Who is a Guru? || Acharya Prashant (2014)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Question: Sir, what is the role of a teacher in the life of a student? Whatever syllabus we are prescribed as of now can be possibly dealt by us to a decent level. Then why a teacher? Isn’t there something more than just teaching?

Answer: There is something called knowledge- gyaan. Knowledge can be had from anywhere- books, experience or a man. The man that provides knowledge is not a teacher. He can be easily substituted by a book. He is just a Knowledge Provider- KP. What we have in schools and colleges are mostly KPs. They must not be called teachers.

Then there is बोध। Bodh is not knowledge or gyaan. Bodh is realization. In knowledge, ego stands secure at its place and actually gets stronger by wearing more knowledge. In Bodh, ego melts and diminishes. The one whose presence invokes bodh in you is the teacher- Guru.

Question: How is the role of a Guru different from that of a book?

Answer: Guru is like a living doctor who can see and understand the patient. Book is like a medicine, a chemical. Medicines can in fact be harmful if not taken under the care of a doctor. But the egoistic patient tries to become his own doctor and you know what happens when people try medicines on their own.

Question: How can we find the guru in a KP? Is there any guru that vests in him too?

Answer: Till the time one keeps calling KPs as guru, it will be impossible for him to meet the guru.

When one has accepted the false as true, then where is the space for the true to enter?

Question: Sir, we are all surrounded by KPs only. How should we take him? If he can be simply substituted by books, why is he there even? And then when he is just a knowledge provider, why is it a big deal to stay dissatisfied with the way he delivers the knowledge?

Answer: Society hates the Guru and is afraid of him. The Guru stands for Truth and most people are too attached to falseness.

But time and again, the urge to really KNOW calls the mind. Then the society provides KPs as a substitute for guru. That is the deep reason why the KP is called guru by society- so that the real guru and bodh can be avoided.

You are asking, ‘how to take KP?’. Take him as exactly that- KP(Knowledge Provider). Never call him a teacher. Never give the sacred place of guru to him.

And yes, you are right, KPs are no big deal. We get some good KPs and we get some bad KPs, but ultimately a KP is a KP. Don’t take him seriously. He performs a certain function, and that is it. A tea-seller gives you tea, a KP or a book or a website gives you knowledge. You pay the money – fair enough!

All my life I survived KPs. And a few of them were brilliant KPs. I ensured I gave them regards as per protocol, but I knew they could never reach the heart. That place is special and is reserved for a special.

Question: How to differentiate a KP from a guru?

Answer: KP will ensure your ego remains intact. He will work to satisfy YOUR needs and help you to meet YOUR goals. He will give you knowledge as per YOUR demand. He will, in a way, try to bring the Truth DOWN to YOUR level.

Guru will, on the contrary, RAISE you to the level of Truth. This process of raising you is the annihilation of your ego, so most probably you will not like it. Guru will not meet your expectations, nor will he draw a syllabus to meet your demands. In fact, if he is really a guru, he will shatter your dreams. It is difficult to like, or love, a Guru. But KPs are very likable

-Based on my interactions on various e-forums.

Dated: 23rd December,’14

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