Part I — Who is the Guru?

Question: Sri Chinmoy, what is your definition of the Guru?

Sri Chinmoy: Guru is a Sanskrit word which means teacher. The one who illumines is called a Guru. Now, according to my own inner realisation, I wish to say that there is and there can be only one Guru and that is the Supreme. No human being can be a Guru. But although the Supreme alone is the real Guru, here on earth we value time. If we have someone who can help us in our journey towards the highest Goal, we take his help.

We need a human Guru precisely because we want to go faster. A Guru is a private tutor. He is not like a school teacher who will pass or fail the student in the examination. The Guru privately and inwardly teaches the disciples to stand in front of ignorance and face it and conquer it. A spiritual Master is like the eldest member in the family, and the seekers are like his younger spiritual brothers and sisters. Spiritual Masters tell or show their younger brothers and sisters where their Father is. The Father is bound to be the Absolute Guru. All the spiritual Masters are trying to help their younger brothers and sisters and show these aspiring souls where the real Guru is. The real Guru is not in the vast blue skies. He is inside the very depth of our hearts.

Now, you may ask, if He is inside our hearts, then why is it necessary for us to take help from somebody else? I wish to say that this invaluable treasure is inside our hearts, but we have misplaced it, so we need help. A friend of ours who is the spiritual teacher comes to us and searches for our treasure. When he finds it, he tells us, “Look, here is your treasure and here is the key. Now if you want me to show you how to open the box, that also I will do for you.” And then when we see the treasure inside the box, immediately we come to realise that the treasure belongs entirely to us and does not belong to our helper. Now that we have seen the treasure, now that we have discovered it with the help of the friend, guide or teacher, we feel that it is necessary to have so that we can do more things in life.

To see the treasure is one thing, to grow into it is another and finally to manifest it is something else. There are three different things that we take one by one. First we try to realise God with the help of a teacher, then we try to reveal God in our activities and finally we try to manifest God.

The real Guru, the only Guru, is God the Supreme. He is manifesting Himself in and through all the seekers. We are all seekers, and a spiritual Master is also a seeker. But in the family, the younger members usually take help from the elder ones. All so-called spiritual Masters are trying to take their younger brothers and sisters to the Father, the Absolute Supreme.