Originally posted in 2016, this is a message that I felt bears repeating.
If we are looking for a teacher who will magically turn us into enlightened saints without effort on our part, then we’re really looking for Santa Claus, not a spiritual teacher.
The sole purpose of a true teacher is to promote our spiritual growth. Being with a true teacher is not easy. The teacher causes us to face our impure desires and emotions, our egotism, and our agitated mind, so that we can purify and calm ourselves.
So, to learn from a spiritual teacher, we have to exert effort to raise ourselves spiritually We have to do our sadhana (spiritual practice). It’s not realistic to hope a teacher will remove all of our impurities and lift us up to the heights without any effort on our part.
Even before meeting such a teacher, we have to make ourselves ready to receive the teaching. The old maxim, “when the student is ready, the master appears,” still holds true. We can’t expect to find a great teacher if we haven’t prepared ourselves.
Here is what the great sage, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, says on this topic:
“You will never meet a bad guru if you are a good student. The reverse is also true; if you are a bad student, you won’t meet a good guru. Why should a good guru assume responsibility for a bad student? Nobody collects garbage. If you are in search of a guru, search within first. To become a yogi means to know your own condition here and now, to work with yourself. Don’t grumble because you don’t have a teacher. Ask whether you deserve one. Are you capable of attracting a teacher? Are you prepared to be guided? (Swami Rama, Sadhana, The Essence of Spiritual Life, Pp. 107)