Does one really need a guru in spirituality? Let me attempt to answer this question through an incident in my life. Many years back I was shooting in Aurangabad for a film. Due to some technical snags, the shooting was delayed, and I was left with a day to kill. I found myself alone with no one to spend time with me as the rest of the crew was busy in sorting out the problem and the cast was yet to arrive.
Since I was in the vicinity of the famed Ajanta Ellora Caves, a renowned World Heritage Site, I decided to make productive use of my time and go for sightseeing. It was a weekday and there wasn’t a lot of crowd at the site. Wanting to avoid unnecessary public attention and keep to myself, I tried to blend in the public with a scarf and dark glasses and set out to explore the caves on my own. Armed with a guide book, I moved from one chamber to the other admiring the skill of the monks and some of the painting. However, the book was in small print, and there was poor light, making it difficult for me to read. So, I gave up on the book and simply stuck to admiring the handiwork.
While I was marvelling at some sculptures in one the caves, a loud voice caught my attention. It belonged to a tour guide, who was regaling a small group of tourists surrounding him with stories about that particular sculpture. So interesting was his narrative that I couldn’t help but continue paying attention to what he was saying. It is then that I truly understood the significance of the work before me and a surge of awe and admiration engulfed me. Till then they were just historical carvings. It is only then I came to know the significance of the masterpieces around me, and could I really appreciate them. And that’s exactly what a guru does to us. He brings new perspective and meaning to the different aspects of our lives.
A guru is nothing but a guide. And just like we need a guide to help us find our way and appreciate things in a tourist destination, a guru helps us navigate through life, answer our questions and clear our ignorance. It is the guru who helps us see things in a new light.
A lot of scepticism towards gurus stems from our limited understanding of his role. We think gurus are simply teachers. A spiritual guru, however, does more than impart knowledge; he is not just a teacher. A true guru is someone with the gurutatva or the guru consciousness. Beyond the five elements—air, water, earth, space and fire—there is also a sixth element: consciousness or chaitanya. That consciousness is shakti, the cosmic energy.
It is also called the gurutatva. Consciousness can be of various types; one of them is the guru consciousness. Jesus only became Christ after he got Christ consciousness in him, which was of unconditional love. Buddha has the maitreya consciousness. One becomes a true guru only when the gurutatva enters in him. Such a guru can transform you.