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Guru – The Alchemist

Pujyashri Gurudev beautifully brings out the many ways in which the Guru transforms the disciple. Commemorating the occasion of Gurupurnima, let us extol the infinite grace of the compassionate Guru

Gurupurnima is a very special day for every seeker who has realised that the journey unto the eternal cannot be made independently without a Guide, a Mentor who is well versed with the path, a self-realised Master who is boundlessly compassionate to hold him tight and see him safely reach the destination. It is a day to express gratitude towards such a selfless Guru and to offer oneself completely to Him.

Gurupurnima is celebrated each year on the full moon day of Ashadh according to the Indian calendar. Just as a full moon brightens the dark night, the Guru illumines our dark, ignorant lives with the light of wisdom. When the sun-like Tirthankars are far from our sight and beyond our reach, it is the Guru who illuminates the path unto the Divine. Perceiving the Guru and God as one is the highest form of religion and a true celebration of Gurupurnima.

Divinity Personified

The Supreme Self, being pure and formless, is difficult to comprehend. It is easier to recognise divinity in the Guru and worship divinity through Him because He is the embodiment of the Supreme Self. One gets glimpses of divinity in His enchanting countenance, His nectar-like words and His mesmerising presence. Thus, the Guru facilitates the meeting of the seeker and the Divine.

Saint Kabir has said, “Guru manush kari jante, te nar kahiye andh,” meaning, one who looks upon the Guru merely as a mortal human being, is verily blind. The Guru has a human body just like ours, He feels hunger and thirst as we do, however, He does not identify Himself with the body. While the ignorant deem themselves to be the body, the Guru has transcended body identification. He is ‘in’ the body but not limited by it. Although He ‘has’ a body, He is in a state that is beyond the body. The Guru has realised Himself to be the light of consciousness, distinctly separate from the body. One who fails to recognise this, will not be able to establish a connection with His divinity. He will not be able to surrender to Him and without surrendering, spirituality will not manifest. He who beholds the Guru as the Supreme Self, the Pure Consciousness, sees his own external identity fading away and his latent divinity manifesting.

Compassion of the Guru

The greatness of the Guru is unfathomable, His grace immeasurable. Two frogs lived in a puddle. On one side of the puddle, was a mound. One of the frogs, desirous of seeing the world beyond the puddle, began the difficult climb up the mound, reaching its top after a great deal of effort. From that vantage point, he could behold the surging ocean. He was amazed and spellbound by the view and the vast expanse. He was eager to share this joy with his friend. He returned and described the splendid sight to his friend, inviting him to join in. However, his friend was satisfied with the small puddle. He was unwilling to believe that there could be anything bigger and more beautiful than the puddle. The first frog did not give up. He pleaded with his friend repeatedly and finally aroused his curiosity enough to make him climb the mound. In a few jumps he too experienced the majesty of the ocean.

In the same way, the Guru reveals a new world to the disciple. Being awakened, He sees and experiences the infinite within and compassionately invites others to experience the same ocean of peace and bliss. Those who are ‘satisfied’ with their little world neither believe Him, nor accept His invitation. Ignoring their refusal, the benevolent Master continues to inspire them, arousing their curiosity. His powerful words of assurance and feeling the purity in His divine presence gradually kindle faith in the disciple.

The Guru endows the disciple with the vision of the eternal and robs him of his attraction for the ephemeral. The disciple feels that everything he ever had – his dreams, his ego, his world has been destroyed. But by taking away the transient, the Guru establishes the essence of life, the eternal in Him. If the disciple falters, or if the Guru detects any impediments, He treats them in His own inimitable way. How can one ever repay such grace of the Guru?

Guru’s Role in a Disciple’s Life

Saints say that it is very difficult to annihilate the cycle of birth and death on your own. But with the help of the Sadguru, this seemingly impossible task becomes achievable. All you need to do is surrender to the Guru in whose presence all your thoughts subside, your pre-conceived notions dissolve and your mind becomes calm. Surrendering is not a ritual; it is not a proclamation to be made amidst great fanfare. It is a quiet event – the silent slaying of your ego!

The Guru plays three major roles in the life of a disciple. As the creator, He initiates His disciple into spirituality; as the protector, He nurtures His disciple’s spiritual inclinations and as the destroyer, He annihilates the obstructing tendencies of His disciple. A real disciple is one who is able to recognise, accept and even adore the role of a destroyer in the Sadguru. The one who wants only consolations from his Guru and does not seek a transformation, one who merely wants to be adorned and does not want to get dissolved, is not a true disciple. The true disciple wants to eliminate his ego, but since he does not have the courage to do so himself, he beseeches the Sadguru to do this for him. The Sadguru then assumes the role of a destroyer, annihilates his ego, and gives new birth to the disciple.

The Fall of the Ego

For a transformation to take place, the disciple must be ready to forego his ego. If the disciple does not have the courage to let go of his ego, he defends and justifies himself. He feels humiliated by the remarks of the Sadguru. Such a soul has not understood the intention of the Guru. To create a masterpiece from the disciple, the Guru must get rid of the unwanted – ego, jealousy etc., from the disciple. But if the disciple does not cooperate with Him in this effort and does not accept all that He does joyfully, the Guru will seem like an enemy to him. He will feel dissatisfied and at times, even antagonistic towards Him. Due to his lack of maturity and understanding, such a disciple will remain agitated. It is therefore imperative that the disciple has faith that his true well-being lies in his Guru’s hands alone, even if there is some pain associated with it. He must surrender wholeheartedly, in the absence of which, the Guru cannot function.

The disciple who has surrendered says, “Here is my life, I surrender it at Your Feet. Mould me as per Your wish.” He exhibits absolute love, unflinching faith, complete surrender and total cooperation, creating no hindrance at all! No matter how much the Guru may test him, regardless of the resulting pain from the moulding, the disciple’s faith remains unshaken. He acts scrupulously in accordance with the vision imparted by Him. Faithfully carrying out his Guru’s commands gradually opens his heart for the truth to manifest.

On the auspicious day of Gurupurnima, make a fresh resolve to surrender at the Lotus Feet of the Guru and embark on the spiritual journey.

May all attain self-realisation by venerating the Sadguru, the very embodiment of divinity, with sincere devotion.


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