In many walks of life when we are learning something for the first time we will take the help of a teacher. For example if we want to learn to play the piano we will find a good piano teacher. Similarly to make the fastest progress in meditation and the spiritual life it is advisable to take the help of a spiritual teacher. A qualified spiritual teacher acts like a personal guide showing us how to enter into deep meditation.
The main function of a spiritual teacher is to inspire his students to discover their inner reality. Each individual has within them a realm of peace, joy and delight. It is just at the moment we are not aware of our own spiritual identity. A spiritual teacher shows us how to unlock the door to our hidden capacities.
‘The most important thing a spiritual Master does for his spiritual children is to make them consciously aware of something vast and infinite within themselves, which is nothing other than God Himself.’
It is not essential to have a spiritual teacher in order to realise God. Throughout the ages there have been seekers who were able to learn everything from their own meditations. The first seeker to realise God had no teacher. In modern times spiritual Masters like Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi were largely self-taught. However these spiritual teachers had a very rare and intense spiritual aspiration. If we value time we can take the guidance of a spiritual teacher. A spiritual teacher can help to remove obstacles and enable us to reach our goal sooner.
A real spiritual Master will never ask or persuade a seeker to be his disciple. A spiritual teacher will wait for aspirants to come to him. If a seeker is sincere a spiritual teacher can expedite his spiritual journey and awaken his aspiring consciousness.
A spiritual teacher can guide, inspire and encourage but real spiritual progress depends upon the inner attitude and sincerity of the seeker. To make progress we have to faithfully practise our spiritual disciplines and practices. Even if we have a genuine spiritual Master, if we do not meditate we cannot expect to make any progress.
By reading the illumined writings of a spiritual teacher we can enter into a spiritual consciousness, which helps us to meditate. However the most effective way for a spiritual teacher to offer his light and peace is through silence. When a spiritual Master enters into his highest consciousness he brings down peace and light from above. If a seeker is receptive he can benefit from this consciousness and heighten his own meditation. The Buddha used to give many lectures, but on one occasion he didn’t want to speak. Instead of lecturing he just held up a flower. It was called ‘The flower sermon’ The Buddha was trying to make the point that it is through inner silence that we make spiritual progress, not just through mental comprehension.