Meeting the Guru
By Paulo Coelho
For The Bali Times
I met Mick Brown at Frankfurt airport. A journalist with the London Daily Telegraph, he was sent to interview me at a stopover between two flights. He is such an interesting person that when the interview was over, he began to tell me some quite fascinating stories.
Once he received a pamphlet from an organization involved in Indian mysticism, saying that a guru called Mahaguru Yogi Arka would be giving a series of lectures in England. He discovered that he was staying with a family in the north of London, and set out to visit him for his newspaper report.
He rang the doorbell, a young woman with oriental features immediately opened the door for him, and without asking anything, made a sign for him to follow her into a sitting room. Arka was sitting there, his legs crossed and his eyes closed, apparently deep in meditation.
Mike did not know quite what to do, and then the master opened his eyes and made a sign for him to come over and sit in front of him.
“Do you have any questions?”
He had several, but they all seemed to have slipped from his thoughts. The only one that came to mind was:
“What do people want to know when they seek out a guru like you?”
“Imagine that you are sitting in front of the ocean,” he said. “What do you want from the ocean?”
Mike thought for a bit and answered:
Arka nodded his head.
“Peace. You look at the ocean and understand that it can bring you peace. Someone else asks for a fish to eat. Some people think that there is petrol at the bottom of this ocean, and try to find out where this treasure is hidden. People want different things, but the ocean is big and can give everyone what they ask for.”
Mike remarked that he had met many gurus in his life; how was he to know whom to trust?
“When someone tries to impose his way of thinking on someone else, they cannot be called a guru. Whoever feels they have the truth is on the road to lies. Whoever wants to convert someone else has not understood the meaning of spirituality.
“Do you remember going to school when you were a little boy? There you had teachers of English, physics, chemistry and history. Spiritual apprenticeship works in the same way: many masters teach you different things, collaborate for you to grow inside, but it is only your conscience that can put all this learning in order, and take from it what interests you”.
“And then there is love. Love is the bridge that joins the head to the heart; it’s the force that attracts, that keeps the planets and the stars in their orbits. The scientists call love “the force of gravity.”
“Do you have anything else to ask?”
“If I want to find the truth, what should I do?”
“Stop seeking for it. And then look right beside you; that’s where you’ll find it.”
© Translated by James Mulholland
This is the last in the current series. The editor.