Question: How do you find a Guru? This is all new for me in this life. Idle urge is already there, but how does one know?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not a matter of knowing. It is a matter of feeling. Please go deep within and shed bitter tears and pray to God: “I have wasted my life, all my life; now You must tell me whether I am meant to have a Guru.” Then God will say, “Yes, you are meant.” You will ask God, “Who is my Guru? I implore You to tell me.” If you are totally sincere, then God will immediately answer your prayer. A child, when he cries bitterly in front of his mother, how long can she, if she is a real mother, deny him what he wants? You are also a child of the Supreme. If you sincerely cry, it is a matter of hours or days. The Supreme will quickly make you feel whether I am, or someone else is, meant for you.

The thing is — whom do you actually want? Do you want a Swami or a Master or a Guru? Mahatma Gandhi, whom you were speaking about before was not a realised soul; he was a saint who expressed his love in a patriotic way. A saintly patriot need not be a great spiritual Master. Mahatma Gandhi was not an authority on the inner life or the spiritual life. He was a supreme authority on the moral and religious life; he was an authority on what was decent, proper and necessary in Indian social life and Indian politics. He was a very great man and a very great soul. His illumining vision was much higher and wider than that of his fellow men. He showed his heart’s deepest compassion and oneness for the simple Indian villagers who were downtrodden and neglected. He offered his whole life to help raise the condition of the Indian masses. But as far as self-realisation is concerned, all spiritual masters know — I am not the only one — that Mahatma Gandhi did not have this. He was not a man who had realised God. He was not a second Sri Ramakrishna or even a Vivekananda. He was nowhere near them. He was not a spiritual figure according to our definition of the term.

It is true to say that spiritual figures are not as easily available as before, but it is simply a wrong idea to say that there are no spiritual figures any more. It is as I told you before that in order to recognise a yogi, one has to be a yogi. But there are spiritual masters available, and if you are sincere, even though you may not be able to recognise one yourself, the Supreme will lead you to a genuine yogi.

Coming back to Mahatma Gandhi, he was a saintly person, a wonderful character and full of heart, sacrifice and inner strength. But when the question of realisation arises or of his being a great spiritual Master, he was unfortunately not in that category. I have a great admiration for his complete identification with the Indian people in our India’s independence movement.