My dearest ones. Today is Guru Poornima — the day where we honor and worship our Gurus.
So who is a Guru?
In reality there is only ONE true Guru and he is always within us — in our hearts as our guiding light. Some call it the Self, some God, Christ-consciousness, Krishna-consciousness, Shiva, etc. But often we cannot hear its voice as we are in a trance completely besotted and infatuated due to the constant stimulation we derive through our connection with this world.
That is why a physical Guru becomes important… whose only purpose is to speak the language of the inner Guru, help guide you to Him where eventually you become one with Him. Therefore a big part of worshiping and honoring your inner true guru (which is the very purpose of this auspicious day) is to first recognize a real physical Guru.
A real physical Guru is recognised by two things:
- First by the message he gives, and
- Second by the level of responsibility he takes of your spiritual growth.
In the message lies his wisdom, and in his responsibility for you lies his love and compassion.
So lets first take what is the message of a true Guru. From the very beginning of Guru-Shisya tradition, the two messages given to every shisya is Abhyasa and Vairagya, which means Practice and Detachment. This was the constant message.
The first message — Practice — means bringing the mind under control, constantly watching its movement and redirecting all energies to higher spiritual centres at the third eye and the heart. This is very important, as the long time habit of the life force is to feed the senses and derive temporary pleasure from them by the constant interaction with the objects. By virtue of intense practice a seeker reverses that habit and brings the life force to eventually sink into the very source of happiness and joy and meet the inner Guru.
The second message — Detachment — means being in the world, but not of it. The root cause of all our suffering is due to the various identifications we inherit from this world. It is very easy to get caught up in this love affair of the world. Therefore, one must be very careful and constantly watch if passions for the world and for its objects arise in the mind and bring the mind within as per the instructions of your Guru.
So Practice and Detachment are the two basic messages given by real Gurus.
Now look around and you will find almost 90% of today’s so called teachers or Gurus never talk on that. In fact, they teach you just the opposite when they say nothing needs to be done, you are already free, there is nothing to attain and all you need is to be present — here and now. They are all therapists, but not Gurus. All they do is point to a certain “stillness” by a practice of recognizing an awareness independent of thought which they term as “what is” or “now” or the “present” but such a recognition has only a temporary effect as the ego finds its way to pull you right back again into the world once the effect wears off. It lacks the intensity and depth that a sadhaka needs to reverse the life force back into the SELF for it to stay there.
So you see, the very foundation of such new age teaching (on which your entire spiritual journey rests) is compromised as these teachings ignore the two most basic instructions given by our sages and saints.
Now we come to the second part of recognizing a true Guru.
Which is about the level of responsibility he is committed to take for you. A real Guru takes complete responsibility of a seeker, which means he is committed along with the seeker in respect of time given and efforts put. This means he is forced to be selective. He carefully chooses his disciples and works with them very closely through his physical and subtle presence. Nowadays the modern Gurus who hold so many retreats aren’t even aware of the names of those who attend their satsangs, let alone the progress he or she is making on the path.
The path is not as easy as it is made out today. It is not about embracing life or making it easier, comfortable or happier “here and now”.
In reality the path with the Guru seems to do exactly the opposite, especially when one starts working with Guru. The Guru recognizes the egoic patterns based on habits and tendencies which want pleasure through stimulation of senses. The same ego then seeks momentary stillness by attending retreats and satsangs and finds some comfort in that. Hence many of the new age non-dual Satsangs today do nothing but feed the patterns of the ego by offering that comfort. They are, therefore, actually working against your real interest yet surprisingly they manage to thrive and grow exponentially because the majority of the seekers want to continue to indulge themselves with the pleasures of the world and are happy with the instantaneous ease and “spiritual” relief offered. It seems like a great deal earlier on, but a bummer later when 15 to 20 years have gone without any serious gains.
On the contrary, a real Guru who works closely with his few chosen disciples, hits a disciple’s ego hard, repeatedly and relentlessly, till the disciple’s ego finally releases its hold and grip on his disciple. His method is not to induce comfort, but to bring you out of your comfort zone, to reverse the egoic pattern and ultimately to bring about its complete annihilation.
Expiration (of ego), and not just inspiration, is the goal of a real Guru.
Those who stay long enough, and can endure the work that a Guru puts on him, ultimately knows real freedom, real joy and real love which is not of this world. Such blissful realization is not fleeting nor changeable according to the circumstances he or she is in, the presence or absence of anything. It stays forever blissful in the midst of grave calamity, or even if this world had to collapse.
So you see the real responsibility of a Guru is to remind you of your responsibility, which is a life long commitment to never forsake or abandon the true goal of acquiring a human body/mind, which is Self-Realization.
On this blessed day of Guru Poornima, I hereby conclude by reminding you of 3 things you need to do to serve and honor your Guru:
3) Unconditional surrender to the instructions of the Guru.