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Guru – Your Personal Tutor

"Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheswara Gurur Sakshat Para Brahma, Thasmai Sri Gurave Namaha"

(Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Maheswara. Guru is the manifestation of the Supreme God. Salutations to such a Guru)


The Right Name Of 'Guru Purnima'

It is 'Vyasa Purnima' which is observed on the Full Moon day in the Hindu month Ashada (July-August) in memory and expression of the gratitude to the great sage Maharishi Vyasa. He was born, codified and written the four Vedas and eighteen Mahapuranas on this very day. Owing to the passage of time, Vyasa Purnima came to be called Guru Purnima.

The Meaning Of The Word Guru.

Gu’ signifies ‘darkness’ and ‘Ru’ means ‘one who dispels the darkness’, i.e., the preceptor who dispels the darkness of ignorance and leads towards the light knowledge.

The above Sanskrit stanza hails the Guru as Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer), Maheswara (destroyer) and Parabrahman (Highest God) is misinterpreted. The right approach is to consider Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara as the Guru. These three are symbolised by the three Gunas (attributes); Brahma is Rajaswic (activity), Vishnu is Sathwic (serenity) and Maheswara is Tamasic (inertia). The whole cosmos is constituted by these three qualities. The trinity are present in the form of the three qualities in every human being. ‘Gu’ signifies one who transcends all Gunas (attributes); Ru’ signifies one who has no Rupa (form), hence means ‘one who is beyond attributes and forms, namely the Brahman (Supreme Self). Hence only God is the true Guru.

The Significance of Purnima (Full Moon)

Swami has explained the inner meaning of Guru Purnima as:

“This Guru Poornima day is the day of full moon dedicated to the worship of Guru. On this day, the moon shines effulgently with all his 16 Kalas (aspects). On your part you have to shed 16 aspects that are undesirable to man. These 16 comprise the following: eight types of pride (pride of physical strength, of birth, of scholarship, wealth, penance, beauty, youth and power), six kinds of enemies (desire, anger, greed, infatuation, arrogance and envy), and the Rajo and Tamo gunas (passionate and slothful traits). It is only when these sixteen evil traits are eliminated that man will achieve fullness. These evil traits are preventing man from realising his essential divinity

Ref: Divine Discourse, 2 July 1985

Who is Genuine Guru?

The term Guru is often loosely used to describe anyone who gives out spiritual advice, but the word has a much more restricted definition. It is a very sacred word. It is seldom used by itself, but always with its suffix, Deva (bright being), is called Gurudeva

Guru is someone who has realised the Self, who teaches by percept and example, has good conduct and right thinking, is truthful, who has mental discipline and sense of duty; that is, who is able to use his power to assist others towards the goal of Self Realisation. He is the one who reveals the Guri (target) to the spiritual aspirant that refers to the Atmic Principle

Guru is not a physical being. Those who think of the Guru as a body or as a man do not understand this pious word. If a Guru comes to think that his power is his own, then he is a guide no more. The Guru is tradition; he is a stream of knowledge that goes through many channels. Christ also said this when he healed people: "This is because of my Father; I am only a channel."

Swami emphasised who is your First, second and third Gurus as follows:

"The first Guru is the mother; her example, her advice, her admonition affects man deepest and longest. The second is the father, who is admired by the child for his strength and knowledge and feared for the punishments he inflicts. Next is the teacher, who leads him and guides him into the maze of material knowledge. But, the Guru (spiritual preceptor) alone can open the inner eye and cleanse the inner instruments of intuition. He induces you to question yourself, "Dheham?" (Am I this body or is this body only a vehicle which I am using) and discover the answer, "Naaham" (I am not this Body). Then the investigation starts to delve into the reality of the I, "Koham" (Who am I then?) and the answer reveals itself in the purified consciousness, "Soham" (I am He); I am a spark of that Glory; I am Divine"

Ref: Sri Sathya Sai Speaks V11, Ch44, Divine Discourse 26 July 26, 1972

How does Guru help spiritual aspirants?

Traditionally when a spiritual aspirant goes to a Guru, he takes a bundle of dry sticks. With reverence and love he bows and says, "Here, I offer this", indicating that he is surrendering himself with all his thoughts, words and deeds with a single desire to attain the highest wisdom. Then Guru burns those sticks and says, "Now I will guide you and protect you in the future” and initiates the spiritual aspirant on various levels and gives him the disciplines to practice. Guru’s ways of teaching could be many and mysterious. He teaches through speech and actions, but at times he may teach without any verbal communication at all. The most important teachings have their source in intuition and are beyond the powers of verbal communication. The Guru is both external and internal. From the exterior he pushes spiritual aspirant’s mind to turn inwards and from the interior, he pulls the mind towards Self and helps in questioning of the mind. There is no difference amongst God, Guru and the Self.

What does Guru want in return?

One may wonder why the Guru is doing so much for the mankind. What does he want in return? He wants nothing, for what he is doing is his duty, the purpose of his life. Genuine Guru cannot live without selflessness, for selfless love is the very basis of their enlightenment. He radiates life and light from the unknown corners of the world. The world does not know him as he does not want recognition.

What the spiritual aspirant should do in Guru Purnima?

From spiritual seekers point of view, consider Guru Purnima as the beginning of the Spiritual New Year. Make it a day to Impartially Introspect the balance sheet of deeds performed in last one year. Make it a day to Resolve to do what you are here to do in the coming year for spiritual up-liftment. As Purnima is, when the Moon reflects the maximum light of Sun onto earth, similarly the spiritual seeker must make a vow to Reflect Guru’s teaching through his thoughts, words and deeds in the coming year.

By embracing the teacher within, you will unlock the keys to the book of life. Your conscience is an incredible guide within you, just waiting to be heard. With a little boost of self-confidence, you'll be amazed at how much you can achieve by simply tuning in and trusting yourself. Once you embrace the Inner path, endless possibilities will unfold before you. And don't worry about making mistakes; it's natural to make them when you're learning. In the process of learning, mistakes are stepping stones towards success, as long as you stay determined and never give up.

Have faith, God resides within as ‘Sanatana Sarathi’ (Eternal Charioteer). Search for this within yourself and anyone who leads you to your inner Self is your true Guru.

Ravinder Grover


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