Do you consider yourself a disciple? Do you have a master?
Nowadays, many humans who study the way do not look for a master, just out of pure conceit, simple ego. Why? It is very hard for the ego to acknowledge in himself that there is some one who knows better. The way to the Divine cannot be without a Master. You have to admit to yourself, that there is at least one human, who knows better.
Primarily, I have to be ready to accept a Master, before choosing him. Many go to Masters, remain near them for years and never become enlightened; why? They were not ready; they offered resistance to the Master. Another meets his Master only once -in his whole life- and he becomes enlightened, why? He was ready and offered no resistance to his Master. That what happened to Sri Atmananda, who met his Master only once.
What is the meaning that the disciple is ready? As I see it, the disciple would have come to an understanding that HE IS IGNORANT AND ALL HIS KNOWLEDGE IS WRONG, and I NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, this is the gateway to the path of knowledge or understanding. The other gateway is when the disciple knows fully well that he is a great sinner and the NEED TO REPENT BECOMES IMMENANT FROM THE AGONY OF BEING A SINNER; this is the gateway of love or Bahakti.
Now, one has to be either, otherwise, he is not yet ready. When one is ready in either way -way of knowledge or way of love- the whole existence will direct him to a Master. A Master that will accept him as his disciple. When one is not yet ready, he has to prepare himself to become ready, the preparation entails, reading, meditating, giving alms, visiting Masters to keep the truth alive in his heart…etc.
This preparation might take years, until you are ready. Do you choose the Master? Or does the Master accept you? Nowadays, anyone can travel and visit this Master or that Master all over the world, but does that make you a disciple to that Master?
Now, suppose you are ready, you might have access to many well known approved Masters, but which one is Your Master? Who is the Master that will benefit you until enlightenment and establishment?
A beautiful Sufi story: A man thought to himself: I need a Sufi Master to tell me what to do so that I can enter Paradise. He looked for a Sufi Master; after great struggle he found Libnani -a famous Sufi Master at that time. The man went to meet him and this interchange took place:
Man: I wish to learn, the way to Paradise. Will you teach me?
Libnani: I do not feel that you know how to learn.
Man: Can you teach me how to learn?
Libnani: Can you learn how to let me teach you?
Now, you are ready. Who will say that you are ready; definitely not you. When a Master accepts you to become his intimate disciple that means you are ready.