When I was taking off to Mysore I was full of determination to find the Teacher. I heard that normally it just happens and the Teacher comes at the right time to a student’s life, when a student is ready. I knew that I had to trust my heart and the Universe, and still I did my research and made a few excel sheets, organizing yoga teachers of Mysore in neat columns, easy to filter – obviously just in case the Universe would need a bit of a factual back up and a google-based cheat sheet.
Even though I turned to yoga teachers alone, the Guru I had in mind was pretty much all-in-one. Someone, with whom our energies would merge the moment we met each other. The one, who would show me the right path, who would always be there for me, leading me through the dark forest of spiritual ups and downs. The one, who would reveal to me the wisdom of this world, while generously sharing the knowledge of yoga asanas and philosophy.
All around the globe people are on a mission to find the Teacher and not just for their spiritual path. All existing media for entrepreneurs shared at least one list about why and how you should find a mentor to become successful. In classical arts, like classical Russian ballet, the Teacher is the Master with absolute power, whose name pretty much determines success of their protege.
In yoga, the concept of the Teacher is essential and this sacred relationship was the only way the knowledge was transferred to a student, long before the first scriptures were created. It would require an absolute trust and not just years, but decades of dedication from both sides. The founder of Bihar School of Yoga, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, instructed his disciples in his letters:
“The disciple and the guru, the devotee and his God, the river and the ocean, devotion and knowledge, actions and thoughts are all interrelated. The devotee makes the surrender. The disciple surrenders his actions, thoughts and ideas at the feet of the guru. The guru also surrenders everything to his disciples.”
Nowadays however it seems to have become much more difficult to find the One, as if there are suddenly more people searching or if there are simply less Gurus out there.
But let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time there lived a man called Dattatreya. He was a saint, a yogi, and since young age he’d been wandering in the woods, in search for the absolute Truth. One day he met a king, who was so stunned by his wisdom, his happiness, his inner freedom that he pleaded Dattatreya to reveal his secret to him along with the name of his Guru. And Dattatreya did share the name with him, but there was not just one Guru, there were twenty four of them. He learned from the Air to be without attachment. He learned from the Child a virtue of cheerfulness. He learned from the Python to be content with whatever he had. He learned from the Earth patience and importance of doing good to others. So, he went on, telling about his Gurus, all of whom were around him and from whom he learned by merely observing them. But most importantly he said: “The Self alone is my Guru”.*
We might hide it behind beautiful and complicated words, but in reality we expect to find the One, who would give us the recipe. The recipe for a healthy, happy and successful life, preferably just in a sentence or two, with a step-by-step instructions. But then, surprisingly, neither the Guru, nor the Mentor, nor the Teacher appears in front of us, and then we sigh and mutter: “If only I had a good Teacher!”
Very rarely we realize that many answers and knowledge are already within us, and whoever takes a form of a Guru, often just gives us our own reflection and brings to their realization. Our Teacher(s), or Mentor(s) are already out there, they just might take multiple forms and not the one we have expected before. How many times did a short acquaintance in your live, a conversation with your grandparent, an unplanned situation in life, a stranger, a sudden loss or gain have brought you to answers to some deep questions, by serving merely as a trigger? These realizations, big and small, can sometimes completely change a course of your life.
I did find my yoga Teacher in Mysore. Practice with him was very much worth traveling and searching, and will be worth all many times to come, but now I know that he will not answer all my questions and do not expect that.
To my surprise, my first and foremost Guru whom I found upon arriving to Mysore was sitting thousands of kilometres away, far from coconut grooves and devotional 4 am yoga practice, but in the world, which all the yoga students run away from in search for the Truth. It was my husband. Listening to my daily experiences, he was bringing in front of my eyes what I couldn’t see being blinded my own expectations. He was bringing me back to reality when by continuously rambling about people judging others I was in fact judging myself. He was showing me the reflection of my own fears and insecurities when I was unhappy with the surroundings. Was it necessary to travel that far to understand it? Yes, it was. Our Gurus take form when we are ready to see them.
To find your Teacher(s), your Mentor(s), your Guru(s), to keep finding them throughout your life, remember one thing:
“Read what is unwritten. Listen to the unsaid.” **
And you will find what you are looking for.
*This story is a small part of a life of a Hindu diety, who is believed to be an incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. You can read the whole story here.
**Swami Satyananda Saraswati