The Meaning of Guru
THE MASTER or GURU
"The stranger asks what is the way to the one who knows this way. Taught by the one who knows, he does not get lost. Truly this is the blessing of wisdom; he finds the way that leads straight forward." REG-VEDA (X .32.7)
The master is a mirror and you cannot speak to a mirror. The teacher will not respond to any requests you make: help, explanations. Sometimes it may seem that he is responding, that he is your friend or enemy, but in reality he himself is the answer: everything he does or says, and which intrigues you or annoys you or you do not understand; sometimes it hits you like a lighting, other times like a punch. A teacher who would simply answer and help you would never make you jump. He shows you in a mirror everything that makes you vibrate: your incapacities, your limits, your desires; he simply embodies them, gives them human form. For this reason, although he is one, a behavior, a style, a character, to each pupil he appears different, even enormously different. Everyone sees what they need, good or bad, good or bad, welcoming or aggressive. His ability, his gift is precisely this being crossed. This being everything.
In authentic Yoga and Tantric practice, the existence of a realized spiritual guide is absolutely necessary: "A blind person cannot guide another blind person".
An authentic Yoga master assumes total responsibility for the guidance of the disciple. An ineffable and free relationship is established between them which, taking into consideration the nobility and the height of the prefigured goal, also exceeds the parent-child relationship in love and empathy. Obviously here we refer to Yoga in its most profound aspects. There is a very dangerous trend today where it is said that there is no need for spiritual guidance, that everyone can do it alone. A common sense analysis makes us understand that actually in every field there is need of a guide and even more in Yoga where some aspects must be carefully monitored and practiced with wisdom, gradually. All the great yogis agree with this fundamental idea.
On the other hand, Yoga faced as simple gymnastics is not dangerous if there is no guide, but it will not even produce the extraordinary beneficial effects that spiritual integration can bring instead.
THE NEED FOR A SPIRITUAL GUIDE FOR THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR THE ULTIMATE TRUTH
The importance attributed to the spiritual-aspirant guide relationship, between initiator and initiate, in the spiritual tradition of India as well as in many esoteric spiritual ways of the world, has given rise in the modern philosophers the question "Why must another be accepted as a spiritual guide o guru? " Is not man gifted with enough intelligence to discern between what is necessary and what is not beneficial to him? Can't he choose alone in any field of life?
Surely man has reason and enough will to determine and change his destiny. Even more, traditional sacred texts affirm that the ultimate aspect of every being is of a divine nature, therefore God himself represents the guide that is within each man. So what is an external guru for? Is it not enough for man to listen to the voice of inner guidance, instead of submitting to another who, after all, is also mortal like any other man? Are there not many examples of yogis, saints and mystics who have had no guru and yet have achieved liberation, following their inner guidance?
It is true that every man has within himself the divine spark, the spiritual Self. But how many human beings can feel him and can realize his presence? How many can open up to receive his guide? Man, as manifested in the present period on earth, has a vision limited by ignorance in which he is pleased and cannot go very far alone, neither towards the high aspects nor towards the depth of his soul. The illusion, which is an effect of ignorance, acts so strongly on his senses that it is very easy for such a man to err and listen to the voice of his lower ego by believing that this is the voice of the Divine Self. Theoretically it is possible to become aware of our inner guidance and to evolve on the spiritual path by ourselves, as among other things it has been shown by some special beings in the history of humanity. But generally, this truth is limited in its application due to the immaturity of human consciousness in the current stage of development.
The ideal of the human guru or spiritual guide in the Indian tradition is to be capable of carrying out the aspiration of profound spiritual transformation of another human being. Such a living master has already traveled the spiritual path chosen by the seeker and is able to show the latter the direction, and he also has the power to transmit to the disciple the truth of his experience and its realization. Then he makes the spiritual ideal of the aspirant become alive and dynamic, starting him in knowing the truth and stimulating him towards the practice, to facilitate the progressive realization of these aspects in the life of the disciple; without such a master it is almost impossible to reach the ultimate realization. The spiritual field is still an area little explored by the usual human conscience and if we do not want to get lost on this large and high territory we must appeal to a guru who can take us directly to the goal.
The Guide of a Master in the Tantric Way
The TANTRAS clearly state that no man can advance on the spiritual path without help. Man will be able to read many books, practice austerity, achieve astonishing paranormal abilities, but the reading of sacred texts remains sterile mental knowledge and the ritual becomes mechanical routine if these are not energized and conscious thanks to the personality of a guru. Only those acts inspired in the disciple by his master can bring Bhakti (devotion) and Mukti (liberation). Even if a human being is endowed with special qualities and ardent aspiration, he still needs someone who will spiritually stimulate him, who will induce him that strength (Shakti) that will make him act without error and always follow the right path (even in the areas that are beyond human understanding). This help is offered by the spiritual guide. Whatever the nature of his sadhana (spiritual practice), whether it be the path of meditation, dhyana, ritual devotion, puja or mantra-puja, the guru is always the one who initiates, guides and leads the aspirant towards realization. last.
What is the role of a master?
The indispensability of a guru-shishya (master-disciple) relationship has appeared in this era of rationalism or mere superstition. Although each of us holds this sort of divine light within us, there are still too few who can perceive its presence. How can you open up to receive your teaching?
In the spiritual realm, as in other sectors, a precious guide with an authentic, profound knowledge, endowed with a rich experience that is offered to us at the right time, can help us immensely not to waste too much time and not to waste energy and vain efforts. He can also help us eliminate suffering and the possibility of a possible bankruptcy.
He also knows how to act wisely to eliminate our bad habits, which would then be obstacles to our ascent, while facilitating the awakening and amplification of the qualities that will simplify our ascent instead.
In reality, the role of a spiritual master is to accompany us on the spiritual path to the end, that unique end which is Infinity, or which some call GOD.
Often, once engaged in an authentic spiritual search, we find ourselves confused and confused, not knowing what the next step is. Here is the urgent need for a teacher. In fact, in any job, in any field, those who have assimilated a respective teaching will then go on to teach and share their experience with others. Therefore, in each of us there is the perfect image of a being who "knows everything and can do everything" and to whom reference can be made to fulfill a particular purpose. This image corresponds, in reality, to the ideal of our master.
The ideal of guru in the Indian tradition is represented by a being capable of satisfying the aspiration for profound spiritual transformation of another being. Such an authentic teacher has already traveled the spiritual path chosen as a researcher and is able to show its direction, having the hidden power to transmit to the disciple the truth of his experience and its realization.
In reality, he revives and energizes the spiritual ideal of the aspirant, namely liberation and spiritual perfection, starting him to the knowledge of the truth and at the same time pushing him towards practice, to facilitate a progressive concretization of these aspects, in the life of the disciple.
Without such a teacher it is almost impossible to achieve Ultimate Realization. Spiritual domination is an area little explored by the common human conscience and if we do not want to get lost in this vast territory, we must appeal to a master who knows him and who can lead us directly to the goal.
Dependence and independence in the master-disciple relationship
Since each spiritual guide or guru personally leads the disciple towards the realization of the divine SUPREME self, through the path that best suits the person in question, the disciple must find his own teacher and then, once recognized, dedicate himself to him to the end. . It is not about fanaticism or any other form of proselytism, as one would tend to believe, but only an ancient authentic tradition, verified by the time that has offered the expected results. For a western mind, it is rather difficult to accept. But if you find a true master, free from the conditioning of this ephemeral world and who knows the secrets of the universe in which we live, the situation changes.
You have certainly asked yourself many questions during this lifetime. And only a small part has found an answer. Imagine now that you have met a person who holds all the keys and all the answers. Do you think you can give up his advice and guidance? Not at all. You have always asked for his advice and help, knowing that what you are doing is good and is on track.
This could be equivalent to a first phase of the evolution of the relationship between disciple and teacher. You might see it as some kind of addiction, but we would rather call it a LISTEN. In this phase we are like a child who learns to walk and constantly requires the support of his father.
Over time, the situation changes, because the more the disciple assimilates experience, the more he must be able to "walk on his legs".
A true master does not cause his disciples to become dependent on him, even if apparently they fully respect his will.
As we evolve spiritually we become more and more independent, because we begin to understand correctly how divine laws work and we are able to make the best decisions for our spiritual evolution. The initial dependence of a disciple on his spiritual master is and must be strictly temporary. As spiritual evolution begins to occur, the disciple must gradually become autonomous.
How to find your own master or spiritual guide?
The Indian spiritual tradition states that "When the disciple is ready, the master appears". What we have to do is just want to meet him with all our soul, and also begin a severe internal discipline that creates the premises of the appearance of the master in our life. In fact there is talk of an intense spiritual search, an effervescent desire to struggle to succeed and know our true self.
On this path you will find various people whom you think are masters. But the Master is only one. And be careful, it is often possible to make mistakes. There are many charlatans who are ready to offer "support" in exchange for certain benefits.
You say it is difficult to discern who your true teacher is. But you will see that meeting him will give you a greater understanding and a feeling that will make you understand that it is really him or her.