Last updated on 12th April 2015
Two short extracts from Swami's (Sathya Sai Baba's) discourses about examining the Guru before accepting him (or her) are quite appropriate for this blog post, and so are given below.
So, examine the Guru and his credentials, his ideals and practice before accepting him. Even in My case, do not be attracted simply by stories of what I "create" by a wave of the hand. Do not jump to conclusions with closed eyes; watch, study and weigh. Never yield to any one unless you feel the inner satisfaction that you are on the right path. [From: http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume01/sss01-09.pdf, 25-3-1958 discourse]
... do not run after Gurus who are themselves suffering from faulty vision and householder's troubles: do not beg from people who are themselves beggars. [From http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume01/sss01-30.pdf, 29-9-1960 discourse]
[Ravi: I think the 'inner satisfaction' part mentioned above is crucial. Something deep inside one goes positive/feels right when one is with the right guru for one's spiritual journey, in my considered opinion, based on my spiritual journey including the quest for the right guru for me. This going positive/feeling right may not necessarily mean feeling good as the right guru may prescribe and administer a lot of bitter medicine to ensure that the spiritual aspirant's faulty ways are corrected. But even when being given the bitter medicine and not understanding why it is being administered at a superficial/logical/worldly level, something deep inside, at the intuitive level, prompts and is convinced that it is for our own good! Strange (or rather, seemingly strange to the worldly minded) are the ways of the real guru.]
A couple of further extracts from the 25-3-1958 discourse mentioned above, which are also very interesting:
The Guru should not force the disciple to grow with a bent in the direction that he prefers; the disciple has the right to develop on his own lines, according to his samskaaras (tendencies) and bent of mind. The old relationship of Guru and sishyas (disciples) has today become topsy-turvy; rich and influential sishyas now rule the Guru and dictate how he should behave; and the Gurus also, keen on accumulating fame and wealth, stoop to the tactics recommended by the sishyas and thus lower their status.
My suggestion to you today is this: just as you attend to the needs of the body, feeding it three times a day, in order to keep it in good running condition, so too, spend some time regularly everyday to keep your Inner Consciousness also in good trim. Spend one hour in the morning, another at night and a third in the early hours of dawn, the Brahmamuhurtha as it is called, for japam (silently/audibly chanting a holy name or mantra) and meditation on the Lord. You will find great peace descending on you and great new sources of strength welling up within you as you progress in this saadhana (spiritual effort). After some time, the mind will dwell on the Name (holy Name/Lord's Name) (wherever) you are and (whatever) you are engaged in; and then, peace and joy will be your inseparable companions.