Question: Why do you need a spiritual teacher? Isn't it true that you can walk alone and still arrive at Truth?

Sri Chinmoy: He who realised God for the first time walked alone. At that time he got Blessings and Light directly from God. Here on earth most human beings who are cultured and well-educated have been to college and university. Some people become great writers or artists without going to school, but they are exceptions. The rest have gone to school. A teacher is not obligatory. The only thing is that if we go alone, at times you may doubt your own experiences. Suppose you have a very high experience and you have nobody to discuss it with. All the appropriate books are available in the bookshop. You take a book and read it, but at that time you may not understand it properly, doubt may enter your mind and you will say, "Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I am wrong." But when you have a teacher and the teacher says this is this and that is that, immediately you are convinced.

Now, there is a great difference between a school teacher and a spiritual teacher. A school teacher will examine you and he will pass or fail you according to your capacity. But a spiritual teacher is like a private tutor. A private tutor only helps you to pass the examination. He teaches you privately so that you can stand against ignorance and enter into the sea of Light.

If someone wants to walk alone, no harm. But the process may be slow. If doubt enters, the process will be very, very slow. He is walking, but he is not convinced that he is walking along the right road, so he will come back a few steps. Then he will walk a few more steps and again his mind will be assailed by doubt and once again he will start walking backward. There is no end to this. But if he is walking along the road with a guide, the guide will be able to convince him, "Come, I know this road will take you to the Goal. I will definitely be able to take you to the Goal along this road.

Again, it is up to the individual. He may say "I don't want anybody. I believe in God's Eternity. I will wait for God's Hour. If it takes hundreds and thousands of years, no harm." But another individual will say, "No, I believe in speed. Since God-realisation is not a fixed thing, since it is constantly transcending its own Reality-Heights, it will take God knows how many years for me to realise God. Then God alone knows how many years it will take me to reveal God and manifest God. Realisation has no end; revelation has no end; manifestation has no end. Everything is in the process of transcendence. My journey started with aspiration and my Goal is the Eternal Aspiration."

Inside aspiration is realisation. Inside aspiration is revelation. Inside aspiration is manifestation. When we become aware of our real aspiration, we see that it is something birthless and deathless. In order to enter into that birthless and deathless consciousness of aspiration, we feel that the sooner we start our journey properly, the better for us.