How many times have we heard this oft-quoted Zen saying. I’m sure we have all used this saying sometime; often in totally unrelated ways and often as a joke! However, the over-generalization of the saying does not take away the veracity of this saying. Often students and Yoga/Spiritual journeymen ask, “When will I meet my Guru?”; or “Can I go to India and find a Guru?”. Well, the truth is you can’t find your Guru – He (or She) will find you!
So then, what can you do? All you need to do is have the courage to say ‘Yes’ when the Guru calls you. He will know if you are meant to be His student. Simple? Maybe not.
There are two beautiful stories from the Bible, where Jesus calls Disciples to himself. In the first one, Jesus meets his first Disciples who were fishermen- Simon (called Peter) and Andrew. And he tells them, ‘Come with me and I will teach you to catch people’. At once, they leave their fishing nets, and follow Jesus. If you were to think of this story you would be a little startled as to why these two men left their LIVES (families, friends, jobs, everything that made them ‘themselves’) and went with this MAN whom they were encountering for the first time? It doesn’t make sense, does it? They had no idea that this Man would one day be hailed as the Messiah after His death. He had not yet performed any miracles even! Yet, all of us who have had the wonderful opportunity to have studied under a Guru; will recount similar stories about our first meeting and call-up from our Guru/ Master/ Teacher (whatever you may wish to call). It is impossible to logically say why we agreed to leave everything and follow our Guru! That is the beauty of the Spiritual journey – most of the key moments and decisions are Alogical (beyond logic) – they just feel right in a way that ‘falling in love’ with your partner felt right. Of course Jesus knew that Peter and Andrew would be His disciples; and to their credit they were open to ‘risking’ everything in following, living and learning under Him.
The other story from the Bible is when Jesus meets a young man who is extremely good in his manner of living. So Jesus tells him to follow Him. The young man says that he will have to go and meet his parents first and then can come and join Jesus. But Jesus says that then he can’t join Him then – for to join Him, the disciple should love Him more than anyone else. The only difference between the young man and Simon Peter was the readiness to leave all behind and start a new life under the Guru. This has been aptly called in the Indian tradition as ‘being Born for the 2nd time’!
I recall how my wife; also my Guru-Bhai, since we learned and lived under the same Master for several years, joined Him. While she was working in India, it so happened that she was a party where 2 famous Yoga Masters were present. The host of the party asked both the Masters to demonstrate some extraordinary Yoga skill. So the first one, Bikram Chowdhury (the founder of Bikram Hot Yoga) showed Nauli Kriya (a yogic technique of moving the stomach in cyclical waves to cleanse the intestines). Being a visual feat that is stunning to see, me wife (Neetu Singh) was extremely amazed! Next the other Master, Bharat Thakur (founder of Artistic Yoga), demonstrated a Yogic technique in which he held his Heart Beat for a few minutes – as if He were dead itself! The whole gathering was shocked and some even tried to call for an ambulance. Minutes later, He revived his heart beat and was normal again! Immediately, my wife asked him to teach her that skill. And he said that to learn that, she would have to leave her job, home and join him as a student – an invitation she accepted and over the years, she became a yoga student and then a yoga teacher!
In conclusion, meeting a Guru is a wonderful lesson, and living with and learning under a Guru are life-changing experiences that allows you to be re-born in the most beautiful way possible. Of course, it is not a necessary requirement for everyone on the spiritual journey and many will never live with a Guru. However, for those destined to live with their Master – all one could say is practice, and be ready!