Too Many Gurus? Dont Know Which To Choose? You have too many gurus in this country. They have told you what to do, what to think, what to practice but why do so many gurus spend so much time trying to sell their material, DVDs, training courses, guides, books and so on. They are professional salesmen to the statements like “this will change your life” and “that will change your life”.
But NONE dares to show you his or her account.
NONE lets you sit with them live.
NONE see what happens in your life live.
The old practice of passing gyana or knowledge – from a master to a disciple – what used to be referred to once long ago as the guru shishya parampara is facing many new challenges today. What was complete devotion and dedication to the guru, is now mere tokenism as we mostly have teachers, but not many gurus left. The real Gurus were mostly benevolent, not interested in money, name or fame. Today, they are replaced mostly by teaching shops, where hundreds of students abound. When hundreds are taught in an assembly-line for profit, personal supervision takes a backseat. The guru shishya parampara is in coma, if not dead.
The Guru has been a cornerstone of the yogic tradition for many thousand years. But even with the current popularity of Yoga, the term Guru, and the Guru-shishya/ disciple relationship is misunderstood, leading some to think it is unnecessary or even harmful. The Guru-shishya relationship can degenerate into personality worship. This may happen due to our need to find certainty and to love and be loved unconditionally, or through the influence of less than scrupulous, but charismatic Gurus. The Guru is the ladder that leads us to the rooftop. Once there, we let go of the ladder and get on with the work that needs to be done. The Guru is also like the mama bird that nudges its offspring out of the nest when it is time for them to fly. The Guru-shishya relationship is the soft, transforming kiss of Truth that sets the soul free.
If your interest is simply to learn basic Hatha Yoga practices and meditation, a Guru is not necessary. The immediate goals of better health and fitness, and a clearer, more focused mind don’t require it. You could learn from a good teacher, CDs, DVDs, or from books. The problem is that the roots of spiritual ignorance usually remain unchallenged and still cause havoc in our lives. Even scriptures cannot provide the required guidance, support, and course corrections we need to reach spiritual maturity – Self-realization.
The Guru/shishya relationship involves more than just study and practice. The most powerful, transformative teachings are too subtle for words. They are conveyed through a deep link formed between the Guru and the shishya through the faith of the shishya. It is primarily that link that distinguishes the Guru/shishya relationship from the teacher/student relationship. This means that the essence of spirituality – its beauty, power, and revelations – is conveyed in a process something like osmosis. Authentic Yoga is never a do it yourself enterprise. The master imparts the inner teachings of spirituality that can never be explained fully or accurately in words or printed books.
Guru as a man of insight is a blessing by itself. It is not the mind and the intellect that work through the Gurus. Gurus never speak through the intellect. They have spirituality in them; the soul works through them and both the disciple and the Guru are related in a mystical manner. It is not obligatory to have a living Guru, but it is certainly advisable. You know that there is a goal, and you want to reach that goal. If you are wise, you will accept help from someone who is living and can show you the easiest, safest and most effective path to the goal. If you want to take hundreds and thousands of years to realize the same, having a spiritual Master is not necessary. But if you want to reach the goal as soon as possible, then certainly it is a necessity..
Right now, perhaps, I am in Gurgaon. I know that Las Vegas exists and that I have to go there. What do I need to get me there? An airplane and a pilot. In spite of the fact that I know that the plane can take me to Las Vegas, I cannot get there without the help of the pilot. Similarly, you know that God exists. You want to reach God through meditation, but someone has to take you there. As the pilot takes me to Las Vegas, someone has to take you to the consciousness of God which is deep within you. Someone has to show you how to enter into your own divinity through meditation.
Initiation is the formal entry into the Guru/shishya relationship. It marks the beginning of a deep and powerful relationship that greatly accelerates spiritual growth. Initiation is not mere utterance of words. It is a communication of an energy, a force. It is the will of the Guru, as it were, entering into the will of the shishya, where both have to be on the same level. Otherwise, there cannot be initiation. When that happens, there is no gap, no miscommunication and no stress. Its just passing onto the other as if both were the same. If someone becomes a true disciple of a Master, he does not feel that he and his Guru are two totally different beings. He does not feel that his Guru is at the top of the tree and he is at the foot of the tree. No! He feels that the Guru is his own highest part. He feels that he and the Guru are one, that the Guru is his own highest and most developed part. Therefore, a true disciple does not find any difficulty in surrendering his lowest part to his highest part. It is not beneath his dignity to be a devoted disciple, because he knows that both the highest and the lowest are his very own.
The light of a lamp that lights another does not decrease. Similarly a spiritual leader and his disciple become equal, so says-Guru Nanak
May you have the blessings of the Guru with you always. May that grace speed you to the ultimate aim of spiritual life: to experience the Self.