How Does One Choose a Guru?

Posted: March 14, 2010 in Guru
Swami Sivaya Subramaniyam, “I have been asked many times, ‘How does one choose a guru?’ Well, if you are in a crowd of people and you hadn’t seen your mother and father for five or ten years, you would immediately  know them. You could pick them out of large crowd. you’d immediately know. Not necessarily by how they looked, but by the vibration. You’d immediately know. And so it is with the guru
“There are, shall we say, commercial gurus. Pick a guru. Here a guru, there a guru. A guru, in the classical sense of the word, doesn’t have a great many devotees. He might have a lot of people who think he’s really great, especially if he chants well or does something that is outstanding. It’s easy to get a lot of followers. Traditionally, a guru can only take a few close disciples, and he generally does. 
“If you’re looking for a guru, try to feel his vibration. Better still, talk to his students to see if they have any substance. Ask them, ‘Have you had any inner experience?’ If they start talking about everything, telling you all about it or try to convert you, be cautious. On the other hand, if they look content within themselves and test you out a little to see if you’re sincere, you know that they’re taught to be wise. Look at the students. See how they interact among themselves. Observe closely what they do. Note how well-disciplined they are. In this way, you get to know the caliber of the man who is their satguru. Find out who his guru is and where the line of darshan power comes from. Then you get to know, to really know. 
“Don’t be too hasty in picking your guru. That is the best advice. Maybe, it’s not for you in this life to have a guru. Maybe, next life or the life after that. There’s no hurry, and yet there is a great sense of urgency on the spiritual path, a great sense of uregnecy. Don’t go hunting for a guru. Just be alert enough to know when you encounter him.”
Question: What is the inner experience that you had referred to above? 
Swami Sivaya Subramaniam, “How does one know whether an inner experience is real or imaginary? Well, we don’t have to go very far in answering that question because everyone has inner experiences. Two people are in love. They fight. They separate. That’s an inner experience. And it’s real, isn’t it? That emotion, that tearing apart, thos wonderful mental arguments where nobody quite wins—they’re all real.
“Even such an argument is an inner experience, but of a more externalized, instinctive-intellectual or gross nature. Yet, it’s very real. It shakes the muscles. It can even make a us perspire. It lives within us. It could keep us awake at night or give us disturbing dreams. Its a real and a vital experience. We have to go through those grosser inner experiences first before our inner life becomes more refined. They are just as real—seeing light within the body, light within the head and hearing the inner sounds. All of the things you have read about come to you after you have done through the inner experiences of the instinctive and intellectual mind. First we go through our inner instinctive experiences, then our intellectual experiences, then our instinctive and creative experiences. Finally, we come to the Self, which we realise is the totality of all inner experiences, being beyond experience itself.”  
The above has been taken from Swamiji’s book entitled Merging with Siva (pgs. 596-598)
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