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The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master
Sometimes when we quote from scriptures, people admonish us saying that we should not have blindly surrendered our independent thinking to some authority. They think, "Will it not be much better if I were to think for myself, relying on my own power of analysis, rather than merely accept someone else's opinions as gospel truth? Why should Truth be the monopoly of some particular authority? And moreover, why accept everything that any particular authority says? We should just accept what we think is right or good and reject the rest." In this way they want to be free from surrendering to any authority and yet get the best from what all authorities have to say. Before being so apprehensive about accepting spiritual authority, let us see a few examples from everyday life, where we accept authority without questioning :
*We are consciously or unconsciously accepting authority while seeking help from a doctor. By accepting the advice and medicines from a qualified physician, are we not putting our faith in him as a medical authority?
*As soon as we board a bus> we are entrusting our lives to the bus-dnver. Do we check the driver's credentials every time we board a bus? Thus are we not, almost blindly, accepting him as
an authority in bus driving'1
*An engineering student who wants to study electrical engineering accepts the authority of B LTheraja. And in general, every science student accepts the authority of the books published by scientists.
•A child accepts his mother as an authority and comes to know of everyone around him - his father, brother, sister etc. - only through her.
•From newspapers, radio etc, we come to know about events taking place in China. Africa and various parts of the world.Neither are we experiencing those events directly, nor do we know whether they are actually taking place. Yet we accept them to be a reality on the authority of the media.
Thus, we see that we have no choice but to believe authorities in order to get knowledge. Even if we want to learn dance or music or athletics or karate or, for that matter, anything, we take training under a teacher or a coach. In other words, in order to gain mastery in any field, we agree to become an apprentice under an expert advanced in that field. Thus, we accept a teacher in every walk of life; then why not accept a teacher in spiritual life? When the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna descended to this world, he also set an example for us by accepting Sandipani Muni as His guru. Lord Ramachandra also accepted Vashishtha Muni as His guru to set an example. So, even the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of all knowledge and wisdom, accepts a guru to demonstrate the absolute necessity of accepting a guru.