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Guiding Light: Guru Kripa Hi Kevalam

Dr. S. Ainavolu | Updated on: Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 07:14 AM IST

Vishwamitra teaching Shri Rama and Shri Krishna | Photo: Dr. Ashish Ambasta/LinkedIn
Vishwamitra teaching Shri Rama and Shri Krishna | Photo: Dr. Ashish Ambasta/LinkedIn
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The word “Gu+Ru” etymologically means “dispeller of darkness”. Here the darkness is internal and it is the absence of “feeling the light”. What stops the light from being felt that is already "here and now”? Maya is what is preventing the realisation of light. Realisation is attaining ONENESS and seeing THAT everywhere. When Guru lights the lamp, it is illuminated. Guru dispels the tamasic heaviness, rajasic over-action, and sattvic pride. It is Gurukrupa, the grace of Guru that helps the Shishya in realising the truth and becoming one with Guru.

The role of the Guru in one’s development is known in Vedic times and practiced during the Puranic ages. References of Sages Vashishta, Vishwamitra teaching Shri Rama, Shri Krishna attending Sandeepani Gurukul are well known. In ancient times, the traditional knowledge was passed on to the next generations as “shruti” and “smriti”, meaning heard and remembered respectively. The reason why there were no written texts is simple. Intonation is very important as multiple nuances are possible for the same set of syllables. Face-to-face learning with coordinated eye-hand-tongue practice was the way. Based on stressing a part/portion, meanings can be different. The movement of the hand that we observe in Vedic reciting communicates the pace and emphasis. Given the dense set of possibilities, learning had to be “Guru mukhota”, in the presence of the Guru. When Gurukrupa flows, the Shishya becomes complete.

Traditional literature mentions the importance of the Guru. The avatars of Dattatreya are worshipped as Gurus. Lord Shiva is treated as Guru. We have “Shivaya Gurave Namaha'' as the approved mantra for the uninitiated. Guru had traveled the seeker’s path earlier and mastered it. Hence, he can guide Shishya. Guru brings the Shishya to his level, eventually making him a Guru. Guru plays the role of a mentor and is greater than a father in one’s life. We have a “Snataka” (Convocation) ceremony in the traditional marriage process. Here, Guru talks of the good qualities of his Shishya, so that the girl's father is inspired to do Kanyadan. Guru shapes the Shishya sets the life path for him and becomes a part of the Shishya. Gurukrupa makes the Shishya become the Guru. And, the tradition continues.

(Dr. S. Ainavolu is a Professor at VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. Find the full article at: https://www.ainavolu.in/gurukrupa-hi-kevalam)

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Published on: Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 07:14 AM IST