One in God, Guru and Mission

Swami Hrishikeshananda Saraswati

Life is walking towards death, nevertheless, we are not seriously aware of it in day to day life. Owing to the perennial evolutionary process, only when the above fact established in the mind do many transcendental questions crop up. It is probably then that we look for a Guru who can help us in our transcendental journey. Having found him and being initiated, we seek his guidance. Then the 'Guru-disciple' relationship starts building-up and we feel an inner urge to serve him in his physical form, or expect to be with him in his ashram or the purpose of serving him to the best of our ability.

Due to various reasons this is not always possible or all of us. Therefore, the other alternative, which is equally important, is to work for his mission. This is as good as serving him. Barring a few, it is better for the rest of us who can not live in the ashram itself to work for his mission in order to achieve the supreme culmination of life - liberation or moksha.

We may not perceive him through our 'indriyas' (sense-organs) , but that does not mean his presence is not there. He is always with us since we are attached to him through the string of 'mantra diksha', and we may very well feel his presence if we manage to look within. Because, besides the spiritual reality centring in him, he has a universal spiritual reality which pervades the entire universe. So what it boils down to is that, to serve the Guru's mission means to serve the Guru, and to serve the Guru means to serve God, because Guru is the bridge between ourselves and God. Through our silent service and dedication to Guru we may experience God within, which is the purpose of human life.

To explain it further, it is pertinent to focus on some related subjects, know the concept of the 'purusharthas' (the fourfold purpose of our existence), viz. dharma, artha, kama and moksha. 'Dharma' is ethical law, 'artha' is material need, 'kama' is emotional need and 'moksha', is spiritual aim.

Although the ultimate aim of all life is moksha, dharma, artha and kama are necessary contributing factors, signifying the three aspects of man's approach to God in relation to society. All these needs are equally important in the different stages of life for our systematic development Therefore, to achieve moksha, we cannot deny dharma, artha and kama.

It is for this reason that the seers and rishis of bygone days formulated a system to regulate the life of the individual, known as the 'four stages of life'. They are brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyas which are aimed at developing the fourfold disciplines 'viveka' (discrimination,) 'vairagya' (detachment),'sad-sampati' (virtuosity), and 'mumukshutwa' (seeing after liberation) so our mind becomes steady and serene

Now these stages of life are interdependent and each is equally important for our evolution. Although the ultimate aim or object is sannyas, for the systematic growth of human beings, each and every state of life is equally important.

Let us correlate the 'purusharthas' with the four stages of life. In the brahmacharya stage dharma plays an important role, while in grihastha one is able to fulfil the need of kama and artha. There after, vanaprastha and sannyas are for working towards moksha. We have to live in such a way that right from the lowest physical level to the highest spiritual stage, life is just a gradual upliftment to perfection. Here each and every stage plays a vital role as far as physical, mental and emotional evolution are concerned.

This truth of life is the reason why the ancient seers and rishis formulated the fourfold scheme of living, to transform our physical desires into a spiritual discipline and final freedom. Thus it may be observed that we do not always start working at our ultimate aim or goal, rather we start working far away from the ultimate goal and approach it gradually.

Therefore, we can safely establish the truth behind the saying 'One in God, Guru and Mission', whereby working for the Gum's mission, no doubt we can experience God, which is the ultimate essence of life.