Friday, August 29, 2008

PVR's answers on Guru

Namaste Jitender,

> too much strenghth is given on Guru
> somebody please tell me what one should do
> he doesn;t have a Guru

Just wait. ;-)

* * *

Changdev maharaj waited for more than 1,000 years for his guru. Then he got what needed from his guru in just a few days. Getting the right guru can change one's spiritual trajectory for ever.

Some people say, "whoever is your guru, just follow that guru blindly and you will achieve". That is partly true. But, a moth that clings on to a rock and does not leave it can be crushed when the rock falls from the mountain. However, one who has blind faith in guru and follows guru completely is atleast pushing the ownership of several karmas to guru and keeping own
account clean. That surrender is a smart (but difficult) thing and actually the first step towards an unconditional surrender to god.

It is good to surrender to a guru and follow with blind faith. But the reward for that attitude is maximized if guru is a capable one instead of a fake one.

Good gurus first test the sishyas and push them to the breakage point and test the limits. Good gurus are rare these days.

Just as a guru tests sishya, a sishya can also test guru until one is fully satisfied. But, once one accepts a person as one's guru, one should be faithful and obedient. People like Vivekananda and some fellow disciples of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa tested their guru for an extended period of time. Vivekananda tested his guru almost till the end. But then, those are special
plays of special souls. But, a good guru should not be angry or upset if an intelligent sishya questions or tests.

* * *

Though many people go searching for a guru, it is not necessary. A good guru will find the sishyas he/she is supposed to guide and approach them. Or atleast a good guru should know how to make the sishya come to him/her.

* * *

For some people, a guru may have already entered their life and started influencing them and yet they may not know it! Guru does not necessarily mean one who sits on a high pedestal with you sitting at his feet and teaching you things. Guru does not mean one with certain robes or certain hair etc. Guru does not mean one with a "Swami" prefix in the name. Guru does not mean one who has a certain age or a certain look. Guru is one who removes darkness within you. A person you have never met consciously may have decided to influence your thinking and slowly remove your darkness from a distance. You may never meet and the person may have transformed.

A guru who is unable to transform you is worthless. A guru's job is to transform a person. Similarly, a sadhana you are doing that is unable to transform you in some way or the other is useless. The goal of all sadhana is to transform yourself.

* * *

On a *personal note*, I did not realize it when I was approached by my spiritual guru. I was actually quite put off by him. I thought he was a wacko - a crazy man - talking about useless and impure things. He would talk about tantra, aghora, Kaali, Taaraa, shakti chalana, kundalini, darshana of devatas and stuff like that. He sent me a rudraksha mala he specially made
for me and asked me to use it to meditate on Gayatri mantra 216 times a day. The only rules were to stay as still as I could, with an erect back and closed eyes and not let any strange experiences or visions distract me and keep the focus on the mantra. The other rule was brahmacharya. I did nothing about it for a long time. He would patiently call me now and then and chat about various things related to spirituality. Though I did not like him at first, I slowly started realizing his purity and simplicity. He never put any pressure and let things take their course.

About one year from the time he contacted me first, on a Vaisakha Pournima day, after my monthly Full Moon Satya Narayana vratam, I suddenly got the inspiration that I should follow his advice. He may be a tantrika, a Kaali worshipper, a corrupt soul and what not (yes, that is how I thought then!), but all he asked me to do was Gayatri mantra, a veda mantra, with a
Rudraksha maalaa and keep brahmacharya. What he asked me seemed "saattwik enough". So I decided in an impulse and started. Some things happened. After 18 days, something dramatic happened that changed my thinking and life completely. Abstract concepts and bookish knowledge are one thing and direct experience is another. It is ok to harp on the transientness of the so-called "concrete" reality that our senses keep perceiving and hypothesize that there is a far higher reality that one can merge one's consciousness in, but one's conviction - especially that of a highly logical person like me - will not be complete until one actually sees it. In fact, one's conviction will be quite shaky until then.

Even after this, my ego was still there. I was a young achiever. I had BA degrees in Sanskrit at the age of 10 and wrote metred poetry in Sanskrit like ancients, at 11. I was a highly intelligent young achiever with a lot of pride over my intelligence and scholarship. Thus, accepting one who was 6 months younger and one whose Sanskrit knowledge and Sanskrit pronunciation
seemed quite inferior to mine as my guru was too much. As if sensing it, the first thing he told me when we met face to face a few months later was: "I am not your guru. Never be under the illusion that I am your guru. We are sishyas of the same guru and our guru is not here now. I started first in this life and hence I am guiding you. I will do whatever I can for you, but
I am not your guru". I was "relieved".

Slowly, the change triggered earlier started accelerating. My mind became clearer about what is what. When I saw myself as a completely transformed person with much clearer vision and realized that the change was brought by Manish, I told him that I now thought of him as my guru. He said fine. Basically, he had accepted me as a sishya long back and waited till I accepted him as my guru (though he kept playing that role even without my acceptance). Basically, the names used for the relationship did not matter to him and he did what thought he needed to do. Simple.

Later, the homam movement started. I started doing homam everyday. I experimented with many and settled down on daily Chandi homam. Once I looked at Manish with suspicion because he was a Kaali worshipper. Now, I was doing Chandi homam myself! I saw my prejudices for what they were. I became very clear in my mind about so many things. Many things that seemed conflicting and contradictory fell in place smoothly now. Some of that clarity of knowledge translates into my writings, but some of it is difficult to translate into the physical plane.

What a good guru does is precisely this - to transform you from something to something else, preferably something better!

* * *
If you want to find the right guru who can make this human life worthwhile, you should not be in a hurry at all. Be patient and keep praying. While you wait, you can use whatever knowledge, teachings and tools are available to purify and transform yourself and remove some of the darkness yourself. In the process, you may end up finding your guru!

Best regards,


I am cc'ing the reply to the lists, maintaining your privacy.

> Is the criteria for accepting somebody as our Guru that the person
> must give us a mantra/or ask us to chant some specific mantra?
> What if we are already chanting some mantra?

Let me give a simple analogy. Suppose one is digging with a spade to find water. Spade is a tool and represents a mantra or a maalaa or an idol etc. Digging represents sadhana and search for god. Finding water is finding god. A guru is one who helps one in the process of digging and enables one to find water. If one is using a bad spade, he may give a good spade. If one is digging inefficiently, he may teach a better and smarter way to dig. If one is digging in a wrong place, he may show where to dig (which god to worship) for faster results. So, a guru should simply help one in finding god. Exactly what help is needed depends on the situation. It is neither necessary nor sufficient to give a mantra.

Some gurus give mantras or other objects such as idols or maalas etc and transfer some of their sadhana through that medium. In my experience that I mentioned, my guru sent me a rudraksha maalaa he specially made for me and he tranferred some of his sadhana and acquired purity to me through that medium and that made some things possible for me.

When Narendranath (Swami Vivekananda) went to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, he touched Narendranath's chest with his foot and Narendranath went into samadhi. Ramana Maharshi just glanced at Ganapathi Muni silently and all oflatter's questions were answered. There are different gurus, different sishyas, different karmas, different rinas and different relationships.

> Or is it that since it is from a book, I cannot call him as my Guru and I
> dont have a guru yet? Should I think that a guru is yet to come for me?

:-) Two things. Books and emails such as this one are not just words. They consist of words at the gross level and thoughts at a subtler level. Depending on the energy (purity) level of the person composing those books or emails, some energy is placed in the words and the thoughts behind them. Depending on your own capacity to receive and your own rinas with the author, you may grasp some of that energy, get the right thoughts from the words and benefit from them. The words themselves are just useless. It is the thoughts and energy behind them that may actually benefit someone and help in internal purification.

Secondly, one can have many gurus, though one ideally wants one guru who takes care of it all. Dattatreya had many gurus.

> Is it necessary that a Guru should be alive and should directly speak
> to us and give a mantra to consider him as out Guru?

Let me deviate a bit. I was once meditating in the garbhalaya of a temple, sitting directly in front of a yogi. We were both meditating on Savitri Gayatri mantra. After half hour or so, I lost normal awareness of my body and I felt like I was some all-pervading orange light. I saw that there was a person at the center of that light, who was emiting that light. When I looked closer, it was that yogi (who was sitting in front of me and meditating). After a little time, he suddenly changed into another person that I could recognize. This was a very famous spiritual giant from the past and he was not alive then. I wondered "why did X change into Y". That disturbed my focus and my regular self-awareness returned and I became aware that I was Narasimha meditating in that garbhalaya and X was sitting in front of me. I opened my eyes. At the same time, that yogi also opened his eyes. Without my saying anything, he asked "you saw me, no?" I was surprised
that he knew it. However, what baffled me the most was why he transformed into Y. I stuttered, "but...". Without my finishing it, he remarked, "you see Narasimha, the blessings of my guru of last life are still with me. That is why you saw him in me!" He not only knew what I saw, but explained it succintly. This yogi attributes a lot of progress he made in this life to his past life guru (in addition to current life guru of course). His gratitude to his past life guru is immense. Existence of such people convinces me fully that when a spiritual giant comes and goes, his thoughts and his energy linger on earth for a long time and those who are sufficiently pure and receptive can actually receive from them. The body in which the soul lived may decay, but Maharshi Vasishtha teaches that thoughts of the person never die and stay in space for ever and may guide many.

Bottomline: You can consider anybody as your guru. If you are lucky, that person will also consider you as a sishya and have a more active relationship. A more active guru may even take some really blocking karmas from a disciple to speed up purification and progress. Thus, it is beneficial to have such a guru. But, when you are talking about a spiritual giant, even a passive (from his/her side) relationship is immensely beneficial.

Best regards,

Brihaspati Gayatri, Vishwamitra/Gaathina Rishi Rig Veda 6.62.6