To learn something, being with a Guru is inevitable. To land up on the truth, one has to unlearn. The role of a Guru in unlearning is equally or more important than it is in the process of learning. Sant Kabir has spoken many Dohas or couplets which highlight the role and importance of Guru’s grace. Kabir was a disciple of Ramananada Swami who was himself trained in two distinct traditions – the tradition of Advaita as well as the Nath tradition which has connections with Tantric Buddhism.
While Kabir never explicitly spoke about his Guru, in many of his couplets or Bhajans, he invariably points his listeners or readers to a Guru. In one of his most famous couplets, he says –
गुरु गोबिंद दोनों खड़े काके लागू पाय
बलिहारी गुरु आपनो, गोबिंद दियो बताय
(If I encounter God and Guru both on my way, I will first bow down to the Guru as he is the who showed me where to look for the God.)
In of his other Bhajan, Kabir says :
गुरुजीने दिया अमर नाम, गुरु तो सरीखा कोई नाही
अलख भरा है भण्डार, कमी जामे है नाही
(My Guru introduced me to the inexhaustible one – the god. No one can replace a Guru. He opens up the treasure which is beyond all the measures.)
Most of the times, the quest for truth takes the path of knowledge and what ultimately we reach is a pile of dead information which further confuses us. That’s why, Kabir never talks about reading or studying scriptures. On the other hand, the Guru is the one who has walked on the path. He is the one who has found the key and has also unlocked the puzzle of existence using that key. If one wants to unlock this puzzle for oneself, the only way to do it is being in the company of someone who has already done it.
If one reads all the couplets or Dohas of Kabir and goes through many of his Bhajans, the only actionable guidance that he gives to a seeker is finding a Guru and being in his company. Why so much emphasis on being with a Guru?
Whatever we are seeking, whether we call it truth, god, love, reality – it exists within us and not outside. The Guru is the master of this art of going within. Having known the tricks that our mind plays, Guru is the one who knows how to circumvent those. A seeker can carry out this journey on his own but being with a Guru makes the whole journey smoother and shorter!