The Role of Guru

A guru or Preceptor is indespensible for any spiritual practice. The scriptures say that the guru is Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Siva the destroyer. He creates new samskaras, the longing for moksha. He preserves the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the disciple. He destroys the effects of bad karma and base desires and leads the disciple towards light. The guru is God in His manifest and personal aspect. `Gu´means the Invisible,i.e. God, while `ru´ means the visible. The Invisible uses the visible as Its instrument. The relationship between the guru and his disciples is eternal. He is responsible for his disciples until they attain moksha (liberation).

Indian culture puts special emphasis on the guru-disciple relationship. The would be disciple seeks access to the guru through humility, love and service. The real guru is one who has attained Self-realization, which means complete mastery over the pulseless and breathless state,i.e. samadhi. Only then one will be fit for the role of a guru, not because one speaks elegantly or has a large following. If a person sincerely seeks enlightenment, God sees that he gets a true guru.

Most people fail to find the Truth, because they get lost in the forest of theology and travel from one thicket of theory to another. True religious principles are found in good books. But their full meaning can not be grasped until their manifestation is seen in the life of a guru. Such an enlightened person can help his disciples, provided the latter are attuned to him. After that, the physical presence of the Master is not necessary for guidance. The real guru is God Himself. The human guru is only His instrument or agent.
The aspirant who seeks to know God must first rise above the consciousness of the body and material existence. By the practise of the great yogic method discovered by the Sages of India, we can easily rise above the limited consciousness of the body. We can then feel our identity with God. We can feel that our own existence is spirit. We are the beginning and the end of all. We can feel that we work through all hands and think through all minds, that our hearts throb through all hearts. We will feel our presence in everything and perceive that the stars are but the ornaments of our vast body. We are spreading over the stars, twinkling through their luminosity and creation is floating on the Ocean of Eternal Existence.   Picture.

Body and mind are but two forms of spirit. Spirit manifested as matter is still spirit. The spiritual tradition of India teaches how to realize that this spirit is living within us. The divine memory of the Soul has to be awakened, as it has forgotten its real nature due to the bondage of body and matter. Then we will find that we are God, everything is God and there exists nothing but God. This is the treasure of India that can be acquired by the technique of kriya yoga. The profound and ultimate Truth will be realized.

All true gurus are alive, regardless of whether they have retained their physical forms or not. In the beginning of the spiritual search we can have many teachers, but there can be only one guru. They are disciples who come to the guru for an eternal relationship. The Guru is the living embodiment of spiritual truth. When the devotee has purified his heart, God sends him his guru; it is easier to follow a living embodiment of Truth than to live on abstractions. No book, however noble, is a substitute for the guru.

The question is how to know who is fit for the role of guru in the path of Self-realization. Sri Sankara says, "A real teacher is he who is well-versed in the Vedas, sinless, unsmitten by desire and the best among the knowers of brahman, who has withdrawn himself into brahman, is calm like fire that has consumed its fuel, who is a boundless reservoir of mercy,i.e. ineffable and a friend of all good people that prostrate themselves before him."

The Gita says that the person whose mind remains unpertubed in sorrow, whose thirst for pleasure has altogether disappeared and who is free from passion, fear and anger is of stable mind. A liberated Sage is free from desire, selfishness, egoism `I-ness´,attachment, greed and hatred. He is full of pure love, compassion and mercy. He is a powerhouse of spiritual energy. It is a rare fortune indeed to come in contact with such a Sage or sad-guru. God always sends His representatives to those who earnestly seek Him. Only a few have attained nirvikalpa samadhi. But one must seek a true guru, if there is genuine desire for spiritual progress. Of course, a yogi advanced in spiritual practise can also guide an aspirant, but it is only a realized Master who can lead him to the goal..

A sad-guru or realized Master can purify the body of the disciple at the time of initiation by infusing his spiritual power into the disciple. By purifying the spine at the six different centers, he awakens the Serpent Power, the cosmic force latent in the human body. As a result of this, the disciple gets the triple divine qualities: light, sound and vibration. These six spinal centers keep man attached to the material world in accordance with his karma and do not allow him to transcend animality and rationality. If a disciple under the guidance of the guru can control the six spinal centers through the technique of kriya yoga and establish God-consciousness there, he will overcome all vices and evolve into a divine being. Then ignorance disappears and the light of wisdom shines upon him.

A Sanskrit maxim says,"Worship God after becoming God". Unless a person raises the latent spiritual force present in the coccygeal center to the brain after passing it through the different centers of the spine, he cannot become spiritual. Prayers, worship and rituals are of no avail. They produce no change either in his consciousness nor in his heart. Only a realized master can rouse the latent cosmic power, the kundalini. Direct touch with a guru is, therefore, essential.

Sri Sankara says,"There are three things which are rare indeed and they are attained only by the grace of God. These are: a human birth, desire for liberation and the protecting care of a perfect Sage." Anyone and everyone cannot be a guru. In every age God incarnates Himself as the guru to teach humanity. Sat-cid-ananda alone is the guru. The guru is only one, but upa-gurus may be many. He is an upa-guru from whom anything is learned. The great avadhuta, a monk mentioned in the Bhagavad, had twenty-four upa-gurus. God sends the sad-guru or realized master, only to the earnest disciples.

Paramahamsa Yoganandaji says that spiritualism cannot be bought in the market. The father and mother give the physical birth. But it is the guru who gives the spiritual birth and leads the disciples to the shore of Self-realization. The disciple has to follow the instructions of the guru faithfully an sincerely and practise meditation regularly, if he is to gain full benefit from the contact of the guru. Words cannot do justice to the Soul-revealing power of kriya yoga. It is not necessary to be familiar with the theory of kriya yoga in order to progress in it. Only concentration and sincerity are required. A true guru is a nominee of God, through whom God teaches the devotees so that they may realize their real Self.


Na guroradhikam tatvam na guroradhikam tapah
Tatvajnanat param nasti tasmai Sri gurave namah

There is no higher truth than Guru.
There is no stronger purification than to serve Guru.
There is no greater knowledge than to know God,
who is indivisible one.
Therefore I bow to my honest, reverend Guru.



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