“If we are caught in a labyrinth and someone comes and says, ‘I can show you the way out’, what do we do? Follow him. And the gratitude we feel is what we call worship and devotion. This person is the Guru and we should follow him implicitly if we want to escape from the labyrinth. Sometimes, however, we think: ‘Why should I follow him? Let me find my own way.’ So we go off by ourselves. But he is always so patient and loving that he waits until we grow weary trying to find the way alone and come back to him.

By a few simple words the Guru gives a new turn to the life—just as when a man is riding a bicycle, someone sees that the road he is taking will lead to danger, so he turns him around and starts him in another direction. The man keeps on pedaling as before and the bicycle keeps on moving, but now the man is moving away from danger instead of toward it. Similarly, the Guru sees that the direction you have taken is dangerous, so he turns you round. All your activities may go on as before, you may keep on pedaling just the same, but now you are riding in a safe direction. The Guru’s work is to give the turn in the right direction.

Source: Swami Ramakrishnananda – The Apostle of Sri Ramakrishna to the South by Swami Tapasyananda, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, p.169

6