A spiritual teacher does not teach his learner for any ulterior motive, for name or fame, but he teaches only with the divine love for instilling the spiritual knowledge in his disciples and serving the Supreme thereby
by Prof. Jayadeba Sahoo
गुरु ब्रम्हा गुरु विष्णू गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा गुरु शाक्षात परब्रम्हा, तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः
“Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Deva Maheswara; Guru sakshat Param Brahma, Tasmei Sri Gurave Namah.”
Teacher guides us towards the success in every aspect of life. It is important for both to respect the relationship.
Once Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’ said, “The three things- vital dynamism, intellectual efficiency and spiritual direction together constitute the proper aim of education. Moral and spiritual training is an essential part of education. Even addressing the American elite, Swami Vivekananda highlighted the essential requirements of a learner as well as of a teacher of spirituality. For the learner the quality of purity, a real thirst for knowledge and perseverance are most essential while for the teacher the requirements are his depth of knowledge of the scriptures, his being sinless and his sincere motive of serving the humanity without any desire for name, fame, wealth or comforts. A teacher of spirituality, the Swami said, must have the knowledge which is not based on any hearsay. He should know the secrets of the scriptures and their true significance in man’s life as well as daily routine. He should be a good orator and teacher of his subject but his interest should be more in learning than impressing his listeners. Those who deal in words too much and allow the mind to sway away with the force of words tend to lose the very spirit of learning. In simple words, a teacher must know and understand the spirit of scriptures.
There are teachers who do not attempt to attain perfection in their field, but they are desirous to show their learning for appreciation, little realizing that spirituality is a noble and elevated field where just ‘leaf counting’ won’t do. Teaching the values of Christianity or Hinduism would not require of a teacher to know the life history of Christ or Krishna but the ideals they expounded in their daily life and the moral and ethical values that they cherished at all times in their practical life in the society. A teacher is in fact expected to feel and display, in his conduct, those virtues and values. A major characteristic of a spiritual teacher is his being sinless. In spiritual sciences it is believed that the spiritual light, so essential for a teacher, can never be found in an impure soul. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” is often said. For a teacher it is said that ‘we must first see what he is than what he says’. Of course what can he transmit if he doesn’t have that spiritual power in him? In fact the teacher has an unseen communication with his learner as some power, real and tangible, goes out from him and begins to grow in the mind of the learner.
A spiritual teacher does not teach his learner for any ulterior motive, for name or fame, but he teaches only with the divine love for instilling the spiritual knowledge in his disciples and serving the Supreme thereby. Any other motive, be it for money and material wealth or any popularity, is sure to destroy the element of spirituality and thus negate him the very title of being a Guru.
In nutshell, the disciple’s relationship with the teacher is that of ancestor and descendent. The teacher in our culture is no less than spiritual ancestor while the learner is supposed to be his spiritual descendent. It is for this grand and majestic tradition of Guru- Disciple relationship that the spiritual teacher in our culture is equated with Gobind (God). And rightly so, the teacher is the only person in one’s life who comes somewhere near the Supreme.
We attribute the virtues of ‘Satyam-Shivam-Sundram’ to God meaning thereby that He is the Ultimate Truth, the Supreme Benefactor and the Purest. From this point of view in our culture, a teacher of spirituality, often addressed as ‘Guru,’ needs to be sinless, knowledgeable and selfless well-wisher of humanity. We also often call the Almighty as ‘Incorporeal-Viceless-Egoless’ (Nirakari-Nirvikari and Nirahankari). From this point of view also, an ideal spiritual teacher qualifies for this status. He must be universally available to all his students without any discrimination of social or economic status (Nirakari). He must be as discussed above, sinless and free of all vices of the material world (Nirvikari-viceless) and finally he should not have any desire for name or fame or any greed for material comforts and luxuries (Nirahankari-egoless ). Hence is it not fair to equate him with the Supreme soul? The muse has rightly worshipped him when he says:
The great saint, Kabir, extolled “Guru Gobind dono khare, kake lagun paye, Balihari Guru aapki, Gobind diyo milaye. गुरु गोविंद दोनों खड़े, काके लागूं पाँय । बलिहारी गुरु आपनो, गोविंद दियो मिलाय ॥ Teacher and God are standing before me, whom to pay my obeisance, I will bow to you my teacher who guided me to God”;
On this day, we gratefully remember and honor all the teachers that have made our life much more knowledgeable and fulfilled, as serving as our beacons of light.
The writer, Faculty, Brahma Kumaris, RERF & Professor (Ex- Dean), Faculty of Education, R.G.U.