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Interreligious dialogue : Classics > Spiritual Guides

Onelittleangel > Classics > Spiritual Guides
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T he disciple that takes abode in the Master's home to receive guidance
Should with his heart the Master's guidance accept. He should nowise show
off his ego; He should ever in his heart meditate on the Name Divine. The
disciple that has abandoned himself to the Master-- All his objectives
shall be fulfilled. One that serves and seeks no recompense, Finds union
with the Lord.

Sikhism 4365 | 
Gauri Sukhmani 18, M.5, p. 285 

A s in the sky flies the white-clothed crane,
Keeping its mind behind,
In its heart continually remembering its young ones;
So the true Guru keeps the disciple absorbed in the love of God,
And also keeps him in his heart.

Sikhism 4362 | 
Adi Granth, Gauri, M.4 

T o many it is not given to hear of the Self. Many, though they hear of
it, do not understand it. Wonderful is he who speaks of it. Intelligent
is he who learns of it. Blessed is he who, taught by a good teacher, is
able to understand it.

The truth of the Self cannot be fully understood when taught by an
ignorant man, for opinions regarding it, not founded in knowledge, vary
one from another. Subtler than the subtlest is this Self, and beyond all
logic. Taught by a teacher who knows the Self and Brahman as one, a man
leaves vain theory behind and attains to truth.

The awakening which you have known does not come through the intellect,
but rather, in fullest measure, from the lips of the wise....

Words cannot reveal him. Mind cannot reach him. Eyes do not see him.
How then can he be comprehended, save when taught by those seers who
indeed have known him?

S hould one see a wise man, who, like a revealer of treasure, points out
faults and reproves; let one associate with such a wise person; it will be
better, not worse, for him who associates with such a one.

Let him advise, instruct, and dissuade one from evil; truly pleasing is he
to the good, displeasing is he to the bad.

Buddhism 4360 | 
Dhammapada 76-77 

A pproach someone who has realized the purpose of life and question him
with reverence and devotion; he will instruct you in this wisdom. Once
you attain it, you will never be deluded. You will see all creatures in
the Self, and all in Me.

Hinduism 4359 | 
Bhagavad Gita 4.34-35 

J ust as cold disappears by sitting near the fire,
So are sins destroyed in the congregation of saints.

Sikhism 4358 | 
Ramkali Ashtpadi, M.5, p. 914 

L et thy house be a place of meeting for the wise, and dust thyself with
the dust of their feet, and drink their words with thirst.

Judaism 4357 | 
Mishnah, Abot 1.4 

O ne not knowing a land asks of one who knows it,
he goes forward instructed by the knowing one.
Such, indeed, is the blessing of instruction,
one finds a path that leads him straight onward.

Hinduism 4356 | 
Rig Veda 10.32.7 

I n whatsoever place the prudent man shall make his home,
Let him support the virtuous ones who live the holy life.

To all the devas dwelling there let him make offerings.
Thus honored, they will honor him; revered, they'll him revere.

As a mother gives compassion to the child she has borne,
Whom the devas compassion give ever see good luck.

Buddhism 4258 | 
Digha Nikaya ii.88 

T hose who have said, "Our Lord is God," then have gone straight, upon them the angels descend, saying, "Fear not, neither sorrow; rejoice in Paradise that you were promised. We are your friends in the present life and in the world to come; therein you shall have all that your souls desire..."

Islam 4257 | 
Qur'an 41.30-31 

I f a man perform a religious precept, one angel is assigned to him; if he perform two precepts, two angels are assigned to him; if he perform all the precepts, many angels are assigned to him; as it is said, "For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all thy ways" (Psalm 91.11). Who are these angels? They are his guardians from the harmful spirits; as it is said, "A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand" (Psalm 91.7).

Judaism 4256 | 

A ll worldly pursuits have but one unavoidable and inevitable end, which is sorrow; acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings in destruction; meetings in separation; births in death. Knowing this, one should, from the very first, renounce acquisitions and storing-up, and building, and meeting; and, faithful to the commands of an eminent Guru, set about realizing the Truth. That alone is the best of religious observances.

Buddhism / Mahayana 3745 | 
Evans-Wentz, 1971; pp. 259, 261, 262, 270, 271 

A ccustomed long to meditating on my Guru as enhaloed over my head,
I have forgotten all those who rule by power and prestige.

Buddhism / Mahayana 3739 | 
Evans-Wentz, 1971;pp 245-247 

F rom his transcendent station, the Lord in the form of the Guru frees one from all bondage. (1)
... The Guru is the means [to enlightenment]. (2)
... Initiation [by the Guru] is the first ladder to the terrace of Liberation. (3)
... The touch of the hand of the Guru destroys the impurities of the world and converts the base metal [of the disciple] into gold. (4)

Hinduism / Tantra 3686 | 
(1) Kularnava Tantra, 12.25 ; (2) Vasugupta, Shiva Sutras, 2.6 ; (3) Parainananda Tantra ; (4) Jnanarnava Tantra, 24.41 

Q uestioner: When you were young you wrote a book in which you said: "These are not my words, they are the words of my Master." How is it that you now insist upon our thinking for ourselves? And who was your Master? K. Answers: …Does it matter very much who a Master or a guru is? What matters is life -- not your guru, not a Master, a leader or a teacher who interprets life for you. It is you who have to understand life; it is you who are suffering in misery; it is you who want to know the meaning of death, of birth, of meditation, of sorrow, and nobody can tell you… What is important is to be a light unto yourself, to be your own Master and disciple, to be both the teacher and the pupil.

Hinduism 3488 | 
Think on these Things 

I t is very important to consult people of experience; for otherwise you will imagine that you are doing yourselves great harm by pursuing your necessary occupations. But, provided we do not abandon our prayer, the Lord will turn everything we do to our profit, even though we may find no one to teach us.

Christianity / Catholicism 3476 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, pp. 52-53, Second Mansions, Chapter 1, Paragraph 11) 

I n truth those who have the skill properly to direct and heal rational souls are rare, and especially at the present time. Many, perhaps, have made a pretense of fasting and vigil and a form of godliness… As for learning many things by heart and teaching them in words, this is easy for most men, but as for eliminating the passions and acquiring the capital virtues so that they cannot be lost, very few are found [who do this]. Now we call "capital virtues" humility, which eliminates the passions and obtains heavenly and angelic impassibility, and love, which never ceases or fails (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8) but continually presses on to that which lies ahead (cf. Phil. 3:13-14) as it adds desire to desire and love to love. It supplies perfect discernment, and by itself is a good guide to those who follow after it and infallibly carries us across the spiritual sea… Do not follow the wolf instead of the shepherd (cf. Mt. 7:15), nor enter into a flock that is diseased (cf. Ezek. 34:4).

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3424 | 
The Discourses, p. 236-237, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 

D o not be alone by yourself, lest you be seen carried off by the world who destroys souls, or succumb to one disease after the other and so die spiritually, or, as you succumb, you attain to that woe (cf. Eccles. 4:10). He who gives himself in the hand of a good teacher will have no such worries, but will live without anxiety and be saved in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3423 | 
The Discourses, p. 237, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 

G od is fire and He is so called by all the inspired Scripture (cf. Heb. 12:29). The soul of each of us is a lamp. Now a lamp is wholly in darkness, even though it be filled with oil or tow or other combustible matter, until it receives fire and is kindled… The man whose soul's lamp is still in darkness, that is, untorched by the divine fire, stands the more in need of a guide with a shining torch who will discern his actions.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3422 | 
The Discourses, p. 339, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 

N or should you circulate in search of famous monks, nor inquire into their lives. Rather, if by God's grace you have chanced on a spiritual father, tell only him about yourself. If not, but as seeing Christ, look always at Him and in all things keep Him alone as the One Who sees your sorrow and affliction.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3421 | 
On the Mystical Life : The Ethical Discourses. Trans. Alexander Golitzin. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1996, (Vol. 2), p.95 

C onstantly call on God, that He may show you a man who is able to direct you well, one whom you ought to obey as though he were God Himself, whose instruction you must carry out without hesitation… It is better for you to be called a disciple of a disciple rather than to live by your own devices and gather the worthless fruits of your own will… So, brother, do as we have said, and go to the man whom God shows you, either mystically in person, or externally through His servant.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3420 | 
The Discourses, p. 232, Trans. C.J. de Catanzaro. Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1980. 

T he Lord fills His teachers with grace according to the quality and longing of those who listen.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3402 | 
St. John Cassian in On the Holy Fathers of Sketis: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", p. 98) 

W hen Christ Himself spoke to Paul and called him, He could have opened his eyes at once and made known to him the way of perfection; instead He sent him to Ananias and told him to learn from him the way of truth, saying: Arise and go into the city, and there you will be told what you must do (Acts 9:6). In this manner He teaches us to be guided by those who are advanced on the way, so that the vision rightly given to Paul should not be wrongly interpreted; otherwise it might lead later generations presumptuously to suppose that each individual must be initiated into the truth directly by God, as Paul was, and not by the fathers…

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3401 | 
St. John Cassian in On the Holy Fathers of Sketis: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", p. 107) 

A teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain-glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls.

Christianity 3350 | 
Amma Theodora: The sayings of the Desert Fathers : the alphabetical collection. Trans. Benedicta Ward, SLG. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1984, 1975, pp. 83-84, Amma Theodora 5 

G od does not speak to everyone, just as the kings of this world do not speak to every weaver. They appoint ministers and representatives so that through them people may find the way to them. In the same way God has singled out certain servants so that everyone who seeks Him may find Him within them. All the prophets have come for this reason. Only they are the Way.

Islam / Sufism 3324 | 
The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi, p. 122, Trans. William C. Chittick. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1983 

D o not break with the prophet of your time! Do not rely on your own skills and footsteps! Though you be a lion, if you travel the Path without a guide, you will be a self-seer, astray and contemptible.

Islam / Sufism 3323 | 
The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi, p. 139, Trans. William C. Chittick. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1983 

I f you want dervishhood, spiritual poverty, and emptiness, you must be friends with a sheikh. Talking about it, reading books, and doing practices don't help. Soul receives from soul that knowing.

Islam / Sufism 3322 | 
The Essential Rumi, p.255, Trans. Coleman Barks with John Moyne. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995 

W hosoever is determined to seek guidance and follow a path of right conduct must search for a shaykh from amongst those who have realization, one who follows a path methodically, who has abandoned his passions, and who has firmly established his feet in the service of his Lord.

Islam / Sufism 3286 | 
The Key To Salvation: A Sufi Manual of Invocation. Trans. Mary Ann Koury Danner. Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1996, p. 94 

O h, you who believe! Fear Allah, and seek a means of access to Him, and struggle on His way; perhaps you will succeed! (Koran 5:35)
Commentary: … God commands believers to practice the fear of Him. This corresponds to what is called… the "station of repentance" which is the basis of all progress on the Way and the key which permits one to arrive at the "station of realization"…

After that God says to us: "And seek a means of access to Him"… The means is a (spiritual) master whose initiatic lineage (nisba) is faultess, who has a veritable knowledge of the Way, of the deficiencies which obstruct it and the illnesses which prevent the arrival at Gnosis; and who possesses a proven science of healing, and of the temperaments and dispositions and their appropriate remedies. There is absolute unanimity among the People of Allah on the fact that, in the Way toward Gnosis, a "means of access", that is to say, a master, is indispensable. Books can in no way take the place of a master, at least from the time that supernatural inspirations (al-waridat), illuminations of theophanies (bawariq al-tajalliyyat) and spiritual events (al-waqi'at) begin. When that happens, it becomes necessary to explain to the disciple what in all that should be accepted or rejected; what is sound and what is tainted. However, at the beginning of the Way he can be satisfied with books which deal with pious behaviour and with spiritual combat in its most general sense.

"And sturggle on His Way": this is an order to do battle after having found a master. It is a matter of a special holy war (jihad), which is carried out under the command of the master and according to the rules which he prescribes. One cannot have confidence in a spiritual combat carried on in the absence of the master, except in very exceptional cases… The dispositions of beings are varied, their temperaments are very differnt one from another and something which is profitable for one can be harmful for another.

Islam / Sufism 3266 | 
Kitab al-Mawaqif 197, pp. 49-50,in The Spiritual Writings of 'Abd al-Kader. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1995 

T o find a buddha all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the buddha. And the buddha is the person who's free: free of plans, free of cares. If you don't see your nature and run around all day looking somewhere else, you'll never find a buddha. The truth is, there's nothing to find. But to reach such an understanding you need a teacher and you need to struggle to make yourself understand…

If you don't find a teacher soon, you'll live this life in vain. It's true, you have the buddha-nature. But without the help of a teacher you'll never know it. Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher's help.

If, though, by the conjunction of conditions, someone understands what the Buddha meant, that person doesn't need a teacher. Such a person has a natural awareness superior to anything taught. But unless you're so blessed, study hard, and by means of instruction you'll understand.

Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) 3253 | 
The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Trans. Red Pine. New York: North Point Press, 1987, pp. 13-15 

S ome realize the Self within them through the practice of meditation, some by the path of wisdom, and others by selfless service. Others may not know these paths; but hearing and following the instructions of an illumined teacher, they too go beyond death.

Hinduism 3239 | 
BG 13:24-25, pp. 171-172, The Bhagavad Gita. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1985. 

T he truth of the Self cannot come through one who has not realized that he is the Self. The intellect cannot reveal the Self, beyond its duality of subject and object. They who see themselves in all and all in them help others through spiritual osmosis to realize the Self themselves. This awakening you have known comes not through logic and scholarship, but from close association with a realized teacher.

Hinduism 3222 | 
Katha Up. Part 1, 2:9, p. 85 in The Upanishads. Trans. Eknath Easwaran. Tomales, CA.: Nilgiri Press, 1987 

B rahmo devotee:
Is spiritual knowledge impossible without a guru?
Satchidananda alone is the Guru. If a man in the form of a guru awakens spiritual consciousness in you, then know for certain that it is God the Absolute who has assumed that human form for your sake. The guru is like a companion who leads you by the hand. After realizing God, one loses the distinction between the guru and the disciple. The relationship between them remains as long as the disciple does not see God.

Hinduism 3195 | 
Mahendranath Gupta. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Trans. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942, 1948, 1958, p. 253 

R amakrishna:
The roof is clearly visible, but extremely hard to reach.
Yes sir.
But if someone who has already reached it drops down a rope, he can pull another person up.

Hinduism 3194 | 
Mahendranath Gupta. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Trans. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942, 1948, 1958, p. 488 

H ave faith in the guru's words, and work. If you have no guru, then pray to God with a longing heart. He will let you know what He is like.

Hinduism 3193 | 
Mahendranath Gupta. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Trans. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942, 1948, 1958, p. 352 

I f you understand what I am going to tell you, you won't have to work very hard, you won't even have to meditate very much. The Guru is not a physical form. The Guru is not an impressive figure peering at you from a picture. The Guru is not a person with long hair or a beard. The Guru is the divine power of Grace. The Guru is Shakti Herself Even if you receive Shakti from the Guru, it is not his personal possession. The Shakti comes from the divine source, from the Supreme Lord, and this you must never forget.
If you do not have this knowledge, no matter how much you meditate ' it will not lead you anywhere. If you are ignorant of the nature of Shakti, no matter how much wealth you have, you are poor. All that you need, wherever you are, is this constant awareness of the true nature of the Shakti, firm faith in it, and true devotion to it. If you have such firm faith, Shakti will guide you wherever you may be; Shakti will take the form of the Guru, or Shakti will give you messages from within. You will have absolutely no difficulty.

Hinduism 3116 | 
Muktananda, Swami. I Have Become Alive. South Falisburg, NY. SYDA Foundation, 1985, p. 29, and from a lecture given in Miami, Florida, 1980. 

W ithout a true Guru, we cannot attain our intimate treasure.
Without the grace of the Guru, one cannot realize the Self
Contemplation and concentration,
devotion and worship, are all useless without the grace of the Guru.
Without the grace of the Guru, one moves like a blind man, floundering, falling into ditches as he wends his way.

All great men that have lived in bygone times,
All the Saints and Sages of old, have attained realization only by the power of the Guru.

In short,
Liberation can be attained only by the help of a Guru and in no other way.

Hinduism 3113 | 
Ranade, R. D. Mysticism in India. Albany, NY SUMY Press, 1983, pp. 390-392, 395, 410, 412-413, 4 15. 

W hat is the best thing a spiritual seeker can do?
Carry out the instructions of his Guru.

Hinduism 3100 | 
Prabhavananda, Swami, and isherwood, Christopher, trans. Shankara's Crest-Jewel of Discrimination. New York: New American Library, 194 7, pp. 119-127. 

T he wise Solomon says in the Proverbs, "They that have no guidance fall like leaves; but in much counsel there is safety." So you see what the Holy Scriptures teach us? They enjoin us not to rely on ourselves, not to regard ourselves as knowing all, not to believe that we can control ourselves, for we need help, and are in need of those who would counsel us according to God. No men are more unfortunate or nearer perdition than those who have no teachers on the way of God.
For what does it mean that where no guidance is, the people fall like leaves? A leaf is at first green, flourishing, beautiful., then it gradually withers, falls, and is finally trampled underfoot. So it is with a man who has no guide: at first he is always zealous in fasting, vigil, silence, obedience, and other virtues; then his zeal, little by little, cools down and, having no one to instruct, support, and fire him up with zeal, he insensibly withers, falls, and finally becomes a slave of the enemies, who do with him what they will.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3078 | 
Kadloubovsky, E., and Palmer G. E. H., trans. Early Fathers from the Philokalia. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1954, pp. 109,157-158, 161, 166,170 

M aturity cannot be achieved alone. There is a need for guidance and discipline. The path is unknown, the night is dark, and the road is full of danger. Dangers include preoccupation with selfishness, false visions, misinterpretations of mystical states, arrest in development, fixation in a particular state, appeal to various drugs to create false mystical experiences, and, not infrequently, overwhelming anxiety and insanity.

Islam / Sufism 3000 | 
Mohammed Shafii, Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.136 

W hoever travels without a guide needs two hundred years for a two-day journey.

Islam / Sufism 2934 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.144 

T he True teacher knocks down the idol that the student makes of him.

Islam / Sufism 2933 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.128 

T he eight duties of a teacher are
1 . To be sympathetic to students and treat them as his or her own children. The teacher must care about the students' welfare as mothers and fathers care for their own children.
2. To refuse any remuneration for his or her services and accept neither reward nor thanks.
3. Not to withhold any advice from the student or allow the student to work at any level unless qualified for it.
4. To use sympathetic and indirect suggestions in dissuading students from bad habits, rather than open, harsh criticism. Open criticism incites defiance and stubbornness.
5. When teaching a given discipline, not to belittle the value of other disciplines or teachers.
6. To limit the students to what they can understand and not require of them anything that is beyond their intellectual capacity.
7. To give backward students only such things as are dear and suitable to their limited understanding. Everyone believes him- or herself capable of mastering every discipline, no matter how complex, and the most simple and foolish are usually most pleased with their intellect.
8. To do what one teaches and not allow one's actions to contradict one's words.

Islam / Sufism 2928 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.136 

I t is necessary to have a guide for the spiritual journey. Choose a master, for without one this journey is full of trials, fears, and dangers. With no escort, you would be lost on a road you have already taken. Do not travel alone on the Path.

Islam / Sufism 2870 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.41 

I f you want to raise a man from mud and filth, do not think it is enough to stay on top and reach a helping hand down to him. You must go all the way down yourself, down into mud and filth. Then take hold of him with strong hands and pull him and yourself out into the light.

Judaism / Hassidism 2777 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.85 

S omeone asked, "How can good be promoted in the world?"
I said, "Through teachers."
"How is that?"
I said, "In human nature there are only strength, weakness, good, evil, and the Mean."

The questioner did not understand.
I explained, "Righteousness, uprightness, decisiveness, strictness, and firmness of action are examples of strength that is good, and fierceness, narrow-mindedness, and violence are examples of strength that is evil Kindness, mildness, and humility are examples of weakness that is good, and softness, indecision, and perverseness are examples of weakness that is evil. Only the Mean brings harmony. The Mean is the principle of regularity, the universally recognized law of morality, and is that to which the sage is devoted. Therefore the sage institutes education so as to enable people to transform their evil by themselves, to arrive at the Mean and to rest there. Therefore those who are the first to be enlightened should instruct those who are slower in attaining enlightenment, and the ignorant should seek help from those who understand. Thus the way of teachers is established.

Confucianism / Neo Confucianism 2323 | 
Chou Tun-yi, penetrating the Book of Changes, Ch.7, in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 28 

M aster Hui-neng declared, "Good and learned friends, perfect wisdom is inherent in all people. It is only because they are deluded in their minds that they cannot attain enlightenment by themselves. They must seek the help of good and learned friends of high standing to show them the way to see [their own] nature. Good and learned friends, as soon as one is enlightened, he attains wisdom

Buddhism / Mahayana / Zen (Chan) 2303 | 
Hui-neng, in the “Plateform scripture” (liu-tsu t’an-ching), in Wing-Tsit Chan, Chinese Philosophy, Chapter 26, 12 

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