The Significance of Guru

From an Essay by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati (Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D.)

Like other living beings, man struggles for existence. Lower beings struggle more or less blindly without any conscious plan or purpose, working by instinct, while man uses the superior power of his wisdom to understand the conditions and the meaning of the struggle – the “how, why, when and where” – and to devise plans and instruments to ensure success. While animals fight with their horns, man wishes to lead his life in the light of the knowledge of himself and the universe around him. Taking into consideration the results of his actions, he thinks even of their far-reaching consequences.

Still, in one form or another, animal war has been going on with no rational reason whatsoever. The forces of darkness, lawlessness and chaos are ruling our planet, where human life has come to be regarded as little more than a vegetable which you can uproot at any time, in any condition, without penalty.

Therefore, a desire for knowledge springs from the meditative heart. Meditation is the answer for the natural and simple heart. Meditation is therefore not a luxury, but a necessity. All have their own philosophy about themselves and the world in which they live. There is no choice between having a philosophy and having no philosophy. There is only the choice between good philosophy and bad philosophy. This is true for even the most thoughtless person. An idiot also has his philosophy.

There is a guiding consciousness, a searchlight, within every being’s heart. Not only men and women have this searchlight, but animals also have the presence of this guiding light. This light is eternal. Happiness and unhappiness both are the result of it.

Whenever and wherever you do some unworthy action, immediately this light tells you, silently, and consequently you become unhappy and miserable. This guiding light is sad-guru (sad means eternally existing, and guru means light). It is God himself who is radiating in the form of “I-Am” in every heart. The nearer you are to this guiding light, the more you are happy, and vice versa, the farther you are from this light, the more unhappy you are. This is the fact. It is even seen in animals.

How to get in contact with this incorporeal light? Corporeal man has lost all his knowledge of how to communicate with that light. There you are, there is the universe around you, and there is the unknown force governing both you and the universe. You may call it by any name, either God or Jehovah or Brahman or Allah. It always remains the unknown. This unknown force is manifested in you as your inner conscience, the witness, the searchlight, the guiding light. You may call this light by any name. It guides your life.

What is the missing link between you, the universe, the unknown force and the inner guiding light? The missing link is the outer guiding light, the outer Guru, who tells you how to realize your inner Guru, because without understanding the inner Guru, nobody can overcome the sorrow, suffering, misery, and the various ups and downs of life. Although everybody has the inner Guru, everybody is not able to interpret and translate its speech because it is speaking silently. To understand this inner Guru we need the outer Guru. When you can understand the speech of the inner Guru, then you do not need the outer Guru.

Reality is Pure Consciousness, Pure Awareness, in you, in the world, in the unknown force, in your inner Guru and in the outer Guru. The external form is constantly changing. Therefore it is called māyā in the Sanskrit language. The inner Guru is eternal and is Pure Consciousness, Awareness, “I-Am.” Reality is the same behind you, behind God, behind the inner and the outer Guru, behind the world. It is “I-AM.”

Stand up and open your eye of wisdom. Every problem or sickness has a cause as well as an effect or result. And every kind of healing also has a cause and an effect. The cause of every problem is that we cannot comprehend our innermost voice, the inner guiding light, the inner radar. When an airplane loses contact with radar, it will have an accident. We are out of contact with our inner radar. The effect, the result, may ultimately be annihilation of mankind by nuclear war.

Our goal is that each individual become a center of physical, mental and spiritual health and peace and thus, a unit of East-West unity: unity of mind and spirit, matter and energy. To achieve this, we need a meditative attitude, contact with the inner guiding light. The mythological story of King Vishvāmitra indicates that meditative forces will be victorious over nuclear weapons and war. A race to conquer outer space is going on. But in order to establish peace, harmony and unity between East and West, we have to begin the journey into inner space.

Our inner Guru teaches us meditative life, and meditation teaches us that the mother of all thought and speech is silence. Silence speaks a million words, and a million words speak nothing but silence. Generally, our thoughts and speech are like plastic trees: they are beautiful but lifeless, because they do not originate in our meditative heart. They are borrowed from others, as mere information. Therefore they cannot create East-West unity. May we understand our internal Guru who is constantly delivering his silent speech for the benefit of the whole earth and heaven!

Om Shāntih

The above is excerpted from an essay written at Ananda Ashram for Guru Purnima Day, July 2, 1985. Copyright © 2004 by Baba Bhagavandas Publication Trust, Monroe, New York.
Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati's writings are available either directly through the Publication Trust or the Ananda Ashram Gift Shop.