Showing posts with label GURU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GURU. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Upanishad Ganga's photo.The concept of the Guru can be traced back to the ancient Vedic periods; in the Upanishads, the teacher is presented at being indispensable to Self-knowledge. Other traditions also emphasise the need for a teacher for those who wish to advance spiritually. The names for teachers are different- spiritual director in Christianity, tzaddik in Judaism, startsy in the Russian Orthodox tradition, and mu...rshid in Sufism. All these guides perform the same task; namely, leading the souls in their care to the place they themselves have reached.

People often wish to know 'How does one choose a Guru?' It is not a question of the disciple selecting the Guru. The disciple gravitates towards a Guru, and will find the Guru he needs for his present state of mental development. In the words of Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a contemporary sage: “Be the right man and the right guru will surely find you.”

The Upanishads summarise the qualifications of a teacher in two terms: Shrotriya (one who is a master of the scriptures) and Brahmanishtha (one who is well established in the experiences of Truth). Without the knowledge of the scriptures, the teacher will not be able to convey his wisdom to the disciples. But a mere book-knowledge is not sufficient. The words coming from an individual can gather wings only when they spring from a heart soaked with sincere subjective experience.

However, to be a preceptor, one must have two more qualifications. His behaviour in the world must be perfect, as his students will be tempted to imitate him in all his external habits. If his behaviour is not perfect, it is possible that students will copy his bad habits and thus ruin themselves. Secondly, a preceptor must have large-heartedness flowing with kindness and patience. This is necessary since in the early stages the students will revolt against new concepts that conflict with their present understanding. To weed out the mind and to replant new ideas is a most painful operation and this can be achieved only when the teacher has infinite patience, endless love and supreme affection
It is clear that no amount of enquiring into or discussing with a Teacher is of any avail unless the student has taken enough time to tune himself up to the Teacher. Spirituality is not something that we can start discussing and arguing among ourselves to while away an idle hour. It is to be understood in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity – for this understanding is an attempt at the deep experiences of the Master expressed not so much through his words.

Therefore, Shri Adi Shankaracharya, in his composition 'Vivekachoodamani' explains that a seeker should approach the Teacher and learn, first of all, to love him, trust him and later on, through love-inspired acts of service, become receptive and establish a rapport filled with reverence. Thus, Vedanta is almost over-emphasising the method of approaching the Teacher.

तमाराध्य गुरुं भक्त्या प्रह् वप्रश्रयसेवनैः।
प्रसन्नं तमनुप्राप्य पृच्छेज्ज्ञातव्यमात्मनः॥ [- विवेकचूडामणि ३४]
tamārādhya guruṁ bhaktyā prahvapraśrayasevanaiḥ,
prasannaṁ tamanuprāpya pṛcchejjñātavyamātmanaḥ. [- Vivekacūḍāmaṇi 34]

Worshipping that Guru with deep devotion, when he is pleased with your surrender, humility and service, approach him and ask him to explain what you must know.

These days, unfortunately, we find seekers who think nothing of calling the Teacher over the phone to enquire from the Teacher about the goal of life, the path, the means and so on. Such telephone-tuition is not possible in spirituality and the seeker of a spiritual life and religious truths should approach the Master in an attitude of reverence and surrender.
A young seeker once questioned Swami Chinmayananda: 'Whatever you teach is there in the books. What do I need a Guru for?' Swamiji replied: “Why don't you ask this question to the books?' The very fact that we have such questions such as th...e one asked by the young seeker indicate that we need teachers to teach us. Is there anything we do well, with confidence, or mastery if it has not been taught to us? If, for every perfect act in the world we need the guidance of an instructor, we can well understand the need for a guru on the spiritual path. On this path we have to deal with the subtlest forces and enormous confusions of the vehicle called the mind with its varied moods and delusions! Today – the full moon day in the month of Ashada as per the Hindu calendar, is Guru Purnima – a day of veneration to the Guru. Followers of Buddhism also celebrate this day in honour of Lord Buddha who gave his first sermon at Sarnath on this day. Hindus celebrate this day as Vyasa Purnima, as not only was Sage Veda Vyasa born on this day, but is also said to have commenced the great work, Brahmasutras, on this day. For those who wish to express their reverence and offer prostrations to Sage Veda Vyasa, These are the 108 names of Sage Veda Vyasa (श्री वेद व्यास अष्टोत्तरशत-नामावलिः) which may be chanted by setting aside 10 minutes today:
The 'secret' technique of getting freed from the ahamkara – the ego, the sense of doer ship and enjoyer ship is shared by Lord Krishna in the following verse of the Bhagvad Geeta:

यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत्।
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम्॥ [- भगवद् गीता ९.२७]

yatkaroṣi yadaśnāsi yajjuhoṣi dadāsi yat,
yattapasyasi kaunteya tatkuruṣva madarpaṇam. [- Bhagavad Gītā 9.27]

Whatever... you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give, whatever you practise as austerity, O Kaunteya (Arjuna), do it as an offering to Me.

The seeker is assured of attaining the supreme Self by living in the pure spirit of dedicated offering. When actions are undertaken without ego, the reactions of those actions cannot add to the impressions on the mind. It is the ego that acts and it is the ego that receives the reactions. Since existing impressions get wiped out during the mind's activities in the world; slowly and steadily the mind gets almost a total purgation of all impressions. In short, the mind becomes more and more purified (in the scriptural sense) – and a purified mind has more concentration and single-pointedness.
The teachings of Chanakya have the unique distinction of being principles which have been used successfully to achieve good results on a sustainable basis. Shared below are some foundation principles that Chanakya taught his students - including the well known Emperor Chandragupta:

सा श्रीः वः अव्यात। sā śrīḥ vaḥ avyāta. May that wealth protect you (all). (Invocaion)

सुखस्य मूलं धर्मः। sukhasy...a mūlaṁ dharmaḥ. Basis of happiness is ethics.

धर्मस्य मूलम् अर्थः। dharmasya mūlam arthaḥ. Basis of ethics is resources.

अर्थस्य मूलम् राज्यम्। arthasya mūlam rājyam. Basis of resources is kingdom (enterprise).

राज्यमूलम् इन्द्रियजयः।rājyamūlam indriyajayaḥ. Enterprise is rooted in conquering the (sense) organs.

इन्द्रियहजस्य मूलम् विनयः।indriyahajasya mūlam vinayaḥ. Conquering organs is rooted in humility.

विनयस्य मूलम् वृद्धोपसेवा।vinayasya mūlam vṛddhopasevā. Humility (moral training) is based on serving elders.

वृद्धोपसेवया विज्ञानम्।vṛddhopasevayā vijñānam. Worldly knowledge through serving with the learned.

विज्ञानेन आत्मानम् संपादयेत्।vijñānena ātmānam saṁpādayet. Equip yourself fully with worldly knowledge.

संपादितात्मा जितात्मा भवति।saṁpāditātmā jitātmā bhavati. One who has acquired knowledge becomes one who has conquered himself.

जितात्मा सर्वार्थैः संयुज्येत।jitātmā sarvārthaiḥ saṁyujyeta. The self-conquered shall endow himself with all resources.

Thus, the basis of all happiness is ethical behaviour – dharma !
The three levels of reality are summarised here:

1. प्रातिभासिक सत्ता / prātibhāsika sattā or illusory reality is that which appears for a very short period and then it disappears. For example our dream. This reality ceases to exist once one wakes up from the dream.

2. व्यावहारिक सत्ता / vyāvahārika or transactional reality is that which is perceived and interacted with during our waking s...tate. This entire universe that we experience everyday comes under this category. It seems to be more real than the previous one, and also seems to possess qualities like continuity, cause-effect relationship, doer-work relationship and so on. But all this remains true only until one 'wakes up' to the highest level of reality.

3. पारमार्थिक सत्ता / pāramārthika sattā or Absolute Reality is the changeless reality and is of the nature of existence per se. Not knowing this is called ignorance in the language of Vedanta, and knowing this is called real knowledge. This Absolute Reality is also referred to as Brahman or Atma or Sat-chit-ananda in the Vedantic texts.