When I first started researching this article I was having a tough time understanding the difference between a Spiritual Guru and a Spiritual Adviser. At first glance, they sounded like the same thing. But they are not.
Though my Teacher/Guru provides me with spiritual advice on most areas of my life, I realized that since there are so many diverse spiritual elements in a person’s life, a Guru might not always be equipped to provide direction in every case. A Guru is also a long term relationship in most cases; and as a student of your chosen Guru, you seek to emulate the life and core belief system expressed by the individual Guru throughout your life. The Guru helps you in your overall spiritual evolution over a long period of time.
A Spiritual Adviser, on the other hand, is consulted in particular situations for their specific expertise. They have detailed knowledge of a single discipline and are able to guide you toward resolution of the problem or challenge. They are much like an accountant at tax time. You may know which forms to fill out and how to add up the numbers, but you trust the accountant to leverage the two in a way that is most beneficial for your bank account. In that same way, the Spiritual Adviser can interpret information about you and counsel you on what is most beneficial according to your spiritual center or your environment, let’s say.
For example, if I my goal was to create a more peaceful and productive living space, my Guru would not be the right expert to consult on this specific topic. He could give me some initial advice, since part of the Veda is devoted to sound architectural rules, but he wouldn’t be able to come into my home and move things around or suggest improvements for the optimization of my creativity energy or financial security; this would rather require a Feng Shui expert. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics that uses the laws of heaven and of earth to improve life by correctly channeling positive life force or Qi (pronounced “chee”). There are numerous books on the subject, but it might be best to consult a Feng Shui design expert regarding this very complex spiritual science. This person would then be my spiritual adviser when it comes to my living space, for example.
This got me thinking about the many kinds of spiritual advisers that are available. If you want to know what planets influence you and perhaps understand your karmic lesson in life, you could hire an astrologer to draw up your birth chart. Years ago, when someone was interpreting my chart, they looked at the placement of Jupiter and Chiron and told me that my search for a Guru would ultimately lead me to becoming one. In fact, I now teach Vedic Meditation and hold “knowledge” meetings every Saturday on Veda. Vedic Astrology is a complex type of reading that can provide very accurate information.
Astrologers also look at planetary transits and are able to predict long term shifts in career, home life, romance and many other elements of your life. Spending time with an Astrologer may help you to clarify phases of growth and change in your life.
In Los Angeles, we’re lucky to have access to many types of Spiritual Advisers on everything from Ayurvedic health to Yoga. But even if you don’t live in Los Angeles, you have access to the internet and there is an abundance of spiritual information and services available.