Who is a perfect Guru?The Guru has no gender. He is neither a man nor a woman. He is beyond these attributes. He sees through his atma (soul) and sees only the atma. According to the Sashtras, the Guru follows the principles of dharma, artha, kaama and moksha. Dharma is to attain the ideal perfection, artha is to procure the right result necessary to attain the ideal perfection, and to become free from all desires is kaama. These are the three qualifications of a Guru.Guru is like a poem, which you do not understand when you read it at first. You have to go beyond the external form. You have to contemplate on the Guru, which means you have to understand the Guru. To contemplate, you have to be with him, understand him, do upaasana, conceive, then only you realize how wonderful Guru is.GU means darkness and RU means light. The Guru illuminates the path, removes the darkness of ignorance and reveals the truth. He transmits the knowledge to the disciples. He teaches the disciples. A teacher has a student whereas a Guru has a disciple, or a sishya. A sishya is the sesha of the Guru, the sesha part of the Guru, which means a part of the Guru. A sishya differs from the vidyaarthi, who goes to a teacher to attain the artha of the vidya. A sishya's place is in the heart of the Guru whereas the vidyaarthi's place is in front of the Guru. A sishya is not different from the Guru. A student is one who studies. He does not study other than what is taught, he does not know himself, he does not study his own self, he studies something else.There is also a difference between a teacher and a Guru. A teacher is not a Guru. The one who teaches what is taught is called a teacher. His knowledge of the taught is teaching, he has not attained it as shruthi (noble words echoed by the Supreme), he has acquired it from some book or some person. A Guru is one who leads you from darkness to light and one who transmits shruthi.
Guru is known as Brahma, as Vishnu and as Lord Maheswara. Guru is actually the Supreme Divinity and therefore we bow down to the respected Guru. Through all the teachers, guides, inspiration, examples of every realm of heaven and earth, the principle of Guru is what has shown forth. Why is Guru known as Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara? Is it possible to have a confusion of loyalties?
What is the meaning of this shloka:
Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru saakshaat Parabrahma tasmai Sri Guruve Namaha
The literal meaning, as most people understand is qualifying the Guru as the Brahma the creator, as Vishnu, the protector and as Lord Shiva, the balancer.
Guru is Brahma, the creator, He creates the disciple. If there were no Guru, there would be no disciple. Gods were there and Gods will remain, but unless there is a Guru, disciples cannot be created and no one can reach God. We look at Guru only as a creator, who can give pleasures, blessings and identify him as Brahma. Most people are stuck with Guru as Brahma. They only want the Guru to create new things, they look for materialistic and spiritualistic benefits, they find only the glitter, and as a result the moha increases. Guru gives attraction initially, for instance when you first go to a saint, he may bring out a Shivalinga and give it to you. Next day, he gives you Lord Krishna, and the third day vibhuthi (scared ash). The fourth day he asks you not to come for all these things. By this time you realize that you do not want to go anywhere else. He has shown that if he can give all these, he can give something else also. A child initially needs some sort of attraction, the saint does all this to attract you towards knowledge. He does not have to please you by giving all these things. He only attracts the human mind but people misunderstand these gestures as a cheap expression of powers.Guru creates a disciple, gives certain intimation, warnings, tests in some ways and then vanishes. The disciple keeps on searching for the Guru, he presumes that the Guru has disappeared, as he is not physically visible. The Guru is aware that since he has created you, he also has to protect you. The disciple looks for the Guru or the knowledge, which will liberate him from the cycle of births and deaths. He looks for the Supreme Divinity, which is by no means an easy task: going through the karma yoga, the dhyaana marga, the bhakthi and the jnaana marga. The Guru has created this thought within you and in order to search for him, he makes you walk the path, clears the path, makes you experience the life and throughout the experience, he protects you. You realize that he is not merely a giver, but when you are in trouble, when you are faced with diseases and difficulties, he protects you even at the cost of his life! When all doors are closed, when there is no way out, when even God does not listen to your call, Guru Vishnu protects you! Through all the struggles, the Guru is always with you. This is Gurur Vishnu!
Ultimately you come to Lord Shiva! Guru has all the three virtues within Him. The knowledge is implanted in your mind, you are asked to contemplate, made to struggle, made to work hard, made to realize and ultimately reach the transcendor. Once you reach there, he transcends you totally, he removes the veil of ignorance from you. In order to make you see your own Divinity, in order to make you understand that you yourself are the Supreme, he destroys what is not required for you. He is a destructor because he destroys the darkness, the ignorance, the avidya from within you. This is what Lord Shiva does! He has been entrusted with the responsibility of transcending. He removes the obstacles in order to create and maintain dharma. Guru Devo Maheswara! Guru saakshaat Parabrahma! Who is the Parabrahma? The one who has created the universe, who has created the Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesha, is Parabrahma. After passing through all the stages, after unconditional surrender, when he reaches the stage of HE AM I, the disciple suddenly finds saakshaat Parabrahma standing there! He immediately prostrates before the Parabrahma -- Guru saakshaat Parabrahma tasmai Sri Guruve Namaha! You have no sharira, no mana, no aathma. Then you realize that the Guru is the saakshaat Parabrahma! When you reach the Brahma, then the Parabrahma is visible. Parabrahma is the Supreme Divinity. Brahma cannot create the Guru, Vishnu cannot create the Guru, Maheswara cannot create the Guru, it is only the Parabrahma who can create the Guru. All the three are merged in the Guru, enabling the powers of the Parabrahma to be transmitted to him.
There is a story of a king who claimed to be a great disciple of his Guru. One day when the Guru visited him at the palace, the King after greeting him with full respect and dignity, prayed at the Guru’s feet and wanted to know what he could offer the Guru. This just showed the king’s arrogance! What can you offer to the giver of all? Nevertheless, the Guru replied: give me whatever is yours! The king started by offering his palace to live in and meditate, then all his wealth, his praja (people), but the Guru declined everything, because nothing belonged to the King. Even the kingdom does not belong to you, said the Guru when the king offered the entire kingdom. The king offered his sons, then his sharira but the Guru refused even these. When the king offered his mind, the Guru said he would go insane, if he offered his mind, so the king offered his mind and aathma. At this the Guru said: "If you can do this, then YOU ARE ME. For the time being, please rule your country properly." The Guru then departed. What does this show? Guru does not want what you think he wants. He wants to uplift your aathma, reach you to the Supreme Power, the Divinity, because he himself is Divine. Divine only accepts divinity and nothing less than that. As long as you do not become divine, he keeps you at a distance, you have to transcend, you have to reach: Guru Devo Maheswara.