Maharajji answers questions about the guru, which we reproduce below from Śrī Guru darṣanam (page 204 onward)
Question: Is the guru subject to any reaction when the disciple commits an offense? When some gurus fall sick, they say that it is due to the offenses of their disciples.
Answer: No, that is not true. The guru does not suffer any reaction due to an offense by the disciple. If someone commits an offense, then only that person will suffer the reaction.
Question: If the guru disappears and the disciples are still sincerely attempting to surrender and follow the path of nivṛtti mārga, but they haven’t reached the point of full surrender, does the guru have any responsibilities for those disciples?
Answer: If the disciple is sincere and has willingly accepted the guru, and if the guru leaves the body and the disciple follows the instructions of the guru, then that itself will give the disciple perfection in the guru’s absence. That is because the guru is Iśvara, he is the Supreme God Himself; so he will inspire him and the disciple will attain the ultimate goal of life through that only. But if the disciple is not sincere, then nothing can be done about it.
This is the path of truthfulness, sanmārga and if one is truthful, then he will attain success.
Question: And does that spill over into another lifetime if the disciple is sincerely following the path of nivṛtti, but also leaves his body without having attained the stage of full surrender?
Answer: There is no more birth if one takes dikṣā from a genuine guru, because one has no karma. When one comes to take dikṣā, then his karma is burnt just as fire burns the wood.
bhavāpavargo bhramato yadā bhavej janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samāgamaḥ
sat-saṅgamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau parāvareśe tvayi jāyate matiḥ
“When the end of the cycle of birth and death for a wandering soul is near, then he gets the association of a devotee, O Śrī Acyuta, and when there is union with a devotee, then only one gets the mind to perform devotion to You, O Lord of all being, material or spiritual.”(Prayers of Mucukunda, SB 10.51.53)
When Bhagavān wants somebody’s existence in the material world to come to an end, then He inspires him to come and meet a genuine guru and take dikṣā from him.
This path of bhakti should be understood as being separate from to other paths like jñāna or yoga, where one has to completely finish his karma by experiencing its result. Even if they become jīvana-mukta, they still have to exhaust their karma. But just a little contact with bhakti completely burns karma. So even if the guru leaves his body and the disciple is sincerely endeavoring, that itself will give him perfection and there is no more birth for him, provided that he is sincere about it. If he is not sincere, then he again falls into the same trap.
For other people it is the Paramātmā, the Immanent Being, who is in charge, and they follow the law of karma. In bhakti, the Paramātmā is the iṣṭa-devatā. which is Krṣṇa Himself. Just as the Paramātmā gives birth according to karma, Krṣṇa gives the position of an associate to His devotee. So Krṣṇa takes personal care. Therefore there is no rebirth for His devotees.
Question: I met a nice young man on his way to see his guru who has 1.5 million disciples. If this young man had the right guru, then he would be on the right path.
Answer: No. Just as mango seeds only give rise to a mango tree and not a banana tree, and vice versa, in the same way, if this man would have met a proper guru, then he wouldn’t have faith in him, because to begin with, he did not have śāstrīya-śraddhā. He has this kind of guru because of his own insincerity. He can only put faith in an insincere guru.
Question: I heard that everybody has to go through different gurus until one meets a sat-guru. Is this true, is there any śāstrīya pramāṇa?
Answer: There is no śāstrīya pramāṇa (scriptural evidence) of this. It is not that an asat-guru leads to a sat-guru.
Question: Those devotees whose gurus fell-down, had a mixed karma because on one hand, they were devotees, but on the other hand, their gurus weren’t bonafide. Is that just a quirk of karma that they had both good and bad repercussions?
Answer: The conditioned living entity has the natural tendency to fall for the wrong thing. Coming to the sat-guru is the mercy of Bhagavān. The living entity does not have its own intelligence to decide what is sat and asat. Asat people will never say that they are asat. In fact. they will proclaim very loudly that they are sat, because asat has the greatest fear from sat. So they have to make a very loud statement that they are only sat, so that people will never think that they are asat.
A common person has a natural tendency for accepting the wrong thing. One also becomes influenced by the society, by what is popular. We tend to accept things that are followed by the majority, because we are social beings. We think that if many people are following it, then it must be right. So it is not that after one has accepted an asat-guru, this will lead him to a sat-guru. It is not because of good karma that one meets a sat-guru. Meeting a sat-guru is only by the grace of Bhagavan.