THE SUPREME DIVINE MASTER
BHAGAVAN SRI SATHYA SAIBABA
INITIATES THE WHOLE WORLD
On the delightful, pleasing and charming Mount Kailasa (abode of Lord Shiva), Goddess Parvati reverentially with devotion, asked, “Oh Swami, with total surrender I bow down to Thy Divine Lotus Feet. Please enlighten me: What is the path by which the embodied Self can merge into the Supreme Self?”
Hearing this question Lord Shankar said that Parvati is His form only and only for Herself, he was going to answer it because such a question for the elevation of mankind was never asked by any one so far. He explained, “Whatever is highly proclaimed as Brahman (Absolute Reality) is nothing else but Guru. Devoid of Guru, there is no Brahman at all.”
Similar references in ancient scriptures clearly point out the significance of Guru in the merging of Individual Self (Jeevatma) into Supreme Self (Paramatma or Brahman).
The “Individual Self” is encased in a Body (Deha) composed of the five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. This body is also equipped with the other faculties such as Mind (Manas), Intellect (Buddhi), sub-conscious Mind (Chitta), Ego (Ahankar). This Individual Self experiences the outer world and derives enjoyment and suffering necessary to the body via these faculties.
What then is Guru?
Meaning: ‘Gu’ represents darkness (i.e. ignorance) and ‘Ru’represents Light (i.e. wisdom). It is only Guru, beyond doubt, who destroys ignorance and reveals the light of wisdom.
Thus, although Guru is the formless (Nirguna) principle being Brahma (as propounded by Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati) it has to assume a human form (Saguna) of an individual so as to be accessible to the seeker. At the same time, it must be remembered that Guru being Brahma itself is God in the larger sense of the term.
It therefore follows that Guru is God’s grace-bestowing power. In other words, the Guru is not an individual, but the divine power of grace flowing through that individual.
The Qualifications of a Guru
Since the Guru principle works through an individual, it is necessary that the Guru meets certain qualifications. The ancient scriptures describe the qualifications of a guru, some of which are mentioned below:
1. A Guru must hail from the lineage of Gurus founded by Parashiva, the Supreme Guru. In the absence of this lineage, a self-proclaimed Guru cannot bestow God’s grace to his disciple. It would be a case of the blind leading the blind. At present, there are several self-styled Gurus, Sadgurus, and Maharajas wearing ochre robes, rosaries of Rudraksha, who smear themselves with ashes etc. who collect large crowds much like dumb animals herded by shepherds.
2. A Guru must be well-versed in scriptures and spiritual philosophies and must know them perfectly. Ancient scriptures such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Shastras, Puranas, etc. were written by ancient scriptural authors who practised their sadhana (spiritual discipline) completely. They wrote books only after having fully realised the Truth. A genuine Guru has full knowledge of the Truth embodied in the ancient scriptures. Today’s self-styled Gurus write books according to their own ideas and logic, using complicated words. They expound their own theories that have no philosophical foundation in truth, and therefore spread their own delusions.
3. A Guru must also be well-versed in every aspect of life. He cannot be a specialist in a particular aspect of life at the cost of all others. Today’s Gurus are specialists in different fields e.g. Yogasana Guru, Pranayama Guru, Meditation Guru, Power Guru, Healing Guru, Management Guru, Money Workshop Guru and so on.
4. A true Guru is disinterested in money. He does not collect money from his disciples under any pretext. He does not need anything from anyone as he has everything he wants within himself. It is said, “There are many Gurus who steal their disciples’ money but very few who steal their pain and suffering.” Today, we see modern Gurus starting Mandals, Mandirs, Ashrams, centres that create organisations to take advantage of the Charitable Trust Act, by collecting huge sums of money from disciples. Some of these self-styled Gurus also sell products, medicines etc. under their banners milking the blind faith of their followers for all its worth.
5. A true Guru is dispassionate. He is immune to the pull of the senses and is fully intoxicated in the bliss of the Inner self. His senses have turned inward. According to the Guru Gita, ‘Gu’ represents a state beyond attributes. “Ru” represents a state beyond forms. Thus, Guru is one who makes his disciple realise his attributeless self.
6. A Guru must be enlightened, having had the direct experience of God and having the power to give that experience to others. The scriptures define a Guru as one who can give a disciple the auspicious experience of Grace via a look, touch or word. There are as many Gurus as there are lamps in houses, but rare is the Guru who likes the sun, gives light to all. Today, it is difficult to trace such a Guru especially; as such a Guru is averse to publicity. However, the 20th century witnessed the blessings of illumined Gurus e.g. Sri Raman Maharshi, Sri Ramkrishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekanand, Sri Yoganand Paramhans, Bhagavan Nityanand and Swami Muktanand Paramhans who have kindled the flame of Self Realisation all over the world.
Absence of an Individual Guru
Although the scriptures have recorded that God being formless (Nirguna) bestows his Grace through the individual (Saguna) Guru, the present-day is devoid of such an individual Guru. On the contrary, the current Gurus take the support of some verses in praise of a Real Guru and exercise Godhood on their followers. For example, the popular verse “Gurur Brahma…” equating the Guru with the Trinity is misused by the modern Market Gurus to force their followers to treat them as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and offer property and wealth to them in one way or another if they want prosperity, happiness and peace. Modern-day Gurus offer packages on Stress Management, Mind Relaxation, Unlimited Power Supply, Breathing Techniques etc. which they claim will grant peace of mind to their followers. But unfortunately, what we witness is “pieces” of mind motivated by greed and selfish desires. This leads to disintegrating of the family institution, breaking the loving ties between father and son mother and son, husband and wife, brother and sister etc. leading to enmity between communities and even nations.
Why Fear When I Am Here – God Himself is the Guru
Today, Guru-the-Saviour, the Liberator ---- is required not on an individual basis but for the entire World. Human beings all over the world are drowning in delusion. They do not realise that they are enslaved by their senses, which make them unhappy and keep them in the grip of the cycle of birth and death. When entire mankind is immersed in suffering, God has to assume the role of saviour and liberator as promised in the Bhagavad Gita.
It is for the fulfillment of this Promise that Parashiva together with Parashakti decided to appear as SAI TRINITY – SRI SHIRDI SAI, SRI SATHYA SAI and SRI PREM SAI to lead the world from Untruth to Truth, Darkness to Wisdom and Death to Immortality.
It is for this very reason that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba made very meaningful, categorical remarks about what is Guru, who should be Guru, etc. during the course of His speeches on the occasions of Sri Guru Poornima. Some of the most prominent examples are quoted below:
Guru means remover of ignorance
Who is the Guru? How can a person who has not reached the goal guide you towards it? When he is himself groping in the dark, how can he illumine your path? ‘Gu’ means darkness or ignorance; ‘ru’ its removal. So the Guru must know the process by which ignorance can be removed in another. How can he do it when he has not done it for himself? The blind cannot lead the blind. Guru has a further meaning too. ‘Gu’ means gunaateeta (beyond the three strands of energy of which the Cosmos is composed) and ‘ru’ means rupa-rahita (devoid of any particular form). Now, no mortal has transcended the guna (quality) and rupa (form). God alone can be described as unaffected by these. And, God is the Guru, right in your heart, ready to lead and enlighten. He is all –knowing all-powerful, all-pervading.
The signs and qualities of a true Guru
The true Guru is one, who has no ego or selfishness, and who can raise the shishya to his own level. Donning the saffron robe, mouthing a few manthras (sacred formulas) and expounding some texts are the signs of many Gurus these days. The signs of a true Guru are large-heartedness, absolute selflessness, purity in living, freedom from acquisitiveness, absence of envy, and equal mindedness in his conduct towards everyone. Freedom from envy is an essential quality in a Guru or shishya (disciple), because envy is the root cause of many evils.
The Guru’s role is to lead the Shishya (disciple) on the Godward path. He must teach the Shishya (disciple) the true purpose for which each of his sense organs is to be used – his eyes, his tongue, and his limbs. All the senses are to be used for discovering and experiencing the Divine.
Your true Guru is God alone
Today is Sri Guru Poornima. Poornima refers to the full moon with all his 16 aspects being illumined by the sun. In man there are sixteen black spots: the six enemies (lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and envy), the two Gunas, Rajas and Tamas, and the eight types of mada (conceit) based on lineage and scholarship, wealth, youth, beauty, position and penance. It is only when man gets rid of these sixteen evil traits that he will be able to realise his oneness with his Poornatva (Divine). Who is the one who enables man to achieve this state of Poornatva (fullness)? It is the Guru. Guru refers to one who has transcended the gunas and has no form. The Gurus of today are filled with qualities of all kinds. The disciples seem to be better than the preceptors. The disciples are making sacrifices. The preceptors are acquiring possessions. In this situation it is difficult to say who gurus are and who disciples are.
The Sanskrit Stanza
The Sanskrit stanza which hails the Guru as Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara and as Parabrahman is misinterpreted. The right approach is to consider Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara as the Guru. These three are symbolised by the three gunas (qualities): Brahma is Rajas, Vishnu is Satva and Shiva is Tamas. The whole cosmos is constituted by the three gunas. The three gunas are present in man. The Trinity is present in the form of the three gunas in every human heart. Hence, you are your own Guru. You need not seek him elsewhere.
Recognise that God is your preceptor. He is the preceptor of preceptors. When you have such an all-pervading Guru, why should you hanker after Gurus of a lesser breed?
God is the only Guru
There is only one Guru, that is God and there is no other Guru. Contemplate on that Guru. God alone can be the guide, the path and the goal.
SWAMI’S INITIATION - “GOD IS” - THE POWERFUL FIVE-LETTER MANTRA
On this Guru Poornima day I do not intend to give you any Ashtaakshari (eight letters) or Panchakshari (five letters) mantra based on any particular deity’s name. Nor am I enjoining you to study any Upanishad, or the Gita or the Brahma Sutras. There is a simple five-letter pronouncement. “GOD IS” (“Devudunnaadu,” in Telugu). Make this your sheet-anchor. If you go on reciting it, thinking over it, acting up to it and conveying it to others, immersing yourself in the bliss of this experience, you will be making the greatest contribution to the welfare of the world.
Consider this mantra as the message for this Guru Poornima and proclaim it in all circumstances and at all places with all the conviction and strength you can command. THE WORLD CAN BE TURNED INTO AN EARTHLY PARADISE IF YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN GOD AND DEMONSTRATE IT IN YOUR ACTIONS. You must have the courage and determination to face any kind of problems and difficulties. By propagating this mantra you can promote the love of God and the fear of sin among the people. The mantra “GOD IS” can be more powerful than a mantra based on any particular deity’s name. Moreover, mere repetition of any mantra is of little use. Greater than the power of mantra or yantra is the power of a pure heart (chittashuddhi). Your faith must stem from the heart which is the seat of the Divine.
Have this five-letter mantra as your constant companion and strengthen your faith in God. This will lead in due course to God-realisation. Unwavering faith in God will promote Atma-Shakti (spiritual power) and confer indescribable bliss. Doubts should not be allowed to sprout. Faith is essential for accomplishing anything in life, without faith, even ordinary things in life is not possible.
I do not claim that I am a guru; or consider you as disciples or pupils. When I am all that is, who can be separately specified as guru and who as disciple or pupil? Ignorance of the one leads to this dichotomy. Realisation of the truth will end this distinction. None need teach, none need learn. All are fundamentally Chit (awareness). This is the reality.
II SAMASTA LOKAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU II
(This article has been authored by Principal Dr. Shripad R Zarapkar,
Former Principal, Siddharth College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai.)