Gurus: Primary to the Ultimate Guides (A Holistic Inner science perspective)

Nov 29, 2016

The word 'Guru' which was confined so far to spirituality especially in Hinduism has become so prevalent across the world that it has been accepted in dictionary of English and other foreign languages to mean: spiritual teacher, teacher, tutor, master, sage, counselor, mentor, guiding light etc. In its expanded meaning the word 'guru' is also used to denote an expert, authority, professional master etc.

True, the term 'Guru' implies all these meanings. The life is complex and always in flux hence everyone needs guidance from the experienced ones at all junctures through the journey of life.

Mother and Father: The First Guru Duo
The first Guru is one's Mother. They say a Mother is more than a hundred teachers! Just observe a mother (even a bird-mother), how she nurses and trains her child right from day one. Rather the nursing of a child starts from the conception onward. Recently, I had an occasion to visit a Children University where I was informed that they work for helping the children right from the age of - 09 months i.e. minus nine-months! The fetus starts receiving the impressions and learning right from its inception in the mother’s womb.

Mother and Father are the first who train us with all caressing towards imparting the basic values, right habits and manners for a humane Life & Living. Truly they are our primary Gurus and it is for this reason that we remain lifelong indebted to them.

It is said, “The Mother is like a Moon while Father is like a Sun.” A child needs both for his/her overall growth and development. As with a seedling, its nursing right from planting, watering, protecting it from vagaries of environment etc. has a lasting effect on the plant; the nursing in the childhood shapes our mind with righteous knowledge and the resultant behavior through the life to follow in adult years. Since the child grasps much more during its formative years he/she has in front of him/her the parent's life as a model; hence parenting is a highly responsible duty.

Then comes our Teachers at different levels of formal education who during our school and college years impart the basic and applied Knowledge for a graceful vocation for living our life and making contribution to the society and world.

After completing formal education when we join a career or vocation, we find that what we read learnt during our formal education is not just sufficient and it is crucial to have the applied skills essential to perform our role as a professional. Here we need a role model as a mentor who can guide us at different stages how to be a successful professional. The modern management science greatly value the concept of mentoring.

As we grow in our profession we find that the pool of knowledge in the world is incessantly growing and expanding faster, deeper and wider and we need to keep pace with it through continuous learning otherwise we are at a risk of being rendered irrelevant and obsolete. We therefore need successive Guides who may directly in person or indirectly through their writings keep guiding us to sustain our professional excellence matching with contemporary times.

Quest for Spiritual Guru
As we grow old and pass through the career advancement phase, a natural urge comes to us to and peep through the secret of the impermanence of life, people, relationships and circumstances surrounding us. A quest begins for knowing true purpose of life and what is our true self. Here again we need an appropriate Guru.

We find number of gurus claiming to be apt but we need to be discerning and need not take every claimant at their face value. Say, if a Guru himself is stuffed with incorrect knowledge, and he himself mistakes 'south' for 'north', what can be expected from him

Different kinds of Spiritual Gurus

Let us try to understand through similes for different kinds of gurus.

Boat (!) made of Stone:
Some Gurus seem like a boat made of stone; it is bound to drown along with those riding in the fake hope of sailing this river of turbulent life. Having abandoned their family and belongings to become an ascetic, these Gurus get attached to amassing wealth and other sensual pleasures through attracting by dubious means more and more devotees to develop a kind of a vast empire. You will find a great deal verbosity in them but inquiring deeper, one will find that they do not have congruence in their preaching and their own living.

It is similar to a tree that gives flowers but bears no fruits. Nowadays, we find such purely theoretical knowledge (adopted from ancient scriptures) multiplying and amplifying everywhere with the help of information technology and social media. One is at dismay while trying to adapt it as such since there is a dearth of applied spiritual knowledge appropriate to contemporary life and living.

Boat made of Cardboard
A few of the Gurus are like a boat made of cardboard. They are on path of their development and may sail their own spiritual journey themselves practicing in solo but if they risk taking others on their boat, all the passengers along with the guru too are heading for a risky journey as the loaded boat is capsizing for sure some time during the journey. They of might be sincere in pursuing their goal in solo but may not have attained required competence to impart the enlightenment to others. They lack the experiential knowledge of the nitty-gritty of the spiritual journey till the final destination. 

Strong Wooden Boat
Rarely one finds a guru who is like a strong wooden boat which floats itself and also helps others stay afloat while heading for a safe journey towards the penultimate goal of becoming a fully virtuous humane entity in its true meaning and leading a worthy accordingly.

The Great Guru is the one on seeing whom your Mind, Body and Speech all in confluence have a natural urge to bow unto Him. Great Guru shall impart you the sense of discrimination what is righteous and what is otherwise, in consonance with the revered scriptures and holy books. His own life and dealings are pure, selfless, righteous, simple and transparent. He is not attached to the glitters of sensual pleasures or pursue accumulation of wealth in any form. That one will enable you to decide the true purpose of a meaningful life and inculcate a feeling of friendliness free of vengeance with anybody so that you could become a member of global family. Indeed this is a Virtue what the great Guru bestows upon us!

An Ultimate Guru
And seeking still further, we come across an ultimate Guru who has a first-hand experience of his True Self and is competent to impart to us the same experience of enlightenment one on one in person. Just looking at his unique eyes one will find those full of choicest luster of the universe and radiating with love, which even the celestial beings aspire to see.

Since he has a first-hand experience of enlightenment he need not refer or quote references from scriptures. His own words, life & living are authentic. Having achieved his goal his only compassionate desire is to impart his state of bliss to others. And glanced at Him, there emanates from our soul, a flow of reverence on its own. Rather we, feeling unprecedented sense of bliss in his avowed presence look to him as if we have found our own Self in front of us! Indeed, He can be called a Prime Guru. Albeit, he has in him not left even a trace of feeling of being a Guru; he is always in a state as if not separate from us.

Having arrived at the final destination, He is the ultimate Guide to our destination of liberation from the ongoing cycles of birth and demise! This is a step by step upward journey of life wherein if coupled with our resolve the Mother Nature helps us progressing further by directing us to a kind of Guru appropriate to our stage in life and spiritual advancement while keeping a sense of discernment amidst the enchantments in the turbulent sea sailing the journey of human life and living.

-L. D. Patel, former Senior Executive & faculty, Sate Bank of India