Religious or yogic gurus propagate that, once a seeker identifies a Guru, he must totally surrender to the Guru and then from there onwards, the spiritual journey is fully the Guru's responsibility, not his... Hence the importance to choosing the right Guru is necessary, but in pursuit of truth the guru is not necessary, because the truth is not theoretical. Truth has to be ascertained by the seeker on his own through a well-directed inquiry, analysis and reasoning based on the true self ,which will lead the seeker to his destination.
People who worship the guru as God in human form and there is a danger that they might establish a regular religious sect in his name. This is an unhappy development of the religious movement.
It is better to take guidance from a Gnani and try to attain the same realization which he had, rather than spend their energies in deifying him. Let us remember that to deify a Gnani is to defy wisdom”
Hindu religious literature is full of such aphorisms as ' there is no higher deity than the Guru; the Guru is the ultimate Truth and Deity . God and Avatars (incarnations) are secondary to the Guru in importance ;there is no higher refuge, no higher target, no higher destination than the Guru ; the Guru is God Himself ; God and the Guru are one ; he who makes a distinction between the Guru and God is ignorant and stupid ; and scores of similar others. They abound both in Sanskrit and in modern Indian languages.
People born in the different sect and they remain as its follower. Most of the sect are founded by some gurus, thus Indian belief system is a Guru Cult, i.e. believes in the worship of the Guru as the Supreme Deity.
When a seeker could not get full enlightenment from his inherited belief system, then only he searches elsewhere. And tries to get enlightened himself further to clear the cobwebs of his understanding and seeks guidance to his progress.
The path of religion, path of yoga and the path of wisdom were intended for different classes of people. The wisdom is for the advanced seekers of truth. It deals with the nature of the ultimate Truth and Reality. It is meant for superior aspirants who have inner urge to know the truth and it is not for those who are immersed in earthly desires.
This Ataman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas, or by intelligence, or by much hearing of sacred books. It is attained by him alone whom It chooses. To such a one Ataman reveals Its own form. [Katha Upanishad Ch-II -23-P-20]
Mundaka Upanishad :-
This Ataman cannot be attained through study of the Vedas, nor through intelligence, nor through much learning. He who chooses Ataman—by him alone is Ataman attained. It is Ataman that reveals to the seeker Its true nature. [ 3 –page-70 Mundaka Upanishad Upanishads by Nikilanada]
When the Upanishad says: the human goal is to acquire Self-Knowledge and they indicate the personal gods, scriptures, worship and rituals are not the means to Self –Knowledge, then why anyone should indulge in it. The religion, concept of individualized god and scriptures are greatest obstacle to realize non-dual truth or self-realization, because they are based on false self. Therefore, one has to search the ultimate truth without losing himself in the labyrinths of philosophy, he should indulge in deeper, inquiry, analysis and reasoning and assimilate and realize it.
Seekers goal is towards Self-knowledge and noting other then it. Therefore, guru is needed in religious and yogic paths which are meant for the people who are not searching for truth but they are searching for worldly comforts and temporary peace in this physical existence. They fear of losing their physical identity and all that is connected to the physical identity. When one realizes the physical identity [ego] is false self and the true identity is the soul, which is in the form consciousness, then he realizes that the fear factor is limited to the false self within the false experience. When the self is not physical all the burden and bondage of the duality is mere mirage created out of consciousness.
Therefore, Self-Knowledge is necessary to know the fact that, the universe, which appears is in the form of mind and disappears as nothingness [formless] is mere mirage created out of nothingness, which is consciousness. Thus the consciousness is the source and witness of the universe or mind, which comes and goes. Thus it is necessary to know the formless witness of the three states in order to know the fact that, the true self is apart and free from the mirage ,which is in the form of birth, life, death and the universe. Therefore, it is necessary for the seeker to make sure how the three states are mirage.
The body and the world are reality within the waking experience but the waking experience is mere illusion, same way as the dream body and the dream world were reality within the dream. The dream becomes unreal when the waking takes place; similarly the waking experience becomes unreal when the nondual wisdom dawns.
The one who thinks himself as guru and the one who thinks himself as chela [disciple] will not be able get Self-Knowledge because both of them accepted themselves as body. And all their understanding, practices, knowledge are based on the false self. Therefore, the Guru –Shisya concept is a great obstacle in pursuit of truth. That is why Sri, Ramana Maharshi never accepted himself as a guru or accepted any one as his disciple, because he was fully immersed in his true self, which is formless consciousness. There was no division in his consciousness even though he was in the midst of division or duality.
Thus by surrendering to any guru or god men is not the means to self-knowledge. The self is the true guru. Seeker has to surrender to the self by realizng the fact that, the self is not physical. By realizing the self is not physical, he will be able to drop all the accumulated knowledge and inherited conditioning in the midst of duality and he finds freedom from experiencing the duality [waking] as reality.
There is no fear of losing anything because only ignorance vanishes and one becomes fully aware what is real and what is unreal in the midst of the unreal waking experience.
This will ensure that one has reached the right path of progress and will eventually get the knowledge of the true self. A true seeker should seek only truth nothing but truth, his sincerity and urge to know the truth will lead him, not his mental decisions.
If one takes the religious based nondual path or yogic path, then the seeking is not spiritual but rather superficially mental for academic and self-aggrandising pursuits driven by the ego. There can be no two thoughts about it.
The path of wisdom needs a deep study of the mind and its substance, so one can resolve the conflicts that a seeking mind has. Such deeper leads on towards better grasping, understanding, assimilation and realization. Only if one has proper grasping he can have proper understanding.
They alone in this world are endowed with the highest wisdom who are firm in their conviction of the sameness and birthlessness of Ataman. The ordinary man does not understand their way. [Chapter IV — Alatasanti Prakarana 95-P-188 in Upanishads by Nikilanada]
This passage indicates the fact that everything is Ataman/spirit. The one who views and judges the worldview on the base of his birth /body will not realize the fact that, the man including the world is created sustained and finally dissolves as Atman,which is in the form of consciousness . Thus Ataman alone is, and all else is mirage.
Thus self-knowledge is the aim of every human being. Since everyone thinks the physical body is the self their aim is misdirected and they focus their attention on materiality which makes one feel the duality [waking] as reality.
Nisagadutta said: Millions are in search of the ultimate truth, and only one in million will be able to grasp and realize it. By focusing more attention on Ataman by talking, writing, discussing only of Ataman, the conviction grows and becomes firmer and the duality will fade away as reality. Ataman/sprit which is one’s true identity will prevail as birth-less and deathless, eternal substance and witness of the mirage called duality.
Therefore there is no need to study scriptures, or indulge in god and guru glorification or performing religious rituals. Since, they are not the means to acquire non-dual wisdom. It is only waste of time and effort to indulge in those things.
The individual self is not real, is not accepted by many. The non-dual wisdom is based not on the individual self [ego]. Until people hold the ‘I’ [ego] as witness, they will not reach the ultimate understanding.
When Upanishad itself declares:- sarvam khalvidam brahma - all this (universe) is verily Brahman. By following back all of the relative appearances in the world, we eventually return to that from which it is all manifest – the non-dual reality [ Chandogya Upanishad].
Then it is no use going roundabout way, trace the Brahman which is the formless substance and witness of the universe, which is in the form of mind. By tracing the source of the mind or universe one will be able to realize the Brahman.
The true Self is not perceptible to the senses. It is perceived by Reason. It is not perceptible as a thing with form and attributes. To those whose attention is fixed on the body and the world, it is very difficult to attain Self-knowledge. It is also very difficult for them to see the atman as self. The attention towards the universe [mind] should be lessened by realizing the self is not the body. The attention has to be focused on the formless substance and witness of the universe [mind] should be increased. So long as the attention is directed towards the universe, the experience of birth, life and death will prevail as reality. But when the attention is directed towards the formless witness, the ignorance vanishes and sense of duality will disappear. Then there is unity in diversity.
What is the state of the ego or physical self when it has realized that the self is not the body? Such souls have attained their pristine condition. “Self” is not visible to the physical eyes. “Self” is not to be found in the world as a thing, entity or an object. Self is above these, has neither beginning nor ending.
A visible object has a beginning and an ending. Since Atman, which is in the form of consciousness is invisible to the physical eye; Atman or consciousness is without beginning and ending. Atman is always constant. Just as space is homogeneous everywhere, so is the Atman the same everywhere.