Updated: Jul 24, 2020
5th of July 2020 was Guru Purnima.
Guru, is a title used by most people much too often, both erroneously and inappropriately.
While a Guru is a teacher not every teacher is a Guru.
A key element in vibrant civilisations is the beauty of language. Language permits the continuous evolution and refinement of human thought and expression and hence outcomes both in the present and the future. I turn to Sanskrit one of the oldest surviving language in the world.
All teachers are worthy of respect, but a Guru is beyond even respect.
In fact a Guru is not just a teacher, He or She teaches, awakens and achieve realisation.
What then are the differences between different teachings and learning?
Information - is providing data with context. This has always been a crucial element particularly in the past. where information was a very scarce element in human existence. The one who provides us information is called 'Upadhyay'
Knowledge - is information that can be readily used or deployed into action. The one who provides us knowledge is called 'Adhyapak'
Skill - is the ability to readily apply knowledge to action to consistently get superior results, every time all the time. The one who imparts to us the ability to develop skill is called 'Acharya'
Insight - Is among other things the act of looking within or the result of understanding the inner nature and self. The teacher who imparts the abilities of insight is called a 'Pandit'.
Foresight - is the ability to look outwards and discern the external nature of things and predict events that are likely to occur in the future. A teacher of foresight s called a 'Drishta'.
Wisdom - is the realisation of what is right or wrong, what should or should not express or do, and the path to be chosen. Wisdom encompasses the capacity to acquire and process relevant knowledge, to possess great skill with deep insight and foresight. With wisdom emerges the highest quality of human thought and action. The one who makes us realise and attain this state of being, is called a 'Guru'.
The relationship between Guru and disciple celebrates the highest form of human interaction with we ourselves and the Universe. Gurus, are evolved and enlightened beings, who readily share their wisdom with no monetary expectation*, and thus the teaching is not corrupted by greed or ego.
One is tempted to ask the question, 'Where will I find a Guru?'
We will not find a Guru, for the Guru finds us.
It is a rule of the universe, What we seek, is also seeking us. Just as the thirsty seeks the water, the water also seeks the thirsty. So it with the Guru and the disciple. A Guru awaits the true seeker and only the genuine seeker will find a true Guru.
We will find a true Guru, only when we have prepared ourselves.
Preparation comes by living, experiencing success, failure, love, betrayal, joy, sorrow etc.
then daring to question living and the meaning of life.
The Guru facilitates awakening and only an awakened being can evolve and acquire wisdom and achieve realisation.
'How does one know that he or she has met a true Guru?'
Many who are those who are impatient for instant awakening and wisdom. They seek out a Guru only to be disappointed by individuals who will take advantage of their desperation.
If the seeking is born out of greed for power or wealth we will never find a true Guru.
Wisdom cannot be gifted, inherited, purchased nor stolen. Wisdom can only be realised.
The Guru in that sense is an emperor, unselfishly having only the best interest of the disciple at heart, while expecting nothing in return.
Only he is truly worthy of being an emperor who does not seek power nor wealth. So it is with the Guru. The teacher who facilitates our awakening, evolution and transcendence seeking neither power, nor wealth is a Guru.
While a Guru never demands payment, however an honorarium, 'Dakshina' is gifted to the Guru by the disciple based on his or her means. It is a token of their respect and honour they give their Guru. Usually the Guru passes on the dakshina to someone who will have a need for it.