The Truth About The Modern Guru: Does One Need One Or Not?
Through many recent conversations on Facebook regarding the topic of the “True Master”, “Guru – Disciple relationship” and the need or non-need for one. This has sparked the intention to clarify this topic through this article.
I write this article in deep humility to the great ones who have walked and laid the foundation for the times we are in. The ONE guru who manifests in infinite forms is forever in my heart.
In the West, there are many misunderstandings when it comes to this topic and the term “Guru”. Due to this misunderstanding, the nature of this conversation sparks a deep resistance within many. The terms Master & Guru have this stigma of power hungry – generally men- who have taken advantage of eager seekers for personal gain. There are countless stories of abuse, mind control, sexual misconduct, financial misconduct and all the rest. Of course due to the nature of many of the misrepresentations in the original teachings and truth, along with the ignorant students or seekers who are not willing to stand for themselves in their own discernment.. many conflicts within this space have been created.
It first must be clarified that what has been pointed to through the ancient teachings, generally as a description or translation of what came through the horse’s mouth,( being the true masters who have walked this earth). The term Guru / or Master is pointing to something far more than just what is presented as the personality or physical body.
The term “Guru” – means “Destroyer of Ignorance”. From the tradition of yogic and Hindu scripture, the GURU is the representation of the ONE source of all. It does manifest itself within the physical body of one who is pure and ripe enough to receive. Though we should never mistaken the physical body / personality itself for the Guru.
The term SATGuru – Means True Guru. In some traditions this term is interchangeable, in others it is left for the highest of masters.
Below is a beautiful piece from a book on this topic, I feel it accurately clarifies what is being spoken here.
“A guru is different from a teacher. Guru is a compound of two words, gu and ru. Gu means “darkness”; ru means “light”: that which dispels the darkness of ignorance is called guru. In the West the word guru is often misused. In India this word is used with reverence and is always associated with holiness and the highest wisdom. It is a very sacred word. It is seldom used by itself, but always with its suffix, deva. Deva means “bright being.” An enlightened master or guru is called gurudeva.”
From: “Living with the Himalayan Masters”
Author: swami Rama
“There is only ONE Master”.
When we travel through all of the spiritual traditions and teachings over the past several thousand years, there are many masters who have walked. When we look at the teachings that directly came from these individuals, we see similar messages, and at times identical messages in which come through. Messages of identical nature coming from those who spoke their direct experience of truth. Never having come in contact with each other, living in different centuries or on completely different places on the planet. They were not parroting what each other were saying, they were speaking directly from the experience that they were embodying
This of course naturally begs the question, how is this possible? No matter the culture the background, the language, the message is still the same or very similar.
Naturally, as we seek on our path, we find all of the similarities that are at the core of every path or teaching. We see this divine blueprint in which comes back to a singular source in which when realized, brings clarity to the actuality and reality of pure awareness and eternal oneness.
From this place of seeing, all is ONE, there is no other, there is no world, it is only THIS. This very ONE.
The master, sat-guru sage, guru are all terms to describe the ONE who has realized THIS truth. They are equal and identical to the terms god / source / absolute and all of the other terms in which are used in various languages to describe the supreme. There is no separate Body of the “guru” in the way in which the mind likes to attach to. When the mind thinks of the term master or guru, it instantly identifies the personality of the BodyMind / person in question. It is this way of perceiving the guru in which preserves the egoic mind, increasing its avoidance tendencies of putting its weapons of distraction, rationalization and justification down.
This is naturally why the Master or the Guru is the ultimate gift. As they are God IN FORM and by one opening themselves to receiving grace from the guru / god, they will be taken to the final doorway in which they can decide to walk through.
This Quote Describes this topic the best:
“Guru is not a physical being. Those who think of the guru as a body or as a man do not understand this pious word. If a guru comes to think that his power is his own, then he is a guide no more. The guru is tradition; he is a stream of knowledge. That stream of knowledge goes through many channels.
The guru is tradition; he is a stream of knowledge.
No human being can ever become a guru.
But when a human being allows himself to be used as a channel for receiving and transmitting by the Power of Powers, then it happens. And for that, a human being should learn to be selfless. Usually love is mingled with selfishness. I need something, so I say, “I love you.” You need something, so you love me. This is what we call love in the world. But when you do actions selflessly in a spontaneous way, then that is really love. You don’t expect any reward. Genuine gurus cannot live without selflessness, for selfless love is the very basis of their enlightenment. They radiate life and light from the unknown corners of the world. The world does not know them, and they do not want recognition.”
From: “Living with the Himalayan Masters”
Author: swami Rama
The external Guru /God cannot deliver one to the supreme truth by themselves. The willingness, humility, openness and simply empting of Mind through Self-Inquiry is required by the seeker for one to be ready to be purified by this grace.
So as you can see, and most likely are already directly experiencing, the pointer of their only being ONE guru is that there is only ONE Self in which all are seeking to realize. So as one comes to see this truth, they see that the various forms the Guru can take is truly infinite. Paradoxically this may then put to rest one’s unquenchable thirst for the “next best teacher” and simply begin to go deeper within any one single teaching, soaking up everything one can before moving on.
As Ramaji has said in his book ”
The Guru is NOT the Personality, nor the Body
When one thinks of a Guru or Master they are more practically thinking of a human being. A physical guru or master. As we have covered, the essence of a Guru or Master is one with the source, God, I AM. So the True Guru, the energy in which pours through the physical body is not human, physical, or having any attributes for that matter. It is pure divine source.
Now this manifestation of course flows through a physical bodymind in which has a personality, habits and traits.
The mind will always confuse the two.
What appears in front of you as the physical Guru or Master, is a human. A human with the same common desire,s tendencies, ideas as any other human, just like YOU.
When we get caught up in idolizing the HUMAN form, the personality, the traits etc. Our perfectionist mind creates an image and expectation around it. With this, it is bound to be set up for disappointment. As the human form will never live up to these fantasy like perceptions of what they perceive this human to be.
It is true, there may be some common qualities as to what an Enlightened or Self-Realized Guru may act like. Core principles and ethics that one may live by. Though in actuality, this is not so glamorous and idealistic as the mind likes to assume.
In simplicity, there will still be human imperfections and desires that the physical body-mind of said guru / master. This simply is a result of conditioning on this physical dimension. Time and time again we have been shown countless examples of various drama, criticism, or negative publicity around Guru’s who simply have not met up to the expectations of others, many times, caused by the projection of their image. A lack of integrity of teachers not abiding in what they are speaking, breaking trust with followers, disciples and students. Both the Guru and the student with a false expectation or idea around the concept of enlightenment. In many ways avoiding or suppressing the human nature, with inevitable consequences.
I do feel that in the times we are in, there is a shifting to a perfection even within the physical realm. This is simply due to the boundless data we have available, advancement in technology and spreading of knowledge. With this, our ability to “perfect” the bodymind on the physical dimension, will simply be a natural part of evolution.
Regardless of this however, the physical imperfections have no real effect on one who is completely realized in truth.
How Does One Determine Who Is A True Master?
There have been many public and well known spiritual teachers who have come and gone over our history. Many of which who had gigantic followings, others with just a few devotee’s. Coming from all types of backgrounds, systems, religions and paths. The common theme was that the Guru or Master was “Enlightened” (which has many definitions to different people) and that by learning from, receiving grace, and serving the Guru one will eventually also attain this liberation and freedom.
When it comes to defining “Enlightenment” and what exactly this constitutes, it has varied from system to system. All spiritual paths have in some ways looked to define, describe and determine what these stages look like as a means to determine who is “enlightened” or not.
This is of course tricky, as up until now it can only be confirmed inwardly by the one who is self-realized, and outwardly by one who is also self-realized. .. “It takes one to know one”.
Of course, in the cases where we have had abuses of power, or claims of one as a “false-guru” it has generally come when the false guru has claimed things in which they have not yet experienced Though with their convincing methods and demeanor, have convinced many followers into believing this truth. The ignorance is on both sides.
As I have spoken about before, and will be covering in our upcoming multi-part blog post series, is my work with the LOC (Level of consciousness) calibration system.
In Short, it is a quantitative method of determining the “level” of consciousness one is at. The system is broken down into some core stages in which directly reflect most if not all spiritual paths in some form. The system ranges from 30 to 1000 which is a log base 10 ascending sequence (exponential growth – ie. 1 person at 1000 balances out the consciousness level of 10 million people of 200 or below).
NOTE: I do not view this system as ABsolute (nor any system) I find it to be yet another useful tool amongst many that can be used to converse about this topic… for as long as this needed.
This system has been worked upon by a few core individuals, the most famous being David Hawkins, but more recently redeveloped by a Spiritual Teacher RAMAJI, who in my opinion is more accurate with his descriptions of the stages, along with having a more accurate quantification method.
So how is one calibrated? The system uses a muscle based intuitive testing model that uses the body to confirm Yes / No answers. This is a well known method used within the intuitive scientific community. Yes I said scientific, with enough tests, we surely can come to empirical data.
This is what is occurring with the LOC system. In my view, one should be at 1000 for them to accurately with little to no influence get a correct calibration on the object they are calibrating. With a larger group we can and will find consistent patterns in the calibrations. As of course this is the main argument against using a calibration method as it is not consistent.. I agree. so we should take action to move it in this direction.
This is all accurately depicted in Ramaji’s book 1000.
The basis of this is that complete and total enlightenment, Nirvikalpa Samahid, Buddha nature, Nirvana, or Braham (Absolute Supreme Realization) is calibrated at 1000.
It is the true “Zero point” Of one coming back completely to their true, natural state. This is the supreme goal of all humans.
In essence, until one reaches this stage, the individual is still seeking.
So where does that leave us with many of our modern day teachers, gurus, masters?
Well what was interesting in Ramaji’s book was his breakdown of over 200 of modern day teachers along with 100 of past masters.
I will be getting into this list in future posts, along with in our mentioned session with Ramaji.
As one can see, many of the most popular teachers in the scene at the moment are not at the end of their seeking.
Now two points to this, although I do resonate with many of these calibrations, some I do not, I do not believe all of that are absolutely accurate. Second, this was done in 2014, some if not probably all have increased in some way. The times we are in are naturally elevating everyone.
Now what are the implications of teaching before one is Realized?
Well I can draw from my personal experience on this one and can relate it to many others we can observe in the teaching scene.
If one is not completely realized, naturally, what is being spoken as a teaching to disciples, students, followers, will carry some level of “projection”. Projection in the form of “I am telling you what I still need to also do”.
For the master at 1000, there is nothing really to outright teach another. It is moreso a constant space of responding to the moment. Responding to questions, attending to each moment as it arises. As one is so deeply en rooted in the awe of the moment, deeply reverent to all that is arising.
Two main things that arise with this. On one hand, we are to question the integrity. If what one is communicating is not what is being lived, why are we listening to it? This leads to the next important point is that the energy behind the words is not integrated, thus it is weak, with little potency to transform.
When one can feel the KNOWING behind one’s message, they are transformed by the energy behind it, the words are doing little in comparison.
It is why so many have spoken of some of the power of the silent grace in which transmitted from the greatest sages that have walked. Ramana Maharshi for instance, who has maybe influenced the most teachers than any other in our modern times. Mostly, through his silent transmission and supremely simple method of self-inquiry.
Now, without the calibration system, one can still naturally intuit the level of a master by means of this deep rooted energy transfer.
Of course, many novice seekers, will not be able to tell the difference, and they are generally the ones who many end up following one who is not truly there, while of course still receiving benefit. ( I am not trying to say that ONLY those at LOC 1000 are useful or only to be listened to, though naturally on my journey I only wanted to find the best).
On my journey, even before coming across Ramaji’s work with the calibrations, I was intuitively drawn to many of the LOC 1000 teachers as I recognized their message and the clarity behind their communication of the importance of transmission and receiving grace.
When I was first Initiated by Gurunath (LOC 1000) he not only constantly voiced the importance of his Shaktipat, but also mentioned “Finding the Guru is 99% of the journey”. I did not understand this until later, though it stuck with me.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
In this case, the master, who will completely destroy all falsehood and guide you back to your SELF.
Who is this Guru / Master for you? Let us explore this.
The SUPREME Relationship
The relationship with the SATguru or Master is the supreme relationship. In essence, this relationship is the pinnacle representation of unconditional love in relative form. As one can see this relationship as such, this experience then purifies ALL relationships, for one to see it is really simply a relationship with themSELVES.
To be capable of loving many others in many forms, one must love themselves first. The self in which is being spoken of course is not the physical person. Whether pointing to one’s own body, or the body of a guru, it is the true beloved divine self in which is the source of all existence. It is the very source in which interconnects all people, all beings.
This self can be directly intuited when in the presence of one who is realized. As one moves through their journey, they become more and more able to subtly listen to this intuitional heart pull. At times one will progressively move through various teachers until they do find this one who can provide the direct experience of grace. Other times, it may be the first master they ever connect with which is this very conduit.
The typical reason for the long term relationship and devotion to the guru is so the qualities of this supreme relationship can be cultivated and completely known. In past times, the long term connection was required for this, though in modern times this is being transcended. Really, the only thing required is for one to experience the direct unconditional love in which comes by way of humbling opening oneself to the Guru. This can happen instantly upon meeting, this can also happen by way of one just intending on connecting with the person, deity or object in which represents the essence of the Guru to you. This, in essence is a form of devotional prayer in which most religions are built upon.
This love transcends what most view or understand as love, it is true unconditional love in which burns through all ignorance, all falsehood.
The Transmission of Grace
Throughout my journey, especially in the later stages, there was a clear draw to those who had the power to transmit the Grace of God/Source/Absolute.
As mentioned previously, Satgurunath who was my first Initiation master had a powerful shaktipat. This is quite exclusively what he spoke about most of the time. For good reason, it was powerfully transformative.
As I was clearly understanding this process through the support of Ramaji and his specific Transmission. It was clearly seen throughout the lineup of Sages who were represented in this Absolute State of the Similar nature in their core offering, which was this direct Transmission of grace.
Sometimes the transmission has different qualities of feelings to them in a sense. Although it is all still pure, in the relative experience it is still felt differently. Some more peaceful, some more loving, some more blissful.
As I received the grace of the transmission of Ramaji (who has a specific type of transmission called RASA ), one could say that it was me who had to be willing, open, humble and ready for this final purification. This is correct. If I had not done the work in this lifetime and many past, it would have not been possible. Though there is a simultaneous reverence and respect to the recognition that this Grace of the source is the Grace of the SELF, mySELF. It is my very own self in which I am realizing, coming in contact with and abiding in.
When one is in direct contact with the Absolute Self, no Ideas are able to be held about anything. They know nothing, there is nothing to know. One is completely empty, yet full of this transmission simultaneously. It is the only way the transmission could be completely effective, is if one is completely emptied of everything they hold dear.
In my experience, words become less and less of importance. They will always help guide the mind back to itself, as it points to what THIS is but can never directly speak OF it.
Only the silent transmission of Grace can do this. As the mind is quiet enough to be willing to only desire this, it is then in which the transmission is received in its totality from the ONE masters Grace.
When we look at all Great masters of our time and past, it has always happened in this way, whether by physical masters presence or not.
One has done the work, and whether by divine grace straight from source, or through the medium of a physical master/ guru, it comes, and it comes with power.
Is the Age of The GURU Over?
Within the New Age culture there is a consistent theme of the topic that the Age of the GUru is over. This comes from various elements but most predominantly the rise of the Divine Feminine in which does not view enlightenment from such a linear, rigid perspective. It is receptive, thus enlightenment not a chase to something “out there” in the farthest reaches of the universe, but rather a receiving of the divine energy here, embodied on the planet.
The other perspective of this is that the collective “Abuse” wound of patriarchal dominance causes one to jump on to one of the polarized “extremes” as either a resistance to the Guru concept in fear of being controlled or dominated, or an overbearing attachment to the Guru, as one giving up their power, discernment and responsibility for them to inevitably be required to “deliver themselves” to the desired goal.
What has emerged from this “death of the guru ” is a double edged sword perspective of a deeper realization of the INNER Guru, while also a resistance to being willing to give up their pride, ignorance and ego to be destroyed by the TRUE self, the TRUE teaching and TRUE guru.. in the most beautiful way.
From a balanced perspective, the Guru will never not be relevant. Life is a perpetual student / teacher, teacher/student relationship of deep equality. The True Guru or Master ( LOC 1000) does not see students, nor do they see the “unenlightened” to them, everything is enlightened, everything is buddha nature, everything is the ONE Self.
The masters only duty is simply to BE themselves. This may come in the form of teaching, transmitting grace or any other thing any normal person would be involved in. Just by them existing deep healing, transformation and healing is occurring.
It is true however, that Enlightenment is progressively in these times, being “handed out” like the newspaper, and more and more will realize this ultimate truth. Of course there would be no need for the physical “Guru” if everyone is enlightened, because everyone now will BE the ONE Guru / Master… manifested in infinite forms.
For one truly at LOC 1000 their only desire is this. The “world” then naturally evolves into higher and higher forms, creating the COLLECTIVE Enlightenment, an Enlightened humanity to live in peace amongst each other. Creating, playing, expressing evolving.
Loving Everything As Your Guru
In essence, as more and more are awakening to truth, and realizing their true nature, we find ourselves in a space where “Gurus” in physical form, are abundant everywhere.
Of course, when one goes through a specific stage (outlined in Ramaji’s book) which could be called “the great sacrifice” one completely destroys the image they have of the GURU/GOD in preparation and as a final step to realization and oneness.
What this looks like in practical terms is simply recognizing everything as your “Guru”, not because you are consciously thinking or holding on to your belief, but because the unconditional love in which one typically has for and receives from their GURU becomes the new reality in which they perceive ALL things, ALL people.
Thus, the idea of an “enlightened” one, or a “non-enlightened” one is destroyed. They are freed from the bonds of a straight and narrow view point on just one “physical guru” as this source of God or the ONE. Rather now, through that practice, they see ALL as this, and can receive the “transmission” or experience this supreme relationship with ALL of life.
As you can see this is the breaking down of the “glamor” around the topic of the guru or enlightenment. It brings forth the present perfection within all life JUST AS IT IS.
One’s heart is completely open in this space, surrendered to life and the love in which is already ever-present and abundantly here, NOW.
The INFINITE Transmission & The Rapid Acceleration of realizing the ONE.
Now the essence of the Transmission of Grace is not ONLY coming from one who is realized in the Absolute, depicted as LOC 1000.
In essence, this grace is ALWAYS being transmitted by ALL people.
If we use the LOC system as a means to “quantify” or provide a levelling system to the power of this transmission, I feel it is the most accurate way to paint the picture.
One may have certainly received a transmission in which transformed them and brought them to a higher state (or LOC) by one who is not in LOC 1000 – in essence, anyone who is in a deeper state of non-duality that the receiver has the potential to do this.
This is the beauty of the collective awakening. A mass movement of all beings who are moving through their ascension process in their own time, at their own pace. By way of this, students are matched with teachers (and social circles) who are suitable for ones path at certain points.
This continues until one reaches the final goal.
In a sense this is what is prevalently occuring within the revolution of life coaches, health coaches, wellness experts, spirituali teachers, healers, etc. There is a mass movement of coaches coaching coaches – almost like a Multi Level Network pattern. This In my view is the direct representation of what is being spoken here. It is a bunch of levels of networks / tribes of support focused on various intentions, coaching and guiding each other to higher levels.
Underneath it all, in essence it is the ascension through the LOC’s, by way of transmission / osmosis/ teaching etc.
We generally learn, level up, or realize something new through the energy of those who are looking to for the teaching (or transmission). When it comes to realization, this is not something new, this is one’s very own self, though within relativity/mind one forever is having “new” experiences, ideas, epiphanies and transformations. Though just because this is what is happening within the intellect, does not mean actual transformation is occurring.
It is for this reason in which it may be confusing or difficult for a seeker who may believe they are getting closer through a teacher who has many great tantalizing words, quotes etc, but yet cannot deliver the experience.
It is not to say one will not arrive, if one continues to rely on ones deep inner wisdom, devotion to the ONE source and continual self-inquiry to the very self in which they are. As of course, this is all that would ever be required anyways.
In this Evolution I see the nature of these transformational Transmission experiences to come fourth in a rapid acceleration.
As all ceremonies were designed for in previous times, I believe that the rise of ceremony and ritual culture in our modern world will provide the environment and landscape for celebrations of this Transmission of the ONE in its purest form. It is my intention for this to be my primary means of delivering grace, by embracing and recognizing the silence within, which then manifests in the infinite creative expression – in this case music, dance, movement, connection, liberation.
YOU as the INNER GURU
It is true. You are your own Guru. Of course, this YOU we are pointing to, is that in which is the background to the YOU in which you may be identifying with as the plethora of changing thoughts, feelings, sensations, identities and beliefs.
The true inner guru is the absolute pure awareness that is the source to all that arises.
The true I AM.
This Inner Guru is what is awakened by being in the presence of another who has opened up to the channel of I AM to flow through them.
If they are sincere and a True Guru, this is inevitable for one who is humble enough to also accept this blessing and grace.
We are in a time where the physical presence of a Guru is not necessary, but as mentioned, with so many awakening in these times, it may still be rare, but less and less so for it to be a more regular occurrence.
We also have access to all the teachings, books, scriptures, youtube videos etc. of those who are sincerely doing this work and half left so many gifts and treasures.
Just by coming in contact with this material, you as the inner guru is awakened and stabilized.
Again, as we have clarified in this article the true meaning of the GURU, one can see that having a physical Guru (possibly a few in physical form) does not pull away from one’s trust and faith in their inner Guru.
As of course… they are one in the same.
The COUNCIL of Guru’s.
Well – what happens when all have realized their GURU like nature?
(it is kind of unrealistic in our current timeframe, but lets just entertain this pointer for a moment)
Well naturally what will occur is circle based, tribal / council leadership.
This is the “feminine” quality that is emerging so prevalent in recent times, and is bringing a new level of integrity to “false” gurus over the years (and in current times). It is that in which recognizes equality and the consideration of the voice of EACH individual.
On one end it is silly to think “everyone is equal” when we can clearly see “levels” of awakening. Yet simultaneously, we recognize that from the vantage point of abidance in truth.. ALL ARE truly equal. ALL have a voice. – The council way represents this.
This is the transcendance from the HEAD – CEO – KING – like essence – – now brought full circle.
So as covered above, the age of the “image” of the Guru may be transitioning. The essence of it always will remain. Now in a new form, in which we will learn to adapt to.
We covered many aspects to this topic. A topic in which is at the peak of most “spiritually” oriented discussions. It is a topic in which has many varying opinions, though this is generally coming from a misunderstanding of the core teaching and pointer as to who and what is the true guru or master. As distorted false teachings have been spread, more delusion and confusion has arisen. Though as we come into deeper clarity as to the details and truths around the topic, along with increasing the level of integrity with the teachers / gurus / masters we learn from via systems like LOC calibration. We can take a whole new collective step within this space of all seeking to know the Absolute truth. Realizing their true nature.
With this, the True Guru, Master and teacher will be revealed as the ONE in which resides within & through the reflection of the ONE Guru existing as ALL.
So does one need a A Guru? I feel we have covered enough here to point to the paradoxical center point that it is a question that does not need answering.
When the student is ready, the master, in physical form (or not) of the ONE guru and their transmission will be gifted 🙂
Deep love & Blessings.
Please share your comments and questions below. If it resonates, share with those around you who can also benefit.
Thank you Corey for clarifying the concept of a Guru. This is very helpful and clear.
this essay is a bit all over the place, and missing any critical perspective .. that shaktipat can overcome a lifetime of vasanas is questionable, that muscle testing is independent of the vasanas of the tester is debatable, and no one wants to mention how confusing and destructive it is to be told one is now at loc1000; innocence is forever lost, the ego can expand, all future sadhana is corrupted by the concept … in short, i believe it to be spurious, used as a meal ticket for those expounding it as their primary business, and anyway, comparisons are odious …
the quesiton about the value of a guru does not needed asking for anyone who has ever come under the influence of one ..
Being told one is at 1000 if actually having come to this LOC means very little. In my experience, Sadhana has intensified, the devotion to the one guru engulfs all, and the importance placed on hierarchical systems or perspectives has dissolved immensely. Each day continues to deepen and further humble me to the eternity of the path of the dao.
There are countless well known “guru’s” being outed right now, and it is this new level of integrity that we are facing at this time where a system like this can be of great help.
Each individual is still alone on the path to do the work, shaktipat and grace simply support and are the fuel by which the intensity and devotion on this path can be demonstrated.