A sannyasin has the same difficulty knowing God as a householder does. For this you have to find a guru. Seeking answers to questions is only satsang. Whatever I am saying is not imparting diksha, it is satsang. I am giving my opinion, but the purpose will not be served just by giving opinions. You have to accept a guru who will show you the path. Everybody has different samskaras and different karmas. There is not one husband for all women or one wife for all men. Every father has a particular son and every son has a particular father. In the same way, every disciple has a different guru.
A wife without a husband, a husband without a wife, a disciple without a guru or a guru without a disciple cannot move on. Just as a wife is a necessity, a desire and essential for a husband, in the same way a guru is essential for a disciple. A guru has to be searched for. People say that not everybody is lucky enough to find a guru. But every girl gets a husband. Sometimes the marriage fails, but that is another matter. Just as a husband has to be searched for and many things found out about him, in the same way you will have to know more about the guru.
There is no dearth of gurus in the world, nor of disciples. The main thing is that you cannot catch hold of a man on the street and say, “You are my guru.” You drink water only after it is filtered and you accept a guru only after you know everything about him.
In the spiritual world there is one type of guru who gives opinions and information, the shiksha guru, and another type who imparts experience, the diksha guru. You may have the information that a rasgulla is sweet, but that information is incomplete; only after you have eaten the rasgulla will the information change into experience and be complete. There are some satsang gurus who give opinions and information, as I am giving, and there are some who will lead you on the spiritual path, just as you lead a child by holding his hand. The spiritual path is not sitting in meditation all day. The guru instructs the disciple, gives mantra, and explains the sadhana. When the disciple is married and has children, the sadhana is changed. When he is fifty, when the children have grown up, he retires and the sadhana is changed again. The spiritual guru gives all these instructions.
It is not that people do not accept another guru. We accept that a teacher is needed in any field of knowledge, vidya. Whether it is physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, law or medicine, a teacher is always essential, but the teacher must be an expert in that subject or science.
Rama took initiation from Vasishtha, but he also received knowledge from Vishwamitra and Agastya. While fighting with Ravana on the battlefield, Rama became tired. Meghanada was dead, Kumbhakarna had also been killed, all the rakshasas had been killed, but Ravana would not die. His ten heads kept reappearing and he was always ready to fight. Rama was perplexed and full of anxiety. At that moment Agastya Muni gave him the Adityahridayam mantra and said, “Rama, repeat this mantra and all your obstacles will be removed.” Rama repeated the mantra, started to fight and Ravana was killed. What does this mean? Did Rama have three gurus? It does not matter. Vidya, knowledge, can be learnt from anyone.
Good knowledge and good thoughts can be acquired from anyone, from whichever guru you find at the proper time. Dattatreya had twenty-four gurus. During his exile in the forest Agastya gave Rama a lot of knowledge. Rama then went to Sharbang Muni’s ashram where he also received a lot of knowledge. Then he went to Shabari, who directed him towards Pampa lake. After all, isn’t it a guru’s duty to show the path? Shabari showed him the way to Pampa lake and his path was cleared.
So there can be many gurus, but there should only be one diksha guru. Rama’s diksha guru was Rishi Vasishtha. Sandipani was Krishna’s diksha guru. So the final statement of our great saints and rishis is that the guru is decided, just as the life span is fixed and the time of death is fixed. This is the truth.