Could the acceptance of a master prevent me from developing in my own way and hence postpone my enlightenment?

Home Forums Prabhuji’s Forum Could the acceptance of a master prevent me from developing in my own way and hence postpone my enlightenment? Could the acceptance of a master prevent me from developing in my own way and hence postpone my enlightenment?

From the very moment you ask, you are becoming a disciple. The nature of discipleship is inquiry. Krishna says:
Tad viddhi praṇipātena
Paripraśnena sevayā
upadeksyanti you jñānam
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth. (Bhagavad Gita, 4.34)
Paripraśnena means “submissive inquiries.” Inquiry and service, or seva, are the two pillars of the master-disciple relationship. 
Many people ask, but the inquiry that characterizes the disciple is of a different nature. Disciples do not ask out of curiosity, but because their doubts disturb their routine and keep them awake at night. Their doubts are vital, a matter of life or death. The quality of the inquiry will depend on their quest’s intensity. Inquiring is part of a transformative process, because the answers might compel us to make profound changes, to accept uncomfortable situations, or to give up attachments. The guru’s responses commit us and can revolutionize our inner world.
If you seek for mere intellectual knowledge about mysticism, spirituality, or religion, to study comparative religions or theology in the university will be enough. A master is necessary solely if you are seeking self-realization. Only then shall you assume a greater commitment to the process. The encounter between a disciple and the guru is that of a question with the answer. The pedagogue offers answers, but the master is the answer.
It is true that in the course of history there was a handful of enlightened beings who did not need the guidance of a master of flesh and blood. In fact, it is possible to become enlightened without accepting a master, but not without being a disciple. These virtuosos of the spirit had no masters but were great disciples. I call them “virtuosos” because they are an exception to the rule, just as some music prodigies were able to compose music from their childhood. However, if we do not belong to their number, we will need the help of a teacher.
If the master were an obstacle to awakening, anyone who has none would be enlightened. If you do not have a guru who hinders you, how come you are not yet enlightened? Most people do not accept a spiritual master, not because they do not need one, but because they cannot be disciples. Gurus pose a vital danger, since they attack the security of the egoic phenomenon. Obviously, the ego would try to defend itself by saying that it is not necessary, just like a reluctant child on a visit to the dentist.
The master-disciple relationship is eternal. However, it goes through different phases. It resembles our relationship with our biological parents: as children, we depend on their guidance to the minutest detail, such as when to eat or go to bed. As we mature, that relationship evolves into new stages. Similarly, our spiritual parents may become obstacles for development, but only if they are not transcended in due time.
When we board a train to arrive at a distant city, it is essential to get off at the arrival. If we remain seated in our compartment, it will be an impediment to reach our goal. In due course, the master will gladly bless the disciples to go their own way. If they remain attached, the obstacle would not be the guru but their wrong attitude. Nothing and no one can delay or impede your self-realization apart from yourself.