What should we expect from a Guru? Should he or she whisper some kind of initiatory mantra into our ear?
The question that arises from this is, what do these gurus give you when they whisper something into your ear? If you say that they give you a mantra, then the question becomes, what is a mantra? It is a saying praising God and expressing our adoration for Him. O God! I bow before You; I surrender myself to You. This mantra is said in Sanskrit, isn't it? Yes, it is. So if you say the same thing in Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali or any other language, will God not listen?
Now, if you say that the mantra has some kind of supernatural power in it, then in that case did you feel anything when the guru gave it to you? Did it have any sort of effect on you? If the mantra does contain some spiritual power then surely it should have considerable effect on you; even a low voltage electric current gives you a shock. And here this so-called guru is giving you so much spiritual power encapsulated in this mantra and yet it had absolutely no effect on you! If it really did contain spiritual power it would have resulted in you achieving your goal instantly - freeing you from the control of maya and enabling you to realise God and attain divine bliss. However, if none of this happened then that so-called guru has clearly cheated you. He is a mere fraudster.
Devotion to the Guru or to God, which is preferrable?
According to the Vedas (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.23) you should be devoted to both God and Guru equally. By neglecting your Guru your devotion to God becomes meaningless. However, if you are devoted to Guru alone, God becomes happy. In fact, Brahmavaivarta Purana states that those who have moved away from their Guru, who disregarded him or deceived him in some way will be far removed from God. You may cry day and night, but this will have no effect. God does not tolerate a Guru being disregarded. You may have heard the story of Sage Durvasa who insulted King Ambarish who was a great devotee. Durvasa was a great Brahmin sage and Ambarish was a Kshatriya, and yet Shri Krishna made Durvasa the target of His wrath by releasing His deadly chakra on him.
Thus, God does not stand any disrespect shown to a Guru. Although God and Guru are non-different, devotion to God is possible only through devotion to the Guru. Therefore, the best course of action is to make both Guru and God the object of your devotion. This is my own personal principle. Treat both God and Guru equally for your devotional practice.
If you concentrate upon your Guru alone it may spoil your mind leading to committing spiritual transgressions. So it is best to strike a balance by performing devotion to both Guru and God simultaneously. By doing that you will receive the support of the divine pastimes of God and soon you will be able to set your heart and mind on this wholesome devotion. That is why I told you in the beginning that both Guru and God are equal and non-different.
Original answers given in Hindi by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj