The poet-mystic, Kabir sings beautifully,
‘Master and god both appear before me. To whom should I prostrate?
I bow before the master. He introduced god to me.’
Swami Vivekananda, in one of his discussions with fellow disciples of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, referred to Ramakrishna as god. Another disciple objected saying, ‘Surely this is taking it to the extreme. I agree that the master is enlightened, but how can he be god?’
Vivekananda asked him, ‘What do you know about god?’ The disciple said, ‘Oh, god is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.’
Vivekananda asked, ‘What do you mean by saying that god is omnipresent?’ The disciple said, ‘God is everywhere.’ Vivekananda said, ‘Surely, then you must be able to see him now.’ The disciple was confused and did not know what to say further.
Vivekananda told him, ‘To you god is a concept that you cannot see, a notion that you don’t even know or understand. But here is the master in front of you who is god in reality.’
Someone asked me, ‘What is the difference between god and master?’
I asked him, ‘What do you know about god? All you know is a bunch of words, concepts. You have no clue as to what you are talking about when you refer to god. To you he is just an idea, an imagination of what you believe to be the ultimate energy and universal consciousness, or whatever name you wish to give something you know nothing about!’
The Brahmanda Purana says,
Master is Shiva sans his three eyes, Vishnu sans his four arms
Brahma sans his four heads.
He is Parama Shiva himself in human form
The master is real. He is the reality of the ultimate cosmic energy. He is here and now. He is in the present; He is the present. He is the bridge between you and the concept of god. In that sense he is greater than god.
People ask me, ‘Are you god?’ I tell them, if you do not know what or who god is, how can you ask me whether I am god? God cannot be defined. He can only be experienced. Let me tell you one thing clearly, I am not here to prove that I am god. I am here to prove that you are god. I am not here to prove my divinity. I am here to prove your divinity.
The master is like a forest fire that is happening on one side of the river. The disciple is on the other side of the river. The river is the ‘samsara’, the river of births and rebirths. Between the master and disciple, if there can be a bridge made of any material, the fire can move, cross over the bridge and reach the disciple. The material of which the bridge is made is immaterial. It can be made of wood or with cement but the forest fire has the capacity to move over the bridge and reach the disciple. In the same way, irrespective of whatever relation you may have with the master, just get totally dissolved into that. If you dissolve into that, it will simply fulfill your feelings and lead you to the ultimate state of eternal bliss. If you understand this truth deeply and try to practice this with the determination, ‘I will focus on my feeling and get dissolved into the master-disciple relation’, it will lead you to that state. Don’t think that you don’t know how to dissolve in that. The sheer determination is enough, it will happen automatically in you. Any hurdle between the master and disciple will dissolve just by focusing on the dissolution that happens between the master and disciple.
source: Living Enlightenment