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A World of Yoga
Keep an Eye Out for the Master
What if You Seem Unable to Find Your Guru?
Donít be discouraged if the years pass by and you
canít find that incomparable awakener of higher consciousness, that merciful
man or woman. Itís very important you never give up in the quest for your
compassionate personal guide.
Why Canít Your Higher Consciousnesss Alone Be Your Guru?
Your higher self, or spiritual essence, is the ultimate Guru.
But early in your development
keep you from reliable and frequent contact with your inner Guru.
Breaking through your inner barriers to a discovery of "the Guru within" usually requires the help of an enlightened person ó one who shows the way to your personal awakening ó a Guru or Master.
What Exactly Does Guru Mean?
While the term Guru may be specialized in its exact meaning, the reality and importance of the Guru is widely recognized in both East and West. The phenomenon of an enlightened being empowered to convey awakening or higher consciousness to others who are worthy is commonly found throughout traditions of religion, mysticism, metaphysics, yoga, and various philosophies.
Some time ago a medical doctor, Maurice Bucke, became intrigued with the subject of higher consciousness. (See Cosmic Consciousness by Dr. Maurice Bucke) Exploring the lives of especially aware people of his time, he came to the conclusion that higher awareness ó which he called cosmic consciousness ó is generally experienced in the presence of one who already has it. Almost always there is an extension of light rather than the creation of it. One who is "aflame" shares the fire through touch or by being present in the life of the seeker.
Then the newly-awakened seeker usually abides in the heavenly experience for a few weeks or months and the experience goes away. The seeker pines for the return of higher awareness but cannot induce it to come back. What becomes necessary, as Bucke observed in many instances, is the formerly "on fire" seeker must then tackle the problems of his life and character and, over a period which may last for years, prepare his life to become capable of again receiving and maintaining the special flame. Then, when his, or her, life has been aligned with strong character, good will for all, and a universal spirit, cosmic consciousness returns. It stays for longer and longer periods, its presence often becoming continuous.
People of Cosmic Consciousness
Bucke maintains that these people of higher consciousness, or cosmic consciousness to use his term, have been the main "forwarders" of civilization throughout the ages. He determined that there are so few of them they could meet together in a large living room. However, he goes on to say that, in his opinion, there has been a development of human faculties over the ages.
For example, man can very likely perceive more colors now than thousands of years ago, and Bucke feels manís sense of humor has developed from being very primitive to being more subtle. Bucke feels that the next major human development is in the field of higher consciousness and he foresees an age when men and women will so refine their character and understanding of one another that most of them will be able to live naturally in cosmic consciousness.
Buckeís conclusion is that mankind is evolving spiritually and the majority of men and women will become cosmically conscious! They will live heavenly lives in love and peace with one another. They will strive to understand and share the planet nobly with people of different views who are also matured in their development ó all experiencers of cosmic consciousness. This transformed society will come about as one enlightened being awakens another throughout the world.
Enlightened People In Judaism
There are similar traditions of enlightened persons awakening sincere and worthy seekers in Judaism. Oftentimes Hebrew scriptures speak of a man of God, a prophet, conveying knowledge, wisdom, or experience of God to a worthy aspirant. For example, Elijah and Elisha. Elijah gave his mantle to his disciple, Elisha. Both Elijah and Elisha brought people back to life and, also, faced false prophets victoriously. Elijah and Elisha spent considerable time in the wilderness perfecting their spiritual faculties and came among men to serve. Elisha had many disciples during his life.
Another "awakener" was Baal Shem Tov, the seventeenth-century founder of modern Hasidism. Many traditions of awakening and enlightenment resulted from the spiritual work of Baal Shem Tov and his followers. His name means "master of the name of God," or "master of the good name." Enlightened on a mountain, he started the Jewish Hasidic tradition of intense prayer, joy, and love. He was called a wonder rabbi ó healing people and turning enemies into friends.
Enlightened People In Islam
Similarly, Islam has a tradition of revering true teachers who practice what they preach and live in personal piety, a personal awareness of God. The highest example of such a one is the Prophet Mohammed himself. Muslims, the believers of Islam, revere the Prophet Mohammedís 100,000 followers who are called his "companions." The companions of Mohammed went out from him and circles of followers gathered around many of these companions of Mohammed. The followers of the companions were called tabiíis.
During the time of the tabiíis, according to Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, director of the Islamic Society of Orange County in California, a special movement started in the Islamic work, a mystical movement called Sufism. Deeply pious men and women within Sufism became known as Masters, or teachers. These Masters attracted a large number of followers. So, around each Master developed a circle of followers called a halaba.
Seekers of greater surrender to the Lord come to these Sufi Masters, usually seated in the mosques, and ask a particular Master questions or listen to spiritual teachings ó how to develop themselves spiritually, how to create sincerity in their faith, how to improve their awareness of God ó and the Master shows them what steps to take in their personal development. These Masters also help guide the sincere believers through certain states of higher consciousness and stations of higher awareness.2
As in several other traditions, Islam emphasizes that the Masters and even Prophet Mohammed are not divine but reflect the divine presence.
Enlightened People In Christianity
Spiritual Masters are common in Christianity as well. Christ, in addition to being the redeemer of humanity, functioned also as Guru; He awakened his disciples and others to Godís glory. Study of his life and relationships with his disciples will give you much help if you are seeking to understand the nature of the transference of higher consciousness and the awareness of God. Itís extremely beneficial to study the Gospel of John in this light.
Detailed study of many Catholic saints such as Vincent de Paul is also very helpful in becoming familiar with this phenomenon of "awakening" in the field of higher consciousness. Vincent de Paul became one of the greatest human beings ever to walk the earth. A priest who had been through many heroic experiences, he had been much honored, even in Rome; he appeared a man of God ó "doing the right things," living in a way appropriate to a priest. He, however, really beheld huge obstacles within his own mind and heart.
Vincent observed his life did not fully accept or reflect the presence of the Lord. Over the years he observed a priest named Father Berulle who showed every evidence of being deeply intimate with Christ. The life of Father Berulle was an inspiration. One day Vincent beseeched Father Berulle to become his, Vincentís, personal spiritual guide. He said he recognized Jesus Christ expressing and moving in the good priestís life, thoughts, and words. Vincent, after pressing his request with intensity, was accepted by the humble Father Berulle. Vincent pledged himself in complete obedience to the senior priest. He pledged to do whatever Father Berulle would ask of him, knowing that Father Berulleís instructions would be as Christ would give them and would be very specific in terms of Vincentís daily walk with God.
Vincent de Paul and Father Berulle
Vincent then lived for years doing exactly what Father Berulle told him to do ó at least almost always. He did the work Father Berulle told him to do: he became parish priest at Clichy, and undertook other missions as instructed by Father Berulle. He conducted his daily life as Father Berulle instructed. He disciplined his thoughts and also studied as directed by Father Berulle.
Though Vincent became more and more widely known for his holiness, he disobeyed Father Berulle on one occasion and ran away. Vincent felt pride taking over his nature. He fled to the humble church at Chatillon to serve the poor parishioners there, rather than the prominent aristocrats who loved him so. But Father Berulle instructed Vincent to return to his duties after several months and Vincent willingly did so.
Vincent, with the help of his spiritual mentor, his dear "Guru," overcame his obstacles to the life of Christ. The presence of Christ infilled him and abided within him constantly. In the light of Christ, knowing that his resurrected light was now freely moving through him, Vincent lived a life of extraordinary service and achievement. Because he was also very brilliant, he was able to help millions of people. He saved ó physically saved ó tens of thousands of lives during the Thirty Yearís War. He also rescued many abandoned babies from church steps and garbage heaps.
At the stage where the spirit of Christ constantly abided in Vincent and his higher consciousness was consolidated, Father Berulle lovingly pronounced Vincent healed of the confusions of the world and ego. Father Berulle saw Vincent was free, truly free, and released Vincent from the vow of obedience to him. They continued as dearest brothers in the Lord for the rest of their lives.
There are dozens, and likely thousands, of examples of this
Western tradition of the transference of higher consciousness from one who has
been so awakened to another who yearns and has prepared himself for that
awakening. Protestant ministers have often spoken of meeting a great man of God
to whom they turn for teaching and correction. They speak in strangely Eastern
terms of wishing to bow down before the Christ in a great brother or sister.
They deeply value the laying on of hands from Christian brothers or sisters.
Being called to serve the Lord, they seek to be more and more Christlike
shepherds of their congregations.
1 In respect, I will observe the tradition of capitalizing Master and Guru throughout this Master and Initiate section.
2 In Islam, these stations are known as maqamat and ahwal, which develop into states of deep surrender of both ego and selfishness called fana and baqa.