Definition: The Sanskrit word guru means ‘weighty, grave’ (compared with Latin gravis ), hence ‘elder, teacher’, or ‘one who is heavy with knowledge’. It can refer to the ‘Spiritual Master’, one who has attained perfection in yoga. Another etymology explains the syllables gu as ‘darkness’ and ru as ‘destroyer’, thus meaning “one who destroys/dispels darkness”.
The light of true knowledge is a flame that burns eternally, the Guru is a steward for this light and passes it to those who seek illumination. It is owned by no one, and is not diminished through being shared. It is also something that should never be forced on another – it is shared.
“Freedom is a non-clinging state – allowing life to become something else, continuously.”
— Wisdom Master Maticintin
Guru buddhyaat mano naanyat, satyam satyam na samshayaha; Tallaa bhaartham prayat nastu, kartavyo hi manishibhihi.
The Guru is the same as the Self, the same as Consciousness itself. This is the truth. This is the absolute truth. Those who seek wisdom should make every effort to seek the Guru. — Guru Gita, verse 5
Once upon a time there was a woman who had always wanted to climb a distant mountain so that she could watch the sunrise over her fields. She never went because of the excuse that she didn’t have a lantern, as she would need to climb the mountain through the night in order to see the sunrise. Yet one day, her friends gave her a lantern and encouraged her to fulfill her dream of seeing the clear and expansive view of the rising sun over her fields.
She left the next day and arrived at the foot of the mountain just as the sun was setting. Having travelled by the light of day, she forgot to bring something to light her lantern. She sat down in confusion, wondering what she should do. After some time a wise woman came along the path, and seeing this woman looking sad, inquired into her situation. The woman said, “I want to climb this mountain to watch the sunrise over my fields, but it’s getting dark and I haven’t a way to light my lantern.” The wise woman smiled and said, “No problem, here, you can use my flame for a moment – the light is never diminished by sharing!” So the woman extended her lantern to have it lit by the wise woman’s flame, and was happy to have her light kindled.
As the wise woman turned to leave she noticed a frown pass over the woman’s face, and asked her what was the matter. “My lantern is so small,” she said, looking at the lantern in her hand. “I can only see a few steps ahead of me – how can I climb the whole mountain this way?” The wise woman began to laugh and said, “Look at my small lantern, it only reveals the next step ahead. When I take that step, the next one appears. That is all I need to complete my journey. Your lantern is large enough to reveal even a few steps ahead of you! There are many paths, but the Way is one – follow the light and the path will unfold before your eyes, and remember, any obstacle will be illuminated if you are fully committed to reach the destination.”
The woman understood the message and continued confidently on her journey up the mountain to behold the view.
The guru principle, in the cosmic sense, is the conscious Self at the heart of all creation. It is the light of primordial wisdom that existed before time, residing in the heart of the seeker as an all-knowing seed that is brought forth through spiritual practice. The way to honour the True Guru – whether as a living being (if you are so fortunate to meet a real one), a Master from the past, or one’s personal experience of Divinity – is to apply the teachings and work on your spiritual development with sincerity.
The lamp of true knowledge is within you and is available as a guide if you tend to it with care. Remember, you are not made any less by drawing help from the Masters when you lose your way.