As a yoga teacher, and even before that, I often wondered about the concept of ‘guru’. It is not part of the Western culture. To me, it implied worshiping someone and loosing my inner power by considering that an other person was more ‘advanced’ than me on the spiritual path, knew more and had some sort of authority upon his disciples. I have always disliked figures of authorities… from my primary school teachers to my bosses… I know that’s extreme but it’s my rebellious side talking here. So to me a ‘guru’ was a very foreign concept, somehow pretty destabilising to think about. Yet, I have always been fascinated by saddhus, gurus and Indian sage. Their attire, their presence, their aura of peace could be felt from a picture in a book or a spiritual text. I was experiencing inner conflict between my cultural background and rebellious side and my inner calling or intuition.
The more I moved on my yoga journey, the more the idea of finding my guru developed. It started to become like a longing to one day meet such an amazing person, yet, I would reassure myself that I actually don’t need one… Which is true in a way.
But what is a guru exactly?
“Guru” is a Sanskrit term that connotes someone who is a “teacher, guide , expert or master” of certain knowledge or field. The term also refers to someone who primarily is one’s spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the guru has already realized. Or master which can achieve expert level with his perfectness in every field. Like politics, education, sports, and other field. And become very important person or pivital figure of that field. – Wikipedia.
So this concept involves the notion of transmitting a certain knowledge to aspirants. It is actually more than knowledge as it has a strong spiritual connotation; the master or guru has already attained enlightenment in this world and helps his students on their path so one day, if God wills, they will find enlightenment too. I like this a lot… the fact that a teacher or guru must have done the work on himself first before he can be there to help others. What a difference from my school teachers or former bosses – someone who actually spend his life dealing with his own shit to transcend them, find happiness and help others! (without judging here – it’s totally different). It shows commitments, discipline, love for God and true devotion.
Devotion (or Bhakti yoga) is again something that has been rejected fiercely by me not even such a long time ago – surrender myself to gurus and God?!?! Same rebellious side showing here again;-) Rebellious side? Yes but most of all an ego that yet wouldn’t accept the idea that I must practice humility, simplicity and truthfulness to myself an others. After having done some more work on myself and coming across many more light bulbs, I realised that all my resistance around the concept of having a guru was coming from a place of insecurities coupled with a strong egoistic attitude towards life – as “I can do it all – I already know these things”. Now, I really know that I don’t know…
When I got initiated into Kriya yoga last Octobre, I was impressed by the teacher who appeared to be a simple man living a simple life, yet he was extremely wise and funny, caring, patient and loving. The technique was simply shared and offered to be received by the students. We learned the techniques so we could practice on our own but there was no demand on us to do anything at all. The teachings were offered with love and total freedom. There was no pressure felt to do anything or believed anything. It was very open-minded and there was no ego playing in dispensing knowledge. All was done in great humility and love. I loved it! Yet, when we learned about the lineage of gurus and when I heard over and over again for the need to love God and the gurus, I didn’t really understood what it meant. It was such a foreign concept for a Belgian girl!
Reading the ‘Autobiography of a yogi’ and practising my Kriya yoga every day was all that was needed for me to understand what ‘loving God and the gurus’ meant. I understood from my heart, not my brain with its lingering resistances to the concept. I was able to open my heart to receive the flow of love coming from a higher source and transmitted with love and patience by one person to the other, by one guru to his students so eventually, all of us can become free of sufferings. I felt in my heart what the concept means, yet I still hadn’t met a real life guru!
So when I learned that his holiness Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, the very guru of the Kriya yoga lineage that I had just learned, was coming to Taupo for a retreat, I didn’t hesitate, I wanted to meet him badly! “You’ll see” my friends told me “when you are in the presence of a saint like him, you can actually feel his aura of peace enveloping you, he is like a magnet”. How excited, how curious was I!
I wasn’t disappointed… on the opposite. Indeed, his presence was so beautiful that I had a beaming smile on my face for the entire retreat. Indeed, his love was so transparent and generous that my heart was filled with deep happiness. But what got me totally hooked was to listen to his lectures. Yes, he is enlightened and that’s very obvious but it doesn’t mean that he is not human, that he doesn’t have passion in his heart and strong emotions passing by… When he talked about the way humans treat the earth, the way we eat and interact with each others, it’s clear that he is passionate about it. But he can transcend the negative aspects and negative mind to fill his heart – and ours – with such an amazing love that there is nothing left but inner peace and commitment to move onto my own spiritual journey to maybe, one day, if God will, reach enlightenment. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to go and learn fro such an amazing person.
From the first time I saw Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, to the last day of the retreat when he told me “come to India” I knew that I had found my guru! My heart is filled with a new dimension of love, my life is bathed in the commitment that I have taken for my own spiritual path. Yes Guruji, I will come to India to see you again, learn, practice Kriya yoga, and serve you and the other disciples. Novembre it is;-)
This is my story on how I found my guru. It’s very personal and I feel that I expose myself to judgments as in our modern society I feel that it is not considered highly to devote a life to serving a guru (not I would totally live in the ashram to do so;-) But my ego has to shut up so I can open my heart and share my story, so I can be authentic and live fully without shame or shyness. That’s what I want, to be true to myself and this story answers that call.
I wanted to share it with you for one reason: to encourage you to consider your own resistances to certain concepts… why do you dislike this or that, reject this or that… why? Then, do you think it helps you grow to have that judgment? It could be helpful yes, so choose to keep it. But if that concept, that way of seeing a situation doesn’t make you a better, happier person, can you actually let it go? Change your mind or choose not to have an opinion on it, simply?Can you open your mind so much that you can look at the world from a different perspective and then become more tolerant, loving an open, to your own self, but to others too?
Can you choose total freedom over cultural indoctrination?
Here is a photo of me and my guru;-)
If you want to know more about Kriya Yoga: