I need a guru but alas I am a 19 year old with no money. I want to know God. That is slowly becoming my only desire. I want to just find a self-realized guru and learn under him/her for years at an ashram. Can anyone give me advice on how to find a true guru? And do gurus take students free of charge?
—Cody , USA
Dear Friend and Fellow Chess Club Member,
Perhaps you have heard the old “saw,” “When the disciple is ready, the guru appears!” At age 25 I sold everything and went to India for the same purpose, but, like Dorothy and Toto in The Wizard of Oz, I, too, came up empty-handed, only to find my guru upon my return.
In my case, Paramhansa Yogananda had long left this earth (1952) but I met Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple. He wouldn’t accept the role of guru, but he is a wise spiritual teacher and a true, divine friend.
How to Find a True Spiritual Guru
I suggest to you that you seek a spiritual path and spiritual teacher. Let the concept of “guru” work itself out. For, after all, if you find someone, how will you know he or she is a true guru and not just a spiritual teacher who is magnetic and intelligent but still subject to human emotions, etc.?
God sends the seeker indirect guidance at first, through book 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 life time and in former lives, to have earned so great a blessing.
Begin with books, then to classes, and then to a spiritual family. Bit by bit as you refine your intentions and deepen your commitment by self-effort, being always open to divine grace and guidance, your true guru will appear: whether in human form or through the disciples of a true guru.
It’s not that you need to go out looking for a guru. The Lord will send him to you, or else draw you to him, when you are spiritually ready. (This system is full-proof!)
Steady, steady, soon done! Meditate daily, read true spiritual teachings, find others of like mind. Think and act with the right attitude and right action. The magnetism you develop through devotion, wisdom, and spiritually-centered action will draw to you the grace you need each step of the way to final freedom.
You can start your journey with a Self-realized guru and if their teachings do not resonate with you, keep on asking for the help; you will be directed you to your own destined guru. A Self-realized guru has that power!
The bond of the guru and his disciple is eternal and the disciple’s liberation is his work order, so to speak. So keeping your will strong, pray and love God, which will create a magnetic field to attract a Satguru (true guru) who is already waiting for your call.
When you find your own guru, you know in your heart you have found them. His teachings resonate with your understanding level and by absorbing them you feel uplifted and humble to receive more and more.
Energy to Seek Self-Realization
As to the subject of money, see money as energy. It takes great energy to become God-realized and free. Spiritual teachings only cost money owing to the practicality of what it takes to attract and share them with those who are sincerely interested.
But for the devotee’s part, we must understand that it is we who must sacrifice all for the pearl of great price. So don’t judge spiritual teachings by whether they are “free”.
Nothing worth having is truly free in the highest and best sense. No guru is going to zap you with Cosmic Consciousness for mere asking, in other words. We need to earn spiritual freedom just as we have to earn our livelihood to take care of ourselves and render grateful service to humanity.
Updated August, 2023 by Nayaswami Suvarna for Ananda Communications