Short excerpts from The Importance of a True Guru, by Bro. Anandamoy
Qualifications of a True Guru
The Guru is not just a teacher: a true Guru is one who is appointed by God to lead the disciple to God-realization. This means he is not only teaching or giving inspiration; he actually takes on the responsibility for that devotee’s salvation – takes on, to a great extent, the burden of his disciple’s karma. According to the readiness of the disciple, the Guru gradually opens the doors of realization, one after the other, and eventually opens the final door of God-realization.
In order to be able truly to fulfill the divine task, the consciousness of a Guru must be one with God. He must possess certain divine qualities – such as omniscience. He has to know the disciple’s past incarnations, in order to know what karmic conditions are affecting the disciple’s present life, so that he can help minimize the effects of bad karma or do away with them completely. The Guru must also have omnipotence to be able to do that. And above all, his consciousness has to be omnipresent, because often it happens that the disciple and the Guru are not together on the same plane of existence. The disciple may be on this physical plane, and his Guru may have gone on to the astral or causal world. But a true Guru is omnipresent, as God is omnipresent, so he can be with his disciple anytime, anywhere. ….
A World Mission
Paramahansa Yogananda came with a world mission: He came to bring again to humanity the sacred science of Kriya Yoga. Kriya had been forgotten during the Dark Ages, and was known only to a few. Lahiri Mahashaya was the first to openly teach Kriya in modern times – but He forbade His disciples to start an organization to spread the teachings of Kriya Yoga, because He knew that God and the Great Ones had assigned that task to Paramahansa Yogananda – not only to spread that teaching of Kriya Yoga throughout the world, but to keep those teachings pure.
We are too close to the beginning of the Yogoda Satsanga Society/Self-Realization Fellowship work to appreciate its greatness and the influence it will eventually have in the world. “Millions will find God through these teachings,” the Master once told us. And when one of the monks looked at him questioningly, as it to say that He must have been exaggerating, the Guru’s answer was very emphatic: “And I do not mean thousands, I mean millions !”
A Divine Incarnation
In the Yogoda Satsanga Lessons, Paramahansaji says: “Implicit in the YSS/SRF techniques and teachings are the help and blessings of the YSS/SRF line of Gurus.” That means that a true Guru, as I said before, is not just teaching or giving inspiration. He takes on, to a great extent, the karmic burden of his disciples. As he said, “The disciple does twenty-five percent, the Guru does twenty-five percent, and fifty percent is the grace of God.” Now, can you imagine taking twenty-five percent of the karma of millions of disciples? Who could do that except a divine incarnation? Obviously, a jivanmukta – one who is still working out his own karma – could not do it. Even a siddha could not take on that tremendous task; it would take an avatar.
I want you to be clear on this point, because some people use the term Guru lightly, which gives the impression that Gurus are plentiful. Further, some, who have broken away from Yogoda Satsanga Society of India are declaring themselves “Guru” and giving kriya initiation. Don’t be deceived. Master himself said: “I am the last in the line of Gurus of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.” [Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahashaya, Swami Sri Yukteshwarji, Paramahansa Yogananda]. It takes a divine incarnation to assume this worldwide task – generation after generation. That is why Rajarsi Jankananda, who, Master said, was a siddha, publicly stated shortly after the Master’s passing, “There will be no other Guru [YSS/SRF] … He will continue as always to be our preceptor.” ….
“I Live the Lives of All of You”
Again in the Gita (VI:32), Lord Krishna says: “O Arjuna, the best type of Yogi is he who feels for others, whether in grief or pleasure, even as he feels for himself.” The Master wrote about this passage: “The yogi who is one with the Father is simultaneously conscious of the smallest and the greatest happenings of the universe.” Can you imagine that? Everything in the whole universe! It’s beyond human conception. He continues, “A devotee who perceives God in all beings feels naturally, as his own, the pleasures and pains of other beings. He wishes evil to none and tries to do good to all.” We saw our Guru exemplify this so many times. ….
Inner Attunement with the Guru
It is important to realize that one does not necessarily have to be in the physical presence of a Guru to receive His guidance and blessings; it is all a matter of one’s inner attunement. I quote from Swami Sri Yukteswarji’s book, the Holy Science – “To keep company with the Guru is not only to be in his physical presence (as this is sometimes impossible), but mainly means to keep Him in our hearts and to be one with Him in principle and to attune ourselves with Him.” Remember, the Guru is omnipresent. “To keep company, therefore, with the Godlike object (the Guru) is to associate Him with shraddha, the heart’s natural love …by keeping His appearance and attributes fully in mind, and by reflecting on the same and affectionately following his instructions, lamblike.” ….
Spiritual Methods of Attunement
The Master referred to a “spiritual method” of attunement when He wrote to a devotee: “A disciple residing far away from the Guru can practice a spiritual method of communication. The Guru, being one with God, is present everywhere — including the wisdom-centre of all men (at the point between the eyebrows). At the end of meditation each night, the disciple should concentrate at this point between the eyebrows and visualize the image of His Guru. Thinking of Him with love and devotion, the disciple should ask the questions He wants answered. If visualization and concentration on the Guru are deep, the disciple will invariably receive silent answers to his questions in the form of new inner perceptions.”
Do you understand? Attunement does not necessarily mean hearing voice – it is not phenomena. When the consciousness is lifted, intuition comes naturally, and the devotee becomes receptive to the guidance and blessings of the Guru, so that he or she knows what to do. ….
Utter Attunement With the Guru
This is what we have to strive for. I saw that in Rajarsi Janakananda. UTTER. He was a giant, not only spiritually but also outwardly. He was a giant of intellect; he was the most simple of men. He hardly talked when he was with us. When he said anything he said, “Master’s light, Master’s love.” He was so absorbed with it. He radiated it.
With his characteristic warmth, humor, and penetrating insight, Brother Anandamoy provides a beautiful portrait of the multifaceted nature of a true guru. Through many inspiring stories, Brother Anandamoy elucidates:
• The seldom-understood distinctions between a spiritual teacher and a true guru
• Degrees of spiritual evolution
• How to deepen one’s attunement with the guru.
Running time: 64 Minutes