Smita Jayakar explains how one can reach to divine without a guide, only with faith and confidence in self
While the fact remains that a guru facilitates one’s spiritual progress, having a guru is not mandatory. A person’s spiritual journey can begin without a guru. However, having someone to guide you helps you reach your goals faster as the guru holds our hand as we take our first conscious baby steps on this path. It’s like exploring a dark pathway on our own.
We will have to search and grope a lot for the light switches as we go along. It’s not that we won’t find them; sooner or later we will, but having someone by our side telling us exactly where to find the switches makes the ordeal a whole lot easy. That’s why a guru. He helps us become aware of several things—the most profound realisation of which is that we have an inner world that is as real as our outer world. We are able to achieve a fairly good balance between our internal and external world. But before anyone strives to maintain equilibrium between the two worlds, it’s important that we understand these worlds in detail.
The external world has three types of people in it:
Skeptics: When faced with setbacks in life, they do not exhibit the mettle to bounce back. They are ready to walk out on success, just one punch from life and they give up. They are the polar opposites of people who realise that it takes many failures to get to success, and they never settle for anything less than success. Life is full of examples of achievers: The patient who overcomes a life-threatening ailment with courage and spirit; the entry-level employee who battles all odds and rises to high levels in his company; and even famous scientists like Thomas Alva Edison, who did not let multiple failed experiments dissuade him, but struggled on and on till he had successfully invented the first light bulb.
Why do these people give up even before trying? People with a sceptical mindset usually have no faith or will power to hold onto. There’s nothing to propel them on, so they fall back. Such skeptics are unlikely to be much concerned about concepts like God. The fact that you are reading this book on spirituality implies you too seek something, and therefore you do not fall in this category.
Complacents: Most of the people fall in this group. Complacent folk stand out with their lackadaisical attitude to life. Snug in their comfort zones, they refuse to muster up and build on their fighting spirit as they sorely lack ambition. These people, no matter where they are in life, are forever reluctant to do anything that might rock their current boat. They do have some concept of a divine power, but aren’t much bothered about its existence. It’s like: God is doing his job and they are doing theirs. And though this seems like a perfectly normal and okay way to live, it is actually a very mediocre existence, and rarely do these people achieve or experience anything extraordinary in life.
Achievers: They are the fighters who have set a goal for themselves, and work to achieve it at all costs. They are like the elephant that will not let anything come in its way once it sets its sight on something. Blessed with leadership qualities, this group comprehends God on an intellectual plane, but has never had a divine experience. They are yet to feel a divine connection in their heart, though their mind may acknowledge the existence of a supreme power.
There is one more category of people that is higher than the achievers—they are the champions. All champions are achievers; but all achievers are not champions. Champions not only achieve what they aspire for, but in their endeavour, they also uplift those around them. They want everybody to be as successful as them and readily extend a helping hand to whosoever is in need. And herein lies the difference between an achiever and a champion. We must all aspire to be champions.
If you carefully observe the people in your external world, you will find it easy to tell who falls in which category. Let’s remember here, your principal work is not to label others, but to figure out what kind of a person you are in the external world, and then scale up the ladder.
Now, let’s explore the internal world.
Here too, there are three types of people.
People with the ‘self’: They have the ‘I, me, myself’ attitude. Their world only revolves around themselves and their near and dear ones. In anything they do, they are always looking for ‘what’s in it for me?’ When such people are nice to others, there’s usually an ulterior motive. Unfortunately, a majority of the people fall in this category. Such self-concerned individuals are unlikely to achieve much in the external world.
People with an ‘expanded self’: These individuals make a conscious effort to go beyond their own needs and help others. Mother Teresa, Anna Hazare, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates all reached out to help others when an opportunity arose. Their concept of self is not limited to ‘I’. It expands to include others as well. You could call them the champions of the external world.
People with ‘no-self’: These individuals have managed to rise above their body and other material attachments, , having realised that they are much more than their bodies. They have in fact, transcended the self. To them, ‘self’ is just a label given to the body to serve the basic function of identification. Such people use this label simply to manage the affairs of their physical existence like eating food, sleeping and other bodily functions. And the way they think is: This body needs to sleep, instead of ‘I am sleepy’; the body needs to be fed, not ‘I am hungry’. Isn’t it different from how people like you and I think? For them, the ‘I’ has dissolved. They are the avatars or ascended masters, like Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha.
A spiritual person is one who has learnt to be a champion in the external world, and has at least, reached the level of expanded self in his internal world. Even that much is enough, as most of us will find it quite tough to become a perfect champion or have a fully expanded self. So, a spiritual person is not someone who is aiming at perfection. Rather, he is a considerate person who takes into account the welfare of others, each time he sets out to achieve his own goals. The late Mother Teresa was a fine example of such a person.
Of course, where we are, we don’t all need to aspire to become Mother Teresa. She was an exception and but at least despite our limitations, we should try to go one step away from the ‘self’. . Whenever we choose to reach out to others, we should try and do so without a hidden agenda. You’ll realise that there is a certain satisfaction to that. It feels oddly pleasing to help someone and really don’t expect of getting anything in return.
But to be fair, such people who are able to do that consistently are not all saints or have detached themselves from this world. They are like you and me in many things; they too carry out their duties in the external world, aim for big things in life and even enjoy life. But whatever they do is always in a well-intended and transparent manner. Deep within them there is always the awareness in them about the fact that they are more than just a body, and that there is more to living than merely achieving success.
And they are keenly aware of their pluses and minuses. It’s not that they roam around with the awareness of a halo around them. They are humble enough to acknowledge that they are as imperfect as anyone, and keep an open mind to seek improvement. They are as eager to gain the inner power that comes from establishing a connection with their Higher Self, as they are for power in the material world. They are as grounded in their internal world as they are in their external world. But the big differences between deeply spiritual people and others is that spiritual aspirants value their internal riches as much as they appreciate the external riches.
Having said that, I know that at the core, we are all spiritual. And irrespective of where you stand right now in your internal and external world, you can still strive to discover that connection with your Higher self. It is possible to transform if you want to, because change does not entail time, it entails intention. And I feel that just by choosing to read this book, you’ve already taken the first step. And like I said before, during this journey, if you have a guru by your side, it will help that much more as he will make you aware. Because the hidden disease that’s keeping us all from a glorious life is unawareness.