A human being is very, very fortunate if he has taken diksha or initiation from a genuine wisdom teacher or illuminator, commonly known as guru. Nowadays, however, when people hear the word “guru”, they immediately think, “O some cheater, charlatan or debauchee in the disguise of a “holy man”.
This negative attitude toward the “guru” is due the influence of Kali, and the many exposures of extremely debased and degraded characters claiming to be the Absolute or representatives of the same.
On his own, a seeker on the path of enlightenment will face many obstacles and challenges created by his karmic inheritance, the environment, and other living entities. The opposition to self-realization appears before one in many forms i.e. lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy, pride, fear, lamentation, desire, mental distraction, violence, sleep, and the three modes of nature (ignorance, passion and goodness).
Alone—how will one ever conquer all these seemingly invincible foes? The secret is the power and blessings of a real guru. And thankfully, the sincere can find a properly qualified guru with the help of the sacred scriptures. The definition, symptoms and qualities of the true guru, along with his powers and activities have been extensively described in the Vedas, Puranas and Upanisads. One must read these, and then choose the right guru based on intelligent discrimination according to the dictates of scriptures.
Regarding the obstacles, in the Srimad Bhagavatam (7.15.22-15), Sri Narada Muni suggests different means to conquer the problems we mentioned above, and here’s the list.
- Lust: DETERMINATION not to enjoy, asankalpa jayet kamam.
- Anger: RENOUNCE desire, krodham kama vivarjanat.
- Greed: CONSIDERATION the trouble wealth brings, artha anartha ikshaya lobham.
- Fear: TRUTH and be established in it, bhayam tattva avamarshana.
- Lamentation & Illusion: METAPHYSICAL KNOWLEDGE, anvikshikya shoka moha.
- Pride: SERVICE to great devotee, dambham mahad upasaya.
- Mental Distraction: SILENCE, yoga antarayan maunena.
- Violence: RENOUNCE desire to enjoy, himsam kama adi anihaya.
- Suffering from others: COMPASSION express it to other living entities, krpaya bhutajam duhkham.
- Suffering from environment: CONCENTRATION on God, daivam jahyat samadhina
- Suffering from own body & mind: YOGA asana & pranayama, atmajam yoga viryena.
- Sleep: GOODNESS, cultivate it along with light eating, nidram sattva nishevaya.
- Passion & Ignorance: GOODNESS increased to prominence, rajas tamasa ca sattvena.
- Goodness: TRANSCENDENCE of all modes by full detachment, sattvam ca pashamena.
Although Narada Muni mercifully mentions the means to overcome these different impediments, the means themselves are also very difficult to execute. However, to show even more mercy to us, Narada Muni mentions one way to immediately conquer every single obstacle.
He says, “All these obstacles are quickly and easily conquered by guru bhakti or devotion to the wisdom teacher, etat sarvam gurau bhaktya, purusho hy anjasa jayet!”
Just see the incredible power and blessings of the true Guru! All these supremely insurmountable problems can be “easily” defeated by love, bhakti.
They say that love conquers all. But in this case, it is love for Sri Guru (guru bhakti) which enables one to conquer and transcend all material difficulties and attain the spiritual realm. Guru bhakti means fondly remembering Sri Guru, imbibing his spiritual teachings and following them, serving him, and trying one’s best to be a perfect disciple and a perfect devotee of Sri Krishna.
So if one is fortunate to have a real guru in his life, he should always remain thankful and grateful, loyal, surrendered and above all always “Love Your Guru”!
Samasti Gurus ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!