Religious Gods are mere belief. Belief is not God. Religious God cannot be considered as the centre because the Soul, the innermost ‘Self’ is the center of all that exists. Without the Soul the world in which you exist ceases to exist, it means the religious God is dependent on the Soul for his existence. God in truth is only the Soul, which is present in the form of the consciousness.
Even The Bhagavad Gita says: ~ Brahmano hi pratisthaham ~ Brahman (God) is considered the all-pervading consciousness, which is the basis of all the animate and inanimate entities and material. (14.27).
When Bhagavad Gita says, God is considered the all-pervading consciousness which is the basis of all the animate and inanimate entities and material then nothing has to be accepted other than consciousness a God.
Even Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: ~ Brahman (God) is the form of the Athma, and it is indeed Athma itself.
Even Rig Veda: ~ The Atman is the cause; Atman is the support of all that exists in this universe. May ye never turn away from the Atman the innermost self. May ye never accept another God in place of the Atman nor worship other than the Atman?" (10:48, 5)
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad declares: "He who worships the deities as entities entirely separate from him does not know the truth. For the gods he is like a pasu (beast)". (1. 4. 10)
No mantras help to get rid of ignorance. All the mantras and rituals are meant for the ignorant populace, which strongly believes, the world in which he exists as a reality. For one who wants to acquire Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana, the mantas will not help to realize the truth, which is beyond the form, time and space.
That is why Sage Sri, Sankara VC~.61. For one who has been bitten by the serpent of Ignorance, the only remedy is the knowledge of Brahman. Of what avail are the Vedas and (other) Scriptures, Mantras (sacred formulae) and medicines to such a one?
VC- v6~ Let erudite scholars quote all the scripture, let Gods be invoked through sacrifices, let elaborate rituals be performed, let personal Gods be propitiated---yet, without the realization of one‘s identity With the Self, there shall be no liberation for the individual, not even in the lifetimes of a hundred Brahmas put together
Sage Sri, Sankara goes on to say: ~A sickness of not cured by saying the word “medicine.” You must take the medicine. Liberation does not come by merely saying the word “Brahman.” Brahman must be experienced. Until you allow this apparent universe to dissolve from your consciousness until you have realized Brahman, how can you find liberation just by saying the word Brahman? The result is merely a noise. Until a man has destroyed his enemies and taken possession of the splendour and wealth of the kingdom, he cannot become a king by simply saying “I am a king.”
Normally people will not understand what I am driving at because they are seeking something which they can enjoy.
People ambition is to acquire wealth and enjoy practical life within the practical world. They are looking for an advantage in the world, to take care of their daily life. Thus, to get what they want in practical life they indulge in the numerous path of dogmas and rituals prescribed by the Gurudom expecting their daily life goes on comfortably.
The so-called Gurus and yogis focus their ambition on acquiring wealth by making the mass more and more dogmatic oriented. No one inquires why they are in this hell.
This begging to God and Guru goes on and on. If their wish is fulfilled, they indulge more and more if the wish is not fulfilled they indulge again and again because of fear of getting curses of God. Thus, in order to get rid of this path of begging one has to know the truth of his true existence.
That is why Swami Vivekananda: ~ The masses in India cry to sixty million Gods, and still die like dogs. Where are these Gods?
Knowing this, stand up and fight! Not one step back that is the idea. ... Fight it out, whatever comes. Let the stars move from the sphere! Let the whole world stand against us! Death means only a change of garment. What of it? Thus fight! You gain nothing by becoming cowards. ... Taking a step backward, you do not avoid any misfortune. You have cried to all the Gods in the world. Has misery ceased? The masses in India cry to sixty million Gods, and still die like dogs. Where are these Gods? ... The Gods come to help you when you have succeeded. So what is the use? Die game. ... This bending the knee to superstitions, this selling your’Self’ to your own mind does not befit you, my Soul. You are infinite, deathless, and birthless. Because you are infinite spirit, it does not befit you to be a slave. ... Arise! Awake! Stand up and fight! Die if you must. There is none to help you. You are the entire world. Who can help you? - Swami Vivekananda
(Delivered In San Francisco, on May 28, 1900) -The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 1/Lectures And Discourses/The Gita II
Sage Sri, Sankara said:~ Talk as much philosophy as you like, worship as many Gods as you please, observe ceremonies and sing devotional hymns, but the liberation will never come, even after a hundred aeons, without realizing the Oneness.
Yoga Vasistha says:~ ‘Self’-knowledge or knowledge of truth is not had by resorting to a Guru (preceptor) nor by the study of scripture, nor by good works: it is attained only by means of enquiry inspired by the company of wise (Gnani). One’s inner light alone is the means, naught else. When this inner light is kept alive, it is not affected by the darkness of inertia.
There is no need to condemn Gurus, but there is need highlight how they become an obstacle in realizing the ultimate truth or Brahman.
Swami Vivekananda said: ~ “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher, but your own Soul.”
The Guru is useless so long as the ultimate truth is unknown, and Guru is equally useless when the ultimate truth or Brahman has already been known.
A Guru is needed in religious and the yogic path. There is no need of a Guru in to acquire ‘Self’-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana.