We all have an innate need to anchor ourselves. How we do it varies—some pray, others meditate, some practise yoga, others tai chi. The why we do them doesn’t vary all that much. Sure, one might say they do these for peace of mind, others for better wellbeing, and some for health. But there’s a common factor behind these reasons—what we’re after is self-improvement. Not just in an everyday, practical sense, but also in a larger, spiritual sense.
It’s true that spirituality is a natural part of our lives. Whatever the spiritual practice, it blends in seamlessly into our everyday life. It becomes an integral part of our belief system carrying us forward in our journey. Sometimes, this self-practice might not nearly be enough to move us ahead and help us grow spiritually. When we actively pursue a spiritual journey, self-practice might not quite make the mark. Because, soon, we might find ourselves unequipped for the journey we embarked on.
While we might not necessarily view our spiritual practice as something that requires teaching we might find ourselves full of questions we wish we could discuss with someone well-versed in the practice—a guru. Many might question whether we even need a guru to walk the spiritual path. But a better question might be ‘When do we need a guru to walk the spiritual path?’, as the need for a guru is rather self-evident.
Many read holy scriptures—some for knowledge and wisdom, others for spiritual needs. They read various translations of the originals and probably carry, for life, the underlying messages in those texts. Needless to say, it’s imperative that those messages be true to their original texts. “Even assuming one can find profound knowledge through scriptures on their own, there’s no replacement for a guru. Only he can answer the questions that your mind encounters in any spiritual practice,” points out, Sanskrit and Vedic scholar CV Giridhara Shastry.