The True Meaning of ‘Guru’.

Posted on April 30, 2010

As soon as the word ‘guru’ entered the Western world it was misunderstood. Although we have a perfect example of what the word means in the figure of Jesus, we still could not understand it.

And so we reduced it and reduced it until now everyone who knows (or pretends to know) anything can call himself a guru. You can be a diet guru, a wall street guru, and internet guru, and so on. So that’s where we are now.

But let’s go back to the original meaning. Let’s try to get a glimpse of what a real guru might be. To illustrate I want to tell you what just happened to me yesterday.

I had the grace to be given an amazing experience and I am still in the grip of it. I hope I can put it into words to do it justice. Knowing the limitation of words, I most likely can’t. But you can make your own movie of it…

(Why in the world am I telling you this? Because an internal voice is urging me to, so I have no choice. It’s always a little scary to make such very personal experiences public. Are people going to think I am crazy? Oh well, they will think what they think.)

In a moment of – you may call it daydreaming – I saw myself go through a door and enter a vast space where I encountered an ‘assembly of sages’. I’ve seen pictures of such assemblies before, particularly on Tibetan scrolls, and I’ve read about such things in the Indian literature. But I had never seen such a thing.

It was breath-taking. There, in front of me, arranged in a semi circle were perhaps 80 or so completely free beings. I felt their presence. It elevated me. It made me feel light and free myself. But mostly I was in awe.

Then, on the left, I saw my guru (Neemkaroli Baba, Maharajji) walk toward me. Meeting him in a vision or dream is always an extraordinary experience. It is like meeting the deepest part of me, the very core of my heart come to life.

He came close and we stood side by side as the sages looked on. For a moment, being so close to him, I felt the difference between us. I stood there with my usual fears and hang-ups and self-doubt, feeling a sense of insecurity, a subtle anxiety and timidity. In other words, all my insufficiencies, that I usually hide so well, came to the surface.

He on the other hand was solid as a rock. No, I should say he was solid as the center of the earth. That’s how I have always known him. Solid, radiating complete unconditional love and completely present for me.

He was and is the perfect mirror for me. With him I get to see my challenges as well as what I really am, which, in the end, is no other than him.

And then the most amazing thing happened. He touched me with the side of his body and I felt all this anxiety and fear and self-doubt leaving me. It was being physically pushed out of my being. And in the place of it came the feeling I had of him, this complete loving solidity, which is also completely transcendent.

In other words, he exchanged my fear for his love, my self-doubt for his complete security, my shaky self-sense for his power of heart. I felt as if I was being remade that moment, as if the old self with its problems was being exchanged for a new model.

Just like that.

I was completely passive in that. There was nothing for me to do. I stood there, in front of this assembly of sages, like a new-born creature – and then they did it too. They too gave me a part of their being. They too freed me of a part of myself that was never true. What a gift. I am still stunned.

Now, of course I’m back in my ordinary everyday state of mind. And I’m wondering: who am I now? I don’t feel very different – but no, that’s not true. I’ve noticed that I am less prone to believe my own mind.

I can see my ‘stuff’ more clearly, my anxiety, my shakiness, the way I tend to depress myself. These old habits that used to repeat themselves quite automatically are more visible now and with that I am giving them less power. When I don’t believe my own story of how bad things are – well, then they just aren’t that bad.

This is an example of the love, power and grace of a true guru. Since it just happened yesterday, I am sure I will keep finding out the effect it has on me for quite some time.

One thing I know: my gratitude is enormous. And that in itself is an amazing gift.

I want for you ( – if you want that) to have an experience of such a being, of such closeness and grace. Perhaps it is Jesus for you. But it could be any sacred being that you have an affinity with. There is no competition among the liberated. Freedom is freedom and true love is true love. And they exist only to share it with us.

Just get them ‘out of the books’. They are not a story of who once lived here. They are alive today. They are available to us. They simply wait until we notice, until we are awake enough so we enter this sacred relationship they offer to us.

And you have it in you, this grace; we all do. We’re just usually too busy to become still and to listen and feel inside. When you do, you may discover wondrous things. You may discover a whole world of love.

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3 Responses to “The True Meaning of ‘Guru’.”

  1. Nadja
    May 03, 2010

    Isn´t your guru experience what it is about? I was so surprised, that you were going to take Mary´s seminar. Nothing against it. Just in my mind you are much further along the road, not the other way round. I have the feeling that great sages lived quite a simple life. They wouldn´t put their energy into getting a strong vision of their desires (be that money, dream partner etc), rather than accepting the desire and letting it dissolve in love.



  2. ramgiri
    May 03, 2010

    Dear Nadja,
    You are right that the great sages lived quite a simple life – and I would love nothing more for myself than sit in a little hut in the Himalayas serving the people who would find me there. But who would find me there? Now there are so many people awakening everywhere that the teachers have to go to them. And since all I want to do is pass on the great gift of my guru’s love which he has given me so richly, he has put me into a different situation.
    I am working with Mary* because it needs to be made clear that desire itself is not bad, it just depends where it is directed to. There are relative and absolute goals. The relative goals of this world need to be satisfied to some extent so we can see the absolute goal. (Maharajji said ‘To the hungry God comes in the form of bread’) In the end fulfillment of worldly goals always turns into its opposite of course: you lose the money or the dream partner, or you get sick in your mansion and die. As you know only the goal of spiritual freedom can bring us absolute fulfillment, true lasting happiness and immortality.
    Mary attracts people who are success seekers and many of them have had a spiritual awakening of some kind and may not know clearly what it means and how to use it. It seems to me that I can be of service to them. That is at least my hope.
    All of us are equal in the eyes of God. The difference is the wisdom and love we manifest in our lives. This is where the great hunger is, the hunger many feel but don’t yet know what it is. It lives in them as a dissatisfaction, an indistinct yearning, and because they have been taught to fill that hunger with ‘stuff’ (material success), that’s how they try to silence that yearning. It will of course never work. They need guidance toward the one true Source that alone can fulfill their hunger. So I find myself in a place where I can offer them help. Perhaps some of them will take advantage of it.

    (* Mary and I have a plan to create a series of seminars to help people to distinguish between relative and absolute success and how to use their drive toward that higher aspiration as well)

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