Mr. Ed Belville: Sri Chinmoy, the question in my mind is: why do we need a teacher or guru? Or is it important to have a teacher to follow the spiritual path?

Sri Chinmoy: In this world we cannot do anything without the help of a teacher. The teacher may be necessary for a second or for a year or for many years. If I want to learn music, at the beginning I have to go to a musician. If I want to learn how to dance, I have to go to a dancer. If I want to learn about the sciences, I have to go to a scientist. In order to learn anything in this world, we need a teacher at the beginning. Then how is it that we do not need a teacher to help us in our inner, spiritual life?

A soul enters into a human frame, a human body and then the human being grows and completes his first year of existence, his second year, third year and so on. What has the mother done during these years? The mother or the parents? They have taught him how to speak, how to eat, how to dress, how to behave. He learns everything from his parents. Without their guidance, he would grow up a human animal, an abnormal being. The parents played their part in the formative years of the child.

Similarly, in the spiritual life the necessity of a teacher is inevitable because the spiritual teacher has to teach the student how to pray, how to meditate, how to concentrate. Then, when the student learns and he goes deep within, he can do all this by himself.

Right now I am here in Puerto Rico. I know that New York exists and that I have to go back to New York. What do I need to get me there? An airplane and a pilot. So in spite of the fact that I know that New York exists, I cannot get there alone. I need help. Similarly, we all know that God exists. You want to reach God, but someone has to help you, carry you. As the plane takes me, carries me to New York, someone has to carry you to the Consciousness of God which is deep within you. Someone has to show the path in order to enable you to enter into your own divinity, which is God. So this is the answer — that at the beginning, we need a teacher.