The Role of a Guru
“My intention and my work are to bring clarity. If you see things clearly, if you know that the whole universe is one—not because someone says so, but because you see so—everything will change.”
Excerpted from the latest issue of Isha’s monthly magazine – Forest Flower, Sadhguru answers the role a Guru plays in a seeker’s life.
Sadhguru, what is the role you are going to play as a Guru in our lives?
As the word Guru suggests – gu means darkness, ru means dispeller – dispelling darkness. How to dispel darkness? You cannot kick the darkness out of a place because darkness is not an existence by itself. Darkness is absence of light. We value light for the clarity that it brings us. If you were an owl, darkness would bring clarity to you; light would be disturbing and blinding; this is also true for many other creatures in the wild.
No matter in what stage of life you are, what aspect of life you are addressing, the most important thing is to have clarity about it. You want to be able to see it the way it is. Whatever it may be – whether it is a simple physical thing or mystical dimensions of life – you can deal with them sensibly only if you have the ability to see them the way it is. Seeing everything the way it is, is clarity.
If someone tells you, “You are not the body; you are not the mind; you gathered this body from the planet,” your mind agrees with it, but experientially, it is not true for you. You still feel, “This is me – that is you.” What you need is experiential clarity. When there is pain, disease, or whatever kind of physical suffering, you may wish you were not the body. But it is not what you wish, it is not your reactions to situations that you face or suffer; it is not what you see in moments of compulsion; it is what you see in moments of utter clarity that really matters if you want to move ahead in life.
Suppose you are in a dark room and you are not able to see anything – suddenly, you feel alone. If the lights go on, you feel the world is with you again. Everything is the same, but just because you can see clearly, the world has changed in your experience. This is my work – to make you see everything the way it is. If you see it clearly, everything will change. We do not have to change anything because the existential cannot be changed. You can change psychological situations; you can change physiological situations; you can change social situations, but you cannot change the existential. If you see it the way it is, everything about you will change.
If I was a moral teacher, I would try to change you. Because I am a Guru, I do not try to change you. I do not ask you to be good; I do not ask you to be peaceful; I do not ask you to be nice to others, because I do not intend to change you like that. That would be just a pretention which would build up over a period of time and implode at some point.
My intention and my work are to bring clarity. If you see things clearly, if you know that the whole universe is one – not because someone says so, but because you see so – everything will change. If you see existence the way it is, not the way you think it is, everything about you and your relationship with existence will change.
Essentially, the work of a Guru is not to bring morality to you but to bring spirituality to you. The difference is just this: one is an imposition, another is a natural blossoming. This is about seeing to it that this human nature reaches its ultimate possibility. If human beings blossom into their ultimate nature, they are naturally the very source of creation, because that is the seed. You did not create yourself; the source of creation is functioning within you.
If you plant a seed, it becomes a plant. When it is a plant, you cannot believe it was a seed, but if you wait and it flowers, once again a seed will come. In between, there are many processes. We are not against the sprout, the shoot, the leaves, and the flowers – it is just that we do not want you to be caught up in it. To understand the nature of the seed means you can create life the way you want it.
Creating life the way you want it does not mean building a particular kind of home, building a particular kind of career, having this much money, dressing this or that way, even though we have nothing against all that. Making this life the way you want it means that this life will function at its best if it is kept the way the Creator intended you to be. If you go back to your original nature – we call it the seed – if you are conscious of the seed nature within you, you can become a sprout; you can become a plant; you can become a tree; you can become whatever you want, but it will not entangle you.
So what role will I play as a Guru? I have a strong sense of aesthetics. Because of that, only if you strive to keep yourself open, depending upon how much openness you create, that much of an active role I will play. If you allow me, I will even decide what you should eat for breakfast – not as an imposition but as a natural choice. It can even find expression in the most mundane things. That does not mean I will come and choose for you between idli and dosa.
When you are walking on the street, whether you step into a pit or on the road or on the pavement is essentially determined by the sunlight, not by you. In that sense, a Guru can influence every aspect if you are willing. If you want me to only influence your spiritual life, this is fine with me too. Some people see sunlight only once a year, when they go on a vacation. Some people wake up early every morning, just to welcome the sun. That is your choice.