A spiritual teacher plays a significant and indelible role in the life of a human being. If you are privileged enough to have such a teacher, you are assured of success in all spheres – worldly and spiritual.
It is said ‘mahat sangha tu durlabho agamyo amoghas cha’– it is extremely rare and difficult to gain the association or company of spiritual people; and even if we come into their orbit, it may not be possible to recognise their greatness and stature. Often, even a person living with such exalted masters, is not aware of their glory.
But one thing is definitely certain: whether one recognises their greatness or not, the influence of such a mahatma is amogha, infallible; to come into contact with such a person, and not be affected, is against the law of nature – it is just not possible. Whether you come in close contact or hear such a mahatma from afar, his influence is unfailing. Perhaps, immediately there may be no visible change, but one can be absolutely sure that, sooner or later, there will be a discernible influence in the life of that person.
Presently, we are living in utter ignorance of our true nature, of the relationship between the individual, the world and the Creator of both. This ignorance creates wrong notions whereby we misinterpret the world, commit various mistakes and consequently suffer from anguish and unhappiness.
Great masters lead us out of the darkness of ignorance into the sunlit field of knowledge; they transform our vision. We start studying the scriptures and discover that there is an Absolute Reality; we understand that God exists. Then, we become acquainted with the characteristics of an enlightened person. We cannot really appreciate the exalted character of such a person unless and until we are fortunate enough to meet such a master and observe his nature at close quarters.
Such sadhgurus show us the way to reach the goal of human birth – moksha. They give authenticity to the scriptures. They raise all actions to heights of divinity; they demonstrate that no karma, in itself, is great or small; it is the motive and attitude behind our actions that makes it so.
There are different types of people who approach a guru. A bhakti, devotee, has love, reverence and devotion. But, all devotees do not become sishyas, disciples. They love, respect, and revere the guru, but they do wish to learn Vedanta from him.
There are others who listen, become inspired and offer to volunteer their time as sevak. Service blossoms into devotion – the sevak becomes a bhakta. In due time, the bhakta transforms into student and disciple – he desires to study Vedanta full time.
When a person becomes all three – a devotee steeped in bhatki yoga; a sevak performing selfless actions, karma yoga and finally a sishya immersed in Vedantic study, jnana yoga – he reaches the ultimate goal; his journey is complete.
A guru’s greatness, is not only in entrusting the right person to the right job, but, in also, being able to encourage and inspire those who lack adequate capability, enabling them to produce incredible results.
Personally, i have had the good fortune to meet quite a few great mahatmas, but the greatest blessing has been to be with, to live with, serve and learn from one such realised Master – Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda.
The author is an acharya of the Chinmaya Mission