In the absence of the Acharya, even God's mercy will not be of benefit to us. So we must seek out an Acharya, receive spiritual instruction from him and attain moksha said Adur Asuri Madhavachari in a discourse
Gnana is not to be easily had. We must go to an Acharya and plead for gnana. But sometimes the Acharya may offer instruction to a disciple even when the latter has not specifically asked for something.
That is because an Acharya can tell who is a worthy disciple, and who deserves instruction. That means a disciple must have the qualities that will elicit such a response from an Acharya. We should take instruction from an Acharya on spiritual matters. Merely reading a few books is not enough.
The Upanishads say that only when we take spiritual instruction from an Acharya we will get moksha.
If one only tries to get such knowledge by reading books one may at best be described as a well-read person, but moksha will not be the result.
It is quite possible then that people may ask why worship God at all? After all God is capable of giving anything, and yet if an Acharya is needed, then why worship God? Or if it is enough if we worship God, then why go to an Acharya at all?
The need for seeking spiritual instruction from a preceptor can be understood by means of an example, said Adur Asuri Madhavachari.
We know that lotus flowers bloom only when the warm rays of the rising Sun hit them. So if a person wrongly concludes that it is heat that makes the flowers bloom, will he not be making a mistake?
If he thinks thus and puts hot coals on the petals, will they bloom? They will wilt. So then he may think that maybe it is the heat of the Sun alone that will be of use. So he may take some flowers and put them out in the sun. They will still wilt.
The man who does this has not understood a key ingredient in the process of blooming. The lotus flowers are in the water, when the Sun's rays hit them. That is why they bloom.
So the key is the presence of the water. The Jivatma is like the lotus. The Acharyas are like the water.
In the absence of the Acharya, even God's mercy will not be of benefit to us. So we must seek out an Acharya, receive spiritual instruction from him and attain moksha.