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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Guru Poornima

Bhanumati says it very well - just time to internalise and be grateful - for the teachers who are around us guiding us.

SPEAKING TREE | Why we connect easily to a living master
7 Jul 2009, 0000 hrs IST, BHANUMATI NARASIMHAN
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The guru is an embodiment of wisdom, and love. In Sanskrit, the word for gravity
The guru is an embodiment of wisdom, and love.
The guru is an embodiment of wisdom, and love. (Getty Images)
is gurutvakarshan.

The earth holds on to us with the force of gravity. Without this attraction or love, we would not have a base. Similarly, gurutva is the basis of our life. The guru is the guiding light who removes the darkness of ignorance and shows the path to wonderment.

A teacher can give knowledge, but the master brings a heightened awareness. A teacher can give information but the master awakens intelligence.

One day, while Lord Shiva was performing a puja , his consort Parvati sees him bowing his head in reverence. Seeing this, she asks: "You are the Supreme Consciousness, the substratum of entire Creation. Who is it that you bow down to?"

Shiva replied: "Dear Parvati, for the benefit of all humanity, I will answer your question. It is to the all-pervading guru tatva that I bow down to." In the many beautiful verses that followed called the Guru Gita, Shiva explains the guru principle, and says how fortunate one is to have a living master in his life.

The guru in the physical form is called pratyaksh . In the presence of the master, our enthusiasm and spirit are in an elevated state. Our sorrows diminish, joy wells up, there is contentment, knowledge is nourished and protected, and talent blossoms.

India honours a tradition of masters who have protected, and given this knowledge to us, generation after generation, according to the need of the age and times.

When a drop feels connected to the ocean, it feels the strength of the ocean. When we are connected to this tradition, we feel the strength and protection of all the masters. All these masters are an expression of the same Infinite, Undivided, Supreme and Pure Consciousness.

The guru is a tatva an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent principle. Establishing connection with this tatva is a source of great strength. We know we have forefathers, great-grandparents and so on. Yet we feel most attached and connected to our parents or grandparents because they are with us. Similarly, we have many gurus in our tradition, but when we come in the presence of a living master, the connection is established immediately. The entire knowledge from time immemorial is made available to us.

Guru Purnima is a time to feel grateful. The more grateful we are, the more grace flows into our lives. On Guru Purnima, we remember all the masters who were, who are and who will be in the future. We feel gratitude towards the master who moves us from a limited understanding and pride of ''I know everything" to "I am everything".

A disciple seeks knowledge. A devotee seeks nothing. A devotee is soaked in love and devotion. Guru Purnima is a special day of the devotee as well. When a river meets the ocean, the river no longer remains a river. It becomes the ocean. It is the same when the devotee meets the Divine. Only Divinity remains. The individual 'i' dissolves in the One Divinity.

When we look at the world through the eyes of the master, the world will look so much more beautiful a place filled with love, joy, compassion and virtues. The master's presence is one that is unlimited, vast, infinite and all-inclusive. The presence of the master in one's life brings fulfilment in all other relationships.

To that one, eternal, pure, unbounded embodiment of knowledge and absolute bliss, to the lotus feet of my master, I bow down with respect and gratitude.

(The writer is director, women and child welfare programmes, the Art of Living Foundation. Today is Guru Purnima.)

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This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!

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