Is A Guru Essential For Spiritual Transformation?
Q: Sadhguru, is spiritual transformation possible without the help of a Guru? And how does one know who is the right person to take him through that path?
Sadhguru: If I give you a torchlight, it still does not mean you are going to find your way home. A torch lights up so that you don’t step into a drain or a ditch, but how you use it and whether you walk the right path is left entirely to you. Many people have walked to their death with a torch. They have even done it with headlamps! What you do is always left to you. So, who is the best light? You should not make a conclusion about that. If something works very well for you, if it enhances your life, then try a little more, putting more energy and time into it.
The reason why there has always been so much importance and stress on a Guru is that without a Guru, you cannot transform yourself. It is possible to work towards what you know, but how can you transform yourself into something that you don’t know? To do that, you have to be so aware that you see the natural tendencies of every aspect of energy in the existence. Only a person who has that sense of awareness can walk without a Guru.
Through the Grace of the Guru, in a moment, with just a clap of his hands, things can happen. Sometimes certain situations or certain energies can also do things to people. In these situations, they are acting like a Guru – maybe not in the physical form, but that is what is happening. Transforming yourself into that which you don’t know, or that which you have not tasted, is logically impossible. I am not ruling it out totally. It is possible, but only for very few people. For most others, it is very remote.
Q: Then what is it that allows some people the opportunity to have access to a Guru, while others don’t?
Sadhguru: So you would like to believe that you are the chosen few? Do you know chosen people have always been eternally in trouble? I must tell you a joke. Once, the leader of the Jewish community on planet Earth, Joshua Goldberg, had his annual dinner appointment with God. He went to dinner and God arrived and sat down at the table with him. A few breadcrumbs were served for dinner. God said Grace and started eating. Joshua just sat there. God looked at him and said, “Joshua, my son, why don’t you eat?” Joshua said, “Father, can I ask you a question?” God answered, “Okay, my son.” Joshua asked, “Dear Father, are we really the chosen people?” God replied, “Why my son, why do you doubt? Yes, you are the chosen people.” Joshua asked, “Father, are we really, really, the chosen people?” “Yes, Joshua. Why are you beginning to doubt? You are the chosen people.” Then Joshua asked, “Dear Father, are we really, really, really the chosen people?” “Yes, yes, yes, you are the chosen people!” Then Joshua got up from the table, straightened his jacket and said, “Why don’t you choose somebody else for a while?”
So, why does one person get access to certain possibilities? A Guru is not a person, but a certain possibility. It is not that only certain people get access to this possibility. Everyone may not have access to the person, but anyone who truly longs, always has access to this energy.
I have initiated more people I have not met than people I have met. That is the reality. When someone really longs, when the longing is deep enough to receive me, I initiate them, wherever they may be. When someone’s heart cries out to know, I am always there. As far as the possibility is concerned, this possibility has happened to a lot more people who have never seen my face. But if you are talking about the person, that is not of great significance.
Being with a Master is never comfortable because he will break all your limitations and ideologies. Knowing the person or having access to the person can be on many levels. Having access to the possibility is only because of the longing that one may have. There are many people who have close access to the person, but don’t know anything about the possibility yet. This has been put forth by many people in many different ways but Gautama put this forth very beautifully. Ananda Tirtha, who was constantly with Gautama throughout his life, remained unenlightened until the end. When people asked, “This man is with you all the time. Why has nothing happened to him?” In answer, Gautama asks, “Can a spoon taste the soup?” That says it all. You need sensitivity. You need to be life sensitive, not ego sensitive.
Editor’s Note: For more of Sadhguru’s insights, download the ebook Mystic’s Musings. Not for the faint-hearted, this book deftly guides us with answers about reality that transcend our fears, angers, hopes, and struggles. Sadhguru keeps us teetering on the edge of logic and captivates us with his answers to questions relating to life, death, rebirth, suffering, karma, and the journey of the Self. Download the sample pdf or purchase the ebook.