How to find the right “Guru” in life or at work
After Donald Trump’s ascent of Capitol Hill, it can be safely said we live in an age of entrepreneurs.
Nowadays, entrepreneurs come in all shapes and forms. Thus, we have education entrepreneurs, medical entrepreneurs, art entrepreneurs and so on. Only the other day, a friend taught me the term “intellectual entrepreneurs” that she had learnt from her ‘guru’.
Talking of “gurus” it is no surprise, therefore, India abounds in spiritual entrepreneurs (though the guru my friend was referring to is a highly respected senior journalist and not one of those “Mr, Mr”, Swami, Baba, Bapu, Mata or Amma variety).
However, ancient scriptures have very strict injunctions on who can be a Guru.
Over the weekend, I was reading a short essay by the 12th President of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission Order — Swami Bhuteshananda. He explains, one of the prerequisites of a Guru is S/He has to be totally selfless and should not have any expectation of pecuniary or material benefits from a devotee.
Equally, it stipulates the devotee should not go to a Guru in search of any temporal gains. There is no quid-pro-quo between a Guru and the devotee. Spirituality cannot either be a business or a profession. Similarly, devotion cannot come with strings attached.
Interestingly, while it is incumbent upon a Guru to test the sincerity of a devotee, the Hindu philosophy puts greater onus on the devotee for selection of the right Guru. The “Shastras” indicate several methods of due diligence before settling on a spiritual preceptor. But, after having accepted someone as a Guru — the devotee is expected to surrender her/himself to Her/His Holy Grace without reservation.
The scriptures go on to suggest that, having accepted the Guru with a pure and open heart the devotee need not worry should the latter turns out to be dishonest. Because, by then the direct communion with the divine would have taken place, albeit through a less than perfect medium (ie a flawed Guru) and the burden shifted from the devotee to the Guru, who can no longer come in the way of his/her salvation.
It is worth reflecting how some of these principles can be applied in our daily lives — at work or home. How do we decide on a mentor? In a world that is defined by mutuality of self-interest, is it possible to develop a mentor -mentee relationship that is altruistic? Or, are selfless relationships extinct in a ruthlessly competitive environment?
However, it is these very challenges and insecurities of modern life that make us vulnerable to charlatans, quacks and fraudsters. To overcome our deepest fears we many a times end up worshipping false Gods. This is applicable both in our spiritual quests as well as our professional pursuits — when we fall to the wrong leader, mentor or boss.
The spiritual Masters also teach us — the real “Guru” resides within all of us and the trick is to find her/him.
A good place to start could be with a trained coach — who can set us off on that journey of personal exploration and growth.
Sandip Ghose is an ICF accredited PCC Coach, who specialises in working with young professionals. For more articles on Coaching, Self-development and Personal Growth visit his web-site Right Angle