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Guru: The Bestower of Silence

Just as a pole-vaulter uses a pole to lift himself up, but must leave it to jump across, a seeker uses words to reach a stage, but must drop them to go beyond. Pujya Gurudevshri beautifully explains the role of a Guru in getting the disciple to take a leap from information to transformation
Why does the journey of liberation appear so hard and so long? If that is what you feel, then you need to honestly ask yourself, have you genuinely resolved to get liberated? Only in the absence of a deep yearning for liberation can one find the journey to be long, difficult, painful, and tiresome. The journey is not difficult; it is the inclination of the one journeying that makes it hard. If you are determined to commence this journey towards light, then you must have the readiness to give up darkness.

Guru is the one who helps the aspirant on this journey. His role is contained in the word Guru itself. The letter ‘Gu’ means darkness and the letter ‘ru’ mean light. He who leads the disciple from darkness to light is a Guru. The word Guru is wondrous. It is an invention of the East. There is no such word like Guru in the West. They have words like teacher, professor, etc. But they do not convey the significance of the word Guru.

Guru and Teacher

There is a vast difference between a Guru and a teacher. A Guru is not a teacher and a teacher is not a Guru.

To understand this difference, it is necessary to understand the difference between knowledge and meditation. Like a room filled with furniture, a mind filled with information is called knowledge, whereas like a room that has been vacated, a mind having no thoughts is meditation. If knowledge is a collection of words, principles, and scriptures, meditation is the absence of ‘thought’ knowledge.

A teacher imparts knowledge and fills his student with more data. But the Guru does just the reverse. He snatches away all the informative knowledge from the disciple and bestows meditation upon him. The Guru does not fill the mind, He empties the mind.
Between a teacher and a student, there is a difference of quantity. The teacher knows more than the student. While between a Guru and a disciple there is a difference in quality. The consciousness of the Guru is pure while that of the disciple is impure.

When the disciple realises his ignorance, and surrenders fully to the Guru, the Guru grants him a meditative state. In this state of no-thought, the disciple gets a glimpse of his own inherent greatness, vastness, and completeness. His ego disappears; what remains is only the Supreme Self. In this state of consciousness, the Self is realised. Thus, by surrendering his ego and thought possession, the disciple invites for himself a series of spiritual good.

The Hindrance to Enlightenment

The greatest hindrance to Enlightenment is the ego. And the Enlightened Ones say that there is no greater ego than ‘I know it all’. What do you know? All that you have is borrowed information. And one who has more borrowed information is just a scholar.

This borrowed information cannot become your wings. It is a burden; it is bondage. You cannot fly with so much weight. But the ego cannot bear to admit that it does not know enough. It therefore seeks to collect more information so it can revel in the idea of ‘I know it all.’
Have you ever paused to ask, why has your information not brought about a transformation in you? Why your life continues to be in darkness? What have you gained in life with more information? Have you reached anywhere in the pursuit of truth? If not, at least, could you gather speed on the path?

Instead of gaining purity, you have made your ego even bigger. Moreover, you have become rigid, self-willed, opinionated, and insistent, and have lost the humility to seek true knowledge. In consequence, your delusion has become stronger and you have only increased your transmigration.

Eligibility to become a disciple arises when the arrogance of ‘I know it all’ vanishes. One who approaches the Guru with a belief that his information is his merit cannot become a disciple. Rather, his information becomes an impediment. The ego of knowledge keeps him untouched by Guru’s teachings. With his wishful thinking, ‘I have the map so I will take a journey’, he wanders far away from the real Self. Therefore, it is necessary to get rid of this block. As long as it exists, it will not let the truth manifest.

Surrender Information for Meditation

On the path of meditation, information becomes redundant. You will set out to empty the mind in meditation when you yearn for experience, revolution, and transformation; when you are tired of hoarding information, and keen to drop this unnecessary burden, and intent on wiping off all your conclusions and imaginations regarding the Self.

From the time you start offloading information, your mind will start becoming silent, still and pure. The object of knowledge will drop and the knower will come into focus with the recollection of the Self that was forgotten and buried under thoughts. The wall of ego will break down, and you will realise the Self. Self-realisation is not just about information. It is an announcement that the veil has been lifted and the beloved has been found.

But as long as you are interested in information, you will endeavour to possess just that, even if it is regarding meditation. To ‘know about meditation’ is not to be ‘in meditation’. Knowing is remembering, while meditation is an invaluable transformation. It is one’s intimate, direct experience; a state of no-thought.

Guru makes you realise how insignificant information is for the experience and how rewarding it is to empty the mind. But the ego will not like it. It will want to escape. Stay right there. Muster courage! Do not miss this opportunity. Surrender your borrowed information. Pay the price of knowingness and take away meditation from the Guru.

Words and Silence

The teacher starts with words and ends at words; while Guru, gauging the capacity of the disciple, may take the help of words in the beginning, but His purpose is not to keep him with words. He wants the disciple to take a leap into a state beyond words. Like removing a thorn with a thorn, Guru uses words to take away the word knowledge and endows the disciple with a hushed silence. It all depends on you. If you are a seeker of knowledge, you will learn and return whereas if you are a seeker of experience, you will unlearn and abide within.

Once a man approached Shi Ramana Maharshi and pleaded him to teach something. Maharshi replied you have come to the wrong place. Here you will be shown how to unlearn and not how to learn; to become nothing and not how to become something; to cleanse yourself and not accumulate more. You have been wandering not because of lack of information, but because of lack of experiential knowledge. What you need is not more information; rather, you need purity.

Those who find information significant memorise Guru’s teachings, and pass on to others. When appreciated, they start imagining being wise. But to repeat mechanically is parroting, and not realising the Supreme Self. Such deluded ones are like those who remain thirsty in the midst of water.

Guru expounds truth, but not to create a data bank. The moment you feel secure in building a library within with the bricks of information, He rushes to demolish it and brings you back to where you were. He does not let you have the ego of possessing knowledge. He takes away words and gives you silence. He awakens you.
One stroke after the other, He chisels out a masterpiece out of a chunk of ego with its attachment to the word knowledge. He grants meditation to abide in the Self.

Therefore, the saints say, ‘Surrender at the Lotus Feet of the Guru. Let the work of emptying the mind happen. At that opportune moment, let the event of Self-realisation occur.’

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