When God is in our heart, why do we need any guru to come between us and him?
The guru doesn’t come in between us and God; he removes whatever lies between us and God.
Though God resides in our heart, can we feel his presence there? No. A huge wall of misconceptions blocks our access to him. These misconceptions are of two types: conceptual and practical.
Conceptually, we may have many doubts like ‘Does God actually exist?’ and ‘If God is good, then why is there evil in the world?’ Such doubts make it difficult for us to even believe in God, leave alone love him. To remove these doubts, we need systematic philosophical education. The guru provides this education and thus breaks down the wall of doubts that stands between us and God.
Practically, we may have many desires that distract us from devoting ourselves to God. The guru guides us about how to balance between the mundane and spiritual aspects of our life, and how to cultivate love for God even while living in the world. Without such guidance, we will either postpone devotion for a tomorrow that never comes or will neglect our worldly responsibilities in the name of devotion. By such actions we let the wall between us and God remain intact. That’s why, if we are serious about breaking that wall, we indispensably need the guru’s guidance.
The role that the guru plays is conveyed by the two parts of the word ‘guru’: gu and ru. Gu refers to the spiritual ignorance that we are in. Ru refers to the radiance of spiritual knowledge that dispels this ignorance. Thus, the guru is the one who dispels the darkness of our spiritual ignorance by illuminating us with spiritual knowledge.
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