It is true that we all have an inner GPS, & that no external influence is necessary to guide us through life - we will get where we need to be sooner or later, we need to be authentic to ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. But in my experience, a guru's grace is invaluable. In any relationship, love is the most vital ingredient; & the student-teacher one is no exception. A real guru's love is such that he always has the student's ultimate welfare in mind, even though it may not be apparent, or may even seem otherwise. He does not create a bondage out of his students. He gives the student the joy of their own freedom & independence.
After teaching for two years, I now appreciate the presence of the guru more. Today I suddenly remembered the last day of my first Teacher Training course back in 2014. We were having a sharing session, & I said, 'I don't know what to say, but...my life is the proof of his teachings.'
Oh fuck, if only I knew what that would entail in the years to come! Bahahahah!
Somehow, I've always had this sick satisfaction when being disturbed by my guru, even though I may not have shown it or sometimes may not even have been aware of it. Never could put a finger on it until now. Damn.
You never know when & how a guru is imparting his teachings to you. If you are unaware, or 'asleep', so to say, you may miss the lesson. & the lesson isn't always pleasant, it can seem like a swift jab in the eyeballs!
I'm no guru, & don't intend to be one. In fact, the mere thought of being a guru scares the shit out of me, because it is a very heavy responsibility. Out of love, the guru carries a big responsibility towards his students, & is there any rest when it comes to love? Eh, tired you know! I imagine it's probably something like taking care of an infant, you need to always be on the lookout for the brat to make sure nothing goes horribly wrong, yet allow them the freedom to learn/explore by themselves…oh damn, my brain feels fried already!
As humans, it is not always easy to accept the fact that we can't please everyone all the time. & as a teacher, I had to learn to accept criticism, be it constructive or otherwise. I had to learn that everyone is on different paths in life, & that what I have to offer will not be accepted by everyone. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received about teaching is that if out of a thousand people, I positively affect the life of even just one…just *one* person, it is more enough. & boy is that true. That feeling that I get when a student *finally* understands, & the happiness of watching a student's asana practice go beautifully, that feeling of actually observing someone's life change for the better...to me, that is the real joy of teaching. & this is also why when I think of my guru, tears of gratitude start pouring down. Because it was he who made me the person I am today.
My understanding of what a guru is? Well, a guru is a God. But then again, God is in everyone & everything. What makes a guru different is that somehow, by some crazy crossing of the stars & planets, this particular person has been brought into my life so that God can work His way to me. A guru is an instrument of God. He is a godsend. A guru is to be adored, without forgetting that he too is human, that he too has his own path, that he is just a medium. He is not to be worshiped as God Himself. He is not to be put on a pedestal. The student-teacher relationship, like any other relationship, is a volatile dynamic. It isn't necessarily a life-long relationship. The guru isn't obliged to be with you throughout your life, & you aren't obliged to follow him forever. Some gurus just show up at important points of your life, then disappear forever.
Even if sometimes you think he is against you, a guru has your best interest at heart. Out of compassion, a guru can kill you, because he knows that this 'you' needs to die before the real you emerges. & you may never know what he is teaching you, until yonks later. & then you laugh & think to yourself, 'Why my teacher like this ah???' Bahahahahah!
If I really had to put it in simple words: A guru is the truest friend you will ever have.
A guru does not necessarily have to be a teacher by profession. You can find a guru in a friend, in a parent, heck, one of the greatest gurus is nature herself! Gurus don't necessarily stay with you long, sometimes they are there for just a second. Sometimes a friend can be a guru, through sharing of each other's journeys, or through a shared life experience.
I must have done something right in a past life to have crossed paths with many great people in this lifetime. But the biggest blessing is to have met a true guru.
A guru is not a crutch, he is a bridge.
- Sadhguru -
Gratitude for the guru's grace & blessings.
About Prabh Lehri
I am a yoga teacher based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am passionate about yoga as a form of healing on the physical, emotional & mental level. I have been on a yoga journey for almost a decade and have been formally sharing my experience in the last 4 years.