Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights Do I need a Guru?

Do I need a Guru?

Illustrating the need for a Guru for attaining the Supreme Being, Pujya Gurudevshri encourages us to put aside our ego and take the giant leap

‘What is the need of a Guru? Can I not connect or attain union with the Supreme Being directly, without a Guru?’ But why would one ask such questions? The need to ask someone itself implies the need for a Guru. If you cannot even find the answers to these questions on your own, how can you go alone on this great journey and discover the Supreme Being by yourself?

It is true that everyone is alone on this pilgrimage. Then one may wonder that what is the point in having a Guru? Guru is needed to develop courage to go on the pilgrimage.

Religion and Swimming

A boy wishing to learn swimming was brought to the coach. The boy asked the coach, ‘Do I have to learn to swim or will you teach?’ The coach said, ‘No one can be taught to swim. I will throw you in the water and stand on the banks. You will panic, move your hands and feet, and in this way you will begin to swim.’

The boy said, ‘If I have to learn on my own, then why do I need you?’ The coach said, ‘Go ahead and enter the water.’ For a moment, the boy got scared. Then he thought that if something untoward happens, this coach is here to save me. With faith in the coach, he jumped in the water. He felt suffocated at first, but then began to move his hands and feet. The thought that ‘the coach is here’ gave him strength and enthusiasm. His fear vanished and he learnt swimming in just three days.

The presence of the coach gave him the courage to venture into the water. Even during panic, enthusiasm prevailed and finally he realised that the water does not drown anyone, the nature of the water is to keep you afloat.

You may have seen that dead bodies never drown. Those who drown are the living ones. So it can be concluded that the living ones drown because of themselves and not because of the water. The nature of the water is to raise things and not drown.

Faith Makes it Possible

The art of swimming is not difficult. Only water should be relied upon. This faith dawns when in the presence of a coach, you enter the waters, move your hands and feet. Your fear and doubt drown you. The moment you have faith in the water, you will start swimming.

Another important thing about swimming is that once you know swimming, you can never forget it. Once a rhythm is set between you and the water, you can remain afloat even without moving your hands and feet. Like swimming, once your true identity is realised and the mystery about your existence is revealed, it cannot be forgotten. Realisation is not some mental projection that can vanish.

Once you are in love with the Supreme Being, you have learnt to glide into meditation, thereafter, it is not possible to forget it. Once the art of tuning with the Self is known, that art cannot be forgotten.

Like the swimming coach, when you strive to attain the Supreme Being, the Guru does not do anything; He just remains present. The task is accomplished in His presence. For those immersed in worldliness, even to turn towards the Supreme Being is not possible without the support of the Guru.

Reasons for Not Surrendering

One reason for not surrendering to the Guru is your ego. It may take you to discourses of saints but it won’t let you surrender. Questions out of egoism, ‘Do I need a Guru?’ Will only lead to your doom. Introspect – why do you want Supreme Being without the Guru? Why are you not ready to surrender?

The Guru frees you from shackles of your limiting ego. You are very good, beautiful and divine, but you suffer because of the disease of ego. Guru does not free you from health or life, but He frees you from this disease and gives health, a new life! Ego creates disturbance and Guru destroys this ego and brings you peace!

Another reason is the fear of charlatans. Seeing deceit, lies, foolish practices, and fake ones taking advantage of sincere seekers, one may think, ‘Why fall into this trap, instead, why can’t I realise the Supreme Being without the help of these so-called gurus?’

You feel that the fake guru is sailing in the same boat as you; having the same desires and passions. And you can see no glimpse of the Supreme Being in him – no peace or fragrance of divinity. The words that you hear from him are lifeless and borrowed from others’ experience.

To find a real Guru is certainly difficult, but not impossible. You must continue preparing yourself. Increase your yearning for the Supreme Being. Get ready to surrender the ego. When the heart becomes prayerful, you will certainly find a Guru. If you are ready to bend, wake-up, and give up self-will, the Guru will surely accept you. Without your help, He cannot do any good for you. Without your preparation, your transformation is not possible. Your stiffness is your hindrance.

The Guru Makes You Worthy

The Supreme Being cannot be seen. How would you unite with Him even if you wish to do so. He is the supreme Consciousness. The idol of God made by you is inert. That idol is not God; it is only to remind you of the Supreme Being.

You are yet incapable of lifting your eyes to get a direct experience of truth. Your eyes aren’t able to see the Supreme Being. You are not yet ready to behold the light from a thousand suns. Without any preparation, you will ruin everything.

You need a Guru who reveals to you the boundless, within the limitations. The Guru can be seen, heard, held by hand, and that too in your present state. If you try catching the Supreme Being, you will continue to struggle. Guru gradually makes you worthy so that He can put your hand in the hands of the Supreme Being! When you get a glimpse of the Supreme Being in the Guru, you will begin to put efforts with enthusiasm.

Guru is…

A glimpse of the Supreme Being in the boundaries of the human being is Guru. From Guru, you get the alphabet to learn about the Supreme Being, in a language that you can understand.

Guru is a river. The Supreme Being is an ocean. Whatever the Guru has received is from the Supreme Being alone. But you will not be able to drink the Supreme Being directly. That water becomes drinkable only when the Supreme Being comes to you through the Guru.

Guru is a telescope. When you see through the Guru’s eyes, the Supreme Being appears near and the world of matter appears far. Seeing the world from a Guru-telescope, life becomes a festival.

Guru is a tree. You cannot eat soil. Fruits, wheat, rice – all grow by taking nutrition from the soil. You can eat fruits, wheat, rice, but not soil. The tree modifies the soil in a way that you can eat. In the same way, you will not be able to experience Supreme Being directly. Through the Guru you can. Even after Guru’s guidance, the work of liberation is not so easy; imagine how it would be without His guidance, inspiration and enthusiasm!

Not only Worship, but Transformation

Guru is not just for worshipping; He is for your transformation. And for that, you will need His teaching, command, and push.

One who truly wants to gain spiritually, is interested in transformation. And realising the need for a Guru, finds Him, surrenders to Him, and living in obedience to His commands, works for his welfare. In the refuge of the Guru, remaining in the feelings of love, faith and surrender, he purifies himself. Accepting all that is accepted by the Guru, making his heart throb in rhythm with the Guru’s heart, bringing such unity, he dissolves in Him.


View All
#SadguruWhispers Amidst inner impurities, the Self remains unchanging and pure. Detach from the modifications to experience the pure Self.