The Disciple in Hinduism
A pupil needs to have the right attitude to progress spiritually. The disciple needs to understand that his/her nature is innately divine. Yet, not many of us can grasp this truth. An ideal disciple is one who yearns to overcome illusion and realize his divine nature. He/she should renounce worldly desires, as they indicate incompleteness and want. Therefore, the pupil should not hanker after luxuries and illusory riches.
Secondly, the disciple should be able to control his five senses. This can be achieved by practising right conduct and discrimination. This skill is called pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), which can be achieved by practising concentration and self control. One should not be a slave of the mind. It is easy to be equanimous, when the going is good. But, when things go awry, we usually become restless, frustrated, angry or despondent. So, one should learn to be an impartial witness to both good and bad.
Thirdly, the disciple should have faith in the guru. But, it should not be blind faith. After selecting a true guru, the disciple should persevere, obey and follow his/her teachings and suggestions. Faith can move mountains, as the saying goes.
Yearn to be Free
The disciple should exhibit an intense yearning to be free. One’s desires are never satisfied by enjoyment, which only adds fuel to fire. So, desire only increases desire.
Finally, the disciple should be able to discriminate between what is real and unreal. Only God is real, all the rest are transient and unreal. A true disciple should realize that he/she is not the body or the mind, but the immortal self.
The above conditions may seem daunting to the beginner. There may be hundreds of gurus around, but it is difficult to find a single sincere disciple. But, with humility, honesty and sincerity, anyone can become a good disciple.