Guru Poornima

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The day of worship of one’s guru is a day of pure joy for the spiritual aspirant, for it is the guru alone who breaks the cords of attachment and releases the aspirant from the trammels of earthly existence.

The shrutis say: “To that high-souled aspirant, whose devotion to the Lord is great and whose devotion to his guru is as great as that to the Lord, the secrets explained herein become illuminated.” Guru is Brahman, the Absolute, or God Himself. He guides and inspires you from the innermost core of your being. He is everywhere.

The link between the individual and the immortal

It is through the medium of the preceptor that the individual can raise himself to cosmic consciousness. It is through that medium that the imperfect can become perfect, the finite can become infinite and the mortal can pass into the eternal life of blessedness. The guru is verily a link between the individual and the immortal. He is a being who has raised himself from ‘this’ to ‘That’ and thus has unhampered access to both realms.

To adore the guru is indeed to adore the supreme. In this world of mortality, the guru is like an ambassador in an alien court. Just as an ambassador represents fully the nation to which he belongs, even so the guru is a representative of the sublime transcendental state which he has attained. Just as to honour the ambassador is to honour the nation that he hails from, even so to worship and offer adoration to the visible guru is the direct worship and adoration of the supreme reality. He is the standing witness to the supreme Self, the counterpart of the Lord on earth, and through worship of him one attains the Self.

It is said in the Guru Gita:

Dhyana moolam guror murtih;
Pooja moolam guror padam;
Mantra moolam guror vakyam;
Moksha moolam guror kripa.

“The guru’s form should be meditated upon;
the feet of the guru should be worshipped;
his words are to be treated as a sacred mantra;
his grace ensures final liberation.”

Vanquisher of the lower ego

Give up the delusive notion that to submit to the preceptor, to obey him and to carry out his instructions is a slavish mentality. Only the ignorant think that it is beneath their dignity and against their freedom to submit to another’s command. If you reflect carefully, you will see that your individual freedom is in reality an abject slavery to your own ego and vanity. It is the vagary of the sensual mind. The one who attains victory over the mind and the ego is truly free. He is the hero. It is to attain this victory that one submits to the higher, spiritualized personality of the guru. By this submission one vanquishes one’s lower ego and realizes the bliss and freedom of the infinite consciousness.

To strengthen and affirm the faith of those who are wavering and to guarantee the attitude that is necessary for the fruition of all worship, the ancients have deified the personality of the guru.

Let creation be your guru

Have a new angle of vision. Behold the entire universe as the form of the guru. See the guiding hand, the awakening voice, the illuminating touch of the guru in every object in this creation. The whole world will stand transformed before your changed vision. The world as guru will reveal all the precious secrets of life to you, and bestow wisdom upon you. The supreme guru, as manifested in visible nature, will teach you the most valuable lessons of life.

Dattatreya, regarded as the guru of gurus, considered nature herself as his guru, and learnt a number of lessons from her twenty-four creatures, and hence he is said to have had twenty-four gurus. The silent, all-enduring earth with its lofty forbearance, the shady fruit-bearing tree with its self-sacrifice, the mighty banyan tree reposing with patience in the tiny seed, the drops of rain whose persistence wears away even rocks, the planets and the seasons with their orderly regularity were all divine gurus to him.

Those who will look and listen will learn. Become a personification of receptivity. Empty yourself of your petty ego. You will progress and attain perfection in an amazingly short time.