The Importance of Having a Guru

There is no shortage of religious teachings in the Hindu tradition. We have the Vedas, the Upanishads, Puranas and Bhagvad Geeta, to name a few. There are numerous deities, Gods and Goddess, saints and Mahapurushas in our country.

Some of you already have a Guru who you follow, while some are trying out various paths to see which one suits them. In today’s world, there are many masters, preachers and new age Gurus who have something to offer. But the point is that each of them looks at life from their own viewpoint. The question we will explore today is: Is there one “true” Guru who can guide you? The need and importance of a Guru in modern life is a debatable subject.

Do you really need a Guru?

My question is: Must you restrict yourself to one Guru? The path that appeals to you may not be the choice of others in your family. Some of you may be seeking enlightenment through Deepak Chopra’s ideas, listening to his CDS and reading his books while others might find T Rangarajan talks more appealing and inspiring.

What I want to say is this is the information age where many teachings are available and open to all. What you must do is find the teachings that are in alignment with your beliefs and that appeal to you. You may collect ideas from various sources and then fashion a bouquet out of them as per your liking. You must decide which path you want to follow to Enlightenment. Are you drawn towards:

A Devotion based path

A Meditation based path

A Mantra based path

A Kriya based path or

A Gyan based path.

Who is a Guru?

Choose what appeals to you. It could even be a combination of some of the above. Know that you may need multiple teachers for a well-balanced life. You don’t have to serve one person in the form of a Guru. Often, problems arise when you develop dependency on the Guru and personify Him or Her as God. You cannot look at one Guru and depend on Him or Her, thinking they will take you all the way.

The Guru’s job is only to show the light. He can’t take up the responsibility of your life and all its troubles on your behalf. Finally the learning will be your own. The confusion happens when you misinterpret the meaning of the term “Guru.” It actually means a teacher. We need authentic sources to learn from and these sources can be multiple. It is not just about today’s time and age. This approach was taken by people even in the olden days, when they had different Gurus at different stages of their life.

Follow Your Inner Guru

In my life I have learnt a lot through self-introspection because there is no bigger teacher than life. In addition, most of you have access to the Vedas, Puranas and other texts which are easily available online. Search far and wide and you will be guided towards the path that is suited for you.

I believe that one can achieve enlightenment through a combination of reading, listing to talks, meditation and self-introspection. You may take courses or generally follow your intuition and be guided in your quest for knowledge. Trust in your Inner Guru, for He knows everything. If you think someone who you call your “Guru” will take care of your troubles, you are living in a big illusion and you won’t evolve further.

Above all, trust life to guide you to whatever it is you need to evolve to your Higher Self. You will attract all the right sources of knowledge that are meant for you, when you are ready.

 
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