What are the traits of a True Guru?

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In view of the need of a Guru, one must be on guard against a pseudo of fake Guru. Sikhi lays down certain qualifications and qualities for a Guru.

Guru Raam Daas Ji says:

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਗੁਣ ਨਾਮ ਕਾ ਮੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਦੇਖਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥
“The True Guru is the Ocean of Virtue of Naam, the Name of the Lord. I have such a yearning to see Him!”
(Ang 758)

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਨਾ ਆਵੈ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਓਹੁ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਹੈ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧੩॥
“My True Guru, forever and ever, does not come and go. He is the Imperishable Creator Lord; He is permeating and pervading among all. ||13||”
(Ang 759)

The Guru must be a perfect man who is able to inspire confidence in his disciples. He must come to their aid in every emergency. A Guru does not live in an ivory tower. He mixes freely with all sorts of people.

The Guru is not an incarnation of God. He is a humble prophet or messenger, invested with the duty of showing the true spiritual way to ordinary people. Guru Nanak says:

ਗੁਰ ਸਾਖੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
“Through the Guru’s Teachings, the Light shines forth.”
(Ang 13)

He must be prepared to suffer for his principles. He must not claim any status or excellence for himself. He is fearless and without hate. He may come in conflict with hostile social forces, vested interests and evil people out to oppose him, but must deal with them gently and bear ill-will to no one. Guru Nanak compares a Guru to a ladder, and sometimes to a ship. All the Sikh Gurus had the same light, Jot, the Divine Spirit in them.

Perhaps one of the greatest traits of the Sikh Gurus was their humility. Guru Nanak regarded himself as the lowest of the lowly. Other Gurus also were meek in spirit. They accepted all suffering in a spirit of resignation. Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur became martyrs to the cause they cherished and in spite of possessing supernatural powers, refused to exercise them, because the working of miracles is not in accordance with the Will of God.

The Guru occupies the highest status in the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak says:

ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮ: ੧ ॥
ਬਲਿਹਾਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਆਪਣੇ ਦਿਉਹਾੜੀ ਸਦ ਵਾਰ ॥
ਜਿਨਿ ਮਾਣਸ ਤੇ ਦੇਵਤੇ ਕੀਏ ਕਰਤ ਨ ਲਾਗੀ ਵਾਰ ॥੧॥
“Shalok, First Mehl:
A hundred times a day, I am a sacrifice to my Guru;
He made angels out of men, without delay. ||1||
(Ang 462)

Slowly and steadily, the Guru guides the development of the Sikh to perfection and if the Sikh be very lucky, the Guru transforms him into the Guru. The Guru immersed in “The Name” day and night and makes others do so. He is just like a boat, ferrying people across the tempestuous ocean of life.

Meeting a True Guru, is a sign of benediction. The disciple must prepare himself morally and spiritually for his guidance. He is a tower of strength, a beacon, lighting man’s path in this dark world.

In the whole world the the True Perfect Guru is Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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