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It has always been taught that in order to attain realization, not only practice but also a enlightened Guru is needed. Among many other explanations that Ramana gave about the self, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi explained the doctrine of the meaning of a true Guru in its deepest sense. Ramana has said that without the grace of the Guru one cannot attain the Self. What precisely does he mean by this? Who is a Guru? In Ramana’s teachings only a Jnani ( enlightened soul ) is qualified to be a Guru.
Ramana Maharshi, like Christ was enlightened by himself which is the rarest form of enlightenment. They had no human guru. They were enlightened by the supreme state of their own self and that is the grace bestowed upon Ramana Maharshi by Arunachala Shiva,the creator of the Universe.
But just because Ramana Maharshi ,Christ and Buddha did not have a human guru to enlighten them, it does not mean other ordinary mortals do not need a Guru.
Ramana explained that only a Jnani (Enlightened soul) can be a Guru.The Guru means only a Jnani and it is absolutely necessary to have the grace of a living Jnani to enlighten oneself.
A Jnani is God and God is a Jnani. A Jnani is a enlightened soul and god in the human form. The Jnani has realized the true self by merging the mind with the Hrudayam, which is the right heart where the divine dwells in every being.
A Jnani is established in the Self which is the Brahman or the higher Self.The Jnani is Always in unity with the Absolute and hence no change takes place in his/her being. He is a Jivanmukta. He is liberated in this very life as his ego is burnt by the fire of Supreme Wisdom.The Jnani is the true knower of the Self and is truly qualified to be a Guru.Only a Jnani has no rebirth again in this world.
Few examples of Jnani’s are Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi (Tiruvannamalai), Ramakrishna Paramahansa ( West Bengal ), Mata Sarada Devi ( West Bengal ),Mata Anandamayi (Dehradun – Haridwar ), Bhagavan Lakshmana Swamy ( Arunachala Hrudayam – Tiruvannamalai),Mathru Sri Sarada ( Arunachala Hrudayam – Tiruvannamalai) and few other enlightened souls who are very rare in this world.
when a great saint who is chosen by the Lord himself, approaches the Lord with sincere devotion, he graciously assumes name and form and takes it to Himself. Therefore they say that the Guru is none other than God. He is the human embodiment of Divine Grace.This would seem to mean then, that the Guru is the Lord or the Self manifested outwardly in human form and that this outward manifestation is necessary. Hence God, Guru and Self are the same.
The characteristics of a Guru ( Jnani ) can be recognized when the Guru (Jnani) abides in the profound depths of the Self always and forever. He never sees any difference between himself and others and is quite free from the idea that he is the Enlightened or the Liberated One, while those around him are in bondage or the darkness of ignorance. His self-possession can never be shaken under any circumstances and he is never perturbed.
The essential nature of spiritual instruction given by the Guru is very important for the spiritual growth of a devotee.The spiritual teaching of the Jnani helps in restoring purity of the heart to its its true and primal state of Pure Being.
It is very rare that a person can realize his true being without the grace of the Guru ( Jnani ).It is not really the bodily individual that is the Guru. You think of him in human shape as a body of certain dimensions, complexion, and so on.But in reality the Guru(Jnani) is not the body but the “self”. Ramana Maharshi says a small story to explain the wisdom of a true Jnani ( Guru ) –
A disciple, after Realization once said to his Guru: ‘I now realize that you dwelt in my innermost heart as the one reality in all my countless births and have now come before me in a human form and lifted this veil of ignorance. What can I do for you in return for such a great benefit?’ And the Guru replied:‘You need not do anything. It is enough if you remain as you are in your true state. That is the truth about the Guru ( Jnani )
Bhagavan often explained that the divine guide, the true Guru, is in one’s heart as well as being manifested outwardly. While the outward Guru turns one’s mind inwards, the inner Guru pulls from within. The Guru is both outer and inner. From outside he gives a push to the mind to turn inward while from inside he pull the mind towards the Self and helps in quieting it by dragging you to the Centre. Thus he gives a push from ‘without’ and exerts a pull from ‘within’ so that you may be fixed at the Centre.
That is the Grace of the Guru. There is no difference between God, Guru and Self. Even one’s environment does not happen by accident. The Guru creates the conditions necessary for one’s search for god in the inner self. This is the grace of a Jnani (Guru).The Guru is the Self.
The master is both within us and outside us. Many devotees thinks that the Guru ( Jnani ) is a man or a women and expects a relationship as between two physical bodies. But the Guru who is God or the Self incarnate, works from within, helps the devotees to see their mistakes and guides them in the right path until he or she realizes the Self within.
But the Guru himself does not make that mistake. He is the formless Self. That is within you. He appears outwardly only to guide you. The true Guru will not call themselves a Guru or call any devotee their disciples, since that would be an affirmation of relationship and therefore of duality.
Though they instructs their disciples, they do not call themselves their Guru, realizing that the Guru and disciple are mere conventions born of Maya (Illusion).The ego is a very powerful elephant which cannot be brought under control by any creature less powerful than a lion, which in this instance is none other than the Guru whose very look make the ego tremble and die.
You will know in due course that your glory lies where you cease to exist. In order to gain that state, you should surrender yourself to the guru. Then the Guru (Jnani) sees that you are in a fit state to receive guidance and he guides you.So long as you seek Self-realization, the Guru is necessary. Take the Guru to be the real Self and yourself to be the individual self.
The disappearance of this sense of duality is the removal of ignorance. So long as duality persists in you, the Guru is necessary. Because you identify yourself with the body, you think the Guru too is the body. You are not the body nor is the Guru. You are the Self and so is the Guru.
Ramana also says that God, Grace and Guru (Jnani) are all synonymous and are both eternal and immanent. Such is the Guru. Such is Dakshinamurthi. What does dakshinamurty do? He sat silent. The disciples appeared before him. He maintained silence, and their doubts were dispelled, which means they lost their individual identities. Jnana (spiritual knowledge) is that silent understanding and not the verbal definitions that are usually given for it. Silence is the most potent form of work.
The Guru is quiet and peace prevails in everyone around him. His silence is vaster and more emphatic than all the scriptures put together. Even one single look of a Jnani (Guru) is more important that idols, pilgrimages and other rituals which are not so effective.Such is the importance of the Jnani seeing you. That look has a purifying effect.You will know this by the peace of mind you feel in his presence and by the respect you feel for him.
The perfect Guru such as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, a Jivanmukta living in constant identity with the Self is a very rare thing. Ramana says that the Guru (Jnani – Enlightened soul) possesses the supreme power to make any soul who comes to him or her to merge the mind into their heart (Hrudayam). The Guru works in many ways to make the disciple merge with the Self.
The fate of each one will be according to his merit.