Guru: (Gou-rou) Teacher or preceptor, one who removes the darkness.
This word Guru we hear a lot these days, even in pop music and mainstream cinema. But what really is a Guru and why should one need one? I am often mentioning to my students about their own inner Guru, to listen to their bodies, to listen to their hearts and find the Guru within themselves. During an asana class the teacher may be instructing do this do that, but it is the body that should be King and listened to, this is also hard for people as the mind often takes over and shouts over quiet whispers of the body. Hence why people can often push themselves too much. But in truth we all have the Divine knowledge within us, a beautiful light within us, but it is covered and veiled time and again, so although truth lies within it is also far away. Our life experience gets in the way, past life experience gets in the way, our connection to the outer world through our senses gets in the way of that inner light, so therefore we need a guide, a teacher, a Guru to help us find that inner knowledge, to find the absolute within, it is there in every being, but the path is difficult and with many obstacles, slowly over time and with the correct guidance however the light can be lit and it gets brighter and brighter. Swami Sivananda says –
“The Guru is God himself manifesting in a personal form to guide the aspirant. Grace of God takes the form of the Guru. To see the Guru is to see God. The Guru is united with God, he or she inspires devotion in others, his or her presence purifies all.
The Guru is a link between the individual and the immortal. They are a being who has raised themselves from this into that, and thus has free and unhampered access into both realms. Bending down they raise the struggling individual up with one hand and the other lifts them into everlasting joy and infinite truth-consciousness.”
To teach, one must be so dedicated to the origins of truth and have sincere experience that has been passed to them through their own Guru and they must be dedicating their life to the teachings. Today now the word YOGA seems to be on everybody’s lips without understanding every Tom, Dick and Harry seem to be teaching this and that, lessons in mindfulness etc, you need to really search for a genuine teacher, one that teaches from the heart has been through the appropriate training and continues to purify themselves, how do you know – they tend to shine!
“To be a Guru one must have a command from God. Mere study of books cannot make one a Guru, one who has direct knowledge of the true self through experience can alone be enrolled as a Guru.” Swami Sivananda.
“For a beginner on the spiritual path, a Guru is necessary, to light a candle you need a burning candle. The mind is tricky and it will mislead you and often the Guru will be able to remove obstacles and pitfalls, and put you on the right path towards Moksha – liberation.” Swami Sivananda
So the Guru will put you on the right path, without that help you may want to go to Kathmandu but end up in Timbucktoo. A sincere Guru will help you from making the wrong turns, if you find a good, truthful teacher, that teaches with dedication and experience they will keep you safe.
So how do we find a teacher of such, there are now so many hundreds and thousands? Look for one that is selfless, free from greed, anger and lust. If they are selfless, loving and free of the big I and Me, then this is your teacher. One that you feel elevated by being in their presence, then God will guide you through them. Go slowly, maybe you have to try out many, but recognize those that have experience, the correct training and have put long term dedication into not only teaching but into their own practice. In fact their own practice should be so important for them, as if they are not feeling it, how can they share that with others?
When you find that one that shines for you, then stay with them, Swami Sivananda says –
“Do not dig shallow pits here and there for getting water, the pits will dry up soon enough – dig a deep pit in one place and centralize all your efforts here.”
You may find a teacher that is honest, compassionate and has the qualities but experience is not so great, but they will then lead you to the greater Guru and so on.
Find the one that shines, and shine with them making one gigantic beam for the rest of the world.
Have beautiful days,
I wish you peace peace perfect peace always
Mangala / Nicky.