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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996
by Swami Krishnananda

20. The Need for a Guru

(Darshan given on February 19th, 1996.)

A visitor: I wanted to know, is it important for one who is beginning the spiritual path, or looking for the inner truth, to have a Guru? Do you need a Guru?

Swamiji: It is very, very good if you have one because spiritual life is like walking in the wilderness, at least in the earlier stages. You will lose yourself in a vast forest of possibility, and you will not know in which direction to move. Just sit quiet, and with your own feelings you just offer a prayer to God: “God Almighty, bless me.” If this is the only thing that you are able to do in your pursuit of spiritual living, go ahead.

Actually, when you say you want to live a spiritual life, what exactly do you mean? What kind of change do you want to introduce into your life?

Visitor: To search for the Self, to find out what is beyond the existence which I seem to live as a body.

Swamiji: You are wanting to search for the Self? Do you think the Self is something different from what you yourself are now?

Visitor: No, but to realise it is something which is difficult.

Swamiji: If the Self is something different from you now, then you have to search for it. But if you yourself are the Self, then for what are you going to search?

Visitor: Well, it sounds confusing.

Swamiji: What kind of practice have you been doing up to this time?

Visitor: I have been doing Vipassana meditation in Bodh Gaya, but since leaving there some teachers have said that one is already free. One need not search for freedom because one is already free. It is just the realisation of that which is…

Swamiji: Are you going to realise the Self through Vipassana?

Visitor: I'm not sure anymore. I'm not sure whether the practice of meditation or the practice of looking in and being aware – or whether, as some people say, God – is already in you so you have just to realise it. So I am at two places at once, and I'm not sure.

Swamiji: This is a lifelong adventure. It is not a question of a few days or a few months of practice. The whole life you must be engaged in this work of finding the truth of yourself. It is not one of the businesses that you are conducting in life; it is the ultimate meaning of your existence. All things that you do here or learn from people, everything, is a secondary support to the main objective of your life: knowing the Self, as you have put it. It is not one of the activities of life; it is the principal objective of life, for which people are existing. Every other business of life is only a contributory factor to this principle aim.

Visitor: My question was, I am not sure whether I need a Guru or whether I can do it through…

Swamiji: You don't require a Guru, but you require somebody who will bring peace to your mind. That is the Guru. It may be anything; it may be a cat or a dog, it doesn't matter. If it can satisfy you and make your emotions calm and happy, that is a Guru. A Guru is not a person with four eyes and ten heads, and so on. He is like anybody else, but he has the capacity to understand your requirements and deal with you in that capacity, like a physician understanding a patient. The Guru is like a physician. He knows the sickness of the person, and that particular illness is treated with a particular technique of medicine.

Are you searching for God, or are you hesitating?

Visitor: I am hesitating because I am not sure…

Swamiji: Do you believe that there is a vast cosmic controlling power in the whole universe which keeps everything in perfect order, allows the sun and moon to rise, allows you to sit on the ground and keeps you perfectly in order in this world, and keeps everything methodically going on? The seasons are working beautifully, the sun and moon and stars are all shining systematically; do you believe that this kind of activity requires a controlling power above? Do you believe it, or is it absurd? Do you think the universe is a haphazard activity, or it is systematic?

It is a highly scientific procedure, the entire working of the universe, isn't it? And do you believe that there should be no one to create this system? Automatically the world cannot become a systematic order. A machine requires a maker of the machine. There is some power which sees to it that the whole universe goes on in a perfectly ordered fashion. That, people say, is the Creator of the universe. People say it is God Almighty. Some people say it is the Father in heaven. Some people say it is the Absolute Reality. Some people say it is the universal Self. Some people say it is the Immortal Being. Some people say it is Eternity. Some people call it Infinity. What do you say? Are you feeling happy to hear all this? I am trying to make you happy, my dear boy. Be happy. You will get what you want.

I am giving you one technique of meditation. There are many methods. I am introducing you to one only, which is good enough for you. Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly, not in a hurried manner – calmly, restfully, peacefully, without any worry in the mind, without any kind of occupation or commitment: “I am resting. Where am I sitting now? I am sitting now in a place called Rishikesh. But where is Rishikesh? It is on the surface of this Earth. Where is the Earth? It is a large mass of matter which is revolving around the solar orb. The Sun is the centre. As the nucleus of this huge atom of solar system, it is controlling everything. And I am also controlled by this great solar system. The solar system is only one tiny system in the larger body of operation called the Milky Way. Millions and millions of solar systems are whirling in this vast, wonderful arrangement in the skies called the Milky Way. Where am I sitting? I am not sitting in Rishikesh. I am not sitting on the surface of the Earth. I am sitting in the middle of the solar system. The mighty Sun is looking at me and controlling my breath, even. I am not in the solar system. I am in the Milky Way.”

You are really in the Milky Way just now, and the Milky Way is rushing with great speed towards its destination, towards other realities of that kind. There are infinite, endless, countless Milky Ways out there. They are all rotating under the space-time complex, a huge complex called space and time – endless, endless, endless. Where are you sitting? Put the question to yourself: I am in space-time. I am not in America, I am not in New Zealand, I am not in Rishikesh, I am not on the Earth, I am not in the solar system, I am not in the Milky Way. I am sitting in the universal space-time complex. But are you outside the space-time complex? You cannot be outside it. You are in it, inextricably woven into the fabric of this wonderful presentation called space-time. You are yourself space-time. Tell yourself: “I cannot stand outside it. Where is space-time? Everywhere. Where am I? Everywhere. What do I want? I want nothing, because the whole thing has gone into this structure to which I also belong. I am filled with this entire creation of power inside me, and this universal magnificent framework is controlled by its own creator – call it God, call it by whatever name – so I cannot stand outside that. Where am I then? I am in the centre of the whole universe. What do I want? I want nothing. Everything is there because I am in the middle of the entire cosmos whose resources are with me, in me, outside me, everywhere. What do I want now? I want nothing. I am a blessed man.” Are you happy? Don't forget what I have told you.

Visitor: Thank you.

Another visitor: What is evil, Swamiji?

Swamiji: Evil is that power which prevents you from thinking along the line I mentioned. It is inside your mind only, the evil force that is preventing you from thinking like this. Dr. Jekyll is inside; Mr. Hyde also is there. It is Hyde that is troubling you. Be Dr. Jekyll. Never condemn. Never say ‘evil'. These words irritate the whole mind. If a good word purifies the tongue, a bad word pollutes the tongue. If a good thing that you utter makes the tongue very blissful, a negative thing does the opposite. There are no negative forces. They don't exist at all. They are only the misplacement of universal forces in a wrong context.

Cow dung is a very nice thing in a field where people are tilling the land for harvest. Is cow dung in the field a good thing or not? It is a very good thing. But if I bring a large bucket of cow dung and throw it on your dining table, is it a good thing or a bad thing? How has the good thing become a bad thing? Evil is that which is placed out of context. If everything is in its own place, it is very wonderful.

Even if you hear all these things a hundred times, unless you practise meditation it is of no use. What is the use of talking? You practise. Then all this evil and darkness will vanish.

Never think anything negative. Give up this idea. God is in heaven, and all is well with the world. Say that. If you say God has created the world and there are evil forces, you are impliedly saying that God has created the evil forces, isn't it? You are telling this to God: “You have created evil forces.” Would you like to say that to God? “You have created all thorns and mosquitoes, scorpions and evil things.” Will you say that to God? He has not created such things, as you are thinking in your mind. You are not putting things in the proper place. You are seeing them in the wrong place.