Meditation: “Guru- The Guide” – chapter 6
As spiritual seekers, you and I face many challenges. For example, our daily life may not encourage or support meditation or the desire for inner awakening. If people see you sitting for a long period with your eyes closed, they may think you are just trying to cut yourself off or to escape from the world. When faced with these questions I explain that my meditation is helping me come in touch with the whole garden of life; I’m learning to see more than the small path in one corner of the garden where I’ve always walked. We may face inner doubts as well as outer distractions. I meet meditators who seem to have set some sort of timeline for success in meditation. They seem to think they must make a certain level of progress by a certain date. If not, it means the meditation is not good for them (or that they just can’t do it). However, as I suggested earlier, we do not always have
the proper tools for measuring our spiritual success or progress. Our training, whether in school or at work, may help us to understand that we are gaining certain academic or technical qualifications, but few of us learn in school or at home how to measure spiritual progress. Only experience and persistence will help you to be able to measure spiritual progress.
Overcoming both the inner and outer challenges and difficulties gives us more mental strength. This added strength makes the spiritual journey easier.
People sometimes tell me it seems very hard to find a guru, a proper teacher. Is the guru hiding for some reason? No, though it may seem that way. However, though the guru is always there, you may need to take a few steps on the spiritual path in order to see him or her. Perhaps s/he is just waiting for the right moment in your life. When you view a forest from the distance, it may appear as if all the trees are the same, but when we start walking in the forest, we can see a wide variety of trees. We can also see the flowers which blossom in the midst of the forest. Just as we do not see the flowers till we enter the forest, so we may not see – or recognise – the guru until we have started to walk along the spiritual path.
Your own spiritual evolution and desire, along with a sense of discrimination, help you find a suitable guru. There is an old saying in India: “If a pickpocket meets a saint, he’ll just see his pockets.” Conversely, the saint upon meeting the pickpocket will see the possible good in the thief. In such a situation, a wise saint will also keep his hand near his wallet. However, he will not try to pigeonhole the person as a pickpocket. This only reinforces the pickpocket’s self-image, making it harder for him to leave this line of work. An exceptional saint may be able to awaken the spiritual desire in the thief.
Anandamurti was in this situation once, as a university student in Calcutta. His spiritual journey had shown him much about life, about the true needs and desires of humanity. However, he had not yet started teaching yoga.
One day he was walking in a quiet area on the bank of the Hooghly River in Calcutta. Sunset approached and he was sitting alone, lost in his thoughts. Soon he felt a dark, foreboding presence. Looking around he saw a large, menacing man with a knife. The man demanded his money.
Anandamurti sat there silently. Then, as if talking to an old friend, he said: “What is it you really want Kalicharan?” The man, Kalicharan Bannerjee, was a notorious robber and murderer. He could not understand how this slight young gentleman knew his name. Why was this youth not quivering in fear? Why did he sit undisturbed, talking to him in such a natural way?
The voice, words and demeanour of Anandamurti struck some chord in a deep recess of Kalicharan’s mind. Anandamurti beckoned Kalicharan to come and sit by him. In a short time he helped Kalicharan to understand that he had much more to do in this life than steal and kill. Soon Kalicharan asked Anandamurti to help him find spiritual realization. He took a sort of Tantric baptism by bathing in the river and afterwards Anandamurti taught him meditation.
Kalicharan, later known as Kalikananda Avadhuta, began his spiritual quest in the presence of his guru. Most of us do not find such an immediate connection. Not long after I began my search for spiritual realization, I also realized I should have a teacher, a guru who could guide me on this quest. As this desire became stronger, I came into more and more contact with gurus and their disciples or followers.
reprinted with the author’s permission from ch. 6 of
By Dada Jyotirupananda
Published by O Books