The Need for the Guru
God sends the seeker indirect guidance at first, through books and lesser teachers. Only when the desire for Him is very strong does He send help in the form of a Self-realized guru. It is no favor to the guru if the student accepts him. Rather, the student must have prayed very hard, in this lifetime and in former lives, to have earned so great a blessing.
It isn’t that you need to go out looking for the guru. The Lord will send him to you, or else draw you to him, when you are spiritually ready.
– Paramhansa Yogananda
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A Handbook on Discipleship
The guru-disciple relationship is perhaps the most important relationship the soul can have in this world of relativity. It is also the most important relationship the ego can have in the sense that it’s the one relationship that thoroughly demolishes the ego. The worldly person, however, doesn’t see the attractiveness of this relationship; he doesn’t like to put himself in the position of subordination to what he considers to be just another person. He feels that his opinion is as good as anyone else’s. In the matter of seeking God, he doesn’t see the need for another human being to intercede, but thinks to establish his own relationship with God directly.
It’s very important to speak not only of why we need a guru, but more particularly of how we can be good disciples. This is an even more difficult question, and one that, generally speaking, people don’t understand on a deep level.