Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The importance of the Guru

Like so many people around the world I was always vary of the word “Guru” and associated it with someone of dubious repute. It was not until I was deep into my spiritual quest that I discovered I already had acquired not a Guru but a few in the real sense of the word. So would make a sceptic like me realise and recognise my own Gurus?

First it is essential to understand what the term ‘Guru’ means. The term Guru is derived from the Sanskrit words “Gu” which means darkness and “Ru” which means light. It is a term used to describe someone enlightened enough to lead others from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge.

A Guru is simply someone who has the knowledge of something of profound importance that the rest of us are unable to even imagine. A good Guru is able to explain complex subject matter in it terms that anyone of average intellect and spiritual growth can understand and remember. A true Guru is also one who practices what he teaches and is of such pristine character that he or she is able to inspire others to do the same and make a positive change in the world.

I will be honest about my experiences with my Gurus. I have never met them in the physical form they all passed away before I knew they existed. My only interaction with my Guru’s is through the teachings they left behind. It is only recently when I actually not just understood the teachings but applied them to my daily life that I experienced profound change in myself and more surprisingly in everyone I interact with, that I acknowledged my Guru’s.

At first I always felt the distinct loss of never having physically met or interacted with my Gurus. It was only after deep meditation over a period of that time I came to understand that I was very well acquainted with my Guru’s as I interacted with them every single time I practiced or spread the teachings. It then dawned on me that the actual person who elft the teachings behind, the physical body of the Guru was infact just a physical body. The real essence of the Guru was only in the teachings.

Every Guru from ranging from Christ to His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always focussed on the teachings. It is the message of loving kindness, mercy, forgiveness that they work to preserve in perpetuity. All they want is to lead us from the ignorance of our ways into the light of knowledge, which automatically sets us on the right path. I honestly think not one of these great Gurus wanted anyone to waste time focussing on their physical form. What they wanted was for us to practice the teachings in perpetuity.

All the greatest Guru’s, Prophets and Saint’s have always given credit for their miracles to their Guru’s, God of some higher spiritual being. They are full of humanity, humility and they are very clear that their mission is to serve others. I am sure that none of these great beings wanted anyone to worship the physical form that most of them considered so inconsequential to the existence of their souls. In my heart whenever I see huge amounts of money being expended on glorifying the physical bodies of such great beings I feel that they would much rather have had the same amounts spent on the poor and needy.

I must stress here that the Guru needs money to live. He or she is after all a human so they have to satisfy their basic bodily needs and any other reasonable human needs that they may have. Unless one supports a Guru financially buy purchasing their books, buying tickets to their lectures, donating to their ashrams the Guru will not physically be able to sustain themselves. If the Guru is not in his physical body then the Guru’s teachings need to be spread by other individuals who represent the Guru and unless their needs are met they will not be able to keep the teachings alive.

If you are happy to pay for the services of your doctor who tends to your physical body, a psychiatrist who helps with your emotions and mind, why should you grudge money to someone who helps uplift your soul and bring about profound changes in your life.

What upsets me is when there is a free mediation, talk or lecture and then there is dissent when donations or charitable contributions are asked for. Why should that be an issue someone has taken time to help you meditate or provide you with some spiritual knowledge so why grudge them something. If you have a voucher for a free meal at a restaurant don’t you tip the waiter for serving you? Is that not the decent thing to do? Wont you automatically do that? So why be mean when it comes to someone serving you spirituality?

Most Guru’s never exert any ego. They are beings of knowledge and love and have little time for self-glorification and they are not known to describe themselves as God or Godmen. They are great souls with pure hearts through whom messages are passed from the divine. They are specifically chosen for those tasks as they are so spiritually advanced that they will not distort the messages and convert them into simple teachings that can be comprehended by the masses.

There are and will be occasions that certain fanatical disciples or certain individuals seeking to make money off their associations with the Guru, especially after the Guru’s passing acted in manners contrary to the Guru’s teachings. It is not uncommon for even close relatives of the Guru to claim that they are the Guru’s successor.

The Guru is a spiritual being that has incarnated in a physical form. It is the greatness of the soul and not flesh and blood that makes a Guru. The Guru may train teachers, instructors and even confer titles on others but they are not successors but disciples. It is not uncommon for a Guru to acknowledge other great souls or Gurus but not really a successor. If you are even in doubt my only advice is forget every thing and focus on the essence, the principles and teachings.

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