Your Goal is Your Guru
You were telling us that there are many self-styled Gurus, but a real
Guru is very rare.
are many jnani who imagine themselves realised, but all they have is
book knowledge and a
opinion of themselves. Sometimes they impress, even fascinate, attract
disciples and make
waste their time in useless practices. After some years, when the
disciple takes stock of
he finds no change. When he complains to his teacher, he gets the
usual rebuke that he
not try hard enough. The blame is on the lack of faith and love in the
heart of the disciple, while
reality the blame is on the Guru, who had no business in accepting
disciples and raising their
How to protect oneself from such Gurus?
Why be so concerned with others? Whoever may be the Guru, if he is
pure of heart and
in good faith, he will do his disciples no harm. If there is no
progress, the fault lies with the
their laziness and lack of self-control. On the other hand, if the
disciple is earnest and
himself intelligently and with zest to his sadhana, he is bound to
meet a more qualified
who will take him further. Your question flows from three false
assumptions: that one needs
oneself with others; that one can evaluate another and that the
progress of the disciple is
task and responsibility of his Guru. In reality, the Guru's role is
only to instruct and encourage;
disciple is totally responsible for himself.
We are told that total surrender to the Guru is enough, that the Guru
will do the rest.
Of course, when there is total surrender, complete relinquishment of
all concern with one's past,
and future, with one's physical and spiritual security and standing, a
new life dawns, full of
and beauty; then the Guru is not important, for the disciple has
broken the shell of self-defence.
self-surrender by itself is liberation.
When both the disciple and his teacher are inadequate, what will
In the long run all will be well. After all, the real Self of both is
not affected by the comedy they
for a time. They will sober up and ripen and shift to a higher level
Or, they may separate.
Yes, they may separate. After all, no relationship is forever. Duality
is a temporary state.
Is it by accident that I met you and by another accident shall we
separate never to meet again?
is my meeting you a part of some cosmic pattern, a fragment in the
great drama of our lives?
The real is meaningful and the meaningful relates to reality. If our
relationship is meaningful to
and me, it cannot be accidental. The future affects the present as
much, as the past.
How can I make out who is a real saint and who is not?
You cannot, unless you have a clear insight into the heart of man.
Appearances are deceptive.
see clearly, your mind must be pure and unattached. Unless you know
yourself well, how can
know another? And when you know yourself -- you are the other.
others alone for some time and examine yourself. There are so many
things you do not know
yourself -- what are you, who are you, how did you come to be born,
what are you doing now
why, where are you going, what is the meaning and purpose of your
life, your death, your
Have you a past, have you a future? How did you come to live in
turmoil and sorrow, while
entire being strives for happiness and peace? These are weighty
matters and have to be
to first. You have no need, nor time for finding who is a jnani and
who is not?
I must select my guru rightly.
Be the right man and the right Guru will surely find you.
You are not answering my question: how to find the right Guru?
But I did answer your question. Do not look for a Guru, do not even
think of one. Make your goal
Guru. After all, the Guru is but a means to an end, not the end in
itself. He is not important, it is
you expect of him that matters to you. Now, what do you expect?
By his grace I shall be made happy, powerful and peaceful.
What ambitions! How can a person limited in time and space, a mere
body-mind, a gasp of pain
birth and death, be happy? The very conditions of its arising make
power, happiness, these are never personal states, nobody can say ‘my
peace’, ‘my power’
because ‘mine’ implies exclusivity, which is fragile and insecure.
I know only my conditioned existence; there is nothing else.
Surely, you cannot say so. In deep sleep you are not conditioned. How
ready and willing you
to go to sleep, how peaceful, free and happy you are when asleep!
I know nothing of it.
Put it negatively. When you sleep, you are not in pain, nor bound, nor
I see your point. While awake, I know that I am, but am not happy; in
sleep I am, I am happy,
I don’t know it. All I need is to know that I am free and happy.
Quite so. Now, go within, into a state which you may compare to a
state of waking sleep, in
you are aware of yourself, but not of the world. In that state you
will know, without the least
of doubt, that at the root of your being you are free and happy. The
only trouble is that you are
to experience and you cherish your memories. In reality it is the
other way round; what is
is never real; the real is now.
All this I grasp verbally, but it does not become a part of myself. It
remains as a picture in my
to be looked at. Is it not the task of the Guru to give life to the
Again, it is the other way round. The picture is alive; dead is the
mind. As the mind is made of
and images, so is every reflection in the mind. It covers up reality
with verbalisation and then
You say a Guru is needed, to do miracles with you. You are playing
with words only.
Guru and the disciple are one single thing, like the candle and its
flame. Unless the disciple is
he cannot be called a disciple. Unless a Guru is all love and
self-giving, he cannot be
a Guru. Only reality begets reality, not the false.
I can see that I am false. Who will make me true?
The very words you said will do it. The sentence: ‘ I can see that I
am false’ contains all you
for liberation. Ponder over it, go into it deeply, go to the root of
it; it will operate. The power is
the word, not in the person.
I do not grasp you fully. On one hand you say a Guru is needed; on the
other -- the Guru can
give advice, bit the effort is mine. Please state clearly -- can one
realise the Self without a
or is the finding of a true Guru essential?
More essential is the finding of a true disciple. Believe me, a true
disciple is very rare, for in no
he goes beyond the need for a Guru, by finding his own self. Don’t
waste your time on trying to
out whether the advice you get flows from knowledge only, or from
valid experience! Just
it faithfully. Life will bring you another Guru, if another one is
needed. Or deprive you of all
guidance and leave you to your own lights. It is very important to
understand that it is the
that matters, not the person or the Guru. You get a letter that makes
you laugh or cry. It is
the postman who does it. The Guru only tells you the good news about
your real Self and shows
the way back to it. In a way the Guru is its messenger. There will be
many messengers, but the
is one: be what you are. Or, you can put it differently: Until you
realise yourself, you
know who is your real Guru. When you realise, you find that all the
Gurus you had have
to your awakening. Your realisation is the proof that your Guru was
real. Therefore, take
as he is, do what he tells you, with earnestness and zeal and trust
your heart to warn you if
goes wrong. If doubt sets in, don’t fight it. Cling to what is
doubtless and leave the doubtful
I have a Guru and I love him very much. But whether he is my true Guru
I do not know.
Watch yourself. If you see yourself changing, growing, it means you
have found the right man.
may be beautiful or ugly, pleasant or unpleasant, flattering you or
scolding; nothing matters
the one crucial fact of inward growth. If you don’t, well, he may be
your friend, but not your
When I meet a European with some education and talk to him about a
Guru and his teachings,
reaction is: ‘the man must be mad to teach such nonsense’. What am I
to tell him?
Take him to himself. Show him, how little he knows himself, how he
takes the most absurd
about himself for holy truth. He is told that he is the body, was
born, will die, has
duties, learns to like what others like and fear what others fear.
Totally a creature of
and society, he lives by memory and acts by habits. Ignorant of
himself and his true
he pursues false aims and is always frustrated. His life and death are
and there seems to be no way out. Then tell him, there is a way out
within his easy reach,
a conversion to another set of ideas, but a liberation from all ideas
and patterns of living. Don’t
him about Gurus and disciples -- this way of thinking is not for him.
His is an inner path, he is
by an inner urge and guided by an inner light. Invite him to rebel and
he will respond. Do not
to impress on him that so-and-so is a realised man and can be accepted
as a Guru. As long as
does not trust himself, he cannot trust another. And confidence will
come with experience.
How strange! I cannot imagine life without a Guru.
It is a matter of temperament. You too are right. For you, singing the
praises of God is enough.
need not desire realisation or take up a sadhana. God’s name is all
the food you need. Live on
This constant repetition of a few words, is it not a kind of madness?
It is madness, but it is a deliberate madness. All repetitiveness is
tamas, but repeating the name
God is sattva-tamas due to its high purpose. Because of the presence
of sattva, the tamas
will wear out and will take the shape of complete dispassion,
detachment, relinquishment, aloofness,
Tamas becomes the firm foundation on which an integrated life can be
The immutable -- does it die?
It is changing that dies. The immutable neither lives nor dies; it is
the timeless witness of life and
You cannot call it dead, for it is aware. Nor can you call it alive,
for it does not change. It is
like your tape-recorder. It records, it reproduces -- all by itself.
You only listen. Similarly, I watch
that happens, including my talking to you. It is not me who talks, the
words appear in my mind
then I hear them said.
Is it not the case with everybody?
Who said no? But you insist that you think, you speak, while to me
there is thinking, there is
There are two cases to consider. Either I have found a Guru, or I have
not. In each case what is
right thing to do?
You are never without a Guru, for he is timelessly present in your
heart. Sometimes he
himself and comes to you as an uplifting and reforming factor in your
life, a mother, a
a teacher; or he remains as an inner urge toward righteousness and
perfection. All you have to
is obey him and do what he tells you. What he wants you to do is
simple, learn self-awareness,
self-surrender. It may seem arduous, but it is easy if you are
earnest. And quite
if you are not. Earnestness is both necessary and sufficient.
Everything yields to
What makes one earnest?
Compassion is the foundation of earnestness. Compassion for yourself
and others, born of
your own and others.
Must I suffer to be earnest?
You need not, if you are sensitive and respond to the suffering of
others, as Buddha did. But if
are callous and without pity, your own suffering will make you ask the
I find myself suffering, but not enough. Life is unpleasant, but
bearable. My little pleasures
me for my small pains and on the whole I am better off than most of
the people I know.
know that my condition is precarious, that a calamity can overtake me
any moment. Must I wait for
crisis to put me on my way to truth?
The moment you have seen how fragile is your condition, you are
already alert. Now, keep alert,
attention, enquire, investigate, discover your mistakes of mind and
body and abandon them.
Where is the energy to come from? I am like a paralysed man in a
Even paralysed people sometimes find their legs in a moment of danger!
But you are not
you merely imagine so. Make the first step and you will be on your
I feel my hold on the body is so strong that I just cannot give up the
idea that I am the body. It
cling to me as long as the body lasts. There are people who maintain
that no realisation is
while alive and I feel inclined to agree with them.
Before you agree or disagree, why not investigate the very idea of a
body? Does the mind
in the body or the body in the mind? Surely there must be a mind to
conceive the ‘I-am-the-
idea. A body without a mind cannot be ‘my body’. ‘My body’ is
invariably absent when the
is in abeyance. It is also absent when the mind is deeply engaged in
thoughts and feelings.
you realise that the body depends on the mind, and the mind on
on awareness and not the other way round, your question about waiting
till you die is answered. It is not that you must be free from
‘I-am-the-body’ idea first, and
realise the self. It is definitely the other way round -- you cling to
the false, because you do not
the true. Earnestness, not perfection, is a precondition to
self-realisation. Virtues and powers
with realisation, not before.