Spiritual Master - There are many self-appointed spiritual masters today. These personalities proliferate on the internet, create their own websites, and have an increasing level of followers. Many is available on YouTube delivering their message. This is very charming but how should we discern an authentic master from the bogus one? We have been finding that some of these so-called gurus are actually exposed as cruel, greedy and/or sexually abusive, but they may be fooling the public and their followers by their denials. If someone discovers this information, then a guru should apt to be dismissed. We don't necessarily have to be hasty in our judgment but because the expression goes, "where there exists smoke, there is fire." There isn't enough time in life to continue on a bogus spiritual path or using a bogus teacher.
Once the student is ready, the master will come, but the sincere student have to be qualified also. When we engage in spiritually detrimental nonsense like alcohol and drugs, gambling, or sexual promiscuity, you have to may not yet be fit to be aware of the Truth. These types of activities cover our true nature as do anger and greed. Hence, if want to meet a authentic spiritual teacher, you have to must minimally try renouncing these items. Otherwise we will surely be misled by cheater gurus.
Sri Chaitanya, a 16th century spiritual master wrote, "O Lord, We have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women nor will i want any number of followers. I only would like causeless service, birth after birth." Therefore, would you judge the character in the spiritual master? Inside Upadeshamrita it states, "A sober person, who is able to tolerate the urge to communicate, the mind's demands, those things of anger along with the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals, is capable of make disciples worldwide." This should be the barometer when accepting a spiritual teacher. However, we must understand this statement in its proper context. Generally, this statement is direct enough to know. The urge to speak doesn't imply one practices silence but it indicates that the spiritual teacher only discuss spiritual topics or those linked to one's service. The urges from the tongue does not mean to nibble on meagerly. It also involves eating only pure, clean, wholesome foods - no meat, fish or eggs. Governing the belly implies that you don't overeat. Controlling the genitals signifies that one does not have sex outside of a holy bond with one's partner. Regulated love life is meant for those couples who are totally committed to one another, otherwise one should practice celibacy. The mind's demands will be the material desires and mental impressions that flow continuously like waves inside the ocean. These waves of desire and rejection gradually wind down by controlling the mind with various recommended practices of specific yoga techniques or meditation. Not being angry but peaceful and non-violent speaks by itself. The novice student learns, over time, how to do develop good qualities like cleanliness (in thought and deed), patience, humility and austerity. Spirituality is a practice that takes a very long time of commitment. The enlightened spiritual master has had many years or even life points during the spiritual practice so one should practice patience.
Since we can intelligently go with a spiritual teacher, exactly how should we understand what enlightenment is? The famous Zen proverb brilliantly describes enlightenment; "Before enlightenment - chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment - chop wood, carry water". One does not necessarily need to change one's station in life, however a change in consciousness is essential. One byproduct of spiritual practices could be the attainment of peace and contentment. This state to be implies that the material desires that arise inside the mind have either settled or dissipated. Sri Chaitanya has also written, "Think of oneself as lower than the straw all the time; be more tolerant than the usual tree, devoid of all a feeling of false prestige, and stay ready to offer all respect to others." Then one can constantly mediate on God and also the welfare of all living beings. This may take years of practice. There aren't any shortcuts or honorary degrees. Possibly that one of your fellow spiritual brothers or sisters has seemingly become enlightened after a short time, in that case they might have had other lifetimes of practice, however do not be deceived by very good actors. The spiritual path is really a razor's edge. It takes devotion, patience, love and humility to pass through. Endurance is the key word. Spiritual life is not for the average person. It is meant for individuals with a loving heart ready to offer their life in the service of humanity, guru and the Supreme Godhead.