There is an unusual German word, ‘sehnsucht’ which roughly translates into, ‘a longing for something inexpressible.’ The word captures perfectly the vague, indeterminate longing that lies at the heart of human existence. You may be rich, smart, famous, beautiful, intelligent, scholarly – or poor and deprived, yet, every human being is joined together by this common thread of subliminal longing for “something”. Saints and sages of all religious persuasions appear to be the only blessed exceptions to this rule. They know something, have something which others don’t have – light and luminosity of being that exudes serenity and contentment. So there is no desire nor longing, no lack. You are wherever you want to be. You are centred in your own Self. An able guru could guide a seeker to find this state of tranquillity, by sharing knowledge of the inner life, to complement worldly knowledge imparted by regular teachers. This inner truth is a vital part of the holistic, integrated reality of a human life. Lack of alignment between the inner and outer causes confusion and despair. A guru directs your gaze inward and reveals to you the light of your own Self. It is a journey from self to Self. The guru simply sheds light on this truth and facilitates the quest for Self-Realisation. Scriptures say that a jiva meets a guru only when there is an intense yearning for the same. Then, the guru comes to the seeker, as the following story illustrates. Once there lived a man who developed an intense craving for an embodied guru, but did not know how and where to get one. So, he prayed earnestly for a guru. He took a vow to abstain from food till a guru came into his life. In a nearby village lived a sage who went daily into the forest on a standard path, to collect firewood. The sage would be in meditation and the horse would automatically take him to the fixed spot. One day, he opened his eyes to see that his horse had brought him to the door of a hut. Knowing this to be divine dispensation, he dismounted and knocked on the door. The seeker who had taken the vow opened the door, and bowed to the sage with deep reverence. The all-knowing sage initiated him! Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “A true guru destroys illusion and sheds light; his presence is cool and comforting. In order to realise the Self, one must approach a guru who knows the Truth by experience, and whose daily activities, words and thoughts, reflect this realisation.” Also, there are clear, unmistakable signs when you encounter a divine master or guru. You experience an unusual flow of energy – a soul-to-soul connection, one of the most vivifying and significant moments of life.
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