Who is a Guru?

“Like a goldsmith purifies gold,

so does Yoga purify the soul.

Who is a guru?

A guru is not a person at all – it is the positive, eternal force behind everything; it is the reason for one’s very existence, an omnipresent energy. Guru is a Sanskrit word, which means ‘that which expels darkness’. However, in meditation, one can come up with a hundred thousand meanings for this beautiful word, for Sanskrit is a divine language whose every letter vibrates with the different chakras of the human body. In gross terms, light dispels darkness; at a subtle level, the guru is the inner self-knowledge that dispels ignorance. That energy which re-establishes contact with yourself is your guru.

Everyone’s personal guru is the atma, the principle that eternally directs and protects the incarnated being. At an external level, one who helps you on your inner journey can be a guru – it could be your own wife or anybody else. It is immaterial whether the guru is external or internal; the important thing is to surrender the ego. An external guru gently points you in the right direction, not just as a signboard, but also by travelling with you along your journey and taking you to the very entrance of the temple of the soul – but you have to enter the temple yourself.

For a disciple, guru is the incarnation of God. For him, his sadguru becomes personal, and the jagadguru becomes universal. One has to totally surrender and plug into the power point of the guru tattva (guru principle) understand the glory of the relationship. Once initiated into a mantra by the guru, the mantra itself becomes the guru for a disciple who has surrendered.

The guru’s being derives power from a disciple 

Just as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa found fulfilment in a disciple like Vivekananda, a guru is always seeking the meaning for his existence through the perfect disciple. The guru’s work is to remove ego, and destroy falsity from the very existence of the disciple. For this, the disciple has to have a womb-like receptivity to the guru, should become part of the guru, breathe along with the guru and grow in the guru’s womb of knowledge. It is not easy to become a disciple –a lot of preparation is needed to surrender to a guru.

A real guru says ‘come to me to learn, not to study’. One who comes to study comes with his mind, one who comes to learn comes with his whole being. Wisdom flowers only in innocence, not in knowledge. So, a guru welcomes ignorant persons too, as long as they have innocence as well. Everyone has intelligence, but the guru invokes the wisdom in you, just as Lord Krishna did in Arjuna. In today’s society, I find that teachers, leaders, and bosses have no gurutwa (guru-ness) left in them. Everyone operates from a space of ignorance, competition and arrogance; all deeds are reactionary in nature. There is no devotion in action, passion in action; there is only activity for the sake of activity. This is not dharma at all.

We need to come back to the guru-shishya parampara (guru-disciple tradition) to bring back the passion and devotion in action. Whoever stands for this will automatically become a guru.

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