Grace of Sri Guru (Srila Govinda Maharaja)
But how can we recognize our guru? Sometimes in the winter he wears a particular dress, and in the summer he wears another dress. If we attach so much importance to the external dress, then what should we do? Should we think that the dress is indispensable to the body?
The guru may come to us in a particular body. Suppose the guru appears as a young man. When he has become an old man, and the young form has grown into another form, how are we to recognize him? How are we to differentiate? Again, in one birth, he may have come in a particular body, and another time, he may appear in a different body. The same guru may appear differently at different times. How are we to recognize him? From the external consideration we must go to the internal.
If I am devoid of flesh and blood, and I exist only in a subtle body, then I shall also find my guru there, in a subtle body. The demigods, gandharvas, and siddhas, the perfected beings in the heavenly planets, also have their gurus, but they do not have a material body, nor does their guru have a material body.
So, by eliminating the external conception, we have to enter into the internal, and that will be all-important to a progressive disciple. That does not mean that one should disregard the physical form of our guru. But the real importance is within. We must worship the remnants of the guru, his coat, his boot, his sandal. But that does not mean that his shoe is superior to his body; we must serve his person. In a similar way, if we are eager to do some physical service for him, if we want to massage his feet, but he does not desire that, and says, "No, no, no," then should we do that? Our internal obedience to him will be higher. In this way, we have to make progress from the gross to the subtle.
Who is guru? Where is he to be located? What is his ideal? What does he really want me to do? These things must not be dismissed from our ears. We must not give only formal adherence. We want the spiritual way. The spiritual man is going to the spiritual world to have the
spiritual realization. It is all a spiritual transaction. And all conceptions of mundane, whether physical, mental, or intellectual, should be eliminated in our journey if we want to go to the inner world of substance.