A Guru is required in all walks of a human’s life. As parents are Gurus during childhood; teachers, professors are Gurus in schools, colleges; to become a doctor, engineer or to go in for higher studies a Guru is required. The one from which good advice is gleaned is also a guru. To save oneself from any difficulty one seeks advice from another, he also is a Guru. While walking in life’s path man sometimes gets befuddled not being able to distinguish the right from the wrong, so he seeks the advice of someone else, thus he also is the guru. Man derives this knowledge from knowledgeable books; therefore these books also are gurus. Iron is hard, clay is soft, fire is hot – Man derives this knowledge from books, therefore books also are gurus. To distinguish the right from the wrong conscience guides us, therefore it is the guru. In this manner in human life one another’s help is indispensible.
Just as in the material world barring these aids a man cannot acquire worldly knowledge, similarly the assistance of a guru is required to enter spiritual path. None of the aforementioned gurus of the material world have conquered the sensory faculty therefore are controlled by malice, anger and self-interest, thus many of them perpetrate wrong actions. But does this infer that all are bad? It cannot be so. Gurus of the worldly life not being beyond the senses impart knowledge which is within the sensory realm. Therefore worldly knowledge is sensory knowledge.
Traversing many births remaining in the domain of the senses man eventually exhausts himself, then he commences his quest of the supra-sensory. This is termed as the spiritual path. The ones who provides assistance in this path, they also are Gurus. The first requisite for such gurus should be the supra-sensory state, but have all succeeded in being so? Due to Kaliyuga decadence when the present retrogressive society is repletely sense-oriented and sense-devoted then there will be dearth of gurus who have conquered the senses and a dearth of disciples who would aspire to conquer the senses and achieve supra-sensory state for this is natural. Therefore most of today’s household gurus or samnyasi gurus not going beyond the ambit of the senses are compelled to hanker for the sensory propensity of fame and wealth. They only trade with dharma. Dharma becomes the basic ingredient for their trade. There being an abundance of such type of gurus at present the guru’s esteem is being slandered and spiritually thirsty man is being beguiled. They also refrain to know about the true dharma. But does this infer that Sadguru is then absent? Surely there is, but rare. A Sadguru should be soul-knowledgeable, supra-sensory (maintaining passivity despite a young woman embracing him), should attain khecari, be gracious, sastra-conversant, devoid of greed, a magnanimous renouncer (not the superficial renunciation), compassionate, benevolent, tranquil, malice-free, unselfish and atmasadhana-oriented.
Just nowadays there is a dearth of people who desire to traverse the cycle of birth-death and reach the permanent still state, attain salvation, similarly Sadgurus are also rare. Both Guru and disciple being dominated by the senses there is a conflict of the senses. If both follow the yoga path and become devoted to atmasadhana, then steadily they will be soul-oriented, conquer the senses, renounce everything and be compassionate. Therefore the path of atmasadhana is a dire necessity in today’s human society.
(Excerpts from the book ‘Who is this Shama Churn?’; Author: Dr. Ashoke Kumar Chatterjee)