One of the most powerful elements in the Hindu frame work is the concept of guru.To achieve spiritual progress without a guru is theoretically possible but practically very difficult. In today's time where the materialism has a very strong hold on an individual the guidance of a spiritual master is highly recommended in order for an individual to attain self-realization. In common language a guru is the one who gives us spiritual knowledge. The word guru in Sanskrit is a combination of two words gu and ru.Gu means the darkness and Ru means the one who removes the darkness. Traditionally a guru has the highest value and respect among all the human beings. He is not worshiped as a God but he is highly respected, obeyed and listened. Disciples seldom questioned the guru's word for he was taken as the embodiment of wisdom and in a way the guru's words become the words of God. A true guru never advertises nor does he look for his disciples It is the disciple who has to search for a guru and guru tests his disciple severely before making him his disciple ,the guru may reject him even if the guru rejects him still the rejected disciple considers him as his guru for the whole life. After the acceptance of the disciple a guru often, if not always demolishes the ego of his disciple in order to rebuild him.
A guru knows that one day my disciple may develop the ego since he can learn things very quickly and easily what his guru teaches and uses his brain quicker than his guru because he is young and energetic and when this comes to his mind then he develops the ego which causes his downfall. Certainly a guru will be very happy seeing his disciple progressing and going high in the sky but certainly not on the cost of ego. The importance of a guru can be understood by this that traditionally it used to be the guru who would suggest and advise a certain job to his disciple. because the disciple lives with his guru for 12 years hence the guru knows the best of the ability of his disciples.(There was no system of paying the fees to a guru .He would give them knowledge and instead the disciples would go door to door to collect alms and cook for the guru, and the guru and his disciples would live together in the depth of silence ) At a certain point the guru gives his disciples sacred saying (Mantra) that will guide him for the rest of his life.The relation of a guru and the disciple is very pure. He sets an example to his disciples of simple living and high thinking. The concept of a guru is many thousands years old when they used to teach their esoteric wisdom to few selected disciples because these esoteric studies were not meant for the common people to learn. It might sound very undemocratic in the modern age but we should not forget that the spiritual knowledge was a source of much power that was to be exercised for the betterment of the community hence it should have not gone to the common people.


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