For some reason this seems to be the eternal dilemma that hounds the psyche of most people. Society,
specially the religious zealots are so hung up and fanatically dogmatic about holy books. Almost every
single genuinely realized teacher has said that the truth given in the books only serve to remind you of
the possibility that the life as a human offers you. They may also help inspire you to do something about
it. They may also help ascertain various experiences on the way even. But most of the times bookish
knowledge about experiences is more an obstacle, and is not reflective of a genuine experience.

Shankracharya is believed to have said –

“books dont help you in realization. And once realization is achieved, books are of little use”
Of course, this doesn’t apply to people who have been prepared by their guide sufficiently. Those who
are ready, a mere hint can send them into throes of ecstatic experiences or even realization of the
reality of the universe.

Sage Jabala is supposed to have seen a few birds, and animals on his way and attained realization. But
this was possible only because his guru Haridrumata Gautama was working on him behind the scenes for
an extended period of time. It is said that Hazrat Harun, by a mere glance transformed a whole room of
pots into painted ones with the name of God inscribed on them. He was only a painter and spent most
of his time in Meditation.

In fact it is believed that Rumi’s spiritual guide ordered him to throw away all his books in river, and
come with nothing if he wanted to become His (Shams Tabrez’s) disciple.

Lord Krishna mentions (in the Bhagvad Gita) that the way to understand the truth is –

“by living a life that is conducive to understanding it, seeking out someone who has experienced it and
knows the truth, and by serving that person”.

Yes, there might be special vibrations in words that are heard and recorded as is from a higher
dimension (Sruti, Quran etc.) that can open up profound experiences when read with surrender and
openness or recited with a particular tone and meter. But even for this one needs to be first initiated by
a genuine guide.

But not everyone has the required desire or interest to seek such a thing. Most of us are drowned in the
trappings of sensual gratification, which are really poor quality reflections of what we truly seek, and we
are content with checking the boxes of religious propriety and social acceptance.
Quoting Shankracharya again,

“These three things are extremely difficult to obtain. They are obtained after immense efforts, and with
special blessings… the fortune of being born as a human., the desire to be free (attain liberation), and the
patronage of a great one who can help you achieve this”

Only when the three of them act together can something worth its while occur. Rest are just writings on
water. Hence, the question that matters is, who is a genuine teacher?
Today there are so many, yet too few.