It’s a brave and bold step to strive for purity in a world of degradation, to embrace simplicity amongst rampant materialism, and to cultivate selflessness in an atmosphere surcharged with exploitation. Anyone who cuts against the grain will face temptation, doubt, ridicule and moments of weakness. Without the encouragement, support and good advice of spiritual friends how can one continue? We can’t do it alone.
Yet the Bhagavad-gita repeatedly highlights the transitory nature of life: the body changes, fortunes change, people change, and ultimately, relationships change. Individuals, even spiritualists, come in and out of our lives. Thus, while drawing inspiration from others, we must learn to stand on our own two feet. Camaraderie is essential, but there is a simultaneous need for self-sufficiency – even if everyone disappears, one must have the tenacity to continue. This deep conviction and individual strength is an essential element of spiritual success, which actually allows us to contribute more when we do come together in spiritual circles.
Etymologically, the word ‘guru’ means ‘heavy.’ The great saint Bhaktisiddhanta gives an interesting illumination: spiritual preceptors are so heavy that they cannot be budged from their spiritual resolve. Come what may, hell or high water, challenges and changes, their determination remains steadfast and unaffected. Our individual connection with God must become substantial and meaningful, strong enough to carry us through this turbulent world. Then, the inevitable chaos of life becomes simply background noise in our resolute internal journey towards purity.
With the kind help of the saintly, always feeling grateful for and dependent on their good wishes, we must learn to fly our own plane.