Sant Kabir says:
Guru Bin Gyaan Na Upaje, Guru Bin Mile Na Moksha,
Guru Bin Lakhe Na Satya Ko, Guru Bin Mite Na Dosh.
Enlightment can’t come without Guru; Salvation can’t be attained without Guru,
Truth can’t be seen without Guru and vices can’t be removed without Guru.
This is the absolute truth; it’s a guru who can help you get the salvation. God is always there, and will be too in future. A Sadguru is the medium of God. We need a medium, because we need someone who has travelled within himself, only such a person can guide us to reach us within ourselves. Sadguru helps in removing the defects present within ourselves. He guides us in keeping our chitta (attention) to the subtle consciousness. The word GuRu itself is self-explanatory. Gu = Darkness, Ru = Light, Guru is one who leads us from darkness to light. Meaning, he is one who leads us from Ignorance to Knowledge! Sadguru purifies us from within. And he does it out of love for his disciple. Duty of a disciple in turn is to surrender himself to the Guru. Faith is an essential part of spiritual journey.
How can you identify a true Sadguru? If you think you can identify the Sadguru through his behavior, you are wrong. Sadguru is “Shakti” and can only be experienced. The Sadguru is not who will be known by his demeanour. You don’t get to see the fragrance; it makes its presence felt on its own. You just experience it. Same, a Sadguru is someone to be experienced. Make a Sadguru after knowing him/her, and this knowing has to take place through experience or “Anubhooti”. And the moment you take him/her as Guru, make sure to surrender yourself to the Guru with absolute faith.
Guru Gita, a part of Skandha Purana tells in details about Guru and his importance in our life. This scripture is a conversation between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. One day Parvati finds him bowing to someone so asked, “Lord you are lord of lords, who do you then bow?” Lord Shiva replies, “To the Guru”. Lord then explains Goddess Parvati about Guru and that formed Guru Gita.
There is a beautiful Mantra given in the concluding verse of Guru Gita that explains in details about Sadguru.
Brahma nandam parama sukhadam,
Kevalam jnayana murthim,
Dvandvateetham gagana sadrisham,
Ekam nityam vimalamachalam,
Sarvadhee sakshi bhutam,
Sadgurum tam namami.
Brahma nandam : Brahama nandam means one that is true and is source of eternal bliss. Brahma is derived from the root word brihat, meaning vastness. Brahama nandam is that which is immutable. It can also be termed as Advaitananda, meaning the bliss that result from the experience of oneness. It can also be described as Nirgunaananda and Niraakaarananda, bliss that transcends form and attributes.
Parama sukhadam : Paramasukhadam means the source of supreme happiness. The happiness that is not related to worldly pleasures, it is related to the experience of the eternal bliss.
Kevalam : Meaning that, which transcends the limitations of time, space, and circumstances.
Jnana murthim : Jnana murthim means, one of wisdom, the true wisdom. Here, jnana refers to experience of oneness. It refers to “Advaita darshanam jnanam”, experience of non-duality which is the true wisdom.
Dvandvaateetham : Dvandvaatheetham refers to that which transcends all dualities in this universe such as happiness and sorrow, good and bad, merit and sin, etc.
Gagana sadrisham : Refers to one who is as infinite as sky, one who is formless.
Tatvamasyadi lakshyam : Whose attention is always on the divine.
Ekam nityam : Guru is one, unique and eternal. Ekam nithyam refers to that which is eternal and one only. The Vedas proclaim Ekam eva adviteeyam Brah. Meaning, divinity is one and only one. Om ithyekaaksharam Brahma, the single syllable Om is Brahman.
Vimalamachalam : Refers to one who is pure and steady. In this universe, the celestial bodies such as the sun, the moon, and the planets are constantly on the move. Divinity is steady, changeless, and attributeless and is the embodiment of supreme bliss and happiness. If the mind is wavering, it won’t be able to comprehend Divinity. That is the reason the ancient sages and seers used to pray, “Salutations to the One who is the embodiment of supreme happiness.” The happiness related to the body and mind is no happiness at all. Inward (nivritti) happiness is true happiness.
Sarvadhee saakshi bhutam : One who is the eternal witness in consciousness in all beings.
Bhava-teetam : One who is beyond emotions and thoughts.
Triguna-rahitham : This refers to that which transcends the three attributes: satwa (serenity, purity), rajas (passion), and tamas (dullness, lethargy). Attributes are associated with form. So, the formless “One” has no attributes.
Sadgurum tam namaami : My salutations to that Sadguru.