"A child cannot be born without a father and a mother.
Clothes cannot be washed without water.
There can be no horseman without a horse.
So, without a Guru/Master, none can reach the court of the Lord."- Kabir
The word Guru/Teacher means "remover of darkness." Anyone or anything that helps you remove the layers of ignorance covering your true essence is a form of a Guru. Your first Gurus were your parents. Your school teachers and college professors also functioned as a Guru, as does your priest or rabbi. Your pets and nature can also be your teachers, and now there are even financial and internet gurus. In a spiritual sense, a Guru is someone who will help you on your journey of Self Realization.
In a time where we are absorbed in digital media and the internet it is a worry that more and more individuals and children are learning from these mediums. The treasures of learning life lessons and the nuances of your art form or vocation can only be done by an enlightened soul. Especially in the Arts, one cannot take the Guru out of the equation. This is an exchange that is ordained for you by the Universe and must be received in that light.
On this journey one comes across many spiritual Gurus, including; Teachers, Masters and Enlightened Masters. Teachers talk about higher states of consciousness and enlightenment without being established in these states themselves. These individuals can give you an intellectual understanding and teach you useful techniques. However, they will only be able to share from their own limited level of experience. A Master or Enlightened Master are evolved souls that allows you to have great insight into their teachings and removes the veil of ignorance and delusion that we have created and lead us from 'darkness to light'.
We are already enlightened beings whose essence is covered over, but our soul will eventually bring our Guru to us. When we finally meet our Guru, it will resonate on many levels. There will be an inner peace and knowingness and a sense of trust.
A true Guru doesn't teach for any ulterior motives; for money, name, or fame. As the Vedas read, "Seek the company of those who seek enlightenment, but run from those who claim to have found it." Ultimately, the Guru or spiritual Master doesn't bring about Self Realization. He or she merely removes all the obstacles to it. The Self is always realized.
Any external Guru can only take you to the doorway of Self Realization; your human "freewill" demands that you take the final step alone. This is the most crucial time in your journey.
This is when the ego tries every way it knows to distract you from the path and when some aspirants may "fall from grace." During this time, your focus and resolve must be the strongest.
The Guru Is Your Own Self whether you have chosen to follow the teachings of a great Master or "go it alone," you will eventually come home to the Source.