THE NEED FOR A GURU Someone was living in a country called Gandhara, and was attacked by robbers on the way. He was tied up. His eyes were covered and he was taken to a long distance and left in a thick forest infested with tigers, wild beasts, etc. The person was crying, "I have lost my way. I do not know where I am. Will anybody come and help me? Does anybody hear my voice? Is there anyone near me?" That was all he could do. Then, there came one good Samaritan passing by that way and he untied all the knots with which the person was bound. He removed the bandages from the eyes and said to him, "Oh, you have come to this place. Where are you coming from?" The poor man replied, "I come from Gandhara. Now I do not know where it is. Which is the way to that place?" Then the kind one said, "You proceed from this place in that direction and you will see a big tree there. Then you turn to the right and walk for about two miles. Then you will see a village. From there you move towards the east and there you will see a signpost. Now proceed slowly and you can safely reach your place." This is an analogy to describe the condition of people in this world. We have been exiled from our 'home' and cast into the wilderness by the robbers of the senses and we cannot see things properly as they really are. We do not know from where we have come. We have lost our way. And the apparatus of our senses are not going to help us. The mind has been confounded. The only way is to ask for help, and just as a person with sight can help a person without sight and can point out the way to the destination which he has to reach, so is the blindfolded soul in this wilderness of life to take the guidance of a person with spiritual eyesight, who can visualise the presence of the great Reality which is the destination of everyone. Such a person with eyes which can see the truth of things as they are is called an acharya, a spiritual master. He is the preceptor, he is the Guru. There is no way of escape from this muddle of life except through the guidance of a preceptor, because a preceptor, a Guru, is one who has undergone these experiences of life. He has seen the tortures of existence, the sufferings, the winding path and the dismal ways through which one has to go. He knows from where one has come and how one can revert to that place again. Through the indications given by the master, the disciple has to proceed gradually. In the analogy, the good Samaritan told the blindfolded man how he could go back to his house step by step by the winding path with the help of various objects which served as signposts. Even so, are the scriptures signposts on the way. The instructions of the Guru are the indications on the path - Chandogyopanishad. Swami Krishnananda - The Divine Life Society - eBooks, Articles, Photos, Audios and Videos on Yoga, Meditation, Spiritual Practice, Philosophy and Hindu Scriptures.