19th July is celebrated as Guru Purnima in India and Nepal. Guru is the One who dispels the darkness of spiritual ignorance in humanity and bestows upon them spiritual experiences and spiritual knowledge. On a more earthy level, we tend to equate Guru with Teacher, Preacher, Master or Mentor. He is none of them. In fact he is much beyond all of them with no exact equivalent in the English language. While we loosely use Guru in the common parlance out of respect for a Teacher, all Teachers are not Gurus. It is said just as a shishya seeks a Guru, a Guru comes in search of a good Shishya. He is the one who shows the path of self-discovery – learning through discovery as against tutoring and conditioning the mind to think only in a particular way or worse still, not to think at all as most schools, colleges and coaching classes do nowadays. They are ‘coaching factories’ where students are fed ‘pre-fabricated learning modules’ and end up as ‘unfinished products’ !
It is time we move away from this system of learning on to the path of discovery and seeking. Today thanks to technology – age, language or geography is no more a barrier to learning.
You can find the course you want and the teacher you want but getting a Guru who ‘removes the darkness of ignorance’ is still a struggle. Continue to seek !