This Chapter is taken From The Book ”Guru Ramana – Memories and Notes” by S.S.Cohen

The rise of a new political ideology in the West after the first World War made men intolerant of all authority. The forces it released and the spirit of rebellion it disseminated everywhere had such extremely wide repercussions that its influence stamped itself on most of the new world literature. It invaded even the spiritual sphere and coloured the views of the rising generation of preachers, who became the Messiahs of the new age.

The truly-seeking minds were thus caught between the spirit of the new age and that of the venerable traditions and scriptures, which had, throughout the centuries, produced spiritual giants who led millions “from the unreal to the Real and from death to Immortality.”

It is small wonder then that bewildered, earnest, truth- hungry men should anxiously visit the Maharshi and seek his advice on the need or otherwise of a guru.

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June, 1937

Visitor. I have been following a certain school of thought, which completely dispenses with gurus. But after many years of deep thinking I have now come to the conclusion that a guide is absolutely essential on the difficult path which leads to spiritual liberation. I take Bhagavan to have reached the Highest, and so I beg of him to enlighten me.

Bh. All scriptures recommend spiritual teachers. The guru is none other than the goal men seek, the Self. As the seeker’s mind is bent outward, the Self takes a human shape as a guru to help driving it inward. Thayumanavar says that God, Self, or Guru appears as a man to dispel the ignorance of man, just as a deer is used as a decoy to capture a wild deer. He has to appear in a body in order to dispel the “I-am-the-body” notion of the seeker.

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30th October, 1945

2. Sri Dilip Kumar Roy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram this morning sang in the presence of Maharshi in the Hall and in the evening asked the following questions:

Dilip. Some people reported you to have said that there was no need for a guru. Others gave the opposite report. What does Maharshi say?

Bh. I have never said that there is no need for a guru.

D. Sri Aurobindo and others refer to you as having had no guru. Bh. All depends on what you call guru. He need not be in a human form. Dattatreya had twenty-four gurus: the five elements – earth, water, etc., which means that every object in this world was his guru. Guru is absolutely necessary. The Upanishads say that none but a guru can take a man out of the jungle of intellect and sense- perceptions. So there must be a guru.

D. I mean a human guru – the Maharshi did not have one. Bh. I might have had one at one time or other. But did I not sing hymns to Arunachala? What is a guru? Guru is God or the Self. First a man prays to God to fulfil his desires.

A time comes when he will no more pray for the fulfilment of material desires but for God Himself. God then appears to him in some form or other, human or non-human, to guide him to Himself in answer to his prayer and according to his needs.

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19th February, 1937

3. Mrs. Jinarajadasa, an old Theosophist and later a follower of Sri J. Krishnamurti:

Mrs. J. In Mrs. Besant’s time we used to spend such a lot of time meditating on the Masters. Are Masters really useful?

Bh. Masters do exist externally as long as the pupil feels himself to be the body. As such they are useful to teach him the truth about himself. Once the pupil experiences the Truth and breaks the body illusion, he realises the Masters to be the same as himself, namely, the Supreme Consciousness, or Self. If there are Masters outside the Self, then they are not real, being external additions, for he who comes will also go, that is, is impermanent. The fact is Self, Master and God are one and the same.

Mme. de Rathonyi. Oh! We are far from this truth!

Bh. How many miles are you far from it? Do you deny your existence? If not, how can you deny Reality, which is pure existence, the Self ?