Jan 30: Glory of a Guru

30 Jan

The telecon satsang started with Nama Sankirtan which was led by Gayathriji from Boston. After a brief round of introductions, Ramyaji from San Jose, CA talked about the Glory of the Sadguru.

If God’s grace were to take a form, then that form is verily the Guru. The greatness of a Guru is that he always showers His grace on his devotees without expecting anything in return. It is said that a Guru has already attained the highest state. The scriptures say that it would be foolish on our part to return what a Guru does to us.
The word Guru is none other than the Brahman that swallows ‘ajnana’ (ignorance) ‘Gu’ means darkness; ‘ru’ means to remove it. As the Guru removes darkness he is known so.
The Guru is the one who stimulates the thirst for God. Once can read any number of books and gain spiritual knowledge but it will not have any impact on us as it does not stimulate the thirst for God. A Guru is one whose every word, every movement and every action triggers the great thirst for God in us. Every moment in his divine presence stimulates this great urge.

To substantiate the Greatness of a Guru, Srimad Bhagavatam in quite a few place talks about this. The Mahatmyam which says, that while the celestial tree and the ‘Chintamani’ gem can bestow worldly comforts, it is indeed only the Sadguru’s compassion that can bestow ‘Vaikunta’!
In the 8th canto, 8 slokas specially glorify the Almighty and pray for the Supreme Being to come in the form of a Supreme Guru.

anAdyavidyopahatAtma samvida: tanmUla samsAra parisramAturA: |
yadRucchayopasRutA yamApnuyurvimuktido na: paramo gururbhavAn || (8:24:46)

Oh Lord! Who liberates the ones who attain you — those whose supreme Knowledge of the Aatman is being masked by the endless veil of ignorance and those who incidentally fall into the sea of Samsara and struggle with the miseries of this mundane world. Pray come in the form of a Supreme Guru and liberate us by cutting asunder the knot of ego-sense that binds us.
It is said that we need a teacher to acquire knowledge of even worldly affairs from making a pot to scientific matter. If matters such as these that are within the reach of the working of our limited brain needs a teacher then what to speak of high spiritual knowledge which is beyond the realm of the mind? The mind is always tuned to look externally in seeking happiness does not so easily turn inward. It is the Guru who is the friend, philosopher and guide in the true sense – who helps us first learn the purpose of life, shows the way to the goal, holds and leads us all through the way and finally sets us in our true nature.

A poverty stricken man is crying and a Siddha Purusha who passes by enquires the reason for his grief. The poor man told him that he is drowned in poverty. The Siddha Purusha asks him to dig the ground below the cot on which he was sitting and promised that will find a pot filled with treasure!” Our situation is akin to this poor ignorant man. Not knowing that happiness is our very nature we are drowned in sorrow trying to seek it elsewhere. It is the Guru who points out to us our very nature that is Bliss. Just as a child who has no parents is called an orphan a spiritual aspirant who has no Guru to guide is also an orphan.

In one of Sri Tukkaram maharaj’s abhangs, he says There is no one other than the Sadguru who can liberate us from the ocean of ‘samsAra’. He is not bound by time and just like a magnet converts a piece of iron into yet another magnet, He turns the disciple into verily a Jnaani like Himself.

It is said that even Bhagavan in both His Avatars as Krishna and Rama sought a Guru. Krishna’s Guru was Sandeepani and Rama’s Guru was Vasishta. When Kuchela visited Krishna, Lord Krishna says, “Kuchela! No one in the world enjoys peace – neither the rich nor the poor. Each envies the other imagining that the other is happy. You who is the personification of poverty and I who am Dwarakadeesa (the ruler of the wealthy Kingdom of Dwaraka) and Lakshmipati (Consort of Goddess of wealth Lakshmi) both enjoy peace. Kuchela does not suffer from the sorrows attached to poverty and Sri Kirshna from those attached to wealth. And it is because of the very fact that they enjoy the Grace of a Guru – their Guru Sandeepani!”

“GUROHO ANUGRAHENAIVA PUMAN PURNAH PRASHANTHAYE”—

One on whom guru ‘kataksha’(blessings) has fallen will suffers no grief, be he wealthy or poor.

Jagadguru Adi Sankara, the teacher of Advaita philosophy, has sung on the Glory of the Guru, He beautifully says that “One may possess a beautiful, healthy body; a charming wife; wealth as huge as a meru mountain and enjoy fame throughout the world but of what use are these if his mind is not set on the Lotus Feet of the Guru?

All great Mahatmas have sung on the glory of the Guru. “Kutramutrum aruthennai gunamai pannithal Guru uruvãiolir, Arunachala!”, sings Ramana Maharishi, calling upon Arunachala to be the Guru in annihilating his mind and taking him unto His fold!

“Guruvai varuvai arulvai Guhane!” sings Saint Arunagirinathar calling upon Lord Muruga to be his Guru! And what does the great Kabir say while speaking on his Guru Ramanand? “If God and Guru appear before me I will ignore God and prostrate to my Guru!” and what does Ekanath sing of his Guru Sri Janardhana Swami? “
Guru Mata! Guru Pita! Guru amuchi kuladevata!”
Gora patathAm sAnkatE| guru rakshi mAgEm putE ||
kAyavAchA ANImana| guru charaNIm arpaNa ||
EkA janArdhanim charaNA| guru Eka janArdhana ||

The main essence of this beautiful Abhang is that

The Guru is my mother, Guru my father and Guru is my family Deity! When troubles approach, Guru stands in front and behind me protecting me always.

A Sadguru is like the mother and God like the father of a child. It is the mother who takes care of the child from its birth till he grows up. She handles the child with care and affection. She sits with the child day and night when he is sick and attends to his personal needs without a frown. Whereas, the father takes pride in the son only when he stands on his two feet and makes a name for himself in the world. Likewise, God is accessible only to the pure heart but the Guru takes on the ‘jiva’ only to cleanse him of his dirts (‘vasanas’) and liberates him.
Our Guru Maharaj in one his kirtans very lucidly conveys the meaning that without Guru’s grace, one cannot get the grace and compassion of Lord Sri Hari.

“Guru Kripayi Illamal Hari Kripai Illai”
Hari Kripai Illamal Bhakthi Illai”

A man with his inherent nature of successfully completing a task may perform japa or meditation with obstinacy. But what happens to such a one who performs intense spiritual practice without the guidance of a Guru? The net of Maya only tightens its hold by bestowing him with supernatural powers. He is able to learn the happenings that are beyond the reach of our mental faculties. He can cure diseases. The world too holds and looks upon him as verily Bhagavãn. But the truth is that he has not attained liberation but has been pulled deeper into the pit of Maya. By his own effort a ‘jiva’ cannot disentangle himself from the chains of Maya. It is only a Guru who can annihilate a person’s Ego, which is the only block in knowing and being his true Self.

A classic example of this is Sarngdev who was a Siddha Purusha had a huge following of wealthy powerful men. He could even revive the dead. Thus, he was sought after by one and all and there was always a long line of the dead and their relatives at his doorstep! Once Mukta Bai, who is the little sister of Saint Jnanadev, enquired about the long line of dead and on learning the reason the little girl said to the relatives of the dead, that she could also revive them to lift and she chanted the Nama ‘Vittala’! ‘Vittala’! in each one’s ear and the dead jumped back on ‘its’ feet and danced away singing the Nama ‘Vittala’! ‘Vittala’!

The belittled Sarngdev rode on a lion to accost Jnanadev whom he looked upon as his archenemy. Jnanadev who was poor and lived in a hut was repairing the broken wall of his hut. He saw Sarngdev ride arrogantly on a lion and only to teach him that ‘Siddhis’ were silly matters, sat on the wall and tapped it; and it moved up to Sarngdev! The astounded Sarngdev fell at the feet of Jnanadev as he realized his own folly and the emptiness of all around him. He sought knowledge from Jnanadev who blessed him with the Nama ‘Vittala’! Sarngdev gave up his wealth, relatives and followers immediately and took to incessant chanting of the Name of Vittala into which Jnanadev had initiated him. Very soon his ignorance was wiped out and he became a Jnani!

We all know that Lord Panduranga was easily available as a friend to Namdev. He enjoyed the company of Lord Panduranga day in and day out, since his childhood. He was called‘unbaked clay’ by Gora Kumbha (a potter saint). Angered by this, Namdev approached Lord Panduranga who also endorsed the view! Lord Panduranga told Namadev that “You do not have a Guru to correct you hence you are unbaked clay. It is only a Guru who can annihilate one’s ego and help find the real Self” and directed him to a Guru living in the nearby forest. Namdev sought refuge in this Guru who destroyed his ‘Ego’. With the death of the ‘Ego’ Namdev realized that everything was verily Brahman; that he himself was not apart from God. Everything was in God and God was in everything as the ‘antaratma’.

Sabari was born in a family of hunters. She was known for her Guru Bhakti. She lived in a forest killing animals and birds for food. Such a Sabari attained liberation through the grace of her Guru Mandanga Maharishi who blessed her with the darshan of Lord Rama! Bhagavan Himself came to her door in search of her and accepts her hospitality. Speaking to Lord Rama on the glory of her Guru she leaves her mortal body to join her Guru, with Lord Rama as the witness. It is very clearly shown here that this old lady from a hunter’s family attained liberation through the Grace of the Guru, with Bhagavan only as the witness to the event!

The working of Guru’s Grace is like the oil in a lamp. The wick, which is lit without oil in the lamp is quickly burnt out and the light, too, dies out. But if oil is poured into the lamp it not only protects the wick from burning out but also helps the lamp burn continuously. Likewise, one who does not enjoy the Grace of the Guru suffers from his ‘prarabda’ (the effect of his past merits and demerits). He is like the wick in a lamp bereft of oil. ‘Prarabda’ shudders at the prospect of even approaching a ‘jiva’ who enjoys the Grace of the Guru.

The Sadguru can in a snapping of fingers’ time bestow liberation on the disciple! There once lived a King by name Katvanga . He desired liberation and sought the Vedic Brahmins to help him. But the learned could not help him. It was then that a great Mahatma visited the Kingdom who bestowed the King with liberation within the snapping of fingers’ time!

In one of the kirtans, our Guru maharaj sings,
“tvamEva gatir mama hE! gurunAtha
iha lOkE paralOkE cha (tvamEva)”

Translates to the very fact that the Guru is the only refugee in the worldly life and in the life beyond.

He further sings the following lines

“sumukhOham vA vimukhOham vA
puNyOham vA pApOham vA
paNDithOham vA mooDHOham vA
danikOham vA daridrOham vA (tvamEva)

shaktOham vA ashaktOham vA
susheelOham vA dusheelOham vA
AshritOham vA anashritOham vA
niraparAdOham vA sAparAdOham vA (tvamEva)

vignOham vA agnOham vA
viraktOham vA raktOham vA
vaiDikOham vA loukikOham vA
bhAgavatOham vA muralidharOham vA (tvamEva)”

He says that whether one is cheerful or otherwise, irrespective of his merits and sins, one has committed, the guru is indeed the only refugee. Regardless of whether one is educated or not, whether one is affluent or poor he is indeed the only refugee. Lastly he says that even if one is a Vaideeka (one who follows the path prescribed in the Vedas) or even if one is Bhagavatha or Muralidhara, a Guru is the only refuge.

Sudhaji from Dallas mentioned that our Guru Maharaj requests everyone to chant the Divine Names of the Lord and it is the only Biksha that he needs from all of us. Such is the compassionate nature of our Guru Maharaj.
The satsang wrapped up with prayers with Nama Sankirtan.

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