This year the auspicious festival of Guru Purnima falls on the 19th July 2016 Tuesday. It is a day when one has to show his/her gratitude to their Gurus and contemplate on the relationship of the Guru and the disciple. It is the time to pay the yearly Guru Dakshina which is the test result of our spiritual progress. It is the time to look back at the year that has passed by; how have we improved ourselves in this past year by practising and living the Masters teachings. Has it brought any transformation in us? In order that we are able to offer the best Guru Dakshina; we have to keep looking within ourselves and see how we can improve day by day and be able to offer Him the best year after year.
I would like to share a few excerpts from this beautiful book ‘Samarpan’ by Swami Shivananda. The chapter on Guru and Disciple is really worth reading repeatedly.
Some of the messages have a deep impact which any spiritual aspirant should be aware of
- Need for a guru: The spiritual path is not like writing a Thesis for a Masters degree; it follows a different line altogether. The help of a teacher is necessary at every moment. Discipleship awakens the dormant facilities necessary for accessing universal consciousness. It is most necessary in one’s journey along the spiritual path. The guru guides, inspires and blesses the disciple. He transmits, transforms and spiritualizes him. The guru and disciple become one and divine communion follows.
Thoughts: Swami has always said that ‘He is God’ and we are all ‘God’ as well; the only difference is the awareness. The Guru draws His disciples towards Him by first giving the disciple what he/she wants so that later one day they will be ready to receive what He has actually come to give them; ie lead them to the path of self realisation and achieve his/her goal of communion.
- Perform Sadhana: The grace and blessings of the guru are very necessary, but the work must be done by the disciple. The guru will only tell his disciple the method of knowing the truth, the path that leads to the unfolding of intuition. If the disciple carries out his spiritual instructions implicitly he will gain the knowledge of truth. Therefore he should carefully follow the instructions of the guru. Direct intuitive knowledge can only be realised by one’s own experience.
Thoughts: In many of His discourses Swami has mentioned; no matter how one describes the colour, beauty, taste and flavour of a mango; only when one eats it they will experience what has been so much described about that fruit. Similarly just by listening to discourses and reading scriptures we will not attain self realisation. We should follow the teachings of our masters implicitly to really experience that.
- Realise divinity of the guru: The disciple cannot enter the spiritual path that leads to communion with God unless he is able to surrender to the divinity of the guru. The best disciple is like petrol or spirit; even from a great distance he will instantly act upon the Guru’s teachings and guidance. The second class of disciple is like camphor. A torch awakens the inner spirit and kindles the fire of spirituality in him. The third class of disciple is like coal. The guru has to take great pains in order to awaken the spirit in him. The fourth category is like a plantain stem. No efforts by the guru can change him. In order to become a better disciple; one must have a sincere aspiration to know God, prostrate to the Guru with humility, perfect obedience of Guru’s commands, perform selfless service, consider guru and God as one, worship the lotus feet of the guru, surrender and dedicate one’s life for the guru’s divine mission and meditate on the holy feet of guru to obtain His grace.
Thoughts: To have a guru is the biggest grace of the Lord; we must cherish that and follow atleast one teaching of our guru implicitly and when we develop that discipline or sadhana; we can tune to Him and receive His instructions to further our progress in the spiritual path.
- Grace of the Guru: The disciple’s surrender to the guru and the guru’s grace are interrelated. Surrender draws down the guru’s grace and the grace of the Guru makes surrender complete. The guru’s grace works in the form of sadhana in the aspirant. If the disciple sticks to the path tenaciously, this is the grace of the guru. If he resists when temptation assails him, this is the grace of the guru. If people receive him with love and reverence, this is the grace of the guru. If he obtains all bodily wants, this is the grace of the guru. If he gets encouragement and strength when he is in despair and despondency, this is the grace of the guru. If he overcomes body consciousness and rests in his own Ananda swaroopa, blissful essence, this is the grace of the guru.
Thoughts: It is only through Guru’s grace that we are in the spiritual path. When we start following His teachings atleast to some extent and hold on to doing His work (for which He has made us His humble instruments) without any expectations; His grace just flows in abundance. We need to just tune ourselves and connect to Him; then we will be awed by the blessings He bestows on us. We will then realise how loving and merciful the Master is and what all He has been doing for us; though many a times we have felt that we have been tested too much and not got we desired or at the right time (according to our limited vision). Only later when again we are able to appreciate His grace we realise He does what is perfect for us. Nothing is possible without the grace of the Guru. So we should be ever grateful to Him.
On this auspicious Guru Purnima day; let us show gratitude to our divine masters and Gurus and invoke their blessings to continue leading us in the spiritual path and let us be humble instruments in their divine mission.
Offering my koti koti pranam to my dearest Guru, Guide and God; Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
“Anyatha Sharanam Naasti; Twameva Sharanam Mama; tasmaat karunya bhavena Raksha raksha sayeeshwara”