Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan, as shared in the Kundalini Quarterly, Summer Solstice 1976 Bicentennial Issue, and titled “Ego, Guru, Guide”.
The purpose of life is not to find God. I don’t care if you beat me up, you will never convince me that we are here for that purpose. It is the biggest lie that people believe these days. Why do you want to find God? God has already found you. You are only here on this Earth to begin with because of Him. It is amazing what you sometimes let yourself believe. Even if you could find God, what would you do with Him? He is not a coconut that you can eat.
God is nothing but your own inner consciousness. Now I will agree with you that you cannot always feel God, but that is because you think that you are separate from God. We call it maya. Maya is the illusion of separateness; it is the quicksand of this life.
Whenever you forget that you have the capacity to be a god, then you become disconnected from God, and it is very lonely, and very painful. It is very unfortunate. You lose touch with your guide, and you sink back into the quicksand. Without the guidance, there can be no self-determination. Without self-determination, there can be no achievement. Without achievement, there can be no knowledge. Without knowledge, there can be no awareness. Without awareness, there can be no radiance. And without radiance, you might as well be an animal.
An animal gets up from sleep, eats food, has sex, raises children, and does everything else that you do; but an animal has no mind to observe himself in action. That is the difference between an animal and a human being. Hu means light; man means mind. A human being is a being of mental light, a being of mind as well as body. But to experience yourself as a human being, you have to condition your mind to experience Infinity.
Life asks a question that must be answered. Life says to the ego, “You came with me into this life, but you cannot go with me into death. I must use you to help carry me across, but I cannot take you with me when I go.” This is the riddle of the ego that we are faced with. Life belongs to the land beyond; ego is given to you as a companion so that you can travel the road to the land beyond, but the ego cannot go with you. Nor can the ego direct your journey, because the ego does not know where you are going.
The ego cannot know that you belong to the ethers, because the ego is not a product of the ethers; it is a product of this Earth. It is a friend and companion to be taken on the journey; it is not the driver of the car. But that does not mean that the backseat driver will not try to drive.
You must take control of this backseat driver and commit yourself to your destination. Without this commitment, life has no essence, life has no joy, nor can there be any achievement. If you are committed only to this Earth, ultimately you cannot enjoy your life, because your life must go beyond this Earth. You may achieve worldly success, but worldly achievement is only for this world. Only spiritual achievement will take you across this life into an experience of the limitlessness of your existence.
The more you experience your soul, the more you can merge in that Universality from which you came. That is why you have a Guru: so that you can know and experience your soul. It is the spirit of guidance that allows you to reach your destiny and become great.
You need this Guru, this guide, not to possess you, but to guide you. You need this guide to appreciate you, to inspire you, and to correct you when you are wrong. The Guru is like a compass: it will tell you where the North Pole is and where you are in relationship to it, but it will not take you there. It sets up a relationship between you and your infinite consciousness so that you can have that guidance to follow in your life. The Guru is like a pump that pumps air into a tire to make it useful. Once the job is done, the pump does not follow the tire down the road. But if the tire runs out of air again, the pump can be used again so that the tire can keep going. The Guru is a gas station that fills you with spirit.
The Guru should take away your doubt and darkness. He should rekindle your spirit, and redirect you towards your goal. He should remind you what reality is, and keep you going toward that reality. He should remind you of your energy, and remind you of your life so that you can mind your own business and keep going. This is the job of the Guru, one who has the confirmed habit to speak the infinite truth in all circumstances. Because the Guru cannot be measured, he opens you up and tests your very finite, measured ego against the measureless Infinity. It will freak you out, but it will keep you on the path of righteousness.
If God gives something to this Earth, He wants that same thing back. That is His nature. And the closest to God are those who can understand you for who you are and remind you of who you are whenever you forget.
The world is not a mystery, it is a joy to be experienced; but our ego won’t let us enjoy our visit to this Earth. The Infinite Self is given to us as a gift, but we don’t believe it. The moment you believe in the Self, that moment you are enlightened. When you experience the Self, then you know that you have to go, and you keep on going. Otherwise, you are stuck here. Liberation is not going to God’s kingdom from this Earth. There is no such kingdom to go to at all. The kingdom of God is right where you are now.
The Guru is a guide that can take you from the darkness into the light. The Guru is an ocean where you can totally merge yourself and come out washed and clean. The Guru is a store of technical know-how where you can go and get taken care of so that you are fit again to take up the responsibility of this planet. The Guru is the secret chamber of your inner self where you can confide your greatest secrets and be guided in the light of righteousness. Those who qualify according to these criteria are truly the blessed ones who have come to serve humanity and carry us through the times.
EXCERPTS FROM “EGO, GURU, GUIDE,” KUNDALINI QUARTERLY, SUMMER SOLSTICE 1976 BICENTENNIAL ISSUE. Reprinted in Aug. 2009 Edition of Aquarian Times Magazine