The Perfect Master
In order to obtain the full benefit of spirituality, Saints and Mahatmas have, in their hymns, emphasised the need of a Master. But the Guru should be a Perfect Master. It is only a Perfect Master who can make us perfect. All the Mahatmas have, therefore, praised the Master or Murshid-i-Kamil.
There are stages of spiritual evolution. Unless you find a Perfect Master, your spiritual evolution will not be complete. If one desires to become a Master of Arts, one cannot do so by learning from a fifth standard or a tenth standard student or a graduate teacher, for they can take one only up to the stages they themselves have attained.
In order to pass the M.A. examination we need at least an M.A. teacher. In the schools, we have different teachers for different classes. A student who passes the. M.A. examination respects all teachers from the very first class onwards. Similarly, there are stages in spirituality, such as that of a Sadhu or Saint or Param Sant. (These are described elsewhere in this book.)
In order to get the full benefit of spirituality, we need a teacher who has attained the stage of a Saint. A Sadhu, who is free from the bondage of body and mind and has transcended the three gunas, can also help; but a Guru of this type places before the disciple the ideal of a Satguru. A person below this stage is not so helpful.
A guru can only teach upto the stage he himself has reached. He takes the disciple there and not beyond it. It is folly to expect benefit from an imperfect guru. He cannot help you to find release.
Guru Nanak Sahib says:
Disciples are many; so are gurus; no release can be found through an imperfect master.
Ramkali M1, 932-11
A Perfect Master may not have any university degrees, but his company gives something better than formal scholarship, namely, spiritual enlightenment. The Perfect Guru does not reveal all his competence on the first day.
As the ability of the disciple increases, the Guru also reveals more and more. At first, he appears merely as an elderly person, but gradually he reveals himself as a perfect Guru. He does not stop there. He shows the disciple that he is merged in the Lord and that there is no difference between him and the Lord.