Who is a guru?

By Anandmurti Gurumaa

In India, the term ”˜guru’ is so very commonly used in daily parlance by people from all walks of life. But it has now arrived at the global scene as well ”“ after all, what with the recent news of Hollywood’s Brangelina having an Indian guru! The irony nevertheless is that the understanding of the true meaning of the word guru is as rare as the usage of this word is common.

So, what does the word ”˜guru’ entail? Who is a guru? To understand this, first take in the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word guru: ”˜gu’ means darkness and ”˜ru’ means light. Guru is, unarguably, the incandescent light of the supreme consciousness that eradicates the darkness of ignorance. Just as all darkness gets dispelled immediately in the presence of light; likewise, with the rising of the guru in the form of knowledge right within your own inner being, all the ignorance that was present in the mind since time immemorial, all that gets eradicated instantaneously.

So, the guru is the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance. And if you say ”˜I have been listening to discourses yet my ignorance hasn’t been destroyed’; then this does not mean there is any shortcoming in the guru. After all, if you were to blindfold yourself; even with the rising of the sun, you will still be in darkness ”“ will you blame the sun for the darkness? The sun quietly spreads its sunshine the world over. It doesn’t proclaim ”˜Get up people for I have arrived’! And if you keep on sleeping, the sun is not bothered by that, how does it matter to the sun?

The guru has experienced the supreme truth, supreme consciousness and has been liberated of all ignorance. The guru has known the light of truth within, the epitome of bliss within”¦i.e. the guru has known Shiva.

Shiva means Brahman, Shiva means the supreme consciousness and guru and Shiva are one and the same ”“ because the one who has known Shiva cannot be separate, cannot be apart from Shiva.

Who is Shiva? Shiva is God. Who is God? God is Shiva. They are one and the same; the all pervasive, eternal, bliss, truth, supreme consciousness. And the one who has experienced, who has known, who has attained the light of this supreme consciousness within, who has known the truth”¦he is the guru.

This guru form of Shiva awakens the supreme knowledge within the disciple and prepares the disciple to experience the ultimate truth, to get enlightened.

A guru is the one who is the epitome of purity, the embodiment of compassion forever showering his compassion and grace on one and all. So much so, that even on meeting the most vile and nefarious individual, the guru doesn’t get disgusted or revolted; he does not discriminate, and treats everyone with the same eye of compassion and benediction.

The scriptures describe the key attributes of a guru ”“ tranquil, pious, polite, virtuous and free from anger, lust; the one who has conquered the need for sensory gratification, who is no longer a slave of the sense organs. A guru doesn’t want anything from the disciple; a guru is self assured, completely autonomous.

A guru is the one who adeptly eradicates all possible doubts from their very roots, the one who destroys all fear of life and death, the one who gets the disciple acquainted with the God residing within – he is the guru. He has no attachments, is always tranquil, always contented and completely self-reliant, ever free.

One doesn’t meet an accomplished, enlightened guru until and unless the previous accumulated virtues don’t awaken. And when one meets such a master, one receives supreme knowledge that frees one, liberates one from all worldly bondage forever.

But it is important to bear in mind that although it is true that a guru liberates you; who can liberate the one who is not sincere, who doesn’t contemplate, who is impure, vile, who has no forgiveness, no empathy, no dispassion”¦who can liberate such a person?

Hence, just as it is crucial that the guru be a true guru in every sense of the word; it is equally important for the disciple to be a true seeker, to have a purified mind and surrender himself to the guru unconditionally. Only then can the shroud of ignorance be removed leading to perennial freedom from all bondage.

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