A good guru is not a desire but an absolute necessity in our journey of self-realization. This statement is reiterated in many forms in various religious and spiritual texts. Infact even here in this forum we have had an earlier discussion on role of a guru (https://rajshankar.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/vedantic-wednesday-role-of-a-guru/) The reason being it is an essential requisite to have a preceptor who can initiate and channelize our efforts in the right direction. The guru is required to constantly orient and re-orient the student in this quest so that he can find himself.
This does not seem to be a daunting task especially for us Indians, with the available list of masters only increasing, We ought to consider ourselves blessed to be amidst an environment where the number of self-proclaimed and society acknowledged masters are constantly on the rise.
Vendata however has a simple yet clear bench-mark for a spiritual guru. Vedantic texts declare that the qualifications of a Guru is two-fold:
- Srotriya : A Guru is one who is well versed in the prasthana-trayi and other vedantic texts. Such a person who is well versed in these vedantic texts is called a ‘srotriya’. The teacher is one who needs to know these texts as they provide the tools for expressing the indescribable. The experienced knowledge of the Brahman is difficult to express through words and hence the Guru needs to be well learned in these vedantic texts so that he has the necessary tools and words to transfer this experience and remove the veil of ignorance that shrouds the intellect of the student.
- Brahma-nistha:The Guru is one who has had a direct experience of the self as not different from the Brahman and is one who remains established in this experience. Such a person who has realized this is called a ‘Brahma-nistha’ and such a person can only be an effective teacher. Without this experience the teaching remains only at an intellectual level. Hence for the Guru to truly become effective, they must have lived the intention of the knowledge propounded by Vedanta.
Hence it is very important for a real Guru to be both a ‘Srotriya’ and a ‘Brahma-nistha’. With this dual qualification alone, can one become an effective spiritual teacher.