Monday, April 30, 2012

Importance and Role of a Guru

The Vedic scriptures have clearly established that the only way to attain God is through bhakti, devotion.  Although, all the descensions of God are equal in terms of Their power and Divine bliss, the highest level of love is revealed in the loving pastimes of  Shree Krishna.  A soul can love God through different sentiments.  We can love God by considering Him as our Master, and ourselves as His servants.  This type of devotion is called Daasya bhav.  Similarly, we can love Him as our friend, son or our Beloved.
The highest form of devotion is considering God as our Beloved, and loving Him without any material desires.  The only aim should be to make Him happy.  This form of worship is called Madhurya bhav, or devotion in the conjugal sentiment.  We can receive this Divine love of Madhurya bhav by the grace of our guru, after purification of our heart by Sadhana, devotion. Hence, it is extremely essential for all spiritual aspirants to gain knowledge of the supreme form of love and about the grace of a guru
Guru tattva is knowledge about God-realized Saints.  We will aim to learn what is revealed about guru tattva in the Vedas and these are not my personal views.  Hence, you must listen with great sincerity and devotion, because the Vedas are the authentic word of God, and revered by all.  The Vedas are eternal and flawless.
There are three types of personalities:
1. Soul or a human being - purush.
2. A God-realized personality or Saint - Mahatma or Mahapurush.
3. The Supreme soul, God -  Paramatma or Parampurush.
Of the three personalities, God is beyond maya, since it is His own power, and He rules over it.
māyāṁ tu prakṛitiṁ vidyānmāyinaṁ tu maheśhvaraṁ
God says, "This material energy, Maya, is one of My powers, and it is subordinate to Me".  Maya in its original form is lifeless and has no power.  Maya gets its energy and power from God, and we souls have been under the control of maya since eternity.
Who is a Mahapurush?  When a soul attains God, its personality changes from a purush to a Maharapurush.  That soul is no longer under the influence of maya, nor does the soul rule over maya.  He is now beyond the reach of maya.  Such a personality is called a God-realized Saint, a Mahapurush or a Mahatma. There are many names used to describe such personalities.
Continue reading the translation of lecture  delivered by Shree Maharajji

A soul under the influence of maya cannot know anything about God because the mind and the intellect are under the control of maya, and God is beyond maya.  At present, even if God were to come and stand before us, since our vision is material, we would not be able to receive His Divine love.  We have seen God many times during the descension, avatar of Lord Ram and Shree Krishna.  But due to the influence of maya, we perceived Him in a material form.  We were not  able to perceive the Divinity in Him due to material influence. The Katopanishad says,
uttiṣhṭhata jāgrata prāpyavarānnibodhata
O souls sleeping in Maya! Arise and awake. Seek the lotus feet of a Mahapurush.  Note that the Vedas have not said, "Arise and seek God".  We have to realize that we cannot reach God with our material possessions since God is Divine and we are under material influence.
But a God-realized personality can help you reach God.  He may have been like one of us some time back.  But now, he has reached God.  Go to him, and he will impart all the scriptural knowledge.  He will teach you who is God?  How does God look? How to reach Him?  He will explain all the required knowledge.  Only a guru can make a soul a God-realized one.  Not everybody can read the Vedas and understand them, because: vedā brahmātmaviṣhayāḥ
"The Vedas are divine like God".  Just as no one can know God directly, nobody can attempt to read the Vedas and aim to understand them.  Even the very learned celestial gods, Sarasvati and Bruhaspati get confused while listening to the Vedas and are not able to conclude anything.  Even the creator of this universe, Lord Brahma, could not understand the Vedas.  It was God who graced Lord Brahma, after which he could understand the essence of the Vedas.  He then passed on this sacred knowledge to his descendants.
The Vedas contain contradictory statements which cannot be reconciled by the human intellect. The literal meaning is different from the actual meaning.
anantapāraṁ gaṁbhīraṁ durvigrāhyaṁ samudravat
Even the Ramayan written in this age, Kaliyug has conditions attached to it.
je śhraddhasambal rahit, nahiṁ santan ko sāth |
tinha kahaṁ mānas agam ati, jinahiṁ na priya raghunāth |
1. You need to have faith and strong belief in God.
2. You need to have a God-realized Saint to teach.
3. You must have love for God (Lord Ram).
When you fulfil these three conditions, only then can you understand the Ramayan. Similarly, even the Bhagvad Gita has certain conditions to be fulfilled before you read them. 
There are many contradicting statements in the Vedas, that even the most learned of scholars cannot comprehend or reconcile.  Only a God-realized Saint can understand them, and reveal the secrets behind them.  
parīkṣhya lokān karmachitān
brahmaṇo nirvedamāyānnāstyakṛitaḥ kṛitena
tadvijñānārthaṁ sa gurumevābhigachchhet
samitpāṇiḥ śhrotriyaṁ brahmaniṣhṭham
Hence, it is clearly mentioned in the Vedas that one must surrender to a God-realized Saint to acquire knowledge of Vedas and other holy scriptures, instead of attempting to read them by oneself. The Chandogyopanishad states:
āchāryavān puruṣho hi veda
"Only that person can understand the importance of the Vedas who surrenders and takes guidance from a Guru."  This is the statement of the Vedas.  The Bhagavad Geeta states:
tadviddhi praṇipātena paripraśhnena sevayā (Bhagavad Geeta 4.34)
Shree Krishna says to Arjun: "Surrender yourself to a Guru and serve him faithfully.  Learn the secrets of devotion from him by asking him spiritual questions with a curious mind."  Questions such as: Who is God?  What is a soul?  What is Maya?  What is the mind?  What is the intellect?  Why are we under Maya?  What is the goal of our life? How we will attain God?  What should we do to attain God?
upadekṣhyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninastattvadarśhinaḥ
"It is only through the grace of a Guru that we can attain Divine knowledge.  This is because he has practically realized God and also possesses theoretical knowledge of the scriptures."
This bhakti, or devotion, is received by the grace of Saints:
milaī jo sant hohiṁ anukoolā  (Ramayan)
Without theoretical knowledge, God realization is out of question.  In the material world, we are not able to learn anything by our own effort.  In the spiritual realm too, it is impossible.  When we want to learn a subject, we go to a person who has knowledge of that subject.  Why are so many schools and colleges open throughout the world?  As per the choice of our subject, we enroll in an institution.  Even then, we do not receive complete knowledge of that subject.  It is well known that even the biggest and most famous advocates of law refer to books.  How can an advocate remember every aspect of every law?  This is impossible.  No advocate of any country can remember all aspects of that country's law.  So, the need for a Guru or a teacher or a Mahapurush.  This is necessary not only for practical knowledge, but for theoretical knowledge as well.  That is why the Vedas say: "Consider Mahapurush and God as one.
yasya deve parābhaktihi yathā deve tathā gurau (Shwetashwataropanishad)
One has to do devotion and worship the Guru as good as God.  Why? Because Guru and God are one, they are the same.  If somebody gives you a hundred rupee note or puts it in an envelope and places it in your hand, it is the same thing. Both have same value.  Similarly, after God-realization, God Himself is seated inside the Mahapurush and governs his activities.  Thus, God performs every action of a Mahapurush and that is why God and a Mahapurush are considered one.  After God-realization, the duty of a Mahapurush gets over as he has attained his goal of Divine Bliss.
But one can may say that it is written in the Vedas that, after God-realization Dhruv, Prahalad, Ambarish, etc. ruled for crores of years.  Arjun, Hanuman fought a war and killed thousands of people. So, how is this possible? The answer to this is that, in reality, Hanuman's mind was constantly experiencing the Bliss of God, and the doer of those actions was God Himself.
God Shree Krishna Himself says:
āchāryaṁ mā vijāniyānnāvamanyeta karhichit  (Bhagavatam)
This means, "Do not consider Guru as separate from me.  I am seated in the Guru's body and perform all the actions".  It is as if a ghost has entered into one's body.  Till the time the ghost remains inside the body, all the work is performed by that ghost.  And when that ghost comes out of the human body, the individual becomes normal.  In the same way, a Mahapurush is captured by a Divine ghost, God.  So, the sayings of a Mahapurush are considered as the words of God, and they are devoid from all the faults and doubts. That is why all the scriptures like Ramayana, which are written by Mahapurushas, are 
considered as the words of God, and are trusted by us.
The definition of a true Saint is that he or she should be shrotriya as well as brahmanishth.  Shotriya means, one who has full and thorough knowledge of the scriptures; and Brahmanishtha means one who has practical experience of God.  
So, after God-realization, a Mahapurush gets a serious disease of working for the welfare of humankind.  After this, the cause of all his actions is primarily for the welfare of humankind.  He writes various books, delivers discourses for the welfare of humankind, performs different types of actions, and tolerates various kinds of criticism and humiliation, only in the hope that one day, in some way or the other, individual souls will attain Divine Bliss and get rid of all the miseries of the world.  Now, here arises a question.  Why did a Mahapurush get this serious disease?  Why not God?  Because before God-realization, the Mahapurush was like one of us, an individual soul who experienced miseries and unhappiness in this material world.  Hence, he very well understands the condition of souls under Maya.  That is why he feels pity on us.  So, Saints are constantly concerned and care for the betterment of humankind.
par upakār vachan man kāyā,  sant sahaj svabhāv khagarāyā. (Ramayan)
History bears evidence how Saints descended in this world and tolerated all sorts of sorrows just for the sake of welfare of humankind.  The Saint cannot desire anything for himself as he has become complete and attained the Divine Bliss of God.  Therefore, all his actions are for the benefit of individual souls.  That is why Ved Vyas says:
nāsti tattvaṁ guroḥ paraṁ
"There is no entity higher than the Guru."  Also, the Guru has a higher and more important position with respect to the fulfillment of our self interest.  It is the Guru who will reveal to us the Divine knowledge of God.  Without having correct understanding of the philosophy, an individual soul cannot move forward in the spiritual path.  
Only a Guru will teach us how to do spiritual practice and guide us in the path of God-realization by removing all the doubts that arise in our minds, so that we progress speedily in our path.
Even highly learned scholars cannot fully understand the Vedas and Shastras because they contain contradictory statements that cannot be reconciled by the human intellect.  The literal meaning is different from the actual meaning.  Without a practical Saint, even the creator of this universe, Lord Brahma, cannot understand the Vedas.  That is why a Guru is necessary and is respected in the same position as God.


  1. This blog explains the knowledge of Guru tattva revealed in Vedas, types of bhav, and influence of material energy, Maya. It explains that the Guru must be considered like the God Himself, because He bestows the spiritual knowledge upon his devotees. If one wishes to make progress in the realm of spirituality, one must seek guidance under the Guru. The Blog clearly states that only a guru can impart the actual meaning of the Vedas and reveal the knowledge of the other scriptures. It is the Guru who reveals the Divine knowledge of God. Only a Guru will teach us how to do spiritual practice and guide us in the path of God-realization.

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  2. Yet another enlightening post. i appreciate and thank you for the efforts and insights. i am convinced, however, that these Meditation methods are truly a soul-asylum in this age of confusion and hypocrisy.