The Breath Inside the Breath – Kabir on the Role of the Guru


“Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours. you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals: not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables. When you really look for me, you will see me instantly — you will find me in the tiniest house of time. Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath.” ― Kabir

In life, we need the wisdom of experience to show us the way. In our spiritual lives, we can be like children wandering through a dark forest trying to find our way home. Some may find the clearing at the end of the path on their own, but many of us need a light to illuminate the way. That is where the guru comes in.

A guru’s role is to guide us through the dark forest of our inner selves. Love is the light we are given and it is bright enough that we may find our way to God. When you are ready, you will be drawn to the guru and the guru to you. Your guru may not embody a human form when you go seeking. However, you will always be able to find your guru, because the guru is inside of you. There is no need to travel across the world to find the guru. Your first step is to simply open your heart.

As Ramana Maharshi said, “God, guru, and the Self are the same.” The guru is a mirror that shows us what separates ourselves from God. Slowly as we lose attachments, the partitions between ourselves and the guru dissolve. When guru and Self become one, we are finally prepared to merge with God. When this reintroduction is complete the guru’s job is done and he disappears as quickly as he came.


To better understand the role guru, listen to this great episode of Ram Dass Here and Now. If you are interested in learning more about the guru and the Self you will also enjoy “Spiritual Practice, Guru and Self” on the Krishna Das Pilgrim Hour.

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