You don’t. Period. How can you? If you know what it is, you would have found out. Guru is for seeking. Seeking is when you Don’t know anything.
Spiritual journey is not about information or knowledge. For, whatever you will know mentally is one, predicated on your conditioning and second, on the capacity of our senses. Spiritual journey is to experience the Truth. Whether we’re burning bay leaves for prosperity or using crystals to heal our wounds, this journey is something that allows us to be free of the limitations of the physical existence and experience the completeness of the cosmic reality. The infinite. Just as knowledge of joy does not lead you anywhere near to being joyful (after all Freud and Robin Williams committed suicides!), similarly knowledge of the existence as a researcher doesn’t help you experience the beauty and extent of its vastness.
Teacher can help you know. But Guru will take you to the point where you experience it for yourself as a being. He will help unfold your being to existence. The ability is within every being and part of creation, but the journey to cast away the conditioning and the limitations of our finite thoughts is self entangling.
You need a Guru because you have understood that you cannot “do it on your own” on the path. Its not that its impossible, but the conditioning of the mind is such and the terrain so intertwined within and without, that it is very easy to mistake the temporary for the real.
What are we seeking?
To know how we want to go somewhere, it is important to know where we are going. Looking at where you are – the body, the thoughts you have, the family, the society and friends, your job, your country, the politics and the things around – you would seem to think that this is what constitutes the complete experience of the Universe. Almost everyone is running around trying to get things in control. We need to control everything – spouse, kids, job, company, even nations. And that, seems to be the only sense of reality. To get some context, take a journey to the Himalayas and walk to some remote place. In those huge mountains, fighting through the rough terrain, amidst complete wilderness, you will find yourself very small. Physically and literally. These mountains, were there when you weren’t. They will be when you aren’t. You have traversed hundreds of miles of tough mountaineous terrain and yet, you are still so far from the top. In fact, you are just a miniscule dot from the top.
And, this is just one mountain on the planet. A planet which has millions of species, of which you are one. A planet which is one of the smaller planets in the solar system. A solar system, which is not even a speck in the Milky Way galaxy. A galaxy that is hardly even a dot in the Universe. A Universe, which is perhaps one of many.
When you realize the insignificance of the world of thought and make-belief you have built, the immensity of the whole existence suddenly bursts forth in front of you. You suddenly realize that what you thought was the “whole” is actually insignificant.
Then, the pain of complete ignorance may arise.
In such a state, where there is pain of not knowing what seems larger than everything we can relate to, one finds seeking as the only refuge. An assumption-free, open-ended, and unconditioned seeking. To begin that seeking, one needs to be prepared for just that state – assumption-free, open-ended, and unconditioned! When we talked about self-entanglement, that is what we meant. How do you free the mind of mind’s basic character? Putting aside the “system”, while being of the system and using it, is usually a never-ending quest.
That is what a Guru is for. To see through you and to push you into the right direction so you are in the state to seek properly. Once the seeking starts, the journey can still be long and arduous. Full of self-doubt and fear of loss. Guru is there to handle that by preparing you for it.
Semantics doesn’t help explain the Reality
All these are yet mere words. They cannot substitute the actual experience and understanding in real terms. Mental gymnastics sometimes seems to make one feel as if one is making leaps on spiritual journey, but the fact remains that one is merely rearranging prejudices. That was my realization after years of contemplation and intellectual quest of Spiritual pursuits. It is only when I was sure that there is nothing gained from mental rearrangments, that I was ready to be guided. Read Journey to my Guru.
But for someone who has never known what Yellow means, how can he ever look for and find a Yellow room?!
Search for a Spiritual Guru is precisely that. A futile search predicated on ego. You don’t know anything of the subject and yet you think you can “evaluate” who is the best one so you can go to him? If that isn’t an ego trip, what is? How does such a one ever be ready for any Spiritual Guru whose first task is to make you unconditioned and free of your own mental prejudices before the journey even begins?
In such a state – “I will look for a Guru” – you will never be able to come across the Guru you need. It is an impossibility. For, your conditioning makes you a prisoner of social prejudices. The social prejudices will play up while interacting with any human being. Even if God was standing in front of you as a human (he needn’t be human if he is cosmic in extent!), you would use social constructs to evaluate his looks, dress and what he says. What he is as a consciousness will never strike you. For, to touch the consciousness, one needs to reach a level of sensitivity that requires work.
How to Prepare for a Guru?
Guru is not a person. It is not a he or she. Such pronouns have been used in this article merely for convenience. Guru is the quality of this existence. Quality of self-realization. The ignorance and its anti-dote – the realization – are in-built into the existence. What one focuses on, manifests. So when you focus on seeking the infinite, the knower of the infinite appears. When you focus on well-being, the knower of well being appears. When you focus on material wealth, the knower of material wealth appears. The Guru you seek depends on the quality of your seeking and the intensity of your focus.
So if you are seeking for the cosmic experience, deepen your intensity of seeking. Not of knowing the information on the Universe but of experiencing the infinite. And, one who knows will appear in your life. One who can take you to that level, will help you because that quality of the Universe will manifest. That is the nature of the existence.
In a beautiful and profound story in Vasistha’s Yoga, Goddess Saraswati tells a Queen who asks for a boon, that she doesn’t “give” anything to anyone. She is merely the “deity of intention”. Whatever is your intention, if strong enough, manifests.
Like Sadhguru so rightly says – just seek. Seeking is enough. Guru will happen.