This article is a chapter from the book “Yoga Samhita”.
The Lord is gracious. He has given you countless opportunities to evolve and attain Him. He has assured us in the Gita that whenever there is decay of righteousness, He manifests Himself. He comes to us in various forms. He comes to you as your spiritual preceptor. One who has realised Him partakes of His Power and Grace. For Sadhaka the Guru is God Himself. The Guru can shower his grace upon you all; and he can enlighten you. He is the visible representative of the Lord. But you must serve the Guru, prostrate to Him, surrender yourself to him and through enquiry, you must obtain from him the knowledge of the Self.
Guru-Bhakti is absolutely necessary. Guru will take you to God immediately. People generally complain, “We do not get good Guru these days?” This is a lame excuse. You can make even an ordinary spiritual aspirant as your Guru. You will have to change your angle of vision. When you look at a cocoanut made of sugar, you have a double consciousness. You know pretty well that it is not cocoanut. In your heart there is Bhava, that it is sugar and sugar alone. Even though you see the world, it does not really exist. This is the Nischaya of the Vedantic student. It is his determination. Even so, the defects of the aspirant-Guru do not exist for the disciple who has taken him as his Guru with Bhakti. The aspirant should defy and superimpose all the attributes of the Lord on the Guru. Guru, Ishwar, Brahman, Om, Truth are all one. You must strictly obey and carry out his orders. You must think that underneath the name and form of the Guru, there is the all-pervading pure consciousness. In course of time the physical form will vanish and you will realise your own Self, the pure Brahmic consciousness that lies at the back of the physical form of your Guru.
When once you have taken a man as your Guru, you should never change even if you get a man with greater developments or Siddhis. Then only will you have faith. Through strong faith, you will then and there, realise Brahman, the God in that Guru. You must become like the famous Bhakta Pipa of the well-known Bhaktamala, who took a rogue Nata as his Guru and when he saw his Nata Guru dancing on the bamboos in the open market, he took him as Guru, the Brahman incarnate, prostrated before him and thus eventually had his Self-realisation through the form of the rogue-Guru, the Nata.
Guru and the disciple should be well acquainted with the nature of each other. The student should know thoroughly well the ideals and principles of his Guru and the disciple should lay bare before his preceptor all his weaknesses and shortcomings. He should allow himself to be tested in the crucible of sufferings by his Guru in a variety of ways so that he may have full confidence in the disciple.
The disciple also should come in closer contact with the Guru during his service and try to imbibe all his good qualities. He must place before him all his difficulties and then alone the teacher can remove the pitfalls and snares through efficient and potent means.
Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu and Maheswara in human form. The outer cloak should not make you think that he is an ordinary man. If you serve your Guru, with full devotion and faith, Realisation will come in the twinkling of an eye or within the time taken to squeeze a rose flower in the palm of your hand.
Unless you have faith in the Lord and devotion to the Guru, you cannot understand the real truths of Vedanta, you will not be able to raise the Brahmakara Vritti. Only when all the Vishayakara Vrittis subside will the Brahmakara Vritti arise in the Sattwic mind which is equipped with the four means and with the instructions of the Guru. Again and again the Vishayakara Vrittis manifest into the mind lake. All these Vishayakara Vrittis will subside if you meditate on Om. The one Brahmakara Vritti arises. This Brahmakara Vritti destroys ignorance and its effects and brings Enlightenment. Your foremost duty, along with your daily duties, is to raise this Brahmakara Vritti by doing Japa of Om, by meditating on Om, and by studying Upanishads. You will then become One with Brahman. You will go beyond grief and delusion, you will attain the Supreme by the knowledge of Brahman.