Spiritual masters like Kabir, Rumi, Christ, Guru Nanak, Lalaji, Babuji, Chariji and numerous other sages including Lord Krishna have stated that God is omnipresent and seated in our own hearts. Ancient sages have reiterated that a human being alone is gifted with a mind & intellect capable of reasoning, analyzing etc. The way an individual makes use of this supreme and unique faculty determines the outcome of his life, either of bondage or of liberation. A being can therefore use the mind to be the cause of his bondage or attain liberation through spiritual evolution. However, many tend to build numerous material aspirations that distract the self from one’s true purpose of life and miss the opportunity that would have led them to emancipation.
Nonetheless, there are always blessed souls who are born with an inclination towards a higher purpose of life and develop a deep yearning for the Divine. Such hearts that crave for enlightenment with earnest prayer need not even search for a Guru, as God in all His compassion appears in the form of a Guru to enliven the divine dormant in them. Scriptures reaffirm this fact through lives of Jesus Christ, who was baptized, Adi Shankaracharya , Swami Vivekananda and many others were initiated by their Gurus, and even Lord Rama studied under Rishi Vashista Lord Krishna in Rishi Sandipani’s ashram.
Bahujanma-kratat-punyal-labhyate sau mahaguruh,
Labdhva mum na punaryati sishyah samasara-babndhanam.
One gets such a Supreme Guru as a result of merits acquired through many births.
Having attained such a Guru, the disciple never falls prey to bonds of samsara, he is liberated forever. -Guru Gita, 3.45
Thus, aspirants with longing for union with God are not only re-initiated by a Guru but He also removes the burdens of the past lives and carries them across the sea of separation to the shore of Liberation and facilitates their union with the Divine.
Literally, ‘Gu’ means darkness or ignorance and ‘Ru’ represents the illumination brought to eliminate this darkness in the hearts.
gukArashchAndhakArohi rukArasteja uchyate |
aj~jAnagrAsakaM brahma gurureva na saMshayaH || 1.32 ||
The syllable ‘Gu’ denotes the darkness, and the syllable ‘Ru’, the light. There is no doubt that guru is only the Brahman that consumes ignorance. (From Guru Gita 1.32)
‘Gur Meh Aap Rakhaya Kartare.’ (from Maru Mohalla 1(15)
‘In the body of Guru, God revealeth Himself.’ (Translation of the above)
Throughout one’s spiritual life, one’s needs a living Guru, who is an inspirer, a role model and a vanguard with a compassionate heart, who supports at every step through one’s trials and tribulations. By emulating Him and following His instructions, aspirant progresses much faster towards his goal. It is tremendously rewarding to spend time in the company of a Guru or a Master as His caring eyes perceive in advance all the unseen impediments that may arise and clear one’s spiritual path. His guidance creates detachment and discrimination in the aspirant’s mind, enabling one to regulate the forces of nature, both internal and external. His compassion awakens the sleeping heart and illumines the mind of the disciple. Guru is the embodiment of the Divine essence in human form and the disciples should venerate Him as much as God as He is the one who paves the path to God Realization.
In the Bhagavad-gita(4.34), Sri Krishna Himself tells us the method of seeking out and approaching the guru:
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya-
upadeksyanti te jnanam janainas tattva-darsinah
Learn that by worshipping the feet of the teacher, inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because He has seen the truth.
“Just as a mountaineer who has been to the summit returns to bring others through the difficulties of the ascent, so a spiritual guide, who has attained self-Mastery, supports others on the spiritual journey. ” ~Chariji
Saint Kabir has beautifully explained this entire concept in a perfect verse that says,
Guru Govind Dou Kahde, Kake lagu pav,
Balihari Guru apno, Govind diya bataye.
Both Guru and God are standing in front of me. Whose feet should I touch first?
I will touch Guru’s feet first as HE is the one who has shown the Lord to me.”
The divine self in us is realized only under the guiding light of a Divine Master.