In ancient times and still in modern India, a particular spiritual tradition is passed down from a teacher to a student and in turn to his student. So there is a sense of lineage and nobody takes any personal claim on that lineage. The truth is important, not the teacher. The reality is, it’s not possible to be a teacher because there is no teaching. Therefore there is no student.
The role of a spiritual teacher and that of a regular teacher are quite different. The regular teacher usually teaches something to the student that he didnt know before – a technique or language. In contrast, the spiritual teacher points to a spiritual truth that is always already present in the student.
Personally I like to offer myself as a friend, but in India the word guru explains this situation very well. The guru means the one who reveals the light in the darkness – if you like, the bringer of light.
So in that way you can say I am a guru. Because my whole effort is to bring light and this is the traditional role of a guru. But in the West this word guru has a kind of strange meaning and I don’t associate with this meaning. At the same time, guru is a very important word.
In the West we like to do everything ourselves. We say, “Life is my teacher“, and we don’t see that the guru is also a part of life. He has a particular role, which you can’t perform for yourself.
The first thing a guru does is open your heart by turning you inwards. And naturally if you could dothat yourself, you would have done it. If your heart is not open then you must be needing some help. If your heart is not open you won’t allow anybody to touch your ego.
Nobody wants their ego to be touched. Everybody loves their ego. Everybody is identified because they think they are their ego. So that’s two very important jobs for the guru. The next thing is that when you become the truth yourself, you need somebody to confirm that, because this is a little bit unfamiliar.
You never knew or acknowledged truth and now you suddenly know and you need somebody to confirm that That is the truth. So this is also a very important function for the guru.
Then the next job for the guru – you see he is quite a busy guy – is after the awakening, because after the awakening we feel very vulnerable. It’s like being reborn and so it’s very helpful to be in the presence of somebody who knows, because many doubts could come and there are many influences that can take us away from the truth.
In my own case, I spent fifteen years with Osho and when I met him I wasn’t looking for a guru. I went on a long journey with him and then he left his body and my work wasn’t complete. I wasn’t really looking for another guru, but existence picked me up and took me to another guru, Papaji.
Then after three weeks I understood truth and I stayed nearly five years with Papaji. In that five years I never had a question. But this five years was a very important time. Somebody else might leave immediately and stay alone somewhere, but for me it was wonderful to stay for five years with Papaji.
It has given me the power and knowledge in my own turn to bring light to those who spend time with me. After sharing for more than twenty years I have around me a few who can themselves pass on the light. In this way the light is passed on from generation to generation.