, as we become more and more radiant, this love of this relationship is beyond measure. We look upon it as the source of our very existence, and the trust in this allows an indescribable workings of the Oneness to become a further blessing presence for nor only ourselves, but many.

How you qualify the awareness of your teacher is what you will get.

This is a very important spiritual principle, not just for this relationship, but in understanding the essence of our soul. If you look upon your relationship with a teacher in doubt, then doubt is where you are. If you qualify that only the highest good can come of this relationship, then that is how you are qualifying the infinite capacity of your spirit into the light of your soul. Even if your teacher is tired, has had a long day, the purity and energy of your outlook will activate the necessary transmissions to occur as appropriate.

A Teacher-student relationship is both impersonal and personal.

Mist ForestWhile a true Teacher carries an essence of awareness that is of benefit to everyone, and from an ultimate level, has a relationship with everyone, in practicality this is not true. Not every Master is your Spiritual Teacher of whom you can say - mine. Sometimes a teacher will assume responsibilities on behalf of another teacher. For example, there are some who are students of Yogananda who we act as teachers in proxy. This is no problem within the Body of the One, and sometimes a teacher will send a student to other teachers to accentuate certain developments, or for practical reasons.

When a teacher develops a depth with a student, this is beyond time and space. The teacher and student, like lovers, have exchanged parts of themselves with each other. They are part of a larger mandala together. This is far beyond the ability of words or logic to explain.

A Teacher will guide you into your karmas, not away from them.

A teacher will return you to yourself. At times, this includes guiding you into your karmas. For example, you may have a strong desire, or you constantly relate the guidance you are receiving to do a certain activity. The teacher may say let it go, or they may realize that you are going to do it anyway, and say, go for it. Thinking you have your teacher’s blessings and divine guidance, it all ends up in a mess.

Instead of thinking, my teacher did not know what they were saying; instead, understand how you have created your own reality.

Remember, the true spiritual-teacher relationship exists beyond the constraints of the karmic mind and its ambitions.

It takes time to develop awareness of this relationship.

Cathedral Cove at Hahei in New ZealandEven if you have had a relationship with a spiritual teacher for many lifetimes, and recognize it instantly, it still takes time to bring forth again. This is because the grounds in which this relationship is based, the buddhic realms, has to become aware within you. A teacher does not grasp at this, for example, it may be more important in helping you to develop some practical earth-based refinements, in order that you can integrate the coming awareness better. There may be a deep karmic pattern that needs to be addressed. The ability of the student to address this or not may be the whole point of this life, and the rebellion by the student essentially ends the possibility. So a teacher may hold back in activating you too quickly, or they may just thrust you into it, and you will have to do you best in this sacred trust.

A teacher often takes on some of the difficulties of the student, and most of this is unseen. This is a tremendous work, and one that needs to be honored. But a teacher is not a martyr, you will have to do the work. Understand, regardless of the outer words, it often takes a few years for this relationship to become activated to what it truly is, for the responsibility of it is not to be taken lightly, and the effects of its dishonoring can be very long term.

A Teacher cannot do the work for you.

yogiA teacher or teachers cannot do the work of the spiritual path for you, at least any that has a lasting benefit. Neither can a lover, a child, a friend, or a pay raise. This is the manifestation of your mastery, your journey, and your beauty. In an outward sense a teacher is just like a friend. You can joke, you both eat, and really it is a shame to say, or even imply, that one person is higher than another. Do not worship a spiritual teacher, rather listen and apply, and understand your light, in clarity, is also a gift.

You step into a resonance. We are all companions and at times masters for each other. So why bring all of this emphasis to the word teacher. Certainly many teachers do not like having to be called a teacher in the sense of being singled out as special, including myself - for they know it is the same light in us all and you can never really teach anyone anything - for everything of true value is seen through ones own eyes and felt within ones own heart.

It is done because, otherwise the relationship is seen by the student in the same way most people see everything else in the world, and the space of transmission is closed. Emphasizing the sacredness of this relationship in a non-verbal way, helps to qualify it in the sacred, opening the doors for something else. This something else is beyond an outer sense of personality. And this something else is the only thing that in the long term will mark this relationship as any different than your other day to day relationships.

Sunjaya, Mahiran, Virochana, and Shantara in Australia Feb 2002In some of the old schools, the concept of a spiritual teacher or guru was kept secret, simply because people did not understand and brought the personality into it. Rather than emphasize a teacher, the concept was the inner circle and the outer circle, and there was not necessarily any outer markings of the difference.

Do not create a false relationship with a teacher by doing the pedestal trip. Neither should you limit it the personality. Both approaches are really doing the same thing, which is avoiding the courage you must take for your path. Emphases is being given to the word teacher for the sake of emphasizing the potential of what may occur through it.

Some practitioners have a student-teacher relationship with a particular being for their whole life, and some for a few months. Some may meet their principle teacher once in a lifetime, and some may live with them as a lover or close friend. Some may even switch roles, helping each other in different aspects of the path. There is no fixed formula. You do not hang onto or discard this relationship. It has its own perfection, however that perfection is not something dictated by the ego.

For progressing through practices, the right teacher(s) makes it easier, but for some it is possible without a teacher. However understand that there are some advances upon the awakening of consciousness that you cannot do through practices, or through the wishing or wanting of the mind or your emotions. It is something that occurs through union within the body of the one, and the sharing that naturally occurs in that union. It is the very nature of the body of the one itself. Individualized effort can never, if limited to itself, bring you to what is beyond individuality. It is a reaching out, love touching love, and no one can claim it.

Spiritual Preparation (and policy on use of Drugs)

For most people it is important to have a time of spiritual preparation prior to attempting to enter the fullness of a teacher-student relationship. Even if you are with your primary teacher, this still must occur.

Perhaps the best training ground is a dharma, for example, Tibetan Buddhism. Some have come to us and simply are not ready; they try to do what we say, but simply, it is like putting a square peg in a round hole—for they are confused and simply not developed enough from a soul awareness to comprehend the tantric style of teaching whose view is more from spirit and the buddhic realms than the fairness and logic of conventional life.

In regards to drugs, we have a strict policy of no drug abuse. A beer or glass of wine is not what is being addressed. Marijuana and similar drugs are not acceptable at all. This is because these drugs interfere with the proper alignment of the pineal gland. While we understand that many drugs have there places, such as some of the shamanistic substances, this place is not in our teachings. They are both not necessary and often open people up you to delusions that interfere with the path. For those who look to drugs as part of their path, please go elsewhere. While there are a few highly qualified souls who can use these substances in a Shiva like manner, the vast majority of those who claim this lineage have no ability to do so.


  • There is a Probationary time involved in a teacher accepting a student. This gives time for the importance and relevance of this relationship to be understood.
  • There needs to be a respect of, trust, high qualification of, commitment to, honesty with, and surrender to a Teacher
  • The purpose of a student-teacher relationship is to inspire you in keeping awake your divine spark, to gain definition that is based beyond the confines of the maya of individuality, to help chart your way through the subtle realms, and to gain brilliance within the Body of the One.
  • In our teachings, absolutely no drugs.
  • The spiritual practices given must be honored, sincerely practiced, and difficulties need to be communicated.
In Service to Awakening,

Virochana Khalsa

Feb, 2003

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