|Swami Mukundananda - The Founder of JKYog|
There is a saying in Hindi:
pānī piyo chhānake, guru banāo jānake
“Drink water only after filtering it; make a Guru only after carefully knowing him.” We must not accept anyone as our Guru, merely because of a friend’s suggestion; we must ourselves recognize someone as a true Guru, and only then should we surrender to him. However, just as it is not possible for a First Grade student to evaluate the capability of a college teacher, similarly, it is not easy to recognize a Guru, who is a Divine personality, while we are only beginning the path of spirituality. Yet, there are certain characteristics that provide helpful indications:
|Swami Mukundananda showering the nectar of Bliss on His Devotees|
1. The true Guru’s words are very impacting. Although we may have heard and read the same knowledge many times without being moved by it, when we hear the same words from the mouth of a God-realized Saint, they change us from within. We can perceive that there is something different in the way the Guru expounds the knowledge, which makes it so impacting. The reason for this is that the Sadguru does not merely elucidate what he has read in books; he explains from the depths of personal realization. Hence, it goes deep into the hearts of the listeners.
2. Whatever doubts we have on the spiritual path, if we place them before the Guru, he or she can easily resolve them and dispel our confusions. A mere theoretical scholar of the scriptures cannot do this. Scholarly learning without practical sādhanā only increases the confusions, since there are many scriptures and each states different spiritual principles. The theoretical scholar becomes confused with the apparent contradictions. However, the Sadguru possesses realized knowledge, for he or she has seen the Truth, and is able to reveal it with the benefit of experience.
|The Devotees garlanding Swami Mukundananda|
3. A true Guru does not give his disciple material allurements. Rather, he teaches that worldly attainments are not the goal. Nowadays, many so-called saints claim to have a magic formula for removing all the material miseries and bestowing money, wealth, prestige, etc. on their followers. Allured by such false statements, people flock to them in thousands. We must beware of such imposters who have not yet even understood that detachment from the world, and not material attainments, is the goal of spiritual life.
4. If we associate with a true Guru, we will naturally find ourselves getting attached to God and detached from the world. Just as when we feel cold and walk towards fire, as we go closer to the fire, we naturally experience the cold going away and heat entering the body. Similarly, the God-realized Saint is like a fireball of God-consciousness. If we associate with him, we will experience the Divine consciousness rubbing on us as well.
5. The above points are all helpful in recognizing a Saint, but the strongest indication will come from God Himself. When He sees in us a sincere desire to meet Him, He will guide us to a true Guru. And when the inspiration comes from God, we will know it by its intensity; our heart will urge us that we have found the Guru we were looking for. This point will be further discussed in the answer to the next question.