How do we know the answer to this question? Well, we can never really know for sure, at the beginning. As mentioned in my last article, it is only through God’s grace that we find the right teacher. So then, is there anything at all that we can do? In a way, Yes. Do look for a teacher who is not mindlessly trying to become popular but who uses whatever popularity he/she has, to teach more people. He/she does not claim to have invented anything but says, ‘It is all present in the sacred texts. I am only explaining it. I have nothing to add’. The teacher does not reduce realisation or nirvana to a mere experience or something to do with ‘going beyond the mind’. Though it is true that Atma is beyond the mind, it is in and through the mind.
There are some features that one can look for –
*One who points out the truth and uses words to communicate, not just to dazzle people.
*A simple, straightforward person who lives a life of dharma,
*Someone who does not try to exploit you nor demand anything of you except that you learn,
*Someone who is open to whatever volunteer service you are willing to offer,
*One who teaches the sacred texts of the tradition to which he belongs
*One who does not say – ‘I am great and all of you should follow me’, demanding blind obedience.
Such a person or organisational setup could help you find the right teacher. These features are just guidelines and are by no means comprehensive or definitive. These features will help you to find your way through the maze of spirituality.
Ultimately it is God’s grace by which we find the right teacher and through them the right guidance in life. Hence, in ancient India every child was initiated into the Gayatri mantra for knowledge, wisdom and clear thinking. Such was the value for wisdom that determines how we lead our lives.
The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at email@example.com
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