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Chapter 55: The Necessity for a Guru

Visitor: In my own experience, for me, that has been very true – I was interested about people that are very enlightened – saints like Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi, and even the Buddha, that did not have gurus...

SWAMIJI: Everybody had a guide. None did suddenly crop up from the ground. They had leaders, guides, whether you know them or not. Even Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the great saint of India, had a Guru. Why should he have a Guru? He is a master himself, and he was the Guru of so many people; yet, he also had a Guru for some good reason.

Visitor: Right.

SWAMIJI: Even Christ had a Guru, and Krishna had a Guru. They were great masters, and still they learned under some teacher. When you have attained almost a state of perfection, then, of course, there is no need for a Guru; but who can say that one is in perfection? Everybody is on the path only, so it is better to have somebody who is superior. If you think that there is nobody superior to you in the whole world, then you do not require a Guru; but, if you think that there are people in the world who are superior to you, then they will be your Guru.

Visitor: Yes. I understand.

SWAMIJI: If you say that there is nobody superior to you, then you are the Guru yourself. But, you cannot say that you are most the superior; how is it possible? You have to be a little humble. Respect for the elders is always good, and one day or the other, you will be benefited by that. Anybody can help you, under given conditions. There is no one who is incapable of rendering some service.

A mouse also saved a lion once. How can a mouse save a lion? Can you understand? One lion was going like this, and a mouse was moving. The mouse said, "Don't you come near me. I can help you one day, if the time comes."

The lion laughed. "You idiot, small thing, wanting to help me? What help can you give?" The lion laughed, but yet the mouse said, "No, one day, who knows? One day some occasion may arise when I can help you."

It so happened that one day the lion was caught in the net of a hunter. It was very difficult to get out of it. The lion struggled the whole day and could not break the net. The mouse came, "May I help you?"

"Oh, yes, if you can!" said the lion. The whole night this mouse worked. It went on nibbling the net in many places and loosened it. Then the lion tore it and came out, and the mouse ran away.