9.16.2011

Search for the real Guru

I have had many people ask me whether I have a guru, whether I have been initiated, and whether I have had spiritually uplifting experiences. While I can sense their curiosity, it has not been very easy to answer these questions. I understand that we all want to know "the path", we want to learn it fast and we are not ready to be careful about treading this path. There is hunger to want to know, in some people its a lot more intense.

I have been initiated into Shiva worship in the traditional Brahmanical order. While having studied quite a few of the influential paths of Shaivism, namely the cults of Aghories, Tantriks and Virashaivas I have come to understand them as a whole as well as individually. I respect them and their methods though I might not necessarily take to the path myself until that Sadhana is a must for my own salvation with no other alternative. There are disturbing elements in each of these paths when observed in their unadulterated potency and its for our mind to accept the ways of the world or reject it and face repercussions both good or bad.

But Sadhana typically starts with the initiation from a Guru. They say we shouldn't search for him but he will come on his own to us. Well, does the waiting get tough then? That's probably the time we resort to following self proclaimed Gurus in today's world and hope to find peace in their teachings. What's missing in such cases is the personal attention we want in these cases. What we don’t realize is, when we are not "ready" the Guru will never come. Preparation for a Guru is most important to get started. 

The first Guru we come in contact with in our lifetimes are our parents. They set the ball rolling giving us insight into the prescribed path that we would most probably take through our lives and seldom change it. And hence the first initiation has begun. There is no ritual in particular except for the male child maybe. Our search for the next Guru begins when we come to the age of understanding life. We want to dive deeper and understand the science better, of what is possible within our capacity.

The typical route from here is the confused path of ritual worship - a disciplined methodology of dos and don’t with no reasoning to explain why. While on one side the heart encourages this, the mind looks for logical reasoning which might not be immediately apparent. The questions arise and sure enough they don’t have convincing answers. Do we at this point hang on to the path or change or give up and look for the undefined universal God?

In my opinion understanding ritual worship is like learning a language. We don’t understand the nuances of grammar or the idiosyncrasies, yet we hold on to it hoping we will make good masters of it some day. We do not reject language because we didn’t attempt to learn it.

In my personal experience and understanding, at this stage its good to hold on to ritual worship and follow it consistently even if we don’t understand it initially. Its up to us to read up and dig deep to understand what we are doing, rather than doing it mechanically and feel like a parrot reciting mantra. We most often expect someone else to teach us the meaning and do not find a reasonable Guru to explain this vast science; we have little time to do this on our own.

If we do this right, there is a good chance of attaining a spiritual high at this point, reaching a level of sublime experience with the supreme in a small way and getting enchanted by the turn of events in our lives. This is probably the time we are taking to prepare ourselves for the Guru's arrival into our lives. Following the ritual path is a must to go to the next step, but it is effective only when we approach it with Bhakti rather than mechanical action with no comprehension of what we are doing.

The next misconception is that the Guru will show up in human form and speak to us in a language we speak in. Thats where we make the biggest mistake. The first criteria of eligibility towards getting a Guru, is that we in our individual capacity are prepared to be a pupil.

The true pupil has single pointed intense faith in a path with no room for deviation. This path is well understood by him/her and not a result of mass teaching of the community they belong to. At this stage, the pupil is ready to disassociate from the community [herd culture] and walk towards the lonely path of self realization. The pupil understands detachment as a reality, and though they might be in the midst of people, they move towards looking at them with detached compassion rather than possessive love and expectations. This feeling of course is not as overwhelming in the beginning as it is at the end of this path, but the pupil gets to feel the crux of what is expected. The pupil has now decided while living in the middle of this chaos, they don’t quite belong to it anymore and the journey towards understanding the inner self now becomes a breathing reality. The pupil is ready to surrender to the supreme force.

In the silence of their mind, in the void of their being and in complete surrender, the pupil awaits the arrival of the Guru. If luck has it, the Guru will be present in human form at that time. The gyana of the way ahead is mostly transmitted through touch or sight or in silence but never through speech as sound is a lesser path of communication. If the Guru is not physically present, the gyana is arrived at in the mind. It just happens, and the pupil is subconsciously directed by the power of the thoughts they harbor in the mind. This is when the pupil transitions from religion to spiritualism. From here on ritual has no value, it has led the pupil to the doors of the master.

The Guru appears in the subtle world of their mind to direct them and lead them in their path. The path is never easy and surely has no room for personal bias. It can test the pupil through tough times, with unhappy experiences to force the pupil to detach from what is around them or it could be through comfort as well. Either way, the pupil realizes that what is around them in the exterior world doesn’t matter any more - both good and bad. They have now learned to accept all the twists and turns in their lives.

One of the most mysterious forms of experiencing the presence of a Guru in a "non human form" is the sculptural depiction of Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath. While to most people it might have looked like a symbolic representation of his Dandam, this form of his hand holding the sacred symbol of the Shankara, is believed to appear in the mind's eye when a pupil worships this Guru. 


In this search for the supreme, when the Guru accepts us as an eligible pupil and the divine education begins, this experience is far more overwhelming than any other we may have experienced before in our lifetimes. It is potent, magical, and mysterious and strictly rule driven and supersedes all the scientific theories we have come across so far. This is a different reality, unexplored and excitable on a different plane. The Guru transforms into a God like being and leads the way, while we - the pupil - pick up the reins of Bhakti and ride on this path to supreme bliss.
 

22 comments:

Raju said...

you posted the best Again , how ever i say that if all your postings are pearls then this posting is the diamond tied in the middle of that pearl chain. its true that "They say we shouldn't search for him but he will come on his own to us once we are ready." great!!!!

Marianne Simonin said...

This is a wonderful article, so clear and so true. One of the best explanation I've ever found on the relationship Guru and disciple. I like the fact that you stress the importance for the student to get ready for the welcoming of the Guru. Thank you so much for such beautifully piece of writing. Om shanti.

JC said...

Our wise ancients, much more wiser than 'us', the present day average human beings said, "Guru Brahma / Guru Vishnu / Guru devo Mahesh // Guru sakshat Param Brahma // Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah"... Thus indicating hierarchy among the Gurus...

'Param Brahma' means the Supreme Soul or Paramatma, the unborn and unending energy form of life, such as the gravitational force concentrated at the centre of all heavenly bodies, whose component is believed also to exist within each human being as individual soul, man being created as a model of the universe, or 'in the image of God'...Thus one has a choice to connect directly with IT directly without having to approach IT through an external agency, in whatever form.

'India' presents even today an excellent reflection of worship of the God indirectly, through whatever agency that pleases one, from mouse to mountain, plant life to animal life...

Books are the best friends of man... In 'my' case 'I' found Bhagavad Gita contains answers to all 'my' queries on spirituality...

Usha B N said...

thank you kavitha for this insightful and very honest write up. It has given me much to understand and think about..

JC said...

St. Mathew in New Testament said (7-7), "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: etc...

Hindus indicated the concerned Giver within you... Krishna in Gita said He is the Give, nd He is present in all beings. And that He will give you what you week through the Guru you approach,,,, but you wouldn't reach ME! And, of you desired to reach Him, you need to surrender all your actions in Him!

And, that's the real problem in the 'present' (that believably in reality is 'past' imperfect!),,, 'we' surrender in everything else, but not in Krishna, meaning Black or Dark (because the present is the Dark Age, ie, Kaliyuga, the beginning of evolution from pure energy to material universe, as expressed in 'Churning of the Milky Ocean)!

JC said...

Words cannot express a realization, and yet one must use those because one isn't alone on this vast (infinite appearing) earth to 'us' small beings, although itself it is a dot compared to the infinite sized dark universal void, and yet so beautiful!

Our Gurus, the ancestors of 'Hindus', unanimously gave the highest pedestal to MOON, by showing Her on Shiva's, the only immortal supreme soul's, forehead.

Although only symbolically, a graphical image!

For Shiva in physical form alludes to EARTH, our planet that/ who holds the sacred river Ganga in its/ His locks! And also has crescent of moon, the source of river Ganga!

ॐ Namah Shivaya! However indicates yoga of supreme soul, energy, with the physical form that's necessarily formed of the panchtatva/ panchbhoota, ie, 'Nabha', sky or space; 'mahi' or earth, including Ganga or Moon; 'shikhi or 'fire', ie, energy; 'vayu' or air; 'yamuna', ie, relatively inferior or polluted water...

Who am I? Thanks to my ancestors, I am Shiva, or/ rather His image!

Raju said...

The main difference between ancient India and so called modern India is loss of guru-shishya parampara.
They said mathru devobhava, pithru devobhava..etc....but guru sakshath parahbhrahma.....
To attain any of the four arthas, (dharma.artha.kama.moksha) of life one need guru who imparts knowledge.
Disciples may differ in knowledge, caste or economy or appearance but guru imparts knowledge to the shishya with out any hesitation. shisya or disciple or a general seeker may want any thing but guru grants him everything , of course as per his eligibility.
Guru is the god him/her self come to bless the devotee.
Even Rama or Krishna are part of guru shishya parampara.
The surprise part is that the guru is always in search of truth, but they fulfills the worldly desires of their disciples and of course at the end they imparts the spiritual education.
And his/her life is the achieved one when he/she gets a sidhdha guru, who show God to the shishya.
Jai GuruDev

JC said...

Shri Raju, Guru-shishya parampara, ie, Teacher-student tradition, being the 'Truth', ie,, not depending on Time, continues eternally. But not realized because of maya that is illusion, for 'we' are Apsmara Purush, lying under the foot of Ekpada (one legged) Shiva, ie, EARTH that is supported in the space on its South Pole as it merrily spins around its axis and also revolves around the provider of energy during the day, ie SUN (Brahma)! And fail to notice the support provided by yet another one legged, MOON, the supplier of Amrit, the moonlight or SOMRUS, as night-queen!...

'Guru-shishya parampara' is true even today, but students appear to keep on multiplying with time, and so also the gurus, ie, sources for imparting knowledge to these students on various subjects, which too keep on multiplying with time ...And, thus there is compartmentalisation of knowledge, and hence 'experts' in one particular subject ('koop mandook' or frogs in different wells, each considering existence only of that many stars as they can see from one particular location above their heads!), and not 'siddhas' as our ancestors were to start with, starting from the one and only Supreme Knowledge, or Paramatma the Supreme Soul (Spirit)...And hence the advice to start from the whole to the parts, and not from a part to the whole!......

'I' consider all and every one as my gurus, 'non-living' or 'living', say books, such as , Bible, Quran, Guru Granth, Bhagawad Gita, and so on, for 'I' am continuing to learn from my childhood. The wise however advised one to stop looking outwards (Bahirmukhi) at the earliest (for doom's day can occur any moment) or at least when one's worldly duties are over and seek within (becoming antarmukhi) the Truth, the Self...

JC said...

'I' cited only some books on 'religion'. However, 'I' might add that one could learn, or learns from novels too. For example, it was for the first time as a youth that 'I' learned why a 'Hindu' says 'namaste' (I pray to God within you / And not your physical form!) from a 'foreigner', Pearl S Buck, from one of her novels...From books 'I' leaned about the origin of 'April Fool' being related with fish! That is, in Europe, angling during this month is prohibited because it's breeding time for the fish, for they easily get caught, fooled because they are hungry!

And, so on, many secrets about human behaviour from a variety of detective novels read by 'me', such as those by Agatha Chriswtie, Earl Stanley Gardner, Ian Fleming, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and so on...

And also from other foreigner novelists, such as Fyodor Dostoevsky, and also fables, particularly by an 'Indian' too on Political Administration, Panchtantra, by Pandit Vishnu Datt Sharma, which indicated the possibility of our mythological stories to be related with 'Creation', such as reference in stories meant for children about say, Mother Yashoda seeing the entire universe within child Krishna's mouth!...

At least 'I' feel grateful to all the Gurus, including all known and unknown people related to the Internet, Google, blog writers, etc to name a few of them, all originating from one three letter word 'Om', or numeral '3' (ॐ)!
And in English, a corresponding four letter word, 'Amen'...And also Mother Earth for supporting Her family members, Good, Bad, or Ugly!

JC said...

Kacitha, 'I' had earlier also given you the example of imagining your own photos arranged in chronological order, showing you at different ages, different locations, different dresses and so on...
And, then to tell which out of those innumerable images was the 'real' you!

JC said...

Hi Kavitha, Sorry! 'I' noticed 'I' had wrongly typed your name!

The key-board has small keys, thus I find sometimes there are many typing mistakes. The Guru within 'me' perhaps wants 'I' type slowly!

Brian@Hindu chants said...

In Hindu mythology the Guru is described briefly.Guru is placed at the top position in the society.They can guide the followers properly to walk in the proper path.So it is very difficult to get the real guru in the society who can guide us in the proper path.

JC said...

Hi Brian! Thanks! for the suggestion.

Today if one isn't able to reach the 'real guru', the ancient Hindus explained it by it being the characteristic property of Time, ie, Mahakaal Shiva, the one and only real GURU who is related with both time and space, ZERO ('0', expressed by letter 'o', in the 'beej mantra', the seed of all mantras, 'om' the Guru of all gurus ,,, who ever remains detached through the apparent time to which His images are related since time immemorial, in unending cycles of 'Mahayugas' the believable set of four Yugas, named by Hindus as Satya yug, Treta yug, Dwaper yug, and last but not the least Kali yug although the worst of all, in terms of knowledge and efficiency of individuals, for it marks the beginning of evolution that believably took place when 'churning of the milky-ocean' was commenced by devtas (giver or selfless) and rakshasas (hoarder or selfish) and the first material to emerge was poison (that we see even today)...

All said and done, everyone is perhaps lucky to have Him / She / It by design embedded into one and all beings or non beings, but by design, is accessible only to the soul in human forms... But not without efforts...

The wise souls believe in reaching the root, ie, 'o', the Supreme Soul, while each one, in the kal-chakr or time cycle, due to limited existence and by design is subjected to the apparent duality, or 'o-m', the yoga of infinite with the finite physical form pronounced respectively with opening in the lips till one breath lasts, but obliged to close them to pronounce 'm'...

Maybe one could just try chanting just 'om', while trying not to think at all (to develop connection with the SS (The secret service)!

Raju said...

Hi Brian@Hindu chants--
As said in the article if you are ready you will get the real guru! but the only question would be 'are you ready!'
Regards
Raj kumar

JC said...

Based on a 'western' quotation (source unknown) one could perhaps say:

One who knows and knows that he knows is wise - and is the Real Guru.

One who knows not and knows that he knows not is simple - and is a deserving student

And, one who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool - and is not worth wasting time with!

Raju said...

you can not stop the search for him....because fortunately you born as human to think and you got an idea to go close to him...but yes, as per the time you may initially met with some incredible experiences ,,,may be to test you or your fate may want to deviate you from the source....no need to worry..he is there for you looks very like to you ..unbelievable..you cant give up now..because you may/may not get a second chance..there is no guarantee that you will born as human again , you may again get an idea to search for him... so search until you get him...he is very kind...

JC said...

Shri Raju, As per the 'wisest' among the 'wise ancients', real Guru is one and only one in the entire universe, what one generally calls as 'Parmatma', the "Supreme Soul", or the unborn and unending energy form...

But, as per His design and its purpose known to it alone, 'we' fail to perceive Him/ Her/ It due to limitations inherent in the physical forms... And, the mysterious invisible being is considered to have originally been like a dot, located at the centre of our apparent universal void, and is called as 'Nadbindu', the point source of infinite energy, by 'Hindus'who gave the highest pedestal to Indu the moon. For they depicted it located symbolically on the forehead of Shiva the paramatma in human form, which is considered by them as the 'model of the infinite universal void' or Brahmand, literally 'Creator's Egg'... or 'image of God' by Christians... which thus apparently also included the 'Hindu' concept of 'maya' that is illusion, in so far as the physical world/ universe is considered...

Thus when Kavitha, one of the innumerable images, during the last phase of Kaliyuga perhaps, talks of Guru the superior, or teacher, literally the one who can lead one from darkness to light, ie 'enlighten' one, as a seeker she actually refers to some relatively superior soul in the apparent hierarchical system of humans, as she mentions image of Adi Sahkaracharya...

In the Bhagwad Gita, for example, for the benefit of the 'seekers' guidelines have been laid down by the Yogis that indicate Krishna, who resides within all and is thus called Bhurupiya that is the one who knows the Truth and although present within all energies or physical forms, he needs to be contacted internally, not outwardly...

Thus, basically one must have inclination to seek Him... However, Time is indicated to have been assigned the most important role incorporated in the design...And in so far as animals and particularly humans are considered, 'we' all are indicated as souls, that are immortal... And it is only the physical form that is mortal, and is subjected to continuous change with time. While the unending soul continues to move up or down, according to the Grand Design of the Supreme Being, who also seeks the Self, during the transformation of energy in to physical forms also that are immortal, called Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, referring to Sun & Earth-Moon, including gravitational forces concentrated at their respective centres!

In essence, it is His will that matters!

Druv said...

You should be very careful when you are Using the word "Cult" in relation to Shiva worshipers like "Aghori's".

Ghor - would mean horrifying

Aghor - would mean some thing that is NOT horrifying!

Why do they carry a skull cup?

That is because Kal Bhairava - the great merciless god of time cuts off the fifth head of Brahma which is the embodiment of greed, lust and every thing bad in the world.

You cannot reject some thing which you dont even understand!

--------------------------------

--- "Namaste" is a yoga mudra

--- The word "Hindu" does not exist, this is a powerful manipulation of history and knowledge that we had by the "polar opposite" religions that invaded our world.

--- The word "Mythology" is the clear proof of manipulation.

Myth comes from the Sanskrit word Mythya which means lie and deception.

Hence, by creating the world Myth and Mythology -- they have created "Confusion" and made us forget our past.

by using this word, you falsify your own past!

------------------------------

How can i say they are our polar opposite ?

Tower of babel --

Look up the meaning of Babel --

The creator of confusion of sounds!

And What would Creator of confusion mean in Sanskrit ?

Sura - means a good wave/ destroyer of confusion/ Deva/ Good people

Asura - A negative wave/ Creator of confusion/ Demon / Bad people.


------------------------------

I hope this is good enough wake up call ?

Kavitha said...

Wake up call towards what Druv? You have posted a few good points, but you were not clear on what you were trying to wake us up to...

JC said...

Wake up call at the time of approaching Brahma's night perhaps?!

'Hindus' (where Indu means Moon, the source of life giving waters of Ganga) came to be called thus at a certain given point in the history of 'India' that is 'Bharat' because the inhabitants used lunar cycle for determining the seasons and thus various festivals... Of course, within the annual solar cycle in one revolution around it: of about 365 rotations of the earth (Ekpada Shiva) around its (His) own axis through the Poles (Dhruvas, which, as an individual, define its head and tail-end or base, ie, 'Mooladhar'...

Yog mudras have also come into use by terrestrials, the Yogis, who understood man as model of the universe, ie, the infinite universal void that continues to expand indefinitely endlessly...and is thus the formless life... that is represented by human form that is made of essences of the nine members of the solar system, as essences of the formless... and so on...

Kavitha, Maybe Shri Druv himself needs to first go through the comments properly...

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Anonymous said...

Reliance on any external authority is a dead end. It is only in the resolute stillness of the "now" that ignorance is peeled off.

In the "now" is the past and the future. In the perfect observation of this is liberation. Or whatever other word you care to pick.