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Tomorrow is Guru Purnima. May the Lord, the Guru of all gurus bless us.

Gurur brahmaa gurur vishnuh gururdevo Maheswarah |
Veda Vyasa
Guruh-saakshaat parambrahma tasmai shri gurave namah ||
Guru is Brahma (the Creator); Guru is Vishnu (the Preserver); Guru is also Lord Mahesvara (the Destroyer) and Guru is the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute. To Him, the Supreme Guru my salutations.                    [Read More]

In the Tantric scriptures the guru is said to be none other than God Himself. As it is said in the ‘Hymn to the Guru’, ‘Guru is Brahma, guru is Vishnu, guru is Shiva, guru himself is the supreme Brahman; salutations to the guru.’ The guru is supposed to be none other than the supreme Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna used to say the Satchidananda, the Ultimate Reality, Brahman alone is the guru. This is in conformity with the teachings of the Vedas and other scriptures.

The Upanisads declare: “Knowledge gained from a teacher alone becomes fruitful [Chandogya Upanisad 4.9.3].” If a bit knowledge is to be made really effective in our lives, it must be heard from a guru. The idea behind it is that the guru not only gives the mantra but along with it he transmits some of the spiritual power that he possesses, to the disciple. When one reads  the mantras in printed books, this kind of transmission of power does not take place.

Let us try to understand this in a more intelligible and rational sense. If we reas certain ethical codes in a book, they may have some effect on us. But when we hear those ethical teachings from a person whom we love and revere, the effect will be naturally very different. Similarly, though we may not understand the actual process of transmission of spiritual power through spiritual initiation, we can understand at aleast this much that it is only from a lamp that another lamp is lighted. It is necessary that to kindle a soul there must be some soul that must have already been kindled. That is what is meant by transmission from the guru to the disciple. Without that sort of living link, transmission of spiritual power is not possible.
-Srimat Swami Bhuteshanandaji, the 12th President of Ramakrishna Order.

 Source: ‘Spiritual Initiation-what it is’ by Ramakrishna Math, Chennai-4


A  PHYSICIAN prescribed medicine for a patient and said to him, "Come another day and I'll give you directions about diet," The physician had several jars of molasses in his room that day.   The patient lived very  far  away. He visited the physician later and the physician said to him, "Be careful about your food.   It is not good for you to eat molasses."     After the patient left, another person who was there said to the physician, "Why did you give him all the trouble of coming here again?    You could very well have given him the instructions the first day."    The physician replied with a smile: "There is a reason.   I had several jars of molasses in my room that day.   If I had asked the patient then to give up molasses, he would not have had faith  in  my words.     He would have thought;   'He has so many jars of molasses in his room, he must eat some of it. Then molasses can't be so bad.' Today I have hidden the jars.   Now he will have faith in my words."

THE Guru is only one, but Upa-gurus (secondary gurus)  may  be  many.  He  is  an  Upa-guru  from whom anything whatsoever is learned.     It is mentioned   in   the   Bhagavata   that   the   great Avadhuta (a great yogi) had twenty four such Upa- Gurus.

(a) One day, as the Avadhuta was walking across a meadow, he saw a bridal procession coming toward him with loud beating of drums and great pomp. Hard by he saw a hunter deeply absorbed in aiming at his game and perfectly inattentive to the noise  and  pomp  of  the  procession,  casting  not even a passing look at it. The Avadhuta, saluting the hunter, said, "Sir, thou art my Guru. When I sit in meditation let my mind be concentrated upon the object of meditation, as yours was on your game."

(b)    An  angler  was  fishing  in  a  pond.  The Avadhuta approaching him asked, "Brother which way leads to such and such a place?" The float of the rod at that time was indicating that the fish was nibbling at the bait; so the man did not give any reply  but  was  all  attention  to  his  fishing  rod. Having first hooked the fish, he turned round and said, "What is it you have been saying sir?"    The Avadhuta saluted him and said, "Sir, thou art my Guru. When I sit in contemplation of the Deity of my choice (Ishta), let me follow thy example and before finishing my devotions let me not attend to anything else."

(c)    A kite with a fish in its beak was followed by a  host  of  crows  and  other  kites,  which  were pecking at it and trying to snatch the fish away. In whatever direction it went, its tormentors followed it cawing, till at last they made it let go the fish in vexation. Another kite instantly caught the fish and was in its turn followed by the whole lot. The first kite  was  left  unmolested and  sat  calmly on  the branch of a tree. Seeing this quiet and tranquil state of the bird the Avadhuta saluting him, said, "Thou art my Guru, for thou hast taught me that peace of mind is possible in this world, only when one has given up one's adjuncts (upadhis); otherwise there is danger at every step."

(d)    A heron was slowly walking on a marsh to catch a fish. Behind, there was a fowler aiming an arrow at the heron, but the bird was totally unmindful of this fact. The Avadhuta saluting the heron,  said,  "When  I  sit  in  meditation,  let  me follow thy example and never turn back to see who is behind me."

(e) The Avadhuta found another Guru in a bee. The bee had been storing up honey with long and great labour. A man came from somewhere, broke the hive and drank up the honey. The bee was not destined to enjoy the fruit of its long labour. On seeing this, the Avadhuta saluted the bee saying, "Lord! Thou art my Guru; from Thee I learn what the sure fate of accumulated riches is."   

A POOR brahmana had a rich cloth merchant as his disciple. The merchant was very miserly by nature. One day the brahmana was in need of a small piece of cloth for covering his sacred book. He went to his disciple and asked for the required piece of cloth; but the merchant replied: "I am very sorry, sir. Had you told me of this a few hours earlier, I would have given you the thing wanted. Unfortunately, now I have no small piece of cloth which will answer your purpose. However, I shall remember your requirement, but please remind me of it now and then."    The brahmana had to go away disappointed. This conversation between the guru and his worthy disciple was overheard by the wife of the latter from behind a screen. She at once sent a man after the brahmana, and calling him inside the house, said, "Revered Father, what is it that you  were  asking  from  the  master  of  the house?" The brahmana related all what had happened. The wife said: "Please go home sir; you will get the cloth tomorrow morning." When that merchant returned home at night the wife asked him, "Have you closed your shop?" The merchant said, "Yes, what is the matter?" She said, "Go at once and bring two cloths of the best quality in the shop." He said, "Why this hurry? I shall give you the best cloth tomorrow morning." The wife, however, insisted,  "No,  T  must  have  them  just now or not at all." What could the poor merchant do? The person whom he had now to deal with was not the spiritual guru whom he could send away with vague and indefinite promises, but the 'curtain guru' whose behests must be instantaneously obeyed, or else there would be no peace for him at home. At last the merchant, willingly enough, opened the shop, at that late hour of the night, and brought the cloths for her. Early next morning, the good lady sent the article to the guru with the message, "If in future you want anything "If in future you want anything from us, ask me, and you will get it."

SOURCE: The Parables of Sri Ramakrishna, Published by Ramakrishna Math, Chennai-4

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