The Role of the Guru in the Yogic Journey is a research paper that Phoolanjaya Beale wrote as part of the requirements to qualify as a yoga teacher at the International Yoga Teachers Association teacher’s training course in 2005/2006. They were invited to choose any subject to research that had relevance to one or more of the eight ‘limbs’ of yoga.
The term Guru is a Sanskrit term that literally means: gu ‘darkness’ and ru ‘that which dispels’. It is often translated as ‘dispeller of darkness’ or, he or she who illumines.
To realise God is self-discovery in the highest sense, where one permanently establishes their awareness and oneness with God within themselves, and remains in that consciousness forever, being able to reveal and manifest God consciousness at any time.
A Guru plays a slightly different role than teachers for outer subjects. A school teacher will perhaps teach a class the same information and then examine them to see whether they have learned the lesson correctly. A Guru however plays the role of a private tutor, lovingly guiding the disciple through their own unique inner challenges, inspiring them, reminding them of their true deeper self and purpose in life and awakening their aspiration or tapas, their inner fire or deep yearning for truth. Tapas is one of the Niyamas, which is the second limb of Yoga.
The single most common factor that emerged in the interviews conducted with disciples of various Gurus, was that they felt that having a Guru kept their spiritual practises on a fast track in a way that they know they could not have done on their own.
If there are very few Gurus of a high level in the world, one would wonder how to go about finding a Guru and then how to know if he or she is the right teacher for you.
A teacher of any subject whether it is sport, academics or spirituality, will have guidelines and rules for their students, to help them achieve the highest standard possible.
A God-realised Guru has the capacity to make an inner link with each of their disciples. It is through this link that the inner guidance happens.
One does not even have to speak to a Guru in person to receive their teachings, just to be in their presence is a profound, transforming and uplifting experience in itself. The powerful high consciousness energy field that a Guru transmits is very tangible especially if one has been practising Yoga for some time.
The relationship between Guru and disciple works on many levels. The Guru is like a bridge between ourselves and God. The Guru has become consciously one with God, and can bring from God, peace or bliss or whatever we need.
The guidance of a true and genuine Guru is a powerful, important and integral part of the Yogic journey – as it has been for thousands years.
Sri Krishna, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Chinmoy, Paramhansa Yogananda