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
nasto mohah smrtir labdha
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
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.