The role of the Guru is one of the most misunderstood topics when it comes to our spiritual development. Understanding or misunderstanding the function of a spiritual Guru can make or break our “spiritual path.”
Our misunderstanding is never the fault of the Guru, but always the fault of the student. It has been claimed as such for ages, and — I admit — that sounds ridiculous. Nevertheless, it’s the fault of the student, because the student is incapable (or not ready yet) to understand.
But do mind that the remark stated above is about authentic Gurus, not about teachers who pretend to be Gurus, or even genuinely think they are, but are in fact not. Engaging with a “fake Guru” usually leads to more confusion, although — to be honest — it can also be “enlightening” if recognized as such.
But then, what or who is an authentic Guru?
A Guru in ancient spiritual traditions is a “self-realized” human being who tries to share their living experience. Self-realized human beings are those who, as a direct, continuous experience, know what a human being’s natural place and functioning is in the “grand scheme of Life.” And moreover — who live their lives accordingly, spontaneously and without any effort.
It’s important to stress that not all self-realized human beings become Gurus, and — as said before — not all so-called “Gurus” are self-realized.
Okay, but how to know who’s an authentic Guru?
The answer to that is very unsatisfactory, unfortunately, for the fact is that one cannot know who’s an authentic Guru unless one has become self-realized.
So, here we have it — the perfect paradox. Yet, another paradox is that there’s actually nothing to worry about. In fact, there are only two options: either we hop from Guru to Guru until we’ve found the right one (and finally become self-realized), or we drop all Gurus and try to find “the thing” out ourselves.
You see, we don’t need a Guru. We always need to do the work ourselves anyway. Nobody is going to do it for us. Or can do it for us. A Guru — authentic or fake — can be helpful or an obstruction, and going our own way can help or can likewise make us strand.
There’s no better or worse to this. The only thing that will make us succeed is a continuous, burning longing for truth. For the truth of knowing what we really are and how the live accordingly.
When that longing, that craving, that horrible aching has become one’s only longing in life, when the search for spiritual enlightenment has become one’s only goal, it finally will be satisfied. It will, because being the only desire left, all other obstacles have been cleared out of the way. It will be a burning desire to succeed.
When one has come to the point of actually willing to die for the truth, then truth will unveil itself. Truth is for the desperate ones, for those who have submitted totally, for those who see no way out, and through that — finally find their way.