When you think of Hinduism or traditional Indian culture, the concept of a Guru (the spiritual master), is more indispensable and more quintessential than the concept of God. The proverbial haiku by Saint Kabir ” Guru Govind dono khade kaa ke laagu paaye. Balihari Guru aapki, Govind diyo bataye” which translates to “Whilst in the dichotomy of the Guru (the spiritual master) and Govind (God) appearing simultaneously in front of me(kabir, the spiritual aspirant), at whose feet do I offer my obeisance first? I (kabir) choose to first bow to my Guru, as only through my Guru could I have realized God”. This is perhaps the most commonly accepted testimony to the necessity of a spiritual master.
Then again, a Guru who could churn out a disciple like Kabir, must have been some guru indeed. For, Kabir is considered to be a realized soul, yet he did not become a sadhu, nor did he ever abandon worldly life. Kabir, chose instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, a tradesman and contemplative. This was something rare in those days, when abandoning the world, to vanish in a secluded cave in the Himalayas at the drop of a hat, was a precondition to most spiritual quests.
Having the right Guru is like being a son to a billionaire. We start of with a lot of bank balance. But ultimately, it is upon us to invest these funds judiciously. If I am a wastrel, even under the tutelage of the best of Gurus, the spiritual quest is destined to fail. Now, if a Guru is not apt, and has some selfish motives, the disciple is knocking on the wrong door already.
On the other hand, If we do not find or stumble upon a Guru to guide us, by the analogy, one is a pauper by birth. But that by no means no judgement to whether one can become a billionaire or not. It all boils down to our own belief and tenacity for a cause. Transcending belief are love and compassion for a cause.
Most religions proclaim that God is within oneself. If God is in everyone of us, it should be more than evident, that our spiritual quest must begin by loving ourselves, accepting ourselves and the conditions as “we see them to be” to be the conditions that God himself is living in. Only then can we begin to see beyond the faux pas in others, and see the good in them. A person, powered by love, is a person powered by relentless belief. If we love and believe, we can learn from everyone and everything. Life itself becomes the greatest spiritual master.
I see some of my friends conduct acts of kindness, when I look at them, I am inspired and they are then my Gurus. In India we do not have to go far actually, to find Gurus. An average Indian woman, assumes the role of a mother, sister, wife, homemaker and bread-earner flawlessly. She is indeed the very embodiment of the divine Universal energy, seamlessly donning multiple hats. No one can be a better Guru on time management, humility, selfless service and compassion, than her.
Then do we need to seek a smart orator, in ochre robes, who sits on a high chair and siphons money out of unwary devotees on the premise of some divine communion? I see my daughter, 1.5 years old, who without a moments hesitation feeds me a morsel of the bread that I give her to eat. That is unconditional love there. What does she know, if I am going to be a good father or not, if I am a worthy individual to be with or not. She just performs this innocuous act out of pure love. There is no judgement here. She is my guru!
To have a Guru or Not is never the question. If we truly believe, then spirituality, Guru, religion, love, life and God will all happen.