Choosing your Guru: Why and How

This is an excerpt from the book ‘Chanakya and the Art of Getting Rich‘ by Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai. 
Dr. Radhakrishnan is the bestselling author of Inside Chanakya’s Mind, and Chatur Chanakya And The Himalayan Problem. He has researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra extensively and has a Master’s degree in Sanskrit. He is the Deputy Director of the Chanakya International Institute of Leadership Studies (CIILS), University of Mumbai.
In Chanakya and the Art of Getting Rich, Radhakrishnan Pillai brings out the inherent lessons from Arthashastra to present a strategic and practical way of wealth creation. Here’s an excerpt which talks about how and why it’s important to choose a Guru.
You may have all the potential to become rich. But, the fact is that you still require a mentor and guide to become rich. Even Arjuna needed Krishna on the battlefield to guide him to success in the war. It is not that Arjuna did not know how to fight the war; he just needed someone to help him take the right decision in the chaos and confusion.
How do you choose your guru? Whichever field you want to succeed in, the guru is the most essential person to take you there. That person can be anyone: your parents, a teacher, a businessman, an investor, a spiritual guru, a financial expert, a well-off relative or friend—anyone who takes you towards your financial goals.

Choosing your Guru

There are a lot of people out there who claim that they can become your guru and lead you on the path of prosperity and good health. But it is a very deep and personal subject—choosing your guru.
There can be no universal answer as to who your guru should be. That is something only you can understand.
You may want to make someone your guru but what if the person does not want to teach you? Or there could be people who want to teach you, but you may not like them. A guru who is able to guide your friend might not be able to guide you. So finding your guru is a very personal and subjective journey.
However, before you find that one guru, you can have various gurus and learn from all of them.
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Some key questions you should have in your mind while learning the art of getting rich are listed below:

  • Is the Person Rich Himself?

As far as choosing your guru is concerned, you should be careful about one thing—he or she is better than you in that particular field. Because all those who speak about getting rich may not necessarily be rich themselves. There are a lot of motivational speakers who will tell you the methods to become rich. They conduct seminars and conferences. The way these people speak might also impress you. But do not get carried away. Are they rich themselves is what you need to figure out first.
A person better off than you will help you rise. For instance, if your net worth is Rs 5 crore, your guru’s net worth should be Rs 10 crore, Rs 50 crore or even Rs 100 crore and above. Only then will you lift yourself from your current stature to a higher stature. You should rise higher with your guru.

  • Study the Background

It is always better to study the background of the people whom you consider as the gurus of the field. What you see is not what you get. A person who claims to be a big shot might not be respected at all by those who know him. Don’t just follow authors, speakers or bloggers blindly. Look into their background and decide for yourself if you want to follow a person. Don’t follow people simply because your friends follow them. Seek the truth for yourself.

  • Study their Integrity

It is very important to understand if your potential guru became rich in the right manner—legally, ethically. Make sure you are following the ethical, moral leaders who have integrity, or you will land yourself in trouble in the long run. You may learn from them but they may impart their knowledge about illegal methods of making money, or they might tell you a way to make easy money but not its consequences.

  • Critically Evaluate

Critically evaluate the person you want to be guided by. Do not accept anything just like that. The person might be very famous just by the wealth he/she has. But there might be many things you do not know about him/her. Try to find out more about his/her life, interests, deeds, etc. There are many things that people sweep under the carpet. So be suspicious: use your head and heart before you choose to follow any person in your life.
Remember, it does not do to be emotional about choosing a guru. A guru is an important person in your life. Think of all the responsibilities you would have if someone chose you as their guru. Similarly, you have expectations and hopes from your guru. Choose a person worthy of nurturing your dreams and capable of guiding you in turning them into reality.

Why does Chanakya say that a Guru is important?

Chanakya was a guru himself. He was a good student as well. He knew what a big difference a guru could make. He himself learnt from various gurus and finally became one.
The qualities of a good guru are formed when one is a good student. A student automatically understands the problems faced by other students and therefore is able to relate to their problems. Being empathetic towards other students makes him a good guru.
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Chanakya and the Art of Getting Rich is a holistic study, written for anyone and everyone. Read it if you want to learn the Chanakya way of wealth creation!

What role does gender play in choosing a Guru?

Choosing a Guru for yourself should be unbiased. Gender equality is a requisite when finding a suitable guide for you. The word Guru has a deep meaning attached to it. It does not refer to only males or females but it refers to a person who can guide and advise you. It is more about finding someone whose ideals look more approachable and attainable to you. All Gurus have something valuable to offer; the gender of the Guru does not play an important role, but the teachings do.

Why is it important to have a prosperous Guru?

Not every Guru needs to be financially sound but most of them are wealthy. The most famous Gurus in the world, those who can draw thousands of people to their training and conferences, are often very rich. They live in fancy houses, wear fancy clothes and drive fancy cars. Their lifestyle speaks a lot about them and they influence a large part of the population. Most of them have already achieved a level of success and they motivate the world about it with the help of their personal experience.

How to become a Guru?

The first thing to consider is the area of expertise. A person must have knowledge about the field they want to teach others about. A Guru does not solve everyone’s problems themselves but shows the path and inspires people to do it themselves. Being a Guru is not just a matter of influencing others, it is more about empathizing with them, helping them reach the desired goal, and correcting them when anything goes wrong. While teaching others it is also important to make everyone feel important and appreciated. Another important thing is keeping yourself grounded while interacting with others.

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