Free Press Journal

Why having a guru makes a massive difference


Gurur-Brahmaa Gurur-Vissnnur-Gururdevo Maheshvarah |
Gurure va Param Brahma Tasmai Shrii-Gurave Namah ||1||

The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, the Guru Deva is Maheswara (Shiva),
The Guru is Verily the Para-Brahman (Supreme Brahman);

Salutations to that Guru.

Akhanndda-Mannddala-Akaaram Vyaaptam Yena Cara-Acaram |
Tat-Padam Darshitam Yena Tasmai Shrii-Gurave Namah ||2||

Whose Form is an Indivisible Whole of Presence, and By Whom is Pervaded the Moving and the Non-Moving Beings,
By Whom is Revealed (out of Grace) That Feet (of Indivisible Presence);

Salutations to that Guru.

So goes an ancient invocation to the Master and Guru.

Aeons ago an aspiring student intending to learn the crafts of Karate and Kendo was in search of a proficient Master. His search led him to the gates of a cognoscente in the field. The teacher who was also a Zen Master welcomed the stripling youngster into his academy and initiated the process of imparting techniques in self defence and attack. A few days later, rather abruptly the young postulant bowed before the Master and enquired as to how long would it take for him to master the craft.

The Zen Master peered deep into his eyes and replied impassively that it would take ten years. The tutee became querulous. He mind was dissatisfied hearing such a reply. Summoning all the courage at his disposal he went ahead and demanded, “Respected Master, I intend to sovereign the craft much faster than that, and I assure you that every sinew will be stretched. I would practice in an unyielding manner. In such a scenario what be the duration to hone my skills?” The Master whispered gloomily, “Twenty years.” This left the novice devastated.

Only an authentic Guru can impart esoteric knowledge that is truly inspirational. A teacher imparts information. A highly qualified pandit or an instructor can perhaps provide knowledge. But a Guru dispels all dark clouds and Mephistophelian thoughts from the mind to transmit wisdom, cultivating endurance and imperturbability in the seeker’s mind.

Wisdom transcends boundaries and nationalities and is not limited or confined to the chambers of a few minds. Wisdom metamorphoses and transfigures minds to produce revolutionary thought processes. It is a quite a simple mathematical equation. Wisdom > Information+Knowledge. A Guru is that catalyst of change that ignites minds to think originally and laterally. As Victor Hugo puts it, “One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas. One cannot resist an idea whose time has come.”

Once upon a time, lived an estimable Zen Master who was the temporal head of a Temple of Knowledge. His candour and chucklesome nature drew several postulants and tutees. Further the sagacious Zen Master was known for his Teflon coated personality. Nothing could besmirch his reputation. This was envied by his colleagues and some senior monks too. These venerable gentlemen complotted to besmirch his reputation.

A few days later several enraged young tutees and neighbours accused him in a furious manner of having fathered the child of an unwed teenager. The Zen Master looked at the skies and merely said, “Is that so?” The tittle-tattle surrounding this accusation ran amok and the Master lost his reputability. A few months later a child was born and was brought to the Master, who was by now was dethroned from his exalted position at the Temple of Knowledge. He gracefully accepted the child and the mother in his dwelling place.

“What a barefaced person he is.” was the common refrain. The former Zen Master, merely uttered, “Is that so?” However, a year later the teenage mother struggling with a deep sense of iniquity and remorse, determined not to be a pawn in the game. With rare conviction she admitted that the Zen Master as indeed not the father of the child. With this revelation coming from the teenager herself, all the conspirators admitted to their crime and begged for forgiveness from the monk.

“Is that so?” remarked the monk yet again. The monk, despite all misadventures and adversity during this chequered period displayed astonishing patience and his mind was robust to combat all situations. A Guru is fortified with vast repository of knowledge and does not get easily ruffled, the mind being brimful of forbearance and stoicism.

Lord Krishna truly embodies and exemplifies all the traits of an authentic Guru. Before the commencement of the catastrophic Mahabahrata war, he approached Karna to join the Pandava army being the eldest of the Pandava brothers.

Karna, though known for his philanthropy and valour, nursed deep animosity, and was perennially simmering with jealousy and anger. That he could never learn archery from Dronacharya and that whatever he had acquired at the feet of Parusurama was consigned to the flames were constant thorns in his side.

The master archer was spurned by Draupadi as he was a pariah, being the son of a charioteer. His lifeboat in those onerous situations had been Duryodhana. Therefore, he was reluctant to desert him. Lord Krishna dissuaded Karna from this hubristic choice, citing his own example, that he could never marry the woman who pined for him, that he had to transfer his capital and bolted along with the populace from Mathura to Dwaraka and was termed pusillanimous.

Further he added, he too had been separated from his parents at childbirth and could join Rishi Sandipani’s Gurukul only at the age of sixteen. Therefore Krishna’s childhood was not all hunky dory. But without doubt, his entire voyage in life was to uphold the quintessential truth – Dharma.

A truly inspirational Guru spreads waves of physical, mental and spiritual happiness by purging ego, antipathetic thoughts, erasing past impressions, diminishing desires and wants. The benediction of a Guru surely inculcates the spirit of sacrifice, the power of discrimination and patience. A Guru is the one guiding us in all knotty and recondite situations through life. So it has been rightly said that a Guru or Master is the lighthouse in our lives.