What Are the Qualifications and Requirements for Spiritual Teachers?

There is a period of psychological curiosity for seeking individuals searching for spiritual answers and we are told during this stage of development God sends them just ordinary teachers and spiritual books for addressing the awakening of these souls. What is the forecast for them in the future?

These are times of uncertainty and tremendous change. People are turning to yoga meditation and spirituality to find their own inner comfort. In the midst of a changing world, spirituality and yoga is more significant now for discovering one's own inner center and is moving further into society. The question is how do you find a spiritual teacher or the right house of worship?

When a spiritual teacher motivates a spiritual runaway to come back to God, that is considered the highest duty of human service there is to a fellow being. The Lord loves to see His children consciously search for Him, and is very pleased when a spiritual teacher influences them to come unto Him. To hear God speak through these souls, is to have masses of delusion taken away from the minds of the listeners.

Unfortunately that universal thief, delusion and ignorance has arrived to this earth to steal man's consciousness from God to make him forget the immortality of the soul, its joy and wisdom and cause him to feel mortal through the experience of death. There are false teachers who have falling prey to this delusion. Themselves victimized partner in this theft. Not knowing God they cannot pass on His realization to someone else; instead, in their own stupidity they not only obliterate their own would-be understanding, but that of their unfortunate followers as well.

Be wary of the hypocritical behavior of teachers, preachers and priests who demonstrate any style of prayer or preaching in an overstated demonstration of fervor before people attending worship to convince them of their spirituality and holiness to receive fame, praise, material or financial gain.

Self-elected or appointed soap box speakers can create emotional or intellectual upheavals in the thoughts of spectators and be sincerely persuasive, but they are unable to uplift and save souls; during their period of prayer halfhearted mental rambling brings neither an answer from God or the focused attention essential for economic success in these troubled times. Any one of them who uses holiness or religion for individual attainments, business or financial largess creates unto themselves a heavy judgment of misery and baneful bad karma.

Ministries are frequently built on the personalities of ministers, who are trained like actors to successfully drive home the lines of their theoretical orations. However, because of a lack of spirituality the emotional or intellectual rhetoric is also performed like socials and musical performances that causes a loss of interest from its members if they have not received any inner fulfillment or experience. Ministries can't compete nor should they try to do so with professional entertainment. Nor should churches try to attract class-conscious people with architectural grandeur from huge sums of money merely to be more then a place to be seen and see.

Congregational worship should emphasize interiorization, meditation (absorbing oneself in God) and stress the absence of mental restlessness, with an avoidance of scriptural recital, kneeling down and standing up, and other external rituals of the body. The presence of God appears when bodily motions cease and the mind becomes quite. The recitation of prayers and chants do some good, but keep the mind external and the effects remains limited without deep soulful prayers in the quite of solitude.

There are some teachers who know nothing about God and present to their congregation secondhand opinions amassed from hours spent scanning over scriptures and books. There is a hint to all ministers and preachers of the gospel. To commit to memory the language of the scriptures or be given a degree of Divinity is not enough. One must preach and digest truth with the conviction and power of the soul. But those who have little or nothing to do with God but espouse Him just from the pulpit, are the type described as "hypocrites." They seldom ever pray; they mostly read and simply preach what they've read that's why holy sermons create a vague devotion in the minds of people. Those in their congregation for the majority, let the invalidated orations go through one ear and out the other. To represent yourself as an authority on gems with no knowledge about gemology is a scam if you know nothing about gemology. Equally, to represent oneself as religiously and spiritually qualified is unprincipled if there has been no effort to commune with God.

When looking for a teacher the masters would require certain qualities and practices. Additionally, would add in the principles that include the following behavior. Sympathy, a teacher cannot transmit truth without being sympathetic; those seeking support from their problems need spiritual help to relieve them of their troubles and assist those in search of spiritual growth. He should be loyal and natural to his principles. He should never speak hurtful words or gossip about others or entertain revengeful thoughts by being angry against those who criticize him. Knowing the rules of etiquette and proper decorum are extremely favorable. He should never try to compete with other spiritual teachers and teach loyalty to that principle.

He should have a reverential qualified knowledge of religions, whereas being rooted in truth while understanding the differences between custom and real religion. He must be motivated by the inner awareness of truth to be able to transmit truth effectively. He should be well versed and believe in the truths he strives to teach while trying to realize them himself.

The most qualified teacher of spirituality is the intuitional teacher and once awakened by meditation does not have to depend on reason, he knows.
A spiritual teacher that does not have self-realization should make a great effort for subversion of the ego and God attunement and meditate before instructing others, a much more valuable practice than formulating ideas from the opinions of others or books.

Religion, spirituality, or houses of worship should never be commercialized or used for personal gain. It is desirable that a teacher of spirituality not be given a salary. Once the teacher starts to accept money for doing God's work, it simply develops into a job; his thoughts will be on wanting more money and making a living, unlike the Christlike belief of serving God without the thoughts of compensation. I'm thinking about monastic teachers who renounce all for serving God. They must be free of burdens or obligations to give selflessly of themselves.

God channels his work through pure souls, these teachers need to be reminded that they must never appoint or desire themselves to be named "master." For those of you who are not sure of what that means, master by definition is one who is master of himself, not of others. He is the wise ruler and owner of his own actions with complete control of his senses. A real master has subdued his own ego and therefore neither displays or yearns for an illustrious title as his own. He who has not conquered his emotions and moods and is annoyed by life's numerous vexations and by allowing others to "get his goat" over a few words of irritation is a long way from declaring himself a master. A master can never be harmed in their spiritual aloofness in spite of what is denied to them.

Only a authentic follower or disciple who has experienced the disciplined spiritual practices of the sadhana, of a true master and who has cleansed his illusion-infected ego will make it to master. Masters will not ask their disciples to teach unless they are true from the past (previous incarnations). All great masters chose their disciples in the same way. The important requisites are a sincere readiness to listen, attunement and good karma.

When a soul is determined to find and know God, He sends him a spiritual master, illumined soul or guru, to help him to be free from his own karma. Only a true master who has no karma is able to take a portion of your cross on his back. If you follow one who has not realized God he can't take it, he is merely a school teacher. The book "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda, explains this in detail. You can also read it online.

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Copyright Gary Zalben.

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