87. What are the qualifications of a real Guru or a true guide? Is it possible for an ordinary human being to select a real guide? If so, how?

A real Guru is a Srotriya and a Brahmanishtha, one who is learned in the scriptures and established in Brahman. He who is wise, desireless and sinless can be a true teacher and guide. The Guru, by virtue of his wisdom and capacity, draws towards himself the souls fit to be guided by him. When one feels that he is thus spontaneously drawn to a Mahapurusha whom he cannot help loving, admiring and serving, who is an embodiment of unruffled tranquillity, mercy and spiritual experience, such a great one can be taken as the Guru. A Guru is one in whom the disciple can find no defect and who serves as the ideal to be reached by the disciple. In short, the Guru is God in manifested form, and when Divinity is seen in a person, he can be chosen as the Guru. The relation between the Guru and the Sishya is genuine and unbreakable, even as that between God and man is. It is a natural law that when a certain event has to take place in the universe, the conditions necessary for the same are brought about exactly at the proper time. When the disciple is ready to receive the higher Light, he is brought into contact with a suitable Guru by the Supreme Dispensation.

88. How does the mind differ from the Soul?

The mind is a special, limited particularization of the Soul-consciousness, which is unlimited and never ceases to be all-pervading. The mind is the form of the collective totality of desires, and hence, it is inert and powerless. But it appears to be conscious and powerful as the Inner Self or the Soul is reflected through it. The mind alone is the real person or the individual and it is the real doer of all actions. It is the experiencer of every condition in the universe, both objectively and subjectively. The Soul is the Absolute which is not really affected by any experience of the mind. The mind is mortal, while the Soul is immortal.

89. Our sages and Tapasvins make use of tiger-skins or deer-skins. Does it not amount to sinful violence to kill an animal or get it killed, particularly in the case of those who are out for spiritual advancement? Does it not sound suicidal for a hermit to sit all his life on the skin of a dead animal and aspire for deliverance or Mukti for himself?

The most important point to remember in connection with the use of deer-skin or tiger-skin as Asana or seat is that the animal is never killed for obtaining its skin. The deer was always a part of the ancient Ashrams of Sannyasins and Maharshis; and they should have found the skin of the deer, when it died its natural death, an easily procurable material for the Asan. To those living in dense jungles, therefore, deer-skin and the bark of trees should have been more easily and abundantly available than cloth.

Tiger-skins, too were procured in a similar way, though much less numerically, and that accounts for the wider use of the deer-skin as Asana. In fact, Mriga-charma is prescribed for Asana; and Mriga means deer.

From the spiritual point of view, the sages found that doing Sadhana seated on a deer-skin was highly conducive to Siddhi. The power generated in the body through Sadhana was preserved by the skin.