Dear Reader, for this Sunday we have for you an excerpt from
Bhagavan's own writing, a chapter from the sacred volume "Sandeha Nivarini".
IS A GURU NECESSARY?
Devotee: Swami, can we ask you freely about any topic concerning the
spiritual path, which we do not know?
Swami: Certainly. What is the
objection? Why this doubt? What am I here for? Is it not for explaining
to you things you do not know? You can ask me without any fear or
hesitation. I am always ready to answer; only, I want earnest inquiry
with a desire to know.
Devotee: But some elders say it is
wrong to vex the Guru with questions. Are they right, Swami?
Swami: That is not correct. Whom else
can the disciple approach? Since the Guru is everything to him, it is
best that he consults him in all matters and then acts.
Devotee: Some say that we should
reverentially carry out whatever the elders ask us to do without raising
any objections. Is that your command also?
Swami: Until you develop full faith
in them and know that their words are valid, it will be difficult for
you to carry out their orders reverentially. So, until then, it won't be
wrong to ask them the significance and the validity of their orders, so
that you may be convinced.
Devotee: Swami, whom are we to believe,
whom are we to discard? The world is so full of deceit. When those, whom
we believed are good, themselves turn out to be bad, how can faith grow?
Swami: Well, My boy! Where is the
need for you in this world or any world to grow faith in others? Believe
in yourself, first. Then believe in the Lord,
Paramatma (universal being).
When you have faith in these two, neither the good nor the bad will
Devotee: Swami, faith in the Lord too
diminishes sometimes. What is the reason for that?
Swami: When one is deluded by the
mere external world and when one does not attain success in such
external desires, faith in the Lord diminishes. So, give up such
desires. Desire only for the spiritual relationship; then you won't
become the target of doubts and difficulties. The important thing for
this is faith in the Lord; without that, you start doubting everything,
big and small.
Devotee: Until we understand the
reality of Paramatma, it is
important, they say, to be in the company of the great and the good and
also to have a Guru. Are these necessary?
Swami: Of course, the company of the
great and the good is necessary. To make that reality known to you, a
Guru too is important. But, in this matter, you should be very careful.
Genuine Gurus are scarce these days. Cheats have multiplied and teachers
have retreated into solitude, in order to realise themselves
undisturbed. There are many genuine Gurus but they cannot be secured
easily. Even if you get them, you must thank your destiny if they
vouchsafe to you more that one single
Sadvakya (spiritual truth) ; they won't spend time telling you
all kinds of stories! There should be no hurry in the search for a Guru.
Devotee: Then, what in the world is the
Swami: Why, it is just for this that
we have the Veda, Sastra,
Ithihasa (ancient scriptures) .
Study them; adhere to the path they teach and gather the experience;
understand their meaning and the trend of their message from
Pundits; follow them in
practice; meditate on the Paramatma
(universal being) as the Guru and as God; then, those books themselves
will help you as your Guru. For, what is a Guru? The Guru is that
through which your mind gets fixed on God. If you consider
Paramatma as the Guru and do
Sadhana (spiritual practice)
with unshakable love, the Lord Himself will appear before you and give
Upadesa just as a Guru. Or, He
may so bless you that as a result of the
Sadhana, you may meet a
Devotee: But, nowadays, some great big
persons are granting Upadesa to all who ask; are these not
Swami: I won't say they are or they
are not. I declare only this: It is not the sign of a
Sadguru to grant
Upadesa (spiritual instruction)
to any and every person who comes to him with praise, without
considering the past and the future, without discovering the
qualifications of the pupil and testing whether he is fit.
Devotee: Then Swami, I have committed a
blunder! When one great person arrived at our village, and when all were
receiving Upadesa from him, I
too went and prostrated before him and asked him for it. He granted me a
good Upadesa; I repeated the
Manthra for some time, but,
soon, I came to know that the great person was a cheat. Since that day,
I lost faith in the name he gave me; I gave up
Manthra. Was this wrong? Or, am
Swami: Do you doubt the right and
wrong of this? It is very wrong. Just as the Guru, as I told you now,
examines the qualifications of the disciple, the disciple too has to
critically examine the credentials of the Guru before receiving
Upadesa. Your first mistake was
that you did not pay attention to this but hastily accepted
Upadesa. Well, even if the Guru
gave it without the necessary qualification, why did you break your vow
and stop repeating the name? That is the second mistake: casting the
fault of another on the sacred name of God. Before receiving
Upadesa, you should have taken
time and known his genuineness and enveloped faith in him. Then, when
the desire to accept him as Guru emerged, you should have received the
Upadesa. But, once you accept,
you must repeat it, whatever the difficulty; you should not give it up.
Otherwise, you commit the wrong of accepting without deliberation and
rejecting without deliberation. That wrong will be on your head. You
should accept a name when you are still afflicted by doubt or a name
which you do not prefer. Having accepted, you should not give it up.
Devotee: What happens when it is given
Swami: Well, my boy. Disloyalty to
the Guru and discarding the name of God - on account of these, your
one-pointed endeavor and concentration will wither away. As the saying
goes, "The diseased seedling can never grow into a tree".
Jai Sai Ram.
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