God or Guru

Why Guru?

Saint Kabir beautifully sings these few lines which when translated mean, “Guru and God both are standing in front of me, and I am confused as to who to bow to first. Praise be to thee, O guru for leading me, and pointing in the God’s direction!”

God and Guru are not in a contest as far as supremacy between them is concerned. We devotees of God and disciples of Guru are confused about their role and supremacy. The conflict stems from our own fear and dual state of mind. Swami Vivekananda treated his guru Ramakrishna as God and never looked elsewhere. His guru, Ramakrishna, showed him the path that leads to enlightenment and merger with God. To achieve or realize God one has to approach a Guru, because a Guru is the gateway to God. Saint Kabir himself was a realized soul at the tender age of 12, yet he needed the guidance and blessings of Guru Ramdas to finally merge with God. It is not who is superior or more important than the other, the simple truth is one leads to the other. You have to seek a Guru if you are earnestly seeking God; both go hand in hand and cannot be ignored. Even God had to be born as human to attain salvation. How can God merge with god? He has to come down to earth, live the life of a human being, aspire for god, thirst for god, seek God and search for a guru who will lead the way! So the road to God is definitely through a Guru alone.

Do we need a Guru?

Many people read a lot of philosophy and religious texts and think they know everything, and they can thus approach God directly, rather they do not need the guru as a middleman! It is like learning to swim reading the swimming manual, without the guidance of a coach. If we wish to do a PhD on any subject is it possible to accomplish the feat without a teacher? Or is it possible even with a teacher who is educated only till the degree level? If the teacher is trained only till nursery levels then how can he/she possibly guide you to the finish line? And which ‘Do -it –Yourself’ manual can really take you the finish line either? Think about this carefully and answer for yourself. You may think of yourself as independent, learned, wise etc, hence not needing a guru, but your individual progress in any direction will be hampered. Like for any qualification on any path you need a teacher and an able guide, similarly to qualify and attain your spiritual goals you need an able guru.

To conclude, God is the goal, guru is the guide to the goal and the path we choose or the guru we choose is left to our better judgment and discernment. The bond with one does not preclude the need the other; it takes our hand, extends itself to lead us to the other.