Why do we need ‘Guru’ in our lives?

The most beautiful affair of human life is that, he possesses the tendency to “learn“. Right from his birth, to his death, a human keeps on learning at every step, which leads to enhancement in his knowledge. But in our lives, is it possible to accumulate knowledge all by ourselves? If there is no person to teach you, if there is no Guru, would you be able to learn anything? No, right? When a child takes birth, his foremost teacher is his mother. Thereafter, he acquires knowledge from his father, his family and society. But when he establishes a goal in his life, like-to become doctor or engineer, then in order to attain such goal, he has to take shelter of a teacher. Without a teacher, he can never attain the aim of his life. Now, the point to speculate upon is that, when we need a teacher in order to attain our goals of material life, then the spiritual knowledge, which is so intricate that even science till now has not been able to understand it fully, the knowledge which is connected to our souls, so in order to attain such sophisticated knowledge, won’t we be needing a teacher? Could we understand it by ourselves? No, right? Just as we need a teacher to accomplish our material goals, in the same manner, with the view to attain our spiritual goals, we require a teacher. But sadly, the mentality of people today is such that they get frightened whenever it comes to a spiritual teacher. And due to such mentality, some hypocritical/pakhandi “Gurus” have barbarously deteriorated the image of bona fide religious Gurus. But it is nothing like all gurus are hypocrites/pakhandi. There are certain gurus today who are true devotees of God, and with utmost honesty are engaged in preaching of God. Such bona fide Gurus possess some special qualities. Before accepting anyone as our Guru, we must look for these qualities in such person:-
1. A disciplic/paramparic Guru Will never call himself God. He shall act as a bridge, connecting you to God and taking you to him. But the ones who call themselves God, instead of glorifying him, can never be true gurus.
2. A Guru must devolve from Disciplic Succession. Disciplic Succession means that the knowledge that a guru spreads, he received that knowledge from his Guru. Like- “International Society for Krishna Consciousness” which falls under the ambit of Bramha-Madhva-Gaudiya-Sampradaya. That is to say, the transcendental knowledge was given to Brahma Ji by Lord Krishna, after which it further came to Madhavacharya Ji, and likewise Sri Srimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada received this transcendental knowledge.
3. A guru would possess knowledge elucidated in Shastras and the conclusion of such Shastras would also be known to him.
4. A Guru always has his senses under his control.
5. A Guru is always stable in his bhakti.
6. The Bona fide Guru always says what he does, and does what he says.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Prabuddha tells Mahārāj Nimi: “My dear King, please know for certain that in the material world there is no happiness. It is simply a mistake to think that there is happiness here, because this place is full of nothing but miserable conditions. Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realised the conclusion of the Scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince other of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters. Everyone should try to find such a bona fide spiritual master in order to fulfil his mission of life, which is to transfer himself to the plane of spiritual bliss.“

The purport is that one should not accept as a spiritual master someone who is a Fool Number One, who has no direction according to the scriptural injunctions, whose character is doubtful, who does not follow the principles of devotional service, or who has not conquered the influence of six sense gratifying agents. The six agents of sense gratification are the tongue, the genitals, the belly, anger, the mind and words. Anyone who has practised controlling these six is permitted to make disciples all over the world. To accept such a spiritual master is the crucial point for advancement in spiritual life. One who is fortunate enough to come under the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master is sure to traverse the path of spiritual salvation without any doubt.
Anu Jain