is an unknown entity. God is an unseen entity. However, with absolutely
irrefutable logic, rational argument and reason, Vedanta establishes the fact of
God. And through analysis we can infer, “Yes, there must be a God; it stands
to reason. It is irrational to suppose that there cannot be such a thing as God.
There must be.” And scriptures also tell us that He is a Being who is sacred,
who is holy, all-pure, noble and sublime. But, nevertheless, God is still for us
only a concept of the mind. We have not seen God. We have not touched, nor
tasted, nor smelt Him. We’ve only heard about Him. We can only infer Him. We
can only imagine Him.
then, if we are able to see in a human individual manifestations of holiness, of
sanctity, of purity, of sublimity, of nobility, of goodness, of loftiness of
conduct, character, nature, sentiment, thought, feeling and action, if we see
something out of the ordinary something extraordinary, something special, a
manifestation of those qualities that we have been taught to associate only with
God then we say: “If such a human being can exist, God must exist. Otherwise,
from whence do these qualities come which we do not normally see in anyone?”
When we see this divinity, this holiness, this sanctity, we begin to realise:
God I have not seen, but godliness I have seen. All the qualities attributed to
God by the scriptures, by saints and sages, in all religious contexts those I
see in an unusual measure, in an extraordinary measure, in this being. Because I
have seen this being and this being is known to me, I am assured that God is. I
know there must be a God.” And in the Vedic tradition the guru
is such a being. The guru becomes
for us pratyaksha devaa, visible God.
God reveals Himself through the guru.
guru thus becomes the linking factor,
a channel for putting the wandering, lost jivatma,
the individual Soul, back into contact with its source, God, the Universal
Soul. And just as the guru is a
channel for the jivatma to re-link
itself with the paramatma, even so, if
we can create a channel between ourselves and our guru,
then that channel will become the effecting means of receiving from the guru
guru-kripa, all that the guru is
the knowledge of the guru, the
sanctity of the guru, the purity of
the guru, the spirituality of the guru.
that channel is called guru-bhakti. That
is why the significant verse in the Svetasvatara Upanishad: “yasya
deve para bhaktih yatha deve tatha gurau, tasyaite kathita hyarthah prakasante
mahatmanah.” If you have
supreme devotion to God and the same kind of devotion to your guru, then to you, the essence, the subtle truths of the scriptures
become revealed.” Thus it is that through guru-bhakti
the sadhaka, the seeker, the
disciple, creates an effective link, a connection, a channel which enables the guru
to share with the disciple what the guru
has been endowed with from God.
we have to provide a way for the guru to
give what he wishes to give. And that is through guru-bhakti,
devotion, where there is no place for the ego. If the thought comes, “I
have got great guru-bhakti,” then
finished, that bhakti becomes
cancelled, it is nullified. You yourself must become the very embodiment of that
love, that devotion. There should be no awareness of some being, some person
having that quality of devotion. Then it becomes a subtle spiritual ego. The
very purpose of the existence of the guru is
to remove the separatist I-consciousness, the consciousness of being a
separate being or entity, and if guru-bhakti
becomes a means of boosting and sustaining that abhimana
(ego), ahamkara (egoism), then it
loses its purpose and becomes self-defeating.
true guru-bhakti is egoless, nirabhimana
(without ego), vinamra (humble).
Sabari was bhaktisvarupa. She had
great bhakti for Rama, but she was not
conscious that she was a great devotee of Rama. Neither was Hanuman conscious
that he was a great bhakta of Rama. It
was his very nature. He was an embodiment of devotion for Rama. The gopis
of Vrindavan did not know that they were great devotees of Krishna. They
said: “All we know is that He is the one object to be adored. We don’t know
anything else. We cannot do anything but adore Him. We are that adoration. It is
our very self. We are not different from that. Take it away from us and we will
die, we will cease to exist.” They were filled with that love, not with
egoistical awareness of that love.
greater the growth of devotion and the greater the reverence for the guru,
the greater is the inflow of the guru's
grace. The greater the desire to carry out the ideals and principles of the guru
in life and the greater the keen eagerness and firm determination to carry
out the instructions of the guru faithfully,
meticulously, day after day, in one’s daily activities and life, the greater
is the inflow of the guru ‘s grace.
Gurudev was never tired of again and again reiterating: “Obedience is better
than reverence.” And Vivekananda came down heavily upon mere sentiment and
emotion. He said that this sentiment has ruined us. We have become backboneless;
we lack a sense of purpose.
what have the Upanishads put before us to illustrate true devotion? One disciple
came to his guru as a young boy and the guru
told him that it was his duty to collect firewood daily for the haven.
He went on doing it without questioning. He was not allowed to cut green
trees; and so the whole day, with great difficulty, he searched for and cut dry
wood, put it on his head and returned only in the evening. The guru never gave him any spiritual instructions or teachings. Years
went by. The disciple forgot time, until one day he realised he had become old,
his hair and beard had become silver-white. Suddenly he burst into tears:
“What is my fate? My whole life has passed away and the guru has not yet given me brahma-jnana.”
He had become old. He had served his guru
without question ever since he was a young boy. That was his devotion.
disciple was asked to take the guru ‘s cattle
to pasture. He had to be with the cattle all day. The guru
did not ask his wife to prepare any lunch for him, and he did not have
permission to drink milk from the cows. So the whole day he went hungry, only
quenching his thirst with water. Days, months, years passed this way.
one disciple was asked to irrigate the guru
‘s fields. He had to let the water into the fields and make sure that it
did not leak out. After working the whole day, one evening he discovered a leak
in one of the earthen walls. He tried to plug it with some clay. It kept
leaking. He tried all methods to repair it, and finally not knowing what else to
do, he decided to plug it with his own body. So he lay down, curled himself into
a ball and stopped the leak. After nightfall, when he had not returned, the guru
became anxious and so with several of his disciples went searching for him.
Finally they found him in his curled up position stopping the leak.
was the type of guru-bhakti they had.
It was not mere sentiment. It was true guru-bhakti.
It had iron behind it. It had immense strength behind it. It had
determination, sattvic determination,
behind it. These are a few towering examples of guru-bhakti
in our scriptures. There are many others. They come from all traditions.
They are all sanketa matra (indicators)
of the stuff that guru-bhakti is made
of. It is divine power, it is divine force, not merely silly human sentiment,
not merely emotion.
such guru-bhakti is there towards the guru,
such obedience, such great desire to carry out his behest, biddings and
teachings, then illumination automatically descends from the guru to the disciple. The illumination in which the guru
is established comes like a spark flying from one end of an exposed wire to
another. For when the weeping old disciple was taken by the guru’s
wife to the guru and explained why
he was weeping, the guru replied:
What do you mean, you have no illumination!” Immediately, the disciple became
illumined. Why? Because of his total self-effacement, total dedication, his unquestioning
carrying out of the behest of the guru, because
of the exemplary type of devotion that filled his heart: “I have come to a guru.
I must serve him. This is my greatest good fortune.”
the most effective way of deriving maximum benefit from the guru
is to create a channel of lofty, sublime devotion to the guru, heroic guru-hhakti. And
it is that heroic guru-bhakti where
there is the greatest love and reverence combined with the highest obedience,
to please the guru by carrying out his instructions, that becomes the great
channel for the inflow of guru-krupa. In
that way, spiritual vision dawns and you "see" Reality, you
is the tradition. That is the true inner dynamics of the guru
sishya relationship through which the disciple is able to benefit in a
maximum measure from the guru. Thus we
have known from our scriptures, from our ancient bhaktas,
from the narratives of ancient disciples, their relationship to their gurus.
Thus we have learnt this great secret. May we all be benefited.
May the grace of all the brahma-vidya-gurus, from ancient times up to the present, be upon you. May you ponder deeply, reflect deeply, upon what an ideal disciple should be, what constitutes real discipleship, and become benefited thereby.
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
Yoga, A Way of Life - Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
"Yoga and Health" - a complete book with Question & Answer section by Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
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