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Chapter 2

Qualities of the Guru

Chapter 4

What are the qualities of a Guru? How can you recognize him?

That is a very beautiful question. In fact in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna - the disciple - asks Lord Krishna - the Guru - the very same question, though using a slightly different word instead of Guru. He says,

"What, 0 Krishna, is the description of him who has steady wisdom and is merged in the superconscious state? How does he speak, how does he sit, how does he walk?" (Chapter II, Sloka 54)

A Guru is the one who has steady wisdom, a "stithapragnyam" in Sanskrit, one who has realized the Self. Having that realization, you become so steady; you are never nervous. You will always be tranquil, nothing can shake you. Your pragnyam or knowledge never fades nor gets clouded over. It is always in the Light. You call such an enlightened man "stithapragnyam" — a man of steady wisdom.

Now, how would you know him? It is very difficult because we all look more or less the same, is it not? We all have heads, shoulders, hands, trunk, legs. A man is a man, after all. That's why we sometimes hear, "What is this Guru business? He is just a man like us." He is — physically. When you see with the physical eye you see the physical body, and that body is in no way different from yours. Sometimes the Guru's body may even be weaker or more sickly than yours. Is that body the Guru then? Then how can we recognize him?

Lord Krishna answers,

"He whose mind is not perturbed by ad versity, who does not crave for pleas ure, who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is the sage of steady wisdom." (Ch. II, 56)

"He who is unattached everywhere, who is neither delighted at receiving good or dejected by evil, is poised in wis dom." (II, 57)

Such a man is what you call a Guru. It is not the body or the mind or the intellectual understanding - it is the Self which you call Guru. Only in the Self can there be perfect equanimity. It is that Divine within - not the man — remember that. A man can never have this. When you see somebody and say "Guru" you don't mean the physical body or his intelligence, you mean the Self.

That Self is in everything, in everybody, so the Guru is also in everything. In reality every one of you is a Guru. But the trouble is that some people seem to know it, many do not seem to. We were all born with that knowledge but somehow we seem to have lost it. We call this "growing up" - growth. But certainly we know that an undesirable "growth" has to be operated on and removed, is it not? And that is the business of the one whom you call a Guru. Sometimes he performs gentle operations, sometimes really difficult ones, sometimes with a little local anaesthesia, sometimes with total anaesthesia...

"He attains peace into whom all desires enter as waters flow into the ocean, which filled from all sides remains un moved; but not he who is full of desires." (II, 70)

That steady-minded man is like the ocean - totally contented. He is a person above wants. What is meant by "a man above wants"? He has no wants; he never wants anything. And because he doesn't want anything, it seems that all the things which are normally wanted by others want him. Isn't it funny? That's why the example of the ocean is given. The ocean never wants anything. It never sends invitations to all the rivers: "Hey, Missouri, come and meet me; Ganges, come; Kaveri, come; Mississippi, come." The ocean is just there and so all the rivers say, "Hey, I want to fall into you. I am falling in love with you." They really do fall in love with the sea and run headlong toward it like a mad lover running toward the beloved.

And what happens to the rivers when they reach the ocean? Before they arrive, they seem to have their own distinctions. Each has a different name, sometimes even a different color, size, shape, everything. But once they fall into the sea - into the arms of their beloved - they seem to lose all their distinctions. And another important point is this: imagine that you don't want anything - you are just contented. So then everything starts coming to you. What will happen? Gradually your ego might begin to swell up, is it not? But in the case of the sea it doesn't happen. Even after everything comes to it it knows its own proper limit; it never swells up. So the sea teaches us these two qualities of a stithapragnyam.

And this would also let you know what would be the Guru's attitude toward his disciples. Would a Guru make disciples? Not at all. No Guru is interested in creating disciples. Let us know that. In fact no Guru will even declare himself a Guru. It is the disciples who recognize him as the Guru. They make him a Guru. If there are no disciples, how can he call himself a Guru? It is because a disciple learns something from someone that he calls him a teacher. Otherwise he is just there. He doesn't even want to expose himself. "Ask, it shall be given," the Bible says. Knowing the fitness of the student and his desire to receive, the Guru gives to him. Otherwise he waits.

And this would also tell you that the Guru will not go after preaching. He is not a missionary. He won't knock on your door and say, "Come on, read this. If you reject it you will go to Hell." Maybe just to make it a little easier to find him, he will say, "I am here." If you see something special and think he can help you, you go to him. Then he will reveal himself. So when a person really gets tired of the worldly pursuits and feels he is not getting any eternal, everlasting peace and happiness, he comes looking for peace and joy. Then the Guru helps him.

And how will a man of steady wisdom look at things? In the 18th Sloka of the Fifth chapter, Lord Krishna says,

"Men of Self-knowledge look with equal vision on a brahmana [a spiritual person] imbued with learning and humility, a cow, an elephant, a dog and an outcaste." (V, 18)

In other words he will not make distinctions. He will be totally impartial. Whether he sees a sinner or saint, his eye is totally neutral - like the sun's. The sun shines not only on a palace but even on a dilapidated hut or a deserted beach. You see that equanimity everywhere in nature. A rose will smell the same whether you have bought it, borrowed it or even stolen it. It will not say, "No, no, no, you didn't buy me. You stole me from the garden. I won't give you the smell." It is only the human beings who see with these distinctions: language, skin color, caste, country. But nature or God has "samadarshinam" - equal vision. And that is also the quality of a steady-minded man.

Lord Krishna speaks more about the qualities of an enlightened person in the Twelfth Chapter. But here he uses a different name for the man of steady wisdom. He calls him a true devotee, one who is very dear to the Lord. Arjuna asks Krishna, "Which kind of devotee is really dear to You? You seem to be calling everybody Your dear, but who is really Your very, very most beloved?

Krishna answers,

"He who hates no being, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from the feeling of "I" and "mine, equal—minded in pain and pleasure and forgiving;" (XII, 13)

"Ever-contented, steady in meditation, self—controlled and possessed of firm conviction, with mind and intellect ded icated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me." (XII, 14)

"He by whom the world is not agitated and whom the world cannot agitate; who is free from joy, envy, fear and anxi ety, is dear to Me." (XII, 15)

You might wonder what "free from joy" means. It doesn't mean he is always morose. You could say he doesn't get excited. Because if he got excited, naturally the opposite should happen - he should get depressed. So he neither gets excited nor depressed. He remains centered, because he has a constant excitment within. There's nothing more exciting than that for him. He sees everything outside as just temporary, just normal, and just fun. He is always in that intoxication from within, so nothing else can intoxicate him anymore. My Master Swami Sivanandaji used to sing, "Hara Halume Alla Mastu Satchidaananda Ham - at all times I am Existence, Knowledge, Bliss Absolutel"

You can all say that because you are all that Satchidananda (Existence/Knowledge/Bliss). In truth, you are that Guru - you are that Self. And once you realize that, you will be possessed by all these beautiful qualities. Nothing will be able to shake you. And until that happens, nothing else can save you. So let us realize that Self first.

Lord Krishna goes on,

"He who neither rejoices nor hates nor grieves nor desires, renouncing good and evil, who is full of devotion; he is dear to Me." (XII, 18)

"He who is the same to foe and friend, in honor and dishonor; who is the same in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment;" (XII, 18)

It means he is totally balanced. If someone brings me a beautiful garland of roses, you might say, "Oh, you should have seen the Swami's face. He was so happy about it." But if somebody had made a beautiful garland out of worn out shoes, I should still smile the same way. If somebody praises: "Oh, you are a wonderful man. You did this and that; oh, you are a great Guru with so many thousands of disciples," then all of a sudden from a corner we hear: "Bogus fellow, how many of you are running around this country? You couldn't do anything in your own country so you came here, huh? Rogue!" you should still smile at him. Think, "That's the way he sees me. He has the feeling to see me that way. Why should I worry about it?"

You know what you think about you. If you accept what he says, it means you don't know who you are. Somebody else has to tell you who you are. If one man says you are great and you get excited, and another says you are terrible and you feel depressed - that means you don't know who you are. If you're a monkey and someone says you're a donkey, would you be worrying over it? No. "Well, probably you have a donkey's eye to see a monkey as a donkey, sir." That's what. So don't try to fish credits or praise from others. If you know who you are, you don't need to worry about others' opinions. Nothing affects you - pleasure or pain, praise or censure. That is the sign of a man of steady wisdom - or a true devotee of God - or a Guru.

All of this is not just something intellectual. It's not that such a person makes a mental adjustment or alignment. If that were so it would be liable to get misaligned also. If a car runs on a bumpy road, the alignment may go wrong and have to be aligned again and again. So this is not mere intellectual understanding, let us know that. We can first know the Self intellectually, but we should ultimately experience it. And the experience comes only when we know who we are without the slightest doubt.

Again and again I would like to remind you not to take the physical body or even the intelligence of a teacher as the Guru. It is the Self. Because he has realized the Self, his intelligence gets a better light and his realization reflects through his intelligence. Then that intelligence talks of something because of that experience, not because his intelligence alone is something special. So when you address somebody as the Guru you are addressing the Self. Let us know that positively.

The scriptures say,

"Guru Shivo, Guru Devo, Guru Bandhu Sareerinam, Guru Atma, Guru Jeevo, Guroranyam Na Vidyate."

"Guru is Lord Shiva; the Guru is Divine; the Guru is your relations; Guru is your body; Guru is your soul; Guru is your Self. There is nothing but the Guru." That means ultimately everything is that Self. With a description like this, who is not the Guru then? Can I say, "I am the Guru; you are not"? No, everybody is the Guru. But when you do not seem to know that, you just ask me and I say, "Hey, you are that." This is the final instruction the Guru can give a disciple when he is fit to understand it - simply "You are That."

But unfortunately if we just say that, people think, "Is it that simple? Shouldn't it be something really difficult and complicated?" Our intelligence and ego wants something complicated. Many people ask me, "What is your technique?" I say, "Be good; do good; be a nice person; lead a selfless life. Take care of your body; take care of your mind." "Is that all? Is that what you call Integral Yoga? I thought you had some special technique..." So then probably to satisfy their curiosity we have to have something - some commercial secret, hm? But the truth is, "Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God." Simple. Just become pure - physically and mentally. You will see God. Then you won't need me any more.

"But won't you show God to us?" I'm not here to show you God. Nobody can ever show God to you. If the Guru does anything, he helps you remove the curtain which veils you from your own Divinity. Then you can see it. That is what is meant by Guru.