More frequently asked questions:
Q: Are there different categories of genuine guru-s?
A: Yes. I classify them like this:
- guru-s who teach spirituality (in all its forms)
- guru-s who save
- guru-s who teach and save
The first category is the most common and the least interesting. These are low caliber guru-s because they describe the processes of bondage and Freedom, sometimes shedding a lot of light on them, but they do not save their disciples. The vast majority of guru-s I can see on the Web, are guru-s who teach spirituality (from the standpoint of various philosophical systems). Their explanations can be extremely good, but they always fail to understand that their disciples just CAN’T do everything they teach. These guru-s, if they do not evolve into the ones who save, become increasingly frustrated. They can range from hardly conversant with spirituality to great scholars, but they are all completely powerless when it comes to making their disciples attain Freedom. They know almost everything about the “how to” aspect but cannot put that into practice.
The second category is not as common. This type of guru is a real saint, a holy person who communes with the Divine. As I told you before, it is not a guru but Guru who does everything through him, as it were. These teachers do not give extensive explanations of the process of Final Liberation or bondage but tend to give some cryptic instructions. Their mere presence awakens the Power of the Self in deserving people which starts the process of Liberation.
The third category is even less usual. This type of guru is not only a real saint but also conversant with scriptures. He teaches and saves at the same time. Such guru-s are extremely rare in this world.
Q: So the first category consists of false guru-s?
A: Not “false” in the crude sense of word, but rather “powerless”. They are mostly disciples who out of ignorance decide to teach other people. They can teach people but cannot save them. The vast majority of spiritual guru-s is like that. They generally have good intentions but lack spiritual maturity.
Q: In what sense do they lack spiritual maturity?
A: Especially in their treating disciples (and people in general) like “capable”. In ordinary life, people treat each other as fully capable so many demands constantly arise in them. For example: practically all the politicians of this world have no idea how to control their own livers but feel they can control the destiny of a whole country. This is a mark of spiritual ignorance. At the same time, almost all the people think that those politicians are doing “something”. This is another mark of spiritual ignorance. This confusion is as everlasting as the Self Himself. Of course, the same confusion pervades every area of human behavior, but it is easier to see it in the case of the politicians. All these supposed “doers” are never “real Doers”, but they have no idea. As they consider themselves and the rest of people as “doers”, they are constantly demanding this or that. Demands arise because one believes that he and the others are “capable”, i.e. “real Doers”. In reality, all that “doership” only exists in their imagination. The real Doer is always the Supreme Self and never these limited individuals who serve mother bondage.
OK, as I stated in the Purpose page of this blog, I am not interested in teaching people who are not interested in achieving Final Liberation due to their confusion. I am only interested in teaching spiritual aspirants, viz. people who realized to a certain extent that they are not free really.
Now, the first category of genuine guru-s is composed of spiritual teachers who treat their as regular people treat others: as being “capable”. Therefore, they always commands and impress but are useless. Some examples of such commands include: “Choose to always be happy”, “Choose welfare above all”, “Live your life fully”, “Meditate and go beyond your ego”, “Choose freedom instead of bondage”, “Cut the snake of spiritual ignorance with the sword of your Knowledge”, “Overcome sadness by overcoming all your attachments”, “Do not sorry for what is fleeting”, “Do not attach yourself to your desires”, “Abide in your Self at all times”, and so on. Of course, their disciples will not be able to carry out such commands because all of them are completely incapacitated. Only sages could do all that to the letter. One can read in the scriptures how great teachers taught great disciples through divine commands, but the problem now it is the miserable quality of the spiritual aspirants. As these guru-s generally have good knowledge but poor understanding of human nature at present; they fail to make their disciples fully enlightened, spiritually speaking. And they do not have that understanding because Guru is not backing them up, i.e. the Self is not mixing His Grace with the Power of the Self. The Power of the Self always binds a limited individual, because the latter is an invention of the former. But when the Self injects His Grace into the Power of the Self, there is Liberation. In the end, if Guru is not in a guru, the latter can teach his disciples even the whole truth, but he cannot be a means of Salvation for them.
The other two categories of guru-s are composed of teachers who do not speak to everybody as if they were capable, save for cases where the disciple is of very high quality and consequently greatly “capable”. Instead, they teach in a compassionate way and always keep in mind the powerless state of the spiritual aspirant. They might say: “There is a certain technique to meditate on the Self”. So the disciple tries to practice that, and if he fails, the guru will give him another technique which will turn out to be easier to him. They will never put their disciples in an impossible situation because this, apart from being useless, will make the disciples extremely frustrated. Besides, there are many subtle changes that occur in the disciples while in the presence of these high-quality guru-s through spontaneous transference of their spiritual state.
Q: So, the real Doer is always the Self.
A: Yes, always through His own Power. He manifests, maintains and withdraws the universe as well as conceals and reveals His essential nature. No limited individual does a thing. This is extremely difficult-to-understand to most people in this world. Spiritual aspirants seem to understand that truth, but they fail to abide by it for the most part. This idea of false “doership” constantly spreads like wildfire. If you observe human beings (and yourself), there is always this notion of “doership” in everybody. Accordingly, people are held responsible for their acts. This is known as the law of Karma. Overcoming law of Karma is not about merely saying: “Stop considering yourself as the doer”. NO, it is not that easy. It is not about commands given to incapacitated people. It is not even about spiritual knowledge, but about His Grace. If you can understand this, such understanding will save you so much useless suffering. The question about “supposed doers” is a world plague indeed. However, people are not real doers due to their complete lack of fullness. Only this Self who is Full can do in the truest sense of word. What is not Full can never do in the truest sense of word. This must become clear at a certain point of one’s spiritual journey or one will not be able to advance further.
While guru-s of the first category know that doership always belongs to Him in theory, guru-s of second and third categories actually understand that. Accordingly, the former give commands leading disciples nowhere, while the latter are channels for His Grace that leads to Him.
Q: When you say “He” or “His”, everything sounds dual.
A: Yes, it sounds like that, but it is not dual, because these limited individuals are not different from Him at all. Anyway, if I were to say “I” or “My”, your ego would appropriate all that. Ego would arrive at the conclusion that “I am the doer” again, and I am not trying to strengthen that false notion even more. If there were no false I-ness (no ego) in the reader, I could say “I” and “My” all the time. Experience taught me that this is only conducive to more arrogance and the resulting confusion. For that reason, when I speak about the Self I use “He” or even “You” (now and then), all in uppercase, in order to make clear that I am not talking about ego.
Egos are a manifestation of the Power of the Self and consequently powerless as far as Final Liberation. When He is not in “Grace mode”, His Power only binds and never liberates. For this reason, limited individuals endowed with ego cannot get Final Liberation on their own except for when they are greatly evolved from the start, which is extremely rare. In any case, these greatly evolved people had to make the right efforts and obtain His Grace in a previous life somehow. The process of attaining spiritual enlightenment is always in the hands of Guru, viz. of the Self in Grace mode. If the Self does not want to give His Grace, nobody can force Him to do so. Knowledge is very important for the achievement of Final Liberation, but never crucial. His Grace is always the most important thing according to the Trika system I teach, and also according to my own experience. Mere spiritual knowledge, even if it is totally correct, just cannot cope with the complex process of making a person free from bondage.
Q: Why is it complex?
A: Because there are many factors the human mind can’t deal with simultaneously. The guru-s of the first category usually forget how complex the karmic intricacies are, and as a result, they teach all their disciples the same thing. Anyway, if the reader is a disciple of one of these guru-s, he or she will notice that he/she cannot attain Final Liberation. Everything is apparently OK, but Liberation just does not come. The problem lies in the absence of Guru, viz. absence of the Self giving His Grace. If Guru is not there, no Liberation will ever happen even if all other factors align. Knowledge can be right, practices can look like right, and so on, but as Guru is not giving Grace, no real Liberation will occur in the end. This is quite a mystery.
Guru will not come even if the teacher has a nice robe, or a nice smile, or an impressive lineage behind, or whatever. Guru will come or will not according to His own decision. As He is completely Free, nobody can force Him. If Guru comes, a guru of the first category is transformed into one of the second or third categories, i.e. into a guru who saves. If Guru does not come, a guru of the first category might continue teaching but no Liberation will come to his disciples however hard he tries. I am completely sure about this because I have direct experience.
Q: Karmic intricacies?
A: Yes. Every person is in a different position from the karmic viewpoint. For example, among the disciples of a guru, John will attain Final Liberation after three births, Paul in his present birth, Jane right after passing away, etc. Besides, each of these disciples has karmic debts to pay and these debts must be paid before any other thing occurs. All this is extremely complex for a guru to deal with. This guru needs Guru revealed in him in order for the process of attaining Final Liberation to proceed as it should.
Just as no human being can cope with the task of controlling all the processes within his/her own liver, I wonder how will a guru be able to deal with the extraordinary process of making their disciples totally liberated from bondage without the help of Guru?
Yes, there are never two: guru and Guru. This looks dual only in the world of words. But Guru or the Self of a guru must be in “Grace mode” or no Liberation will accrue to his disciples. There is no doubt about it.
Q: Should guru-s obligatorily be from India or have been to India?
A: It depends on your concept of “India”. If you consider India to be a country situated in Asia and so on, then my answer is a strong NO. Guruhood is never a matter of belonging to a certain country or of having traveled to a certain place in the world. Definitely NOT. This fantasy is usual among the disciples and even among some teachers. The former ask the latter if they traveled to India in the past. And many teachers constantly boast about their having done so. It is an absurd show that only indicates the presence of spiritual ignorance.
Now, if you consider India as “the state of the Self”, then my answer is a strong YES. Guruhood is always a matter of having realized the Self above all. If one has not realized his Self, whether he is from the country called India or he has traveled there, all that is practically useless. Teachers boasting about being from India (the country) or about having visited India (the country) only show their absolute lack of spiritual firmness. Nobody who is firm, spiritually speaking, is be based on “something else” or “someone else”. Not at all; he will always be based on Guru and his own spiritual performance. A soccer player who is the son of the best soccer player ever is useless in the end if he performs awfully during the soccer matches, right? “To be the son of” is no warranty. Likewise, to be from India (the country) or have traveled to India (the country) is not warranty that one is a great spiritual personality. This is pretty obvious but only a few people can get it.
Therefore, what is really crucial in one’s spiritual path is making India (the state of the Self) come to oneself, and not carrying his body to India (the country). Materialistic people, who fail to understand that they are spirit and never matter, always miss the target regarding the “India” topic. This is very usual.
As the state of the Self is everywhere, He can reach you in no time at all if you are a disciple of high quality. If you are a disciple of poor quality, the Self will refuse to reveal Himself to you even if you live in the middle of India (the country). People who imagine that being from a country or having been to a country is warranty of spiritual performance should abandon their fantasy. I am living proof of what I am saying. My longest travel so far has been about 400 km. I’ve never seen the sea, for example. I am being completely sincere. I have been living in my city my entire life. I never wanted to travel to the country called India (I am not sure why), but I was always desirous to know the state of the Self (real India according to my viewpoint). Anyway, despite my immobility, you can see the website I was able to build with the help of Guru. Some of my pupils are even from India (the country). This, by itself, removes all the confusion about India (the country) and India (the state of the Self). If Guru (the Self giving Grace) is with you, whether you live in India (the country) or in the remotest corner of the universe, it is the same, spiritually speaking. Guru alone makes all the difference and there should be no doubt about it.
Yes, India (the country) has fabulous spiritual culture. I have no doubt about it and have dedicated almost three decades of my life to that culture. Anyway, the Self is everywhere and there is no need to move the body too much to attain Him. Materialistic people always think about the position of their bodies, but this should not be important for spiritual aspirants. If it is important, such aspirants are of very low quality.
Q: Can a guru initiate disciples massively?
A: Real initiation is carried out by Guru only. The presence of guru, if he is a real saint that communes with the Divine, attracts Guru obviously. But in the end, initiation is mostly a private matter. For example: my real and informal initiation occurred in April of 1983, in the solitude of my room, while my unreal and formal initiation happened in October of 1983. The former was full of His Grace and extraordinary experiences of the Power of the Self being activated in me, while the latter was filled with people with closed eyes, an orange robe and so on. I was impressed by my real/informal initiation but I was not at all impressed by my unreal/formal initiation. In any case, both initiations are part of my spiritual history. People tend to believe that initiation is about many people meditating with their eyes closed, someone with an orange robe teaching and so on, but that is mostly a mere show in my opinion. I never got great experiences that way. According to my own experience, the Self in Guru mode is like an animal attacking its prey when it’s isolated and never when it’s in the flock. Hence my experiences “in the flock” were never very important in comparison to the ones I had in the solitude of my room.
Q: I thought that a guru has to be a monk.
A: No, absolutely not. Being a monk has to do with the karma of a certain aspirant, so not all spiritual aspirants become monks. Yes, materialistic people who become spiritual aspirants usually think that a robe is a warranty of guruhood, but this is not true. Guruhood is always related to the presence of Guru in a person. If such a person is without Guru, i.e. if such a person does not have his Self in “Grace” mode, he will not be effective as a spiritual teacher. He can have an excellent knowledge about all spiritual topics, but being devoid of His Grace, all that knowledge will be to no avail as far as attaining Final Liberation is concerned.
For all those reasons, Guru’s Grace is always the most important thing. If His Grace is not there, nothing of much importance will occur to anyone. When Guru is not pleased with you, it does not matter if you have the best spiritual lineage behind, or if you use an awesome orange robe, or even if you are backed up by the entire universe, you will remain bound by His Power. In order to accomplish the extremely difficult mission of achieving spiritual enlightenment, one must please the Self first. As He is the Owner of all, there is no other way. My salutations to Guru then, who is the real author of this entire article!