The Role of Guru

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

A guru lies within all of us. That guru is known as the inner guru, or sat-guru. Ultimately, there is no guru other than the one who lives within each and every one of us. This is the truth of the matter, but unfortunately there is always a gap between truth and reality. Unfortunately, it is not enough to believe that the guru is always within us. This belief is nothing more than an intellectual concept – it is a concept which exists simply as a pattern of the mind.

The situation we are dealing with is a very difficult one. Even though our minds can accept and believe that the guru is within us, this does not give us the guidance that we need, because we are not yet capable of tapping that inner guru. There is energy present within all matter, but in its natural state you cannot harvest it and use it. First you have to submit this matter to a scientific process which will release the energy. Then it can be harnessed and used.

So how can we unlock, how can we give expression to our inner guru? It is a question about guru that will always concern us. It is to this end that we practise sadhana and kriya yoga. With these practices we are trying to create a situation in which the inner guru can emerge. The guru we can see and understand, and whose language is within our intellectual grasp, is only our first guru. His role is to show us the way to our own sat-guru.

Part of this involves helping us select the right yoga practices. Usually we need this guidance because we are confused. We know a lot about different practices, and sometimes we know so much that we do not know how to put it all together in our spiritual life.

1 January 1981, Munger