Q35. What are the traits of a True Guru?
In view of the need of a Guru, one must be on guard against a pseudo of fake Guru. Sikhism lays down certain qualifications and qualities for a Guru.
The Guru must be a perfect man who is able to inspire confidence in his disciples. He must come to their aid in every emergency. A Guru does not live in an ivory tower. He mixes freely with all sorts of people.
The Guru is not an incarnation of God. He is a humble prophet or messenger, invested with the duty of showing the true spiritual way to ordinary people. Guru Nanak says: “He is whom the Light is fully manifest is the Guru.” He must be prepared to suffer for his principles. He must not claim any status or excellance for himself. He is fearless and without hate. He may come in conflict with hostile social forces, vested interests and evil people out to oppose him, but must deal with them gently and bear ill-will to no one. Guru Nanak compares a Guru to a ladder, and sometimes to a ship. All the Sikh Gurus had the same light, Jot, the Divine Spirit in them.
Perhaps one of the greatest traits of the Sikh Gurus was their humility. Guru Nanak regarded himself as the lowest of the lowly. Other Gurus also were meek in spirit. They accepted all suffering in a spirit of resignation. Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur became martyrs to the cause they chrished and in spite of possessing supernatural powers, refused to exercise them, because the working of miracles is not in accordance with the Will of God.
The Guru occupies the highest status in the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak says:
“The divine spark is in all,
It pervades every heart.
By the Grace of the Guru,
It may be revealed, then the devotee feels blessed.”
Slowly and steadily, the Guru guides the development of the Sikh to perfection and if the Sikh be very lucky, the Guru transforms him into the Guru. The Guru remembers “The Name”, day and night and makes others do so. He is just like a boat, ferrying people across the tempestuous ocean of life.
Meeting a True Guru, is a sign of benediction. The disciple must prepare himself morally and spiritually for his guidance. He is a tower of strength, a beacon, lighting man’s path in this dark world.