May 29, 2010

How and when will one find a Guru?

Question: There is an age old saying, "When you are ready the teacher will appear". Swamiji, what is that "readiness" required for the GURU to appear?

Answer by Swamiji: Before I answer your question, please let me explain its context, for the benefit of everyone. The Vedic scriptures have repeatedly instructed that we need to surrender to a Guru, to attain God. 

Tadvigyanartham sa gurumevabhigacchet
samitpanih shrotriyam brahmanishtham (Mundakopanishad)
The Vedas say, "To know God, approach a Spiritual Master, who is both well-versed in the knowledge of the scriptures and is also God-realized. Serve him with faith and humility."

 The same principle is reiterated in the Geeta and the other scriptures as well:

Tasmadgurum prapadyeta... (Shreemad Bhagavatam)
Tadviddhi pranipatena... (Bhagavad Geeta)
Guru binu bhava nidhi ... (Ramayana)
.

 These scriptures emphasise the need for a Spiritual Teacher for progress on the spiritual path. They also mention that the Guru must be a God-realized personality, who is seated in the Absolute Truth.
However, the question that stumps a seeker is how to find a true Guru. Where should we go?  The God-realized Saints are Divine personalities, who are beyond our material intellects. So, what criteria should we use to recognize them? 

Fortunately, God helps the sincere seeker in this task. He is seated in everyone's heart, and so when He sees that we are ready, He not only brings us in contact with a genuine Guru, but also creates our faith towards the Guru by inspiring us with the feeling, "Yes! This is the personality for whom I was searching." Without this inspiration that comes so strongly from within, we may stand before the Guru, and yet not recognize him as a true Guru. Or we may recognize his Divinity, but feel no motivation to surrender. Hence, it is said that when God sees we are ready, He bestows His Grace, and we find our Spiritual Master.

However, you have asked what that "readiness" is. Here, readiness means a sincere aspiration to attain God. We must firmly decide that our goal is God-realization, and we must desire it intensely. When God sees this in any soul, He bestows His Grace and creates that connection with the Guru. 
Often people search for Spiritual Teachers, but their desire for God is mixed with material aspirations. In accordance with their motivation, their faith is created in so-called spiritual teachers who pander to their material desires. After many years, such seekers realize that their guru was not perfect, and they feel they have been cheated. However, they must blame themselves for developing faith in a wrong personality. Hence, the best way to find a genuine Spiritual Master is to develop an intense aspiration for God. When He sees this "readiness" in our heart, He will arrange for us to meet our teacher