The Role of the Guru
The following is an excerpt from Issue Two of the magazine H W L Poonja, Satsang with Papaji
DEVOTEE: What is the role of the Guru?
PAPAJI: A person approaches the Guru and says, ‘I am suffering. I am tired of coming again and again into the womb of different species. I am burning. Please help me. Save me from this fire.’
The Guru is the one who can free you from this suffering. That is his role. The word Guru literally means ‘dispeller of darkness’. He who dispels the darkness from the minds of the people who come to him, saying that they are bound, is the Guru. He who removes their sufferings and their doubt and helps them have the firm conviction that they are free is the Guru. This is his role.
DEVOTEE: [new questioner] The role of the Guru doesn’t really happen on an outer level, does it? The outer Guru is just there to remind us of what is inside us. Is this not true?
PAPAJI: The Guru speaks of the Self, and he speaks to the Self, not to the clothes you are wearing. He doesn’t speak to the body, the senses or the mind. The Guru’s role is to speak to the inner Self that is already free. People do not know this Self.
DEVOTEE: I have the feeling that we dream the Guru who is outside us.
PAPAJI: Yes, the outer Guru, in your dream, tells you that he is within you. What else will he say? If you see him outside you, that means that you have projected his form in the dream that you are dreaming. The dream form of the Guru will then tell you that in reality, he is within you as your own Self.
PAPAJI: The Guru is none other than your own Self; your very own Self. Your own Self is your own Guru, and the real Guru always takes you back to your own Self, not to somewhere else. He withdraws the outgoing tendencies of the mind and puts them back within you.
Don’t project outside to things that are external. Bring all these tendencies, wherever they go, back to the source, the Self. When they have all been brought back there, you will know your own Self. It is the outgoing tendencies that are keeping you occupied, so occupied that you have no time to look at your own Self. When the mind is not going outward, then it is not pre-occupied with an object, a thought or a desire, the outgoing tendencies its will withdraw and you will shine as your own Self. What else can shine in that state? You are always, always That.
DEVOTEE: [new questioner] All questions here seem to have the same answer.
PAPAJI: When you are lost in the forest you have to ask many questions. In such circumstances you need a guide and a map.
Night is falling How do you get out of the forest? How do you return home? If you are already in your home, you don’t need a map or a guide. You have no problems in this situation.
Now, though, you are out in the forest, wondering what to do. In a real forest your first priority is to find out where you are because without that knowledge you cannot move in the right direction. In the forest of the mind, which is where all seekers are lost, the most important question is ‘who’ not ‘where’. Who are you? And, earlier on, where did I come from. These are the problems you have to solve if you want to leave this particular forest. If you can’t solve this problem by yourself, then seek someone who can help you solve it.
Try to find your own Self by spending some time on this question. You have never asked this question before. You have spent your life asking ‘what is this?’ but you have never asked the question ‘Who am I? In an entire life span no one spends even five minutes on this most important of questions. Five minutes is enough, quite enough. You can ask this question anytime, anywhere. There are no auspicious circumstances for this question: No holy spot is needed, no holy river, no particular place, no special environment. Just ask it wherever you are.
No one is serious about this. This is a question one has to solve now. It is not something that you postpone for later.
Everyone is trying, indirectly, to solve this problem by looking for happiness, love or beauty. The hunger for happiness is actually a hunger for the happiness of one’s own Self but people don’t know or understand this, so they look for it in the wrong place.
’No, this is not what I want. I will try something else.’ This goes on through life. One thing after another is picked and and rejected because no one knows the true place where real happiness can be found.
‘Where should I search? Where can I find it?’ The correct place to find happiness is not known, and so everyone continues to search in all the wrong places. It is akin to looking for one’s glasses while one is actually wearing them. We forget or don’t know that the Self which is being sought is the same Self that is doing the looking. The same power, the same consciousness, the same awareness that is enabling us to conduct these futile external searches is actually the target of our search.
No one questions ‘What is this consciousness through which I am searching for consciousness?’
You need this consciousness for everything. You need this awareness for everything. What is this awareness that you need? No one takes notice of this or tries to find out what it is and where it comes from.