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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Guru is a Teacher?

Guru's Guidance to a Life of Fulfilment
by Swami Muktananda

To walk the spiritual path and reach the state of God- realisation, a guide is necessary. Just as there can be no life without prana, without a guru there can be no know-ledge, no unfolding and growth of the shakti or innate power which lies dormant in every individual. A guru shows his disciple how to do sadhana and love God.

A guru should be one who has realised the mantra and who can charge it with conscious force; a master of shaktipat, possessing great spiritual power. He may be a householder or a renun-ciate but he must be able to transmit shakti. He has divine grace.

A true guru is one who awakens the inner Shakti Kundalini through shaktipat which is the descent of divine grace in an individual's life. Having set the divine shakti in motion in an individual's body, he bestows the joys of divine love in him. Through the compassion of such a guru, disciples can lead lives of ecstasy.

A guru understands the ways of the world and the law of destiny. He is adept in spiritual matters but he is just as adept in practical affairs. Disciples who live under the protection of such a guru pass through difficulties with ease and seekers in a Siddha ashram live fearlessly even in the most terrifying of circumstances.

Normally, it is difficult to get to know realised gurus or to understand them. If someone performs a small miracle, we accept him as a guru. If someone gives a mantra or shows a technique in tantra, we are willing to accept him as a guru.

We are quite indiscriminate in accepting people as gurus. And because we do not receive inner satisfaction from them, our faith gets destroyed and we think that guruhood itself is nothing but hypocrisy. We end up becoming hostile to a true master and do him injustice.

A true guru is not one who tries to gather as many disciples as possible and keep them in that condition even after leaving his physical form. Only he is a true guru who, having himself become a guru, takes discipleship away from his disciples and turns them into realised beings like himself.

A true guru is perfect, simple, direct and loving. He is the well-wisher of his disciples. He doesn't covet his disciples' wealth and property but takes on their sins and anxieties. He shows the spiritual path.

The guru can lead his disciples to the vision of God without severe asceticism. He brings the peace of a cave and the experience of solitude right into people's homes. He shows the spiritual path right in the midst of the world. He lets you see the Himalayas in everyday life and Mount Kailash in meditation. A true guru helps us renounce our limited individuality rather than property and wealth.

Blessing him with divine grace, the guru turns a person's ordinary life into a sacred existence. The disciple continues to follow his occupation in society and sees his life as a gift bestowed by God. The guru elevates his disciples to higher levels, shows them their own true nature, merges them with Shiva and makes them Shiva.

I came across this piece sometime last week, and to me it seemed to speak of more than just a guru in the spiritual sense. We are all gurus and shishyas to each other. There are things that some people know that other people don't...and it works the other way around too. But people place such a high price on information. Think about it...the espionage that was the highlight of the Cold War...the setting up of Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks...and the rising importance of Intellectual Property, as evidenced by the shutting down of Napster and all the 'mess' since then. Amazing, on the one hand there are people who would say that this is fair, and that a person should be able to make money of her/his work of art or new discovery because it is her/his right. And this is fine too...but think of the progress of humanity if everyone worked together on everything. I guess the Internet is a step in that direction.

But this is just one aspect of teaching, or conveying/transmitting information to someone else. We learn something new every day of our lives. Even when you don't wish to do anything with your life you learn something. How about the facilitating aspect of teaching though? There are things that people are on the verge of, one simple reason being the fact that we're all human...and in that case a person only needs a little bit of guidance to come upon the truth. But where are these gurus? Aren't we all gurus? Isn't that how this started? Is there only one guru for you?...Or do you learn from the multitudes of people that you get to know throughout your existence? And what is the ultimate lesson?

I like the way the article ends. It talks about how a teacher is not trying to teach, but to help those who come to him to realize their own true potential and in turn become teachers for other people...a cycle, if you will. Here's something else we can do with our lives, eh?
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