After detaching the mind from the world and before surrendering to God, there is need of a divine entity, without whom one cannot attain the supreme goal. That entity is a God-realised Saint or Guru. It is the Guru who decides which path is best for each devotee to enable his surrender to God. Again, it is he who dispels all doubts faced by the aspirant on the path. Mere detachment is not enough to attain God.
acharyavan purusho hi veda . . . (Chhandogya Upanishad 6.14.2) "Only that person can understand the importance of the Vedas who surrenders and takes guidance from a Guru." parikshya lokan karmachitan . . . (Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.12) "After performing ritualistic actions, learned me have concluded that the mere performance of Vedic rituals cannot destroy the bondage of past actions. On the contrary, it only serves to increase that bondage. Thus, one needs the guidance of a Saint who has thorough knowledge of the scriptures and has practical experience of God."
The Gita states, tadviddhi pranipatena pariprashnena . . . (Gita 4.34) "One who desires to know God, will have to surrender to a God-realised Saint and seek the supreme knowledge with the spirit of service and submission." Veda Vyasa also states, tasmad gurun prapadyeta . . . (Bhagavatam 11.3.21) "The goal of attaining God can only be reached by surrendering to a genuine Spiritual Master." The Ramayana also says, guru binu bhava nidhi . . . "Without the guidance of a Guru, one cannot cross the ocean of material existence." Again it says, "Without the guidance of a Guru, one cannot attain knowledge of God."
Thus, the unanimous view of all the scriptures is that we must surrender to a Guru in order to know the unknown entity called God. So, let us now reflect upon this entity known as the Guru or Spiritual Master . . .
An extract from:
Prema Rasa Siddhanta - Philosophy of Divine Love
Chapter Six, The Saint, p. 115-16
Originally written in Hindi by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj