Unfettered devotion is how spiritual journeys begin. They culminate with the realisation of the divinity within, says Hingori, as he shares what makes a guru
You, me, the birds, the bees, the tree, its roots and every atom in the cosmos, are part of the same source — the supreme consciousness. Experientially understanding this is where we need to get to. The buck starts from, and eventually comes back to you.
We aspire for divinity even though we are already divine, unaware of our true whole self. Instead, we search for divinity in other people, places and things. Which door we knock on is all destiny’s play, and if destiny is kind to us, we will find on the other side of the open door, a Siddh Guru, who will lead us onto the path of spiritual evolution, back to our true selves.
In principle, a guru is not a person, but a concept that embodies infinite wisdom and universal knowledge. Thus, in a guru-disciple relationship, the disciple emulates not the person he refers to as his guru — but his gunas (qualities). With all the technology, information and spiritual content being so easily available in every language, do people still need a guru?
Most of us know ourselves at a superficial level. That is, what we perceive ourselves to be. Or worse, what we believe others perceive of us.
A Siddh Guru who has the intuitive knowledge to recognise you beyond your physical self, knows you at the three distinct levels of the body, mind, and spirit. He knows you not only in the physical form you are in now, but also who you were and will be in lives of the past and future A siddh guru always knows the strength of a potential disciple’s spirit. He will also try to sense the connection between the person’s destiny and his spiritual growth.
Nobody can introduce you to yourself better than your Guru. By introducing you to you, he introduces you to your destiny and gunas, helping you to accept yourself on an as-is-where-is basis. He leads you to understand and engage in self-acceptance and self-respect leading to an egoless self-worth of your own spirit.
Only when a disciple understands the totality of who and what he is, can he play music to the words ‘Tat Twam Asi’ or ‘That You Are’ which means, at the core, you are a part of the consciousness supreme.
This responsibility is immense. The concept of a guru is far more exalted and profound, because not only is he a role model, he takes on the disciple’s karmic debt and leads him out of it to whatever extent possible. It is imperative for the guru to ensure the disciple’s spiritual transformation.
On his journey towards spiritual advancement, a disciple goes through various stages of evolution, from shraddha (devotion) to bhakti (worship). The final stage however, is not of worshipping the guru, but instead, worshipping the guru within YOU. While devotion is a matter of heightened emotion, acceptance is a more centred approach without emotion as its power source. Therefore, even though the journey may start with devotion, it ends with acceptance and self-worship.
It is not easy to assess the stage of evolution of spiritual people. There is no standard metric. A man on the street may be more spiritually advanced than one in saffron. Looks and style, knowledge of scriptures and oratory abilities do not necessarily a spiritualist make. There are other attitudes and practices, coupled with destiny and intent that make an individual rise on the spiritual ladder. A guru looks for certain qualities in his disciple:
Sense of Awareness: For a disciple to observe his own thoughts, reactions and actions, which your guru may require you to change for your improvement.
Flexibility: your guru may want for you to have mouldability and nimbleness to change behaviour and reaction patterns set from past experiences.
Non-dogmatism: Dogmatic thinking chains one down to rituals, defeating the purpose of freeing you from the illusion that is maya. A guru wants a disciple to let go of this one form of execution.
Sense of Sacrifice: There cannot be service without sacrifice and practice. To acquire certain spiritual skills, one may need to sacrifice certain pleasures.
Sheer Guts: Spiritual service includes safeguarding people against such external forces and negative energies transmittable through practices like black magic.
Initiative: While philosophy does sound impressive, it takes initiative and intent to put that philosophy into practice and go beyond expected levels of attainment and act intuitively.
Obedience: Disobedience and obedience are the snakes and ladders in the game of Guruism. Disobedience leads your guru to relinquish his responsibility towards you as you have shown a lack of faith in him.
Loyalty: Loyalty to the guru and his mission is a critical component for acceptance by any spiritual master.
Spiritual training in physical presence of the guru ensures an interaction, where one learns not only through theory but also from the teacher’s responses, body language, instant corrections and so on. The guru often leads by example and it is a disciple’s curriculum to perfect the prescribed practices and not just understand theory. There is vast difference between attending a lecture in a classroom and reading scriptures online.
Discipleship needs continuous monitoring and interaction. Such training includes rewards and admonitions. Many use their guru as a crutch, and not a launch pad. It is necessary for us to understand that a guru is the remover of ignorance and the one who bestows internal knowledge.
Physical presence of the guru is a luxury one cannot bank on for an extended period of time. His teachings and philosophy will succeed him. As a tribute to the teacher, the disciple must implement a collection of his teachings and instructions.
Many a siddh guru can awaken the power of knowledge or intuition in his disciples by using their will power or spiritual energy. A guru gives knowledge, gati and clarity. A guru facilitates the lifting off of the veil of maya. He walks you through every step of realisation that the world we perceive through our five senses is only a delusion, the reality lies beyond it. He teaches you not only to accept but also to see and live in this reality.
The guru introduces the disciple to the disciple’s inner being, and within that being lies the ultimate guru. Wishing you luck in the journey of finding the divine with you!
The writer is the author of Hingori Sutras series of spiritual books