The secret of discipleship is not study or contemplation, but devotion; at that moment it is not Murshid but God who is seen. The door is unlocked, the shrine is opened, it is no more Murshid but God; and from that time I realized that, Murshid apart -- anyone in the world, mother, father, servant, poor person, beggar, innocent child, helpful friend, even through them God can answer the cry of the heart, if one went at the right moment and knocked at the door. ... Devotion to the teacher is not for the sake of the teacher, it is for God. Even in the case of a teacher the devotee may make a mistake by halting at the feet of the teacher and not progressing to God. The teacher is a shield covering God, a gate through which one has to go. As it is necessary to enter the gate, so to reach God it is necessary to have devotion to the teacher first. But the ideal of real progress is that man, through his devotion, arrives to God, freeing himself from all limitations and bondages. For the teacher one has gratitude, but love and devotion is for God.
~~~ "Sangatha III, Ta'lim", by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)