Before I write about Shri Guru, let me salute my Sadguru’s feet:
Ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana shalakaya|
Chakshurunmeelitham yena tasmai shree Gurave namah ||
Salutations are to that Shri Guru who opened the eye of a blind due to the darkness (cover) of ignorance with a needle coated with the ointment of knowledge.
Guru is a Sanskrit word which literally means teacher, heavy and big. In the Indian spiritual context, Guru means a Spiritual Guide or a Mentor. He provides the Highest Knowledge of Ultimate Reality.
Esoteric meaning of Guru is: the person who dispels darkness of ignorance with light of knowledge. Gu means darkness and Ru means remover. How wonderfully the above prayer summarizes the meaning!
By now, many of us are complaining 🙂 :
It is getting very cryptic and abstract now! Sorry, we do not understand this. Can we discuss?
Of course! this article is meant for that. We understand your feelings. Let us take a plunge!
What is the light of knowledge?
All of us came from the single source called Universal Self (also called the Ultimate Reality). Our Individual Self(atma) belongs to that source. Our Individual Self is as powerful as the Universal Self, just like spark having power as that of fire! Realization of this power and union with Universal Self is the real goal of yoga and the purpose of human life. This knowledge is the light.
What is ignorance or darkness?
Absence of above said light of knowledge is darkness.
Why does Guru help? Why is his help important?
Guru is embodiment of knowledge, spiritual power and compassion. He removes darkness to help us realize the Ultimate Reality out of his kindness. The veil of ignorance is very strong. So, we need the Divine Force in the form of Guru’s Grace to overpower it and see the light. Guru kindles the lamp in the heart of his disciple from his glowing lamp of spiritual power.
According to Great Kashmiri Shaivaite Master, Shri Kshemaraja Padah :
Gururva Paarameshwari anugraahika shaktih ||
Guru is nothing but grace bestowing power of divine itself!
Due to inherent difficulties involved in spiritual practices, it is mandatory to have guidance of a Spiritual Master. In some mystical yoga paths like Kundalini Yoga, Sadguru initiates the disciple to Yoga path and guides him throughout the journey. Shri Guru’s role in such paths is paramount, wherein practicing alone without Guru is extremely risky and can potentially be harmful. In summary, as Shiva Sutras declare:
Gurur upayah | -Shiva Sutras 2.6
i.e., Guru is the means (for realization).
What is special about Sadguru?
Sadguru is a God-realized Master who is Brahmanishtah, i.e. one who is always established and connected to the Brahman(a.k.a. Universal Self). He has a unique power to bestow the Divine Grace to invoke spiritual energy in a disciple. This Grace bestowing power should be commanded and transmitted to the Sadguru by his own Sadguru. Another important quality of Sadguru is that he must come from a lineage of Realized Masters.
Sadguru protects the disciple from all dangers and guides him throughout the path to realization of the Self. Transmission of spiritual energy from Guru to disciple is called descent of Power (descent of Grace) or Shaktipat . It is the Sadguru‘s Grace that awakens Divine Mother Kundalini and initiates the disciple into Kundalini Yoga.
Why should we remove darkness and get enlightened?
Good question. As long as we are in darkness, we do good or bad deeds and get fruits of our actions. These fruits will come back and haunt us! They will inject us into an infinitely continuous and endless cycle of birth and death. This leads to suffering.
Once we get the light of knowledge, it will put us on the right track towards liberation or moksha from the infinite cycle of birth and death. Achieving liberation from cycle of birth and death is the highest and the single most important purpose of human life. Guru is our map as well as guide in that mission.
After reading so far, the following is a typical question from many of us:
Fine. I understood the importance of Guru now. Practically, where can I find the right Guru these days?
Good question, indeed! You don’t have to look for the Guru. Shri Guru will find you when you are ready! So, prepare yourself first by regular spiritual practices as prescribed by our scriptures such as devotion to God, prayers, chanting the name of God, showing kindness to animals etc.
There is a saying: Guru will appear as soon as disciple is ready. It is important that you get qualified first, so that you can be eligible to request the kind Grace of Shaktipat from these Great Realized Masters.
All the best to start your exciting journey towards the Ultimate Truth!
Aa no bhadrah kratvo yantu vishwatah ||
Let noble thoughts come to us from everywhere!!
Om Namah Shivaya ||
Related question and answer 🙂 :
Hindu Scriptures and Great Masters: What is their Significance in Accessing the Highest Knowledge?
For a detailed discussion, read an article here.
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Enjoy reading! Have fun!!
Om Namah Shivaya ||
– Rudraksha Yoga