The Meaning of a Guru - The Master's Role in One's Life

Sadhguru answers a question on trusting the Guru, and explores the nature of who and what a Guru is.
What is a guru?

Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru looks at the meaning of Guru, the word, and why the role an enlightened master is of such great significance in the seeker's life.

Question: Sadhguru, you say we should not simply believe anything, but rather experiment with life and see for ourselves. However, it seems, to grow spiritually, tremendous trust in the Guru is needed. So what is the difference between belief and trust?

Sadhguru: Belief springs from your expectation. When you say “I believe you,” you are expecting that I will act according to your rights and wrongs. Suppose I do something which is not within the field of your rights and wrongs, then the first thing that will happen is, you are going to come to me and say, “I believed you, and now you did this.” If your Guru can be contained within your limitations, then you better not go anywhere near that man because he will be of no help to you. He will solace you, he will comfort you, but this man is bondage. This man is not liberation. Trust is different. Trust is your quality. It is not subject to anything else, it is simply there. When you say “I trust,” it means, “It doesn’t matter what you do, I trust.” That is not falling into the framework of your limitations.

I never asked you to trust me. The very reasons why I never use the word “trust” with people is because it is badly corrupted. If at all anybody here spoke about trust, it is to raise you beyond your own likes and dislikes, your own limitations. The very feeling of “I trust you” raises you beyond this bundle of likes and dislikes. “No matter what you do, I trust you.” If you really want to make use of a Guru’s Presence, you must be willing to allow that Presence to overwhelm you, to overpower you, to destroy you in one way. At least for those few moments that you are with him, you should no longer be yourself. What you consider yourself to be, should be absent in his Presence.

Pulling the walls down

When people spoke about trust, what they meant was that you allow someone else to enter you. If you have to allow someone else to enter you, you have to become vulnerable. Once he enters you, you are subject to anything. The very reason why you have built walls is, somewhere when you made yourself vulnerable, someone did something which was not within your expectations. So you got terrified and built walls around yourself. Now, when you say, “I trust you,” you are willing to pull that wall down, which means that the other person does not have to live within the framework of your expectations. So one aspect is the Presence of the Guru, the quality of who he is, does things to you. Another aspect is, the moment you create that kind of situation that you are not bothered about what is going to happen to you, that itself is transformation.

The time frame that I have with people is limited. So I am making myself available only as a Presence, not as a person. As a person, I am just keeping a certain face – in many ways within the framework of your expectations. If I have to use my person also as a device, then it needs much more trust, and maybe more time. People who are with me for longer periods of time find me an impossible person, which I am not with you.

A conscious concoction

Right now, this personality that you call “myself” is in some ways an accident, depending upon what kind of situations you have been exposed to. Your personality is constantly evolving, beaten around by life. Whichever way life beats you, you will become that kind of shape and form. Your personality is constantly being constructed by external situations. The one whom you call as Guru is not a person. The whole process of self-realization means someone has transcended his personality and then he carefully crafts a personality as it is necessary for the kind of role that he wants to play.

A Guru creates his personality in such a way that people don’t know whether to love it or to hate it…This is not a human being. Either he is a devil or he must be Divine.

In a limited way, on the surface, you too are building your personality to suit your activity. A being who is experiencing himself beyond limitations does it in a very deep way. He structures every aspect of his life as it is necessary for the role that he has chosen to play. It is a conscious construction. When it is a conscious construction, it is just a device, it is not bondage anymore. Any moment, he can just pull it down. Even now, the way I operate as a person is very different in different places. It may be shocking for you if you see me in other kinds of situations. Because you have fallen into the comfort of knowing this kind of person, when you see another kind of person, you are unable to handle it.

A Guru creates his personality in such a way that people don’t know whether to love it or to hate it. He carefully crafts a personality where one moment you think, “Yeah, I’m really in love with this man.” Next moment, you may feel completely different about him. And both of these emotions are not allowed to cross certain lines. Within those lines, you are constantly being thrashed around so that after some time you will know, this is not a person. This is not a human being. Either he is a devil or he must be Divine.

Taking the jump

That which is not in your experience cannot be taught to you intellectually. To take a person from one dimension of experience to another dimension of experience, you need a device which is of a higher level of intensity and energy. That device is what we call as Guru. The Guru-shishya relationship is on an energy basis. A Guru is touching you in a dimension where no one else can touch you. There are many ways to move your energies to Ajna. But from Ajna to Sahasrar, there is no particular way to do anything. It is just a jump. It is because of this that the Guru-shishya relationship has been held as the most sacred relationship in this culture. If you have to take this jump, you need deep trust – otherwise, it is not possible.

Editor’s Note: Excerpted from 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.

Login / to join the conversation1
4 years 4 months ago

I was taught cycling by a friend who is 4 years elder to me. As a sign of my gratitude, I began calling her "Guru" at the age of 8; and she called me "Shishya". After my Inner Engineering programme, I knew who a Guru is. He is the one who quenches what was once thought to be an unquenchable thirst for life and inner awakening. So afterwards, I stopped calling her so.

5 years ago

Namaskaram this reminds of song from Baba Ramdev when visited Isha yoga

Tum karo prabhu se pyar amruth barsega
Tum karo prabhu se pyar amruth barsega
barsega nitay barsega
Tum karo yog abhyas amruth barsega
Tum karo prabhu se pyar amruth barsega
Tum karo yog abhyas jeevan sudhurega
om naamka amruth pyala
om naamka amruth pyala
peela bankar kismat vala
peela bankar kismat vala
yah milena baram bar amruth barsega
barsega nitay barsega
barsega nitay barsega
Tum karso prabhu se pyar amruth barsega
Tum karo yog abhyas amruth barsega
Tum karo yog abhyas amruth barsega
Tum karo yog abhyas jeevan sudhurega

I bow down

3 years 3 months ago

Do you have to have a living guru to have trust in ? Or is a self-realized soul of a Guru or maybe which is called as a GOD ok to have trust in ?

5 years ago

Sadhguru, you said it - I always feel that I have a ''love and hate relationship'' with you. I would feel bad also, about hating you for my own idiosyncratic reasons, but otherwise, it has mostly been a love affair. But neither emotion stays for too long...when it is so difficult to grasp you, how to grasp the Existence? I think I should start with grasping who I am, before I take the bigger botherations, haha...:-)

5 years ago

Thank you so much for writing down and sharing the bhajan lyrics...also, it's 'varam var'- varam means 'again' in Sanskrit, the term 'baar-baar' in Hindi is derived from that. And, I don't know why in English, the Sanskrit/Hindi term for elixir, is written as 'amruth', it should be 'amrit'...

5 years ago

Hey thank you very much , you know what I have been looking somebody to point the lyrics right, basically my mother tongue is not hindi, I bow down

5 years ago

When our senses and the logical mind conceal the perception of Life, trust is that subtle tread that would reconnect and Guru is that enormous tool that will transcend.

5 years ago

i guess .. i feel you in this way.. "The time frame that I have with people is limited. So I am making myself available only as a Presence, not as a person."

I accept that the walls haven't collapsed yet.. Its not too long it seems..

4 years 8 months ago

हे भगवान , हे भगवानो ,
हम भगवान नही है ,भाग्य़ से बलवान नही है ,
भाग्य़ से बलवान होते , अच्छी बुद्धी के अच्छे इन्सान होते , मत मारो हमे ,
मत फैकौ हमे नरको मे ,मत बनाओ हमे और बुरा इंसान
मत दबाऑ जमीनो मे , मत बरबाद करो
अगर होता कोई हमारा अच्छा भगवान या अच्छा इंसान , हम भी होते अच्छी बुद्धी के अच्छे इन्सान

4 years 8 months ago

Draupady , ganga ,kannagi , bhooma devi ,
saraswaties . sitas , and other devies and other good peoples were
always and again and again insulted and were victim of cruielties and
crimes .and girls like taraka(tataka) and her mother and her souls were

accused and culprits and of cruilities ,why the girls like taraka
could not become good humans and peoples like others . why peoples
became so bad and wrong even girl and ladies insulted girls and ladies

Was kunti and kunti's humans and other souls were real
cuilprits , in the 2012 ,13 ,2014 were beaten and killed very badlly by
the gods like bharama , guru bhiraspati ,dakshina moorti , two goddess
might be ganga and draupadi and other gods like may be ram ,krishna ,
and others .of many mahabharata story of one kunty was mother of human
of taraka or taraka sister .according to
one story draupadi was boon/cursed by shiva of five husdands . kunti and
kunti's humans and other souls would had been culprits or guilty of
revenges .

Were putana , who tried to kill krishna by making
drink milk and other women ,like holika ,who tried to burn krishna and
other womens and others were culprits or were became the cuplprits of
wrong and bad traditions or bad karmas of karmas or some other

Why krishna ,rama ,shiva and others mahans elder peoples were good peoples and indras and others peoples were bad
crores and crores have been destroyed and are being buried alive under earths , throughwn into hells and made landless ,
why others peoles could not become good humans and good peoples

who were those peoples , which has been and being killed ,destroyieded ,
whose generations were , why were bad peoples , were really bad , why
could not became good peoples ,

Were rama and ravana were
enemy ? , if i am not wrong rama shakti and murgan and veerbhadra are
same avatars .(savarupnaga , ravana sister and sita might had been the close
relative) .
peoples would had some wrong and intercaste marrages . intercaste
marrages would had been the cause of quarrels there would had been great
conspirancies to kill the peoples. which were from the westren and
south westron parts of himayalas .in many stories of dakasa prajapati
story also many wrong and multy wifes and mishappenigs happened . (
peoples which had to make lifes good and better , used the criminals
,enemities and wrong ideas and methods for spoiling and destroying the
lifes )

Culprits and cruel peoples , who had done cruelities
on brahma and saraswati , and ganga and sita , ahiyilia , draupdi and on
many goddesses and gods ,and on good peoples ,

and crores of peoples are being killed ,destryoed in such a way no one
can find out , and given different shapes and made to bad brains and
minds ,
genetical deshaped and disorded to lusty and bad brains and bad minds .
are made from single soul to multy humans souls to suffer and painful
creatures to never become humans and buried alive under earth and even
killed into stomaches and made to toilets and throughn into hells like
cause ----Culprits and cruel peoples , who had done cruelities
on brahma and saraswati , and ganga and sita , ahiyilia , draupdi and on
many goddesses and gods ,and on good peoples ,

{my views , which i found some what truth )my views may or may not be acceptable truth.}

Many ramayanas are there , like valmiki ,vashist ,kamb, ramanujan ,ramayanaa are few of many other versons of ramayana ,
what is the meaning of ramayana found ,– ramayana = ram +ayan ( ayan meaning came ) ,

to some stories ahyilyia was cursed by gotham rishi , Ahalya was
converted to stone ,As for Ahalya, Gautama granted her the boon that she
would be brought back to human form by the touch of the feet of Lord
Rama .
so rama avatar would had been made (incarnated) ,thus how many ramas would had been created ,

would gotham rishi would be knowing about rama avatar ?

ramayana so many ahilya versons are there ,( like in a verson , ganga
tells to gautam , it is mid night not the bath time go to home and see
some thing would have been wrong ) .

how many Ahilyas storeies
would had been made and how many gautams would had been made and how
many ahilyas lifes would had been spoiled ,how many indras would had
been made and how many girls/boys souls would had been made to sit in
hen or cock and make sound (cock crow) .thus how many would had been
made culprits ,sinners ,bad brains ,bad habituals of bad acts and bad
karma .
and those cuilprits , sinners are/would had been made to quarrel and killed in the wars of ramanyana .?

, would had took placed for the revenges and the cruelties happened on
ladies ( like savarupnakha ,sita ) . to show the cruelities ,gamblings
were played and sarees were made to removed

like ramayana vishvamitra story would have many versons and vishvamitras

would had been happened for revenges of ramayana and ramayana would had
been happened for ahiylia and what would be reason behind ahiliyia
insult was conspirancies or any ones evil idea .

really how many
would had been real culptits and how many would had been created and how
many would had been victims of vengences and eneyminities and how many
peoples souls would had been killed

killed peoples would had been
given births to different parents , differnt mothers ,different fathers
, and thus differnt marrages would had taken places in past birth some
ones mothers would had been wife of some another person .and some wrong
and illigal methods and would had been used like rapes for the birth and
for enemities and revenges .
thus quarrels would had been on increasing ,and peoples and souls became culprits and victims .
to one of the satguru video in the past arround 18 millions years 1.8
crores years ago and one of the papa ji ( h.l. punja ) video , arround
80 millilons years ,8 crores years ago some incarnations had took placed
and some wrong things and wrong marrages and wrong interchanged
childrens were given births by the other not by their husbands .
like this millions and millions peoples are accused .

( peoples which had to make lifes good and better , used the criminals
,and wrong ideas and methods for spoiling and destroying the lifes )

More than 99 % of peoples, gods ,souls had been inocents ,had not been
victims . if polatictics , conspirancies , crimanilites ,some wrong
traditions and some wrong rules of few from the ancient times would had
not been made.

why the wrong and mishappenings happened and
happenings from the very ancient times , why peoples went wrong for
wrong marrages wrong acts
Why the gods , devatas , peoples and
humans became wrong of bad wisdoms and wrong acts and bad karmas ,crores
and crores of peoples ,were all the peoples were bad .why became bad
instead of becoming good humans and peoplesfor examples of very few , link given below–copy & paste

4 years 4 months ago

A Guru is known and His Grace experienced, but its often difficult to articulate who He is. He is Grace, He is for all of us.