In ancient times there were few books to guide the aspirant and fewer still available to him. Consequently the need of a living guide was much greater than it is now. Even in ancient times such teachers were hard to find. "That Guru is rare who can bring riddance to his disciple from the sorrows which agitate his heart," says Skanda Puranam.
-- Notebooks Category 1: Overview of the Quest > Chapter 6: Student-Teacher > # 185