7. Have faith in Guru

‘Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava’ are the preachings handed down to us but unfortunately in the modern world leave alone treating the trio as Gods, they are looked down upon. The younger generation fight with the mother, argue with the father and look down upon the teacher.

I am grieved to hear even from L.K.G. students ‘My teacher doesn’t know anything’. She can’t teach properly.’ If at all they admire the teacher, they admire her for her powers. Quite often we see kindergarten children imitating their teacher, mind you not her teaching, but her beating !

The students in such an environment learn for the sake of learning but not with any faith in the teachers. In some lessons there are some gun shot questions. We tell our students ‘this question is important’ while teaching the lesson, we remind them ‘this question is asked many times in the public exam’ when we dictate notes. We make them put two stars there when we revise that lesson! But what’s the use ? 99% of students don’t get the maximum marks for that question. Why ? The answer is very simple - ‘They don’t take it seriously. They don’t bother to learn that particular question.’ My slogan is -We teach the lesson, we set the paper, we tell you that it is a gun shot question in the public exam. What does it mean ? It is more a gun shot question in the internal exam’. But that surrender that Arjuna felt for Krishna is missing.

prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me
sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam Bhagavadgita 2-7

karpanya—of miserliness; dosa—by the weakness; upahata—being afflicted; sva-bhavah—characteristics; prcchami—I am asking; tvam—unto You; dharma—religion; sammudha—bewildered; cetah—in heart; yat—what; sreyah—all-good; syat—may be; niscitam—confidently; bruhi—tell; tat—that; me—unto me; sisyah—disciple; te—Your; aham—I am; sadhi—just instruct; mam—me; tvam—unto You; prapannam—surrendered.

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

‘Oh Krishna ! I am overcome by a sense of helplessness and sin, my mind is perplexed regarding my duty. I ask you - tell me that which is definitely good for me. I am your disciple; teach me who have taken refuge in you’.

Arjuna was Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s dear friend. Spiritually speaking, they might have been on different levels ; but in practical life their relationship was that of equality. But Arjuna was in a state of mind where a suggestion or advice would not help. What he needed was a true Guide and Teacher, who would command him to follow a certain path. Arjuna chose the correct guru, Krishna and chose the correct path - the path of surrender. He said ‘Lord, I am not only your disciple, but I have also taken refuge in you’. The root of the word ‘ Prapanna’ means surrender of the self to God, realizing him to be the repository of all power and the highest being. In the first chapter Arjuna gave a lecture and Krishna was silent, Arjuna, being a great man, realized that lectures wouldn’t help so he surrendered to Krishna. The humbler the sishya is, the greater the attachment the guru shows. If Arjuna had not surrendered Krishna would not have given the Gita.

Krishna, like a good doctor gave him the correct medicine and asked at the end, ‘were you cured of your agnana Arjuna ? ‘Arjuna answered

arjuna uvaca
nasto mohah smrtir labdha
tvat-prasadan mayacyuta
sthito ‘mi gata-sandehah
karisye vacanam tava

arjunah uvaca—Arjuna said; nastah—dispelled; mohah—illusion; smrtih—memory; labdha—regained; tvat-prasadat—by Your mercy; maya—by me; acyuta—O infallible Krsna; sthitah—situated; asmi—I am; gata—removed; sandehah—all doubts; karisye—I shall execute; vacanam—order; tava—Your.

Arjuna said: My dear Krsna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

‘Yes I am cured of my agnana Arjuna.’ Arjuna understood the essence of Krishna’s teaching so well was an indication that Krishna was a great teacher and his teaching was the best.
There is a practice in the world. However great heights a disciple reaches, he should never leave his faith in the guru or should oppose the guru. Arjuna followed the custom. Though he acquired jnana he spoke ‘Karishye Vachanam Tava’ - I will follow your teaching. All sadhakas should follow the path of Arjuna and should have faith in Guru, faith in God and faith in the shastras throughtout their career. He followed as he promised and won the battle.

Unfortunately today the trend is taking a dangerous turn. A science fiction writer Isaac Asimor in ‘The fun they had’ imagines a scene in 2020. Two children come across a text book of their grandfather and they wonder at it. They couldn’t believe that all children together went to a building called ‘school’ and they learnt under somebody called a teacher. That’s because they learn individually through computers and their lessons are planned and programmed as per their I.Q. level. When one girl isn’t able to score good marks, the computer programmer, so called master, changes the programme for her. So they wonder how one teacher can handle together students of different I.Q.levels. But that’s the specialty of the teacher. She knows the pulse of the students. At a glance she can judge whether the student is telling the truth or is trying to fool her. So her level of teaching, guiding, coaxing, pampering, scolding, punishing varies from student to student. This may look like partiality but she is handling them as per their behaviour. That’s why however well planned a teaching aid can be, it can never remove the presence of a live teacher. Only the teacher can solve the problems the students get in the course of their learning.

All that a student requires is - to have total faith in his guru. Vinayak is the best example. Lord Siva laid a condition that Kumara Swami and Vinayak should have a holy bath in all the sacred rivers and added that who ever reached them first would be made ‘Adidevata’ Vinayak sat down with a sad face. When asked the reason, he said, ‘Knowing fully well my physique, how could you lay such a condition ?’ Lord Siva took pity on him and showed an alternative. He said ‘you go round us - your parents’Chanting the sloka given by Lord Siva, without any second thoughts he went around his parents. Kumara Swami had already left . He did not doubt how this would equal the original condition ! He felt only one thing - ‘Father asked me to do something. Father only showed me an alternative. Why then should I doubt ?’ You know the result of his faith !
Ekalavya was another example of surrender to his Guru. He treated Dronacharya. as his guru. The latter refused to teach him but all the same he wanted Guru dakshina after he became expert in Archery. Ekalavya did not raise any objection to such a demand, since he did feel Dronacharya as his guru. He had the image of Dronacharya before him and learnt it as if he taught him personally.

The disciple need not be Ekalavya today and the Guru should not be Dronacharya. ‘Such is the Guru who has himself crossed the terrible ocean of life and without any idea of gain to himself, helps other also to cross the ocean’ - Vivekananda.

A Devotee - ‘Sir, is it necessary to have a guru Here is a conversation between a devotee and Sri Ramakrishna master - Yes, many need a guru. But a man must have faith in the guru’s word. He succeeds in spiritual life by looking on his guru as God himself’ - Sri Ramakrishna. Many times we are caught in the norns of dilemna. We do not know what is right, what is wrong. What is good, what is bad. In short we feel like repeating Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in Shakespeare’s drama - ‘to be or not to be !’
The life on earth is like a journey through a thick forest which gives us no landmarks to come out of it successfully, If we have a guide he will show us the easiest and quickest way out of the most difficult forest. The same way the sadguru takes us in the easiest way through the toughest spiritual path. The teacher in the class room guides us, motivates us trains us and inspires us towards our educational persuits. We should not forget that listening to one lecture is like reading four books since a guru is worth a library of books.

Dhyana mulam Guror murthohi
Puja mulam gurorpadham
Mantra mulam guror vakyam
Moksha mulam guror krupa

A guru, who is a gnani, leads you in the spiritual path and helps you to attain moksha.

Look upon your Guru as your mentor
Treat your disciple as your friend.