IS A GURU NECESSARY?
Dear Reader, for this Sunday we have for you an excerpt
from Bhagavan's own writing, a chapter from the sacred volume "Sandeha
Devotee: Swami, can we ask you freely about any topic concerning the
spiritual path, which we do not know?
Swami: Certainly. What is the objection? Why this doubt? What am I here for?
Is it not for explaining to you things you do not know? You can ask me
without any fear or hesitation. I am always ready to answer; only, I want
earnest inquiry with a desire to know.
Devotee: But some elders say it is wrong to vex the Guru with questions. Are
they right, Swami?
Swami: That is not correct. Whom else can the disciple approach? Since the
Guru is everything to him, it is best that he consults him in all matters
and then acts.
Devotee: Some say that we should reverentially carry out whatever the elders
ask us to do without raising any objections. Is that your command also?
Swami: Until you develop full faith in them and know that their words are
valid, it will be difficult for you to carry out their orders reverentially.
So, until then, it won't be wrong to ask them the significance and the
validity of their orders, so that you may be convinced.
Devotee: Swami, whom are we to believe, whom are we to discard? The world is
so full of deceit. When those, whom we believed are good, themselves turn
out to be bad, how can faith grow?
Swami: Well, My boy! Where is the need for you in this world or any world to
grow faith in others? Believe in yourself, first. Then believe in the Lord,
Paramatma (universal being). When you have faith in these two, neither the
good nor the bad will affect you.
Devotee: Swami, faith in the Lord too diminishes sometimes. What is the
reason for that?
Swami: When one is deluded by the mere external world and when one does not
attain success in such external desires, faith in the Lord diminishes. So,
give up such desires. Desire only for the spiritual relationship; then you
won't become the target of doubts and difficulties. The important thing for
this is faith in the Lord; without that, you start doubting everything, big
Devotee: Until we understand the reality of Paramatma, it is important, they
say, to be in the company of the great and the good and also to have a Guru.
Are these necessary?
Swami: Of course, the company of the great and the good is necessary. To
make that reality known to you, a Guru too is important. But, in this
matter, you should be very careful. Genuine Gurus are scarce these days.
Cheats have multiplied and teachers have retreated into solitude, in order
to realise themselves undisturbed. There are many genuine Gurus but they
cannot be secured easily. Even if you get them, you must thank your destiny
if they vouchsafe to you more that one single Sadvakya (spiritual truth) ;
they won't spend time telling you all kinds of stories! There should be no
hurry in the search for a Guru.
Devotee: Then, what in the world is the path?
Swami: Why, it is just for this that we have the Veda, Sastra, Purana and
Ithihasa (ancient scriptures) . Study them; adhere to the path they teach
and gather the experience; understand their meaning and the trend of their
message from Pundits; follow them in practice; meditate on the Paramatma
(universal being) as the Guru and as God; then, those books themselves will
help you as your Guru. For, what is a Guru? The Guru is that through which
your mind gets fixed on God. If you consider Paramatma as the Guru and do
Sadhana (spiritual practice) with unshakable love, the Lord Himself will
appear before you and give Upadesa just as a Guru. Or, He may so bless you
that as a result of the Sadhana, you may meet a Sadguru.
Devotee: But, nowadays, some great big persons are granting Upadesa to all
who ask; are these not Sadgurus, Swami?
Swami: I won't say they are or they are not. I declare only this: It is not
the sign of a Sadguru to grant Upadesa (spiritual instruction) to any and
every person who comes to him with praise, without considering the past and
the future, without discovering the qualifications of the pupil and testing
whether he is fit.
Devotee: Then Swami, I have committed a blunder! When one great person
arrived at our village, and when all were receiving Upadesa from him, I too
went and prostrated before him and asked him for it. He granted me a good
Upadesa; I repeated the Manthra for some time, but, soon, I came to know
that the great person was a cheat. Since that day, I lost faith in the name
he gave me; I gave up Manthra. Was this wrong? Or, am I right?
Swami: Do you doubt the right and wrong of this? It is very wrong. Just as
the Guru, as I told you now, examines the qualifications of the disciple,
the disciple too has to critically examine the credentials of the Guru
before receiving Upadesa. Your first mistake was that you did not pay
attention to this but hastily accepted Upadesa. Well, even if the Guru gave
it without the necessary qualification, why did you break your vow and stop
repeating the name? That is the second mistake: casting the fault of another
on the sacred name of God. Before receiving Upadesa, you should have taken
time and known his genuineness and enveloped faith in him. Then, when the
desire to accept him as Guru emerged, you should have received the Upadesa.
But, once you accept, you must repeat it, whatever the difficulty; you
should not give it up. Otherwise, you commit the wrong of accepting without
deliberation and rejecting without deliberation. That wrong will be on your
head. You should accept a name when you are still afflicted by doubt or a
name which you do not prefer. Having accepted, you should not give it up.
Devotee: What happens when it is given up?
Swami: Well, my boy. Disloyalty to the Guru and discarding the name of God -
on account of these, your one-pointed endeavor and concentration will wither
away. As the saying goes, "The diseased seedling can never grow into a
Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,