The Role of the Guru in the Yogic Journey is a research paper that I 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. We were invited to choose any subject to research that had relevance to one or more of the eight ‘limbs’ of yoga. As no previous student of the IYTA had written on the very important and significant role of the Guru in one’s yogic journey, and as I have been a student of the spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy since 1994, I thought that The Role of the Guru in the Yogic Journey seemed like a perfect topic for me to explore in depth. I really enjoyed writing the paper and especially enjoyed finding parallels between my own experiences and those of the students of spiritual Masters that I interviewed and read about from the past.
I have chosen to write my research paper about ‘The Role of the Guru in the Yogic Journey’ because of the amazing and enriching experience it has been for me for the last twelve years to have a living Guru. What I have learned, how much it has kept me on track in my Yoga practise, and how much it has expedited my progress has been profound compared to when I was trying on my own.
I have intensive experience of having an authentic Master of meditation, Sri Chinmoy , as my Guru and am fortunate enough to spend at least two or three months of the year studying with him in person. Through teaching meditation and introducing the idea of having a Guru over the last ten years, I feel and see that in the Western world there is generally very little understanding of the role of the Guru in the spiritual life, and there are often misconceptions and even fear surrounding the idea. In Asia and the East, the idea of having a Guru is very natural and perfectly understood as it has been for thousands years. I will be able to bring, through this paper some clarity to the subject for those searching for a Guru or with a general interest in Yoga and its many dimensions.
In this paper it has been a joy to parallel my experiences with my research of other Gurus and disciples from recent times and ancient times. The similarities in my experiences and theirs are a thrill to discover and always deepen my own understanding of the Yogic Journey. They illustrate the truth that Yoga is one path, one truth and one Goal with just a variety of guides to get there.