This article is graciously provided for republication by the author, Dr. Dinesh Sharma, an Ayurvedacharya, consultant Vastu Master, Vedic Astrologer and Ayurvedic Physician and teacher in the Himalayan Tradition of Yoga and Meditation for more than 30 years.
In this consumer oriented television culture where we have the option of choosing cars, shampoos, soaps and noodles at will, the gurus are aggressively campaigning to be picked up like any other consumer utility product. Thanks to the television channel revolution we no more need to scale tough Himalayan mountain heights to find a yogi or guru. They are easily available in the comfort of our soft bed on a gentle push on the remote control.
First we need to understand that what really Guru means. The literal meaning of this Sanskrit word is 'bigger', 'larger' or 'heavier'. Guru translates as more weight or substance. In popular perception Guru represents teacher, preceptor or a person who helps us understand and resolve the challenging intricacies of life and lead us on the path self realization and finally liberation.
In the journey of life mother becomes our first guru since she brings us up, helps to identify things and people and teaches us to communicate. Father becomes our other guru as he educates us about moral values, social conduct and provides us protection and sustenance. We also learn a lot from our elder siblings and friends. Later in school several teachers and books become many of our gurus.
When we become financially secure and socially independent we start looking for the sources from where we can learn, get experience and wisdom to grow in different dimensions. Such sources can be books, intellectual people or senior family members. This is also the time when we may get the idea of finding a Guru.
Here most important step is to question our own self that do we really want a guru or we are suffering from the complex of absence of a guru. These are two different things. Mostly it happens that when we find big portraits of smiling saffron clad rich handsome faces displayed as Gurus (people display their gurus like newly acquired expensive cars) in most homes of our friends and relatives, we develop a sort of guru absence insecurity. We also feel like 'possessing' one to display with pride when people visit our home. In such case the importance and role of the guru will not be more than an expensive coffee table book, which we will never read or understand.
These days mostly people go Guru Shopping for some well defined obvious interests. Apart from other routine desires, top on their list is sickness, failure in business and marriage and career of grown up kids. Gurus have also polished their saffron corporations and have smarted ways to cater to specific needs of their devotees. In this business of mutual interests the actual purpose of the real Guru tradition has suffered a major setback.
The need of a guru is felt when someone initiates a spiritual journey. For the majority this path is new and completely unknown. Not many people have the experience of stumbling blocks on the spiritual path. The search for finding the right kind of spiritual guide has never been easy. It's always the divine grace which comes to succor when we desperately seek. It may sound mysterious but the method of connecting with the spiritual guide is very simple. When we truly seek for help to advance on the spiritual path, the divinity definitely arranges the meeting. If you have not been able to meet your spiritual guide yet the chances are that your resolve has many holes in it.
Remember that the real Guru never tries to possess, hold and bind you to his clan or sect. He will help you to liberate from many bondings including his own. The real Guru will always shy away from the tag of Guru and would prefer to be known as a spiritual guide. The real Guru will always help to connect you with the Maha Guru, which dwells in the cave of your own heart. The real Guru will never try to impress you with miracles, promises of making you rich, curing your diseases, helping you earn more money and materializing instant suitable matches for your kids. If your concerns are such, you need a smart fixer and not a Guru.