A “Guru” is not a physical form, he is an energy, a medium through which gyana or knowledge is passed on to the shishya or disciple. If the shishya is presumed to be an ice-cold stone and the gyana to be boiling hot water, then the Guru pours this hot water onto the cold stone very slowly, drop by drop, and gradually lets this stone crack with the heat from the water.
Teacher shows you your True Self
A Guru takes full responsibility of his shishya and monitors him every second of the day. It’s like a Guru literally carries the shishya on the journey of his evolution. He is just not someone who does sweet talk or makes arbitrary promises to gain one’s support. A guru needs nothing from you, but it is you who needs him. He is more like a mirror that shows you your true self and helps you elevate yourself from your miseries, provided you want to rise given an occasion.
The first sign to recognize a guru is vairagya or detachment from everything. As soon as you come in the close proximity of your guru, you will experience the same vairagya that dwells within him in you as well. This is an indication that you are definitely in the right place. Rudryamala describes the qualities of a guru as one who has no drawbacks, is completely free of any vices, possesses impeccable character, follows dharma and practices spirituality and his completely devoted to his guru.
A Great Achiever is inspired by a great Mentor
A guru is said to be still in the yamas and niyamas. Any person who follows the yamas of Satya, asteya and aparigraha will never take any kind of fees or money to teach yoga to his pupils. Any person who follows the yama of brahmacharya would emit the glow that comes with a vrat or fast. A guru exudes what he speaks. He will possess phenomenal energy, attraction, and radiance. A shishya experiences this glow and attraction in his guru’s company and feels this energy as well.
Just as a surya sadhak exudes the brilliance of the sun, in the same way, a shishya radiates the glow and energy of his guru. As he focuses on the guru, slowly he starts acquiring his qualities one by one and after a while, a shishya starts resembling his guru. So a shishya needs to be sure of who he follows, as one will eventually become what one will follow.
One must not rush into finding a guru; as one has to be absolutely sure and confident in one person. Because once you have made somebody your guru, you must walk on the exact path shown by him with utter faith and complete devotion. Anything less than that, any sort of doubt or even a change of path thereafter amounts to the disrespect of the guru. A shishya’s journey begins when he first meets his guru, and this journey requires dedicated and continuous practice which when followed in the form of a niyama culminates into yoga.