Q: Is the Guru a signboard to a goal, or is the Guru the goal itself? Is there a need for a Guru?
Sri M: A Guru is a guide. He is not the goal. This is where the mistake happens.
Suppose, I am standing outside and someone approaches me and asks the way to Palayam market. Often, it happens that even if we don’t know where Palayam market is, we give some or the other directions to get rid of the person. There are a section of people like that – anyways, let that be so.
But, suppose, I know the way and guide him, suggesting going left, then straight and, on reaching the circle, turn left to reach the Palayam market. If the person wants to go to Palayam market (i.e. reach the goal), then he has to start walking on the stated route. Instead, if he just stands there and puts a garland on my neck doing Arathi, how will he reach the market? If he says: “Here is a Great Guru, who he has ‘taught’ me the way to Palayam”, will he reach there? No, he won’t reach his destination.
A Guru’s function is to show the way. But you must walk that path. There is no other way. At the same time, you ask if there is a need of a Guru? Most people need a Guru, as it is an unexplored territory. Taking guidance from a Guru is required. Only a person who has walked the path earlier will know the challenges on the way – where the pitfalls are, which way to navigate, and related things. Hence, a Guru is required.