In the Eastern traditions, having a Guru has always been mainstream for those with any spiritual bend. In India for example, entire families will be dedicated to a particular Guru and perhaps even have a shrine in the home dedicated to the Guru, and to particular Deities. However, in the West, the idea of a Guru can be somewhat esoteric, and people tend to chart their own path.
Gu means darkness, and Ru means dispeller. A Guru is one who dispels darkness for the seeker. In darkness, we can not see. Light brings clarity and insight. The seeker seeks the awareness and the ability to discern the way creation truly is, rather than how the egoic mind perceives it. The seeker seeks Truth and the Guru points the way.
The Guru helps us to achieve our ultimate potential as a human being. A Guru’s role is not about teaching us morality. A Guru’s role is to shepherd us to transcend the very need for morality. When we recognize that we are One with All, where is the need for morality?
The universe responds to our intentions. So does a Guru. If we are open, a Guru can act. If we are closed off, a Guru will not act. This is the free choice we have. The extent to which we make ourselves available to Divinity, to that extent spirituality will arise in us and make the ground fertile for a Guru to cultivate.
The ardent spiritual path has innumerable pitfalls, architected by a guile ego. One can get stuck at so many milestones, mistaking them for the destination. One key role that a Guru plays is guiding the seeker along the path which they already know from experience. An aspirant is sometimes referred to another Guru when that is seen as beneficial, this is not uncommon.
A Guru will work hardest on a devotee, one who has chosen to give away all that they are in order to become all that there is. On that person, a Guru will labor endlessly. A Guru is not there to console, but to mold. That means some pain, discomfort, struggle as impurities are removed. These inflictions are not imposed by the Guru but exposed to be worked out – because they existed as karma in the seeker to begin with.
Here’s a related article on a Guru’s value to the seeker: https://celebrateyoga.org/do-you-need-a-guru/
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