June 8, 2008 — “You need a living saint to find God.” That was the line that hooked me.
I had been searching for God for over a decade. Then suddenly one day a person dressed from head to toe in bright orange made this statement to me with utmost confidence. I’ll admit I was in a vulnerable place in an otherwise self-assured life. I was also in desperation mode, needing an answer to an eternal question: How does a human being find God in this world?
With some skepticism, but also great hope, I entered a path led by a guru named Prakashanand Saraswati. Over the years, he stressed several points over and over again such as:
- A guru is the medium between a soul and God.
- A soul must surrender 100 percent to a guru to receive entrance into the divine world.
- A soul must never question any action or instruction from a guru.
However, I also learned from other sources that in Hinduism the guru-disciple relationship is a sacred bond of trust, where the guru gives spiritual wisdom out of his or her benevolent nature (heavy with God’s love), and the disciple receives this gift with a feeling of extreme humbleness and gratitude. In this exchange, the guru stands out of the way so God can grace each soul.
If I had experienced that guru-disciple relationship at JKP-Barsana Dham, I would have cherished it with my complete heart and soul until my dying day. But I experienced something very different, including a guru’s ego, anger, lust, lies, desire, abuse, and more.
Later this month a movie will be released in the U.S. that lampoons the notion of gurus in America. Even with my bad experience at the hands of a guru, I cringe when watching the movie’s previews. I’ve read that some Hindu groups are angry and trying to censor the movie.
But, like Freedom of Religion, the U.S. guarantees its citizens Freedom of Speech. So the movie will likely go on as planned by Hollywood. I think that it will slightly skew the average American’s view of gurus, because, like myself so many years ago, most citizens of this country have no understanding of the role of gurus in Hinduism.
Actually, I envy their innocence. While it’s true that they may never understand what a truly pure guru-disciple relationship offers a soul, they also will never know what it’s like to be utterly taken advantage of in uncountable ways by fake gurus. Mercifully, they will be spared that pain.
Today I am seeking God directly without the interference of any phony spiritual teachers — and I feel now that I am closer than ever to the divine world.
Best to all seekers of God’s omnipresent love.