Is a Guru Essential?

Kuldip Khajuria
This is the question-many people ask. They do not ask this question when they send their children to schools, or colleges, or to a music academy.
The doubt about the need for a Guru comes only when they start thinking about their spiritual life. I think many people are mere children when it comes to spiritual life.
Age and physical growth alone are not enough. If there be some unique souls born with divine consciousness, who feel divine presence even from their very childhood, they do not need any spiritual teacher, but all other do need one!
Once I asked my Guru ji, “Is Guru necessary in life?”Guru ji similed and said :, Listen, one requires a master even one wants to learn stealing and this is sublime Brahamavidya.The knowledge of Brahaman. Does it not require a teacher to acquire it?.You know even pickpockets have their Guru, because they also have to pass through a tremendous discipline and training, and this need the guidance of a master pick-pocket.
For, all type of learning, we have to seek a teacher/Guru who comes either in the form of books or some exalted human personage. In practice it is hard to find a right teacher/Guru as well as right book that can help us practically in right direction. However, whatever be the time or difficulties, there are always some men of great character who help others to find their way amidst darkness, as many of us are not able to reap the rich harvest in life, because of the lack of right guidance at right time.
The person desirous of spirituality must have a Guru. You can accept the Lord himself as your Guru, if you have that much faith in him. But it is better to have a great devotee of a God as your Guru. Do you know why?. What do you do when you feel thirsty and are looking for water?. Don’t you go to the nearest place where water is available?. The human Guru is like that water in the river near us, and the Lord is like the water in the ocean. When the thirst for the God arises, one should go to human Guru who is near at hand, for he can satisfy your thirst quickly. The Guru and the chosen ideal are the same. Nobody cannot find God independently of the Guru.
If you are earnest about spiritual practice, you should have Guru. By a few simple words, the Guru gives a new turn to the life-e.g.-Just as when a man is riding a bicycle, someone sees that the road he is taking will lead to danger, so he turns him round and starts him in another direction. The man keeps on paddling as before and the bicycle keeps on moving, but now the man is moving away from the danger instead of toward it. Similarly the Guru sees that the direction you have taken is dangerous, so he turns you round. The Guru’s work is to give the turn in the right direction because Guru visualizes the inner body of the disciple and instruct him in accordance with his past and future impressions.
The love that prevails in the spiritual relationship, you will get nowhere except between Guru and disciple. It is known fact that mother’s love is ten times more than that of father. The Guru’s love is even more than the mother’s. Does anybody care for you more than your Guru! Can anybody do so?. The mother cares only for this physical body and that in this life only and Guru shows us the way- to salvation. Moreover,only Guru who brings illumination to thousands of people. e.g- You cannot get rid of ailment without the help of a physician. The physician diagnoses the disease and prescribes the proper medicine. In Ayurveda two hundred and fifty medicines may be prescribed for a single disease, but only physician can know which medicine is suitable for the patient and effective for what symptom; the logic is that you cannot get rid of the ailment without the help of physician/Guru.
Who is Guru?. How to find, Judging a Guru.
Before I go into further detail of the subject “Guru” do we need it?. and its role in man making.
First we must understand who this Man is?. What are his basic ingredients? As per my experience, everyone can play the role of the master but it is very difficult to be a servant. If the man doesn’t know the path himself, how can he show it to others?. So in my view Guru and disciple should test each other for a long time before the Guru initiates the disciple. Otherwise there may be regrets afterwards.
The real Guru is one who shows the path of God through Mantram. He, who gives secret of spiritual practices. As such before taking initiation we should see- whether the person from whom we want to be guided on the spiritual path is fit to guide us, whether he has travelled on this path himself. Secondly, we should see whether he has the qualities that the scriptures say a Guru should have. The qualification of both i.e. Guru and disciple should be examined before forming relationship. If Guru expects that the disciple should approach the guru with an attitude of service and humility and should be sincere about his spiritual Quest. If a disciple is not sincere, even knower of Brahma will not be able to help him. Similarly my master used to say that one should observe one’s guru during the day as well as night, and only then believe him. We should observe the man thoroughly, and then only surrender whole heartedly to him. When we are certain that he is truly desirous of our welfare and progress then we should surrender completely.
Qualities: the real guru is one who must be knower of Brahaman. Must have enlightment and sense of responsibility, understands more than disciple and protects the disciple from all pitfalls. He should rule from the heart and not from the head. The true Guru is, he who can immediately come down to the level of students and transfer his soul to the student’s soul and sees through the student’s eyes and hear through his ears and understands through his mind. A perfect teacher practises what he preaches. If his speech and action do not coincide people do not trust him. That is why, Sri Ramakrishna asks disciples to test him, as money changers test their coins.
Lastly it is my earnest advice to everybody: Have faith in your Guru, Be Loyal to him, even like a Cow that never leaves its master, whether it is fed or not. Say to guru – I am your servant and you are my master, and only you are the medium through which God teaches us how to attain Him.
That is why in devotional scriptures we often repeat, The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, the Guru is lord Shiva.