What is a Guru?
Today we hear the word, being attributed to people, that have a great expertise in one area. Like “he’s the guru of sales” or the “guru of nutrition” or the “guru of women’s orgasm” to name a few. People who are “spiritual” usually use the term referring mainly to male bearded guys of eastern origin.
One of the literal meanings of the word is “heavy”. So, having a belly and a beard gives me the prerequisites for being one. Oh, did I just day I ‘m a Guru? Well that’s not absolutely true.
Another approach is the etymological one. It seems that the word has two meanings. GU means darkness and RU means dispeller. So, a GURU is one who dispels darkness… Well, a flashlight does the same. Nowadays they some attached to mobile phones, which do more or less everything.
The second meaning of the etymological approach is that GU means light and RU means darkness. So, the word itself unites those two. As a word unites two aspects, then a third one is created that transcends and includes the two. That’s an interesting approach.
Of course, the darkness that the Guru dispels is the darkness of ignorance of who one is and because who and what one truly is, is beyond and prior to any polarity, prior and beyond Light and Darkness, in the absolute sense the Guru is That. But the cella, the student is also That, in the Absolute sense. What is the difference between the two? In the absolute sense there is no difference. In the relative sense there is a huge one.
The huge difference is that the Guru Knows experientially who and what he is, while the cella, doesn’t. The Guru remembered what he has forgotten. The cela still doesn’t. The Guru has Vidya, Knowledge, Jnana, Gnosis. The cella, is on the path to attain that.
Please bear in mind that Guru and cella are polarities within the Absolute. The are not opposing but complemental. This one need the other to exist. For only when there is a student can a Guru be and vice versa.
So, the Guru is a person who knows who and what he is and who also has the way and the means to dispel the student’s ignorance on that matter. In other words, the Guru is Enlightened and has a way to get other people there. If one of these two conditions are not present then, one is not a true Guru.
The ultimate proof that one is a true Guru is that his students become Enlightened. More than one student should get Enlightened in order to prove that the Guru’s approach works. Of course, no method can get one Enlightened, so a formula that fits all doesn’t exist, but this very fact is what makes one a true Guru. A true Guru does not parrot philosophy or methodology. A true Guru understands the individual constitution of the student and applies whatever is necessary for assisting in student’s Realization.
A true Guru does not just give lectures, or satsangs, as they are more properly called. There are many so called Gurus that have great knowledge of the scriptures. They might also have great unusual experiences. Some might me able to make their students have similar experiences or to help them navigate in the various realms. The true Guru can take a student all the way back to the Source. The true Guru can help the student cross the causal abyss, back to the Primordial Light and Love of Unity.
A Guru is another mask, another cover to the Absolute. The Absolute needs to mask itself in order to communicate with another part of itself. When you see the Guru, forget the mask and feel the Absolute. It is this Presence and Love that will pull you into the pure Being. This must be the only goal, in regards to spiritual life.
One helpful example is the example of the tuning forks. If you hit a tuning fork and you bring another one close to the first, then a resonance happens the second one starts vibrating like the first. If you hold the second one too tightly, the vibration will not be very apparent. On the same token if one’s bodymind is too tight, they will not feel the vibrations of the Guru easily. What is also true is that both tuning forks are already vibrating in the same frequency, in a subtle way that is not perceived by the senses.
Initiation can happen in two ways. The first way is that the Guru starts vibrating in a manner that is more easily perceived, so others can pick up the vibration, like on the example where the tuning fork is hit. The other way is when the student loosens up a lot, so they start picking the very subtle vibration. Even if a student starts with the first, eventually they will need to develop the second.
This is the way of surrender, love and devotion. One is not surrendering to the physical form of the Guru but to the Absolute that is getting transmitted to the denser realities, through him. A capable Guru is able to amplify the signal, so to speak, so it becomes louder and cleared so that more students can catch it.
A meeting of a spiritual community is an ideal setting for the amplification of the signal. If the seekers are openhearted and sincere then the signal grows tremendously and I some occasions real initiations happen to people just siting in a conductive environment like this.
Another way is the one on one way, where, traditionally, the Guru initiates the student. A combination of both is preferable as the spiritual community creates an energized environment for initiation to take place and progress and also one on one relationship creates tremendous opportunities to clarify issues, that could have significantly prolonged the path if not addressed in the right time.
Usually when one reaches a plateau and no progress is made for a long period of time, a Guru is needed. Concluding, I would like to say that a Guru – student relationship can be possibly problematic in too many ways, but this is a subject for another day.