Good day Dear readers,
I hope you all have been having a blissful day. My sincere apologies for been two days late on this segment, I had some issue with my ISP.
There are quite a number of qualities a genuine spirutal guide should have but due to time and space I have enumerated only a few.Without further ado, enlisted below are these qualities:
1. He should have a spiritual guide himself: In today’s world of “technocrat gurus” it is imperative that anyone who claims to be a guru, or spiritual guide should also be able to show his followers his own guru. No one becomes an authority in any filed of life without being a student himself for a good period of time. The great scientists like Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, were all at some point someone’s student. To be a Doctor, one submits himself to years of study and years of practice and further practice under a qualified Doctor, to be a Musician one has to go through rigorous amounts of practice daily under a teacher to master his craft, in the same vein it is only essential that when one decides to become a spiritual guide he should also subject himself to the required training under a bonafide teacher also. It is somewhat ironical that we all see that to progress in anything physical we need to subject ourselves to tutelage, but somehow or the other think it is not necessary to do likewise in spiritual matters which are beyond our scope of understanding. Anyone who claims to be a guru or guide and doesn’t show whom his teacher is, is a psuedo-guru and should be avoided. Anyone who claims they became guru by some inner realization should be avoided, as it is impossible to have any check and balance system for such a person. When a guide himself has a guru then his actions are also susceptible to verification from his own teacher. Many great souls from the past have shown us by example, Jesus Christ who was the Son of God himself showed by example and accepted John the baptist has his guide, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Isvara puri as his guide and many others. They never claimed to be self realized and thus abandon the process of accepting a guide or guru. Thus following in their footsteps we should also be sure to identify fake gurus and guides who transgress this basic principle.
2. He should always teach according to a revealed scripture: A guru who doesn’t give reference to his teachings has no way of verification, and can easily bewilder people by concocting ideas. Any guru who says things like ” In my opinion, or I think, or my idea is …”, can not be taken seriously. We all have ideas, opinions and thoughts however if we all decide to be spiritual guides based on this,then for sure there will be chaos and confusion. A true guru’s teaching are always in line with three parameters; the reveled scriptures such as the Gita, Bible, Koran, other saintly persons both living and past, and his guru’s teaching. If whatever he says doesn’t fit into these three parameters then for sure his words are questionable. One may ask why is it so important for the guru to teach something based on scripture, well the answer is simple. Just as we depend on Textbooks from higher authorities in mundane matters, similarly for spiritual matters we need to refer to textbooks from higher authorities, which should stem down from the Supreme Lord himself.
3. He should be part of an infallible Disciplic succession: Over and above the fact that he should have a guru or guide himself, his guide or guru should also have a guide and this disciple chain should be traceable back to the Supreme Lord or God himself, as he is the original teacher. In gaudiya vaisnavism this is referred to as parampara, and it is not limited to our tradition alone. In the Bible, although not described in these terms, it can be seen that when Moses wanted to give instructions to the Israelites, he didn’t manufacture some ideas because he was realized, he fasted and prayed on mount sinai and had audience with God who gave him the commandments. These commandments have since been passed down for ages. Similarly and guru or guide whose teachings can not be traced back to the Supreme Lord is sure to be questionable. The emphasis is placed on the chain of teacher and student starting from God himself, because any chain that starts from a Human being is sure to be filled with the four defects of human existence, and can not be accepted as absolute. Only the Supreme Lord can give teachings that are Absolute.
4. He should be exemplary: In gaudiya vaisanavism, we say he should be an acharya, that is one who teaches by example. Any guide or guru who says, ” do as I say but not as I do” is questionable. A real teacher teaches by words and actions. Nowadays we have tons of so-called gurus, pastors, prophets, guides, etc who do one thing and say another. Their words don’t match their actions and thus they are a social and spiritual disturbance. We have so-called spiritual guides who preach simplicity but live full on lives of luxury, we have so called spiritual guides who preach renunciation but live lives of gross attachment, we have pastors and guides who preach sexual morality but engage in so much sexual promiscuity. These type of guides and gurus are a disturbance to the world and all those who follow in their line are sure to receive the same fate as them.
5. He should posses the spiritual capacity to save his disciples from this material world: Last but not least, the guru or spiritual guide should have the spiritual qualification to be able to deliver his students and disciples from the circle of repeated birth and death. If he doesn’t posses this quality then the fate of his disciples or students are unpredictable. Many people would argue or oppose this point by saying that there are various kinds of guides and thus knowing this fact how can we ascribe the same requirement for all of them. ( we shall treat the types of spiritual guide in a different segment,please refer later).
In as much as this is true, the guide who initiates the disciple into the esoteric meanings of God realization and self realization has a lot more responsibility on his shoulders. He has a lot more work to do than the other class of guides and gurus, and thus more is expected of him.
I hope this simple dissertation helps our readers irrespective of their religious affiliations to be able to discern the truth about having a spiritual guide or guru and thus be able to identify a genuine one. Till our next read, do have a blissful day ahead.
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