Wishing You All Esteemed Members A Very Happy Guru Purnima!
Happy Guru Purnima!
Sunday, the 25th of July 2010 this year happens to coincide with the auspicious festival of Guru Purnima. It is called so as it is celebrated in the honour of one of the greatest Gurus of all times Maharshi Veda Vyas Ji, the worthy son of the great sage Parashara Ji. He was born on an island in the river Yamuna on the full moon day in the month of Ashadh (the first month of the Rainy Season in India) of the Hindu calendar, generally coinciding with the month of July of the Gregorian calendar. Moreover, he is said to have been dark of complexion and hence also called Krishna Dvaipayana [the words `Krishna' meaning black, and `Dwaipayana' meaning born in a `dwipa' (island) respectively]. Maharshi Vyasa, also known as Badarayana, was the author of perhaps the largest epic of the world, the Mahabharata. The world renowned Scripture, Shrimad Bhagvad Gita is a part of this very great epic. Maharshi Vyasa is called Veda Vyasa because it was he who is said to have systematically arranged the wisdom contained in the Vedas in the form of four Vedas namely, Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda. He wrote the 18 Puranas also. He travelled abroad, too, where he impressed one and all by his erudition, and thus came also to be adorned with the epithet of `Jagadguru' (The Universal Guru). His birthday is celebrated with great gaiety, piety and enthusiasm by all the devotees who pay visits to their respective Guru or worship their Guru on this propitious day, though the tradition of GuruShishya dates back to a much older age for we find relevant references as far back as the Satayuga when the King Svetaketu gained wisdom from Uddyalak Ji, Maitreyi from Yajnavalkya Ji, Bhrigu from Varun, Narad from Sanatkumar Ji, Nachiketa from Yamaraja and Indra from Prajapati.
All sants have unanimously sung the glory of their Gurus in most glowing terms and have underscored the indispensability of a Guru for a sincere spiritual seeker. Here are presented some of the verses of some of the eminent sants underlining the greatness of Guru.
-Pravesh K. Singh
1. Sant Kabir:
Wake Up To Realise Your True Identity!
The Original Verse:
The English translation:
[Man keeps wandering in the absence of or without Guru. Not knowing the right way, he keeps on searching for it ||
A shepherd somehow brought or found a cub (young one of a lion), brought it up well to make it a grown up one |
The cub would live and play gleefully with the sheep and goats, remaining oblivious of his real identity ||
One day a lion happened to come that way from the forest, and got very angered at seeing him (play & behave like sheep & goat) |
Catching hold of him, he explained to him the reality, realising the truth the cub began to smile at his folly ||
Just as the fragrance (of musk) lies within the deer, but it keeps wandering outside around the fields in its search |
Drawing his breath up & up (outwardly), he wonders from where the fragrance is emanating ||
Who has fixed or stilled his gaze in the middle of above and below (the Third Eye, the Ajnaa Chakra, or the Tenth Door), indescribable is his contentment, his bliss at seeing the (refulgent) form |
O Noble people! Says Kabir Sahab, he merges back in himself by inverting or reverting (within) ||]
The essence of the above is that the `jiv' (non-liberated individual soul) is like the cub of the God (lion). However, remaining in the company of the sheep and the goats (the ten organs five organs of action and five organs of sense) brought up and controlled by the shepherd (the mind), it has forgotten its true nature or identity. When it happens to meet a lion or a sant (a sant who has attained the kingdom of God himself becomes the God lion in this context) who explains or demonstrates to it its real, it smiles at its folly, its ignorance. A musk-deer is itself the master of the musk (that lies within it) whose fragrance, though, makes it mad as it goes wandering hither & thither looking for the source of the fragrance. Similarly, the ignorant `jiv' keeps loitering here & there in search of Him (God) who always resides within him only. A man, therefore, ought to look within not without for the true, eternal bliss or God that it is seeking. Gazing intently in the centre above the lower half of the Ajnaa Chakra, one can behold the sparkling, refulgent subtle form of the God which renders indescribable joy, contentment & bliss. Thus, Kabir Sahab exhorts us to merge our consciousness in our own true form (which is the same as the God) by learning the right technique to revert inwards.
2. Guru Nanak:
[No yoga (Union with God) without a True Guru|
No Liberation without a True Guru||
No Name of God acquired without seeking a True Guru|
But for a True Guru one plunges into darkest abysses of misery (transmigratory cycles)||
Without a True Guru one falls easy prey to vices such as egotism|
Without a Guru, says Guru Nanak, one dies without having accomplished the highest purpose of life.||]
3. Mahayogi Baba Gorakhnath Ji:
"Sapt dhAtu kA kAyA pyanjarA, tA mAnhi jugati bin sUvA|
Satguru milai to ubarai bAbU, nanhi to parlai hUvA ||01||"
The English Translation:
This body of ours is a cage made up of seven elements. In it is the individual (un-liberated) soul held captive, or encaged, like a parrot inside a cage, because it is ignorant of the skill or the art of getting liberated (from this cage). If it (the soul) is fortunate enough to find a true Guru, it can (by learning & practicing the right way) be emancipated, or else its salvation or deliverance is impossible and it is sure to undergo extreme suffering. ||2||
[ The Flight to Freedom
(The Story of the Parrot and the Sage)
Once upon a time there lived a hermit. He made his livelihood on alms. Everyday he would go to a limited number of houses and say aloud, "Ram Ram Karai, Bhavasagar Tarai" (One who keeps on reciting the name of Lord, swims across the ocean of existence, i.e. transcends the cycle of birth & death). He subsisted solely on whatever he received from these few houses. One day as he was asking for alms at a house, an encaged parrot, at the door of the house, who had been listening to his repeated chanting, "Ram Ram Karai BhavAsagar Tarai", got annoyed and intervened, "Baba! Why are you preaching a falsity?" "Why? What makes you say so, my dear?" asked the recluse. The parrot explained, "What you say might be true in theory, but it is not true practically. You might have learnt this theory from some books, or must have heard from other sages, and keep on repeating the same thing without having examined its truth; I know the reality. You see, my master has taught me to chant "Ram, Ram", and I have been doing this everyday for several years. I needn't say, I am here enslaved in this cage; whereas, ironically, my friends never say "Ram, Ram" and yet keep flying freely in the sky, enjoying total freedom. Now what would you say of that?" The Sadhu who had been listening patiently to the parrot said calmly, "My dear son! It is true that you keep reciting "Ram, Ram" regularly, but, in fact, you do not know the right way, the real art to do so. This is why, you have been held captive in this cage". The parrot began to find interest in the talks of the sage.
It requested, with the sparkle of hope in its eyes, the sage to teach him the right method. The recluse explained the method and asked it to practice secretly and not to reveal to the master until it had mastered the art. The parrot did like wise; he had been taught to practice "pranayam" (exercise of holding or controlling the breath). Slowly, he became adept enough to hold his breath for several minutes altogether. So, one day when he saw the master coming to him for regular feeding, he lay quietly in the cage holding his breath. When the master came to the cage and opened the door to feed it, he found the parrot lying totally still. He shook it, thinking it might have gone to sleep. But when the parrot showed no response, no signs of movement, the master took him out of the cage, assuming it to be dead, and threw it outside his house. "Zooooooooom!" the parrot flew away high into the sky thanking the Sadhu for teaching the right way.]
1. sIkh => lesson, teaching, exhortation
2. guni => contemplating
3. gAnThi bAndhau => remember firmly, keep in mind
4. ThAT => preparation, enthusiasm, zeal
5. ThaT => group, gathering
6. ThAT ThaT => collecting a large zealous gathering
7. apang => lame, handicapped
8. jab rang sang apang AlirI, ang sat mat man marai => When the mind comes under the strong influence of satsang, it becomes relatively calmer/ less agitated, it becomes more & more virtuous, and stops indulging in frequently fleeting thoughts.
9. Man mIn dil jab dIn dekhai, chInh madhukar sir dharai => The mind becomes fish-mind (can swim counter to the current) when it frees itself of (or, kills) the ego. Then such a black-bee (beetle) mind makes its seat in the Shiv Netra (Third Eye) within the head. Descending from the head (Third Eye) the mind becomes bogged down in senses and sensory objects. When the mind jettisons the ego and turns itself towards the head, it becomes calm & composed.
10. dal => group, team
11. thob => lending support by holding
12. Thumuki => walking skilfully
13. tham => halting
14. thirai => beomes stationary
15. palak giri => closing eyelids
16. gail => lane, narrow path
17. vishadhar => serpent, mind
The Essence of the Poem:
5. Sant Radhaswami Sahab:
"Guru Bhakti driDha kai karo, pIchhe aura upAya||
mote bandhan jagat ke, Guru bhakti se kATa |
jhine bandhan chitta ke, katein nAma paratApa ||
mote jab lagi jAyein nahin, jhIne kaise jAyen |
tAte sabko chAhiye, nita Guru bhakti kamAya ||"
The English Translation:
"Consider all other means secondary to the resolute devotion to the Guru. ||
Grosser worldly bondages are broken through Guru bhakti. |
While the finer traps or bindings are shattered through Meditation on inner sound current. ||
Unless the grosser shackles are got rid of, how would the subtlest of fetters would fall apart? |
Hence, everyone should first inculcate staunch devotion to Guru. ||"
6. Sant Baba Devi Sahab:
"Hamaaraa Maalik sabake maanhi.
Sabame hai aur sabate nyaaraa, aisaa adbhut saain.
Jo guru mile to bhed bataawe,bin guru daras na paaee.
Sabate badaa chhot sabahee te, ghat-ghat rahaa samaaee.
Jaa ghat me pargat hoy darase, taakee bali-bali jaahee.
Roop rang aakaar na jaake, ved netikar gaaee.
`Devi' kas-kas waahi bakhaane, kahan sunan me naahee."
The English Translation:
[Our Lord resides in all (of us).
He, our Lord, is so wonderful that though He pervades everything, (yet) He is separate from and transcends everything.
It is not possible to see Him (in His true form) without meeting, and learning the secrets from, (accomplished) Guru.
He is blessed and adorable within whose body He reveals Himself (i.e. who can see His true form within himself).
He is without form, colour and shape, (so that) Vedas sing "neti neti" (meaning, `nothing in this creation is like, or resembles Him') in His praise.
Baba Devi Sahab wonders as to how and in how many ways he should describe Him, as He (God) is indescribable, beyond the faculties of speaking & listening.]
7. Maharshi Mehi Paramhans Ji:
The English Translation:
The Satguru or the Perfect Preceptor is the ocean of bliss, treasure (reservoir) of benevolent qualities (dispositions) and the illuminator of knowledge.
He is a traveller on the inner path, absolutely desireless and fully aware of what goes on in we mortals' minds.
He is a Yogi who has transcended the three attributes namely, `satogun' (righteousness), `rajogun' (aptitude for materialistic pursuits) and `tamogun' (ignorance, lethargy etc.), who relishes God's taste (i.e. is well-versed in the skill of perceiving the divine illumination and quintessential sound), free from all worries & anxieties.
Being of stable intellect & perfect ascetic disposition, he meditates on the inner heavenly sound.
Maharshi Menhi Paramhans ji Maharaj pronounces that that supernatural quintessential sound is eternal, imperishable essence of the whole creation, and is quite distinct from all other sounds. The perfect preceptor has perceived and got hold of that very sound through his individual soul.
Listen, O Fellow Beings of the World! This world is perishable; everything here is bound to be destroyed. ||1||
O Brother! Illusory is this world like a castle of smoke.| Know it to be false and deceptive. ||2||
All wise people have called it to be transitory, ephemeral.| Yet you keep clinging to it believing it to be real. ||3||
All worldly pleasures are like a mirage| And you, like a deer, greedily run after them. ||4||
It's why you suffer the pains of birth & death. | Who else, other than the Guru, can be your saviour? ||5||
No one in this inn, that is this world, is your own.| Not even your son, father, mother, wife... ||6||
Or your brethren, friends, relatives, other family members etc.| Rulers and the ruled alike are extensions or modifications of the very same illusion.||7||
Residents of even the seven heavens, and | All supernatural gods also are steeped in sensual enjoyments. ||8||
No one is here to stay for ever; all are travellers.| He (God) alone is Truth, full of peace, and eternal. ||9||
Know God to be the epitome of peace. |Sants call Him Beyond-Word or Soundless. ||10||
Only He is beyond all that is destructible as well as non-destructible.| He loves all the creatures and Himself is clear of all that is with or without attributes.||11||
He is Invisible, Unintelligible, Nameless.| Indestructible, Past Everything, and Repertoire of Bliss.||12||
He is beyond the Mind, is the Master of all the attributes.| He who doubts (the veracity of all that has been said above of God), suffers the excruciating cycles of transmigration.||13||
Brothers! He alone is your benevolent Lord in the true sense.| Saving you wherever you go, all the time.||14||
Worship Him devotedly.| By Learning the right way of doing so from a True Guru.||15||
"There is no difference whatsoever between the God and a True Guru."| Seek the shelter of your Guru with such firm faith in your mind. ||16||
Serve Guru, worship Guru.| Let not any absurd, irrational ideas or thoughts find room in your mind.||17||
Live detachedly in the world.| Keep your sense organs, the source of our sufferings, under restraint.||18||
Forsake lust, anger, egoism, infatuation.| Abandoning greed; worship your Guru whole-heartedly.||19||
Craft, crookedness and arrogance of mind| Attachment, jealousy etc. are among several types of vices.||20||
Relinquish these (bad habits) progressively if you seek your true welfare.| Bear the words of Guru resolutely in your mind and let yourself not be governed by your mind.||21||
Adultery, lying, taking to intoxicants, violence| And stealing are the five gravest of sins.||22||
Abandon these as they are harmful to you.| These are potent traps ensnaring you (in the chains of transmigration).||23||
Wine, Indian hemp, bhang (another type of narcotic), opium| Toddy, cocaine etc. etc.||24||
All these intoxicants along with tobacco| are worthy of outright rejection; quit all these for good.||25||
Shun eating meat, fish & other non-vegetarian food.| Adopt virtuous dietary habits.||26||
First take care of your eating habits.| Then gradually kill all other vices.||27||
Attend satsang daily-| Both internally as well externally.||28||
Rendering & listening to religious talks/ literature is external satsang.| Unbroken dhyAn (getting hooked on to the Quintessential Word) is the internal satsang.||29||
Close your eyes and practise dhyAn.| By sitting in a firm & alert but easy (relaxed) posture.||30||
Chant internally the holy name of the Guru. | Then mentally visualise his form.||31||
These two acts help accomplish some progress in dhyAn.| Then do further dhyAn using the power of drishTi (sight/ vision). ||32||
Get hold of the point in Sushumna with your drishTi.| And detach your consciousness (or soul) from the gross creation. ||33||
Stilling your gaze at the point within, listen to the numerous sounds... | Of large variety that keep ringing within repeatedly. ||34||
The soul ascends higher tuning into different sounds.| And, thus, pierces the painful internal veils. ||35||
Leaving the huge expanses of darkness behind...| Move into the domain of light. ||36||
Holding on to the sounds, cross even the sphere of light. | The soul gets contented by listening to the divine sounds. ||37||
The Name of Ram, the True Sound/Name,| The Quintessential Word etc are the many names sants use to describe that word/ sound. ||38||
That sound (Quintessential Primeval Word) is attribute-less, purely conscious. | O Soul, grasp this sound to move ahead of (all other) non-conscious sounds. ||39||
Even this sound subsequently merges into soundlessness. | The State or Domain which lies beyond this attribute-less conscious zone. ||40||
When the realm of (primordial) sound is left behind. | The soul merges into the Soundless, Nameless state. ||41||
This very Soundless State is called God. | Attain to this very epitome of calmness, of absolute tranquillity. ||42||
Those who have attained to this state are called sants. | They have transcended the cycle of transmigration while still alive; they move out then to awaken the world. ||43||
O brother, the secrets of Santmat | Are sung and explained by such sants. ||44||
He who has understood the above principle well must practise dhyAn...| And live a virtuous life in this world. ||45||
He ought to progress constantly on the path of detachment.| Loving satsang intensely. ||46||
He who teaches you this golden wisdom | And thus rids you of all doubts & confusions. ||47||
Make him your Guru, lovingly & reverently. | Adore him & serve him like a sant. ||48||
Never harbour deceit against your Guru.| Sip the elixir of his pure love. ||49||
Talk politely, respectfully to Him. |For egoism destroys everything. ||50||
Never, therefore, be egoistic towards him (the Guru). | Otherwise, you would be left high & dry in the trap of this world. ||51||
8. Sant Sahajo Bai
"Ram tajoon pai guru na visaaroon |
Guru ke sam hari ko na nihaaroon ||
Hari ne janm diyo jag maanhee |
Guru ne aawaagaman chhudaaheen ||
Hari ne paanch chor diye saathaa |
Guru ne laee chhudaay anaathaa ||
Hari ne kutumb jaal mein geree |
Guru ne kaatee mamataa bedee ||
Hari ne rog bhog urajhaayau |
Guru jogee kar sabai chhutaayau ||
Hari ne karm bharm bharamaayau |
Guru ne aatam roop lakhaayau ||
Hari ne mo soon aap chhipaayau |
Guru deepak de taahi dikhaayau ||
Fir hari bandh-mukti gati laaye |
Guru ne sabahee bharm mitaaye ||
Charandas par tan man waaroon |
Guru na tajoon hari ko taji daaroon ||"
The English Translation:
I may abandon Ram (God), but I can never forget my Guru |
I do not see God with the same sense of gratitude as I do my Guru ||
God sent me into this world |
But Guru rid me of the vicious cycle of birth & death or transmigration ||
God sent five thieves (the five sensory organs namely eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin which keep on stealing (the pleasures in) objects of senses viz. form, sound, smell, taste and touch) to accompany me |
Guru rescued me, the helpless, from the captivity of these (thieves) ||
God ensnared me in the trap of kiths & kins |
Guru, on the other hand, freed me by snapping the shackles of attachments ||
God entangled me in various diseases (bodily as well as mental) and enduring the fruits of fate or deeds performed in earlier births |
While Guru liberated me from all these afflictions by making me a yogi i.e. by making me perform "Yoga-Sadhana" (`Drishti Yoga' and Shabda Yoga') ||
God misled me into the illusory web of doing (good as well as bad deeds) |
But Guru made me see, taking me beyond these, my true Self ||
God hid or concealed Himself from me (though He is in me, I couldn't see Him) |
Whereas Guru, lending me the lamp of inner eye/ vision, enabled me see Him ||
God brought me repeatedly in the fetters of the body and the four kinds of `mukti' (liberation which is not genuine) namely, `saalokya', `saameepya', `saaroopya' and `saayujya' |
But Guru, imparting the experiential knowledge of `kaivalya mukti' (access into the sphere of pure consciousness i.e. primeval word), ended all my wanderings & delusions ||
I (Sahajo Bai) offer myself whole-heartedly, with all my physical and mental resources, in sacrifice at the lotus feet of (my Guru) Charandas ji |
I may renounce God, but can never ever forsake my Guru ||
Sahajobai was a devout girl hailing from Rajputana of the state of Rajasthan, India. She had accepted the disciplehood of Sant Charandas ji Mahaaraj. The story of how she got converted to the path of devotion is quite interesting and inspiring. Her marriage ceremony had just been over. Preparations were afoot to send her off to her in-laws' house. Her hair was being done. She was being meticulously dressed & decorated. Her friends were busy doing her make-up. It was then only, shall we say by the quirk of the fate that Charandaas jee appeared on the scene. Looking at Sahajo Bai whose make-up was in progress, he remarked,
"Chalanaa hai rahanaa naheen, chalanaa wishwaabees,
Sahajo tanik suhaag par, kahaan guthaavai sheesh."
[O Sahajo! This world is not your permanent abode. We would have to leave, it is dead sure, this world. Would you trade your head for such a fickle & ephemeral conjugal bliss?]
No sooner than these words had been uttered, she put off all items of make-up & decoration, and gave up the very idea of going to her in-laws' place. Instead, she got herself married to a life of meditation and grew up, in due course of time, into a great devotee and sant herself. She could attain the Ultimate Perfection (Self-Realisation) by meticulously & rigorously obeying the instructions of her Guru, and thus, she had gratefully experienced his infinitely grace. It is with this deep sense of gratitude in her mind that she has expressed her heartfelt emotions towards her Guru in the above verse.
Such miraculous transformations are the results of highly elevated sanskaras! We, too, can purify our sanskaras by making efforts in the right direction. Sanskaras do not befall us, or come to us, as it were, overnight or readymade. They are formed, processed and purified over a number of cycles of births; lives of only such persons, who have made such endeavours in their past lives, get so easily and instantly metamorphosed with a slight rub of the matchstick, in the form of attending Satsang, or coming into the blissful company of saints.
We all, therefore, should regularly attend Satsang. It is an extremely noble thing to do. Let us listen intently, with rapt attention, to the lectures of sants; it would do a lot of good to us. However, we must not stop merely at listening. We should also ponder over, think over, and reflect over what we have listened to acquire `manan jnaan'. Then, we should try to translate the knowledge so acquired into practice (i.e. `nididhyaasan') which, if done perseveringly, would mature into `anubhav jnaan'or practical experience. This way, we would do the greatest good to us.
9. Sant Bulla Sahab:
"Bali haun bali haun sataguru kee || tek ||
Jin dhyaan diyo paramesur ko |
Trikuti sangam jin raah niberee ||1||
Prem bilaas aakaas mein baas hai |
Aawaagaman rahit bhau feree ||2||
Anahad baaje jhanakaar kee baanee |
Bin saraban tanh sunat hai teree ||3||
Bulla hirade bichaari bolai |
Brahma jnaan kee baat suno meree ||4||"
The English Translation:
- I would like to attract your attention to, and apologise for, three major errors in the above post (though there might be several small errors), as the post was prepared in haste.1. There is a line missing in the verse of Guru Nanak. The fourth line, that was omitted is produced in green underlined italics (The English Translation, though, is OK):