Recently I have encountered a number of Posts, here and on other Spiritual sights, relating to "fully enlightened" Gurus. As a Westerner, not established in the Guru Tradition, I have looked into this for decades. What I have found is this:
The Idea of "fully" enlightened tells us, right at the beginning, we see "stages" of enlightenment. This needs some explanation.
Awareness, Enlightenment, Unionwith "God", what ever you call it, or however you characterize it,
happens "all at once". By that, I mean that there is an "event" or movement that brings lasting clarity. The "nature" of this clarity is such that it "changes everything". There is no forgetting it, or going back. But it is an event of great magnitude, no matter how simple the "actual" event may seem. It will take time to become "established".
Just as it takes time, practice and earnest meditation to come to the "conviction" that one is not the body, it takes, maybe
decades, to realize the "Self" once "enlightenment"
"happens". So there are degrees. Just as a child learns to crawl,
then walk, then walk well, one gets used to the "new reality" of
We see a Sage like Ramana Maharshi, or Nisargadatta Maharaj, and tend to assume they are "special". God must be with them constantly, they were born with only "good" Karma, or some extraordinary
event occurred to them. Ramana envisioned his own death. He meditated deeply on a subject most would like to ignore, or dismiss altogether. Through this he saw who he truly was. This is surly going beyond what the "average" person will do, but not extraordinary for a devote seeker. The degree of devotion is what made Ramana "special". His ability to totally give himself to life in any situation, his ability to love unconditionally, was the fruit of his devotion as well as it's "practice".
Nisargadatta Maharaj was a man of limited education, but had spent a long life of devotion and curiosity. When he finally found "his" Guru, it took him only three more years of staying in the
"I AM", to "fully" realize. This was not an "instant" realization. The devotion was deeply rooted. The knowledge was there due to the devotion. Devotion opens the mind, and more importantly, the Soul. When the mind and Soul are open and empty of any "I" thought, the real is uncovered.
I do not perceive the Guru as a "magic" person. Special surely, in the sense that the enlightened are free. Free in their thinking. Free in their behavior. But always Loving and True. The Guru/Student
relationship has to take on the character of a "love" relationship. The Guru realizes from the start that
the "relationship" is already established, and that it is a "one sided" love affair. The Student is there "for a purpose". The Guru is there out of compassion. The Student wants "something". The Guru needs nothing, and wants nothing but the good of the Student. The Guru sees no difference between student/guru. Only the natural flow of compassion. The relationship culminates in the Student's realization that the Student/Guru are one and the same, and then the Guru is no longer needed.
In the Western Church, one "turns oneself over" to God, or God in the person of Christ. This is the
"surrender"; the giving up of one's life. This is symbolically done in ritual, and perhaps in some way of service. It is meant to get us away from ourselves, and build our "trust" in the "other". The Guru
relationship fulfils this place in the East.
The Guru relationship, if it is to be a real one, requires, at some point, the identification of the Guru with God; the Self, or consciousness itself. The Guru wants to bring you to the realization that he is not necessary, that you and he are one, engaging in conversation with itself. The Student, at some point needs to "surrender" to the Guru. Again, the giving up" of one's life. Not for the Guru, or in service to the Guru, but simply for the "giving up".
The Guru simply tells you how to "pull the cord" on the shutters of your "world". You have to pull the cord yourself, and experience and "interpret" what is uncovered by means of your own lights. The Guru enters your dream with words to wake you up. Listen for him.
The deer in the forest. The beggar in the street. The simple Teacher. All can be Guru. Open your heart to Love. Let it be open to all. An open heart is an invitation to an enlightened Guru. Enlightened ones love to converse upon the Absolute. It is their greatest joy. They love you with their words, and worship the Absolute simultaneously. This is the joy of their life.
Open your life. Let everyone in. Learn to love the "unlovable". Give your "self" away. The Guru will arise, and with him, enlightenment. Don't expect. Enjoy surprise.