It is easier to trust a person than to trust the whole. If you cannot trust a person you can never trust existence as such. If you cannot surrender in a personal relationship, you can never surrender to the impersonal divine. So the guru is a step toward the impersonal, a way to help one toward surrender to the whole, to existence itself.
To the human mind, all relationships are personal. It may be love, it may be respect, it may be anything, but it is personal. So the first step toward the realization of truth or of cosmic being is also bound to be personal. Someone will have to be used as a jumping board.
And there are other things also….
Words cannot communicate much that is meaningful as far as spirituality is concerned. The very phenomenon is such that it is inexpressible. If you hear some instrumental music, you cannot convey the meaning of it through words. You can use judgmental words – good, bad – but they do not convey anything. You can only convey your feelings, and those too, very inadequately.
If you have seen a flower, you can say it is beautiful. But that does not convey anything. Your words never convey the actual realization of the moment because they can mean anything to the person to whom they are conveyed. A person who has never seen beauty in any flower will hear your words and understand the meaning of them without understanding anything at all, because the word beauty does not mean anything to him.
Even concepts such as beauty are not totally expressible – we can only try to express them. Spiritual things are so impeccable, so silent, so infinite, that language destroys them. Words confine them to such a narrow sphere that the meaning cannot be conveyed. That is why I said that religion cannot be taught.
However difficult, mathematics can be taught because it is symbolic, and symbols can be conveyed. Physics can be taught because there is nothing inexpressible about it. But the nearer you come to the human heart – for example, in poetry – the more you feel that your words have not conveyed the thing, that something has been left behind. The container is there, but the content has been left behind. The words have reached, but the meaning has been left behind. The flower has been received, but the perfume has died in the very giving of it.
Words are at the midpoint between science and religion. In science everything can be conveyed; in religion nothing can be conveyed. These are the three roads: science, which means reason, and is expressible; poetry and art, which are emotion, and are expressible up to a certain point beyond which they become inexpressible; and religion, spirituality, which is absolutely inexpressible. That is why the relationship between guru and disciple is not that of teacher and pupil.
Religion cannot be taught.
Then how is it conveyed? There are other methods.