What should one do to acquire a Guru and His grace?

Contents


 

1. The Guru’s grace (Gurukrupa)

There is no salvation other than the Guru,
One should surrender unto Him. – Saint Tukaram

I follow the orders of the Guru of this world,
I at once uplift the one on whom He bestows His grace.
– Shri Eknathi Bhagvat 11:788

2. The importance of the Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga)

Without the Guru’s grace (Gurukrupa) it is difficult to progress beyond a spiritual level of 60% no matter which path one practises, Path of Action (Karmayoga), Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga), Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) or any other. In the Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga), a seeker learns how to acquire the Guru’s grace (Gurukrupa) faster, by sidetracking the other paths rather than wasting years practising them. In this path a Guru is acquired at a spiritual level of just 55%. Naturally, this path expedites spiritual progress.

3. The importance of the Guru’s grace (Gurukrupa)

‘One comprehends the unmanifest (nirgun) with intellect and the manifest (sagun) with spiritual love (priti). In other words, this intellect is a subtle form of the intellect acquired by studying the scriptures. This intellect destroys the anadi (one without a begining) illusion. From the beginning of the state of the embodied soul (jivadasha) each one has the illusion (misconcept) that ‘I am distinct from Brahman’. By studying the scriptures one realises that ‘I am not distinct from Brahman’ by means of his intellect. However later he begins to feel ‘If I am not different from Brahman then how is it that I do not experience it?’ and thus another illusion develops. This illusion having an origin is described as adi illusion. This (adi) illusion is destroyed solely by the grace of the Guru. This means that on account of the Guru’s grace that is the love of the manifest (sagun prem) and the devotion of the manifest (sagun bhakti) derived through satsang (holy company) transform His love, that is convert love into spiritual love (priti) which is devoid of expectation, the form of the manifest (sagun) itself vanishes. As a result, the notions originating from relative knowledge that the manifest has a form and the unmanifest is formless are destroyed. When relative knowledge gets transformed into absolute knowledge the difference between the manifest and the unmanifest with regard to form, no longer persists. If relative knowledge were to be true then its awareness would not have been destroyed. This awareness of relative knowledge, that is pratyay itself is the adi illusion. Once the devotion of the manifest begins, actual realisation (sakshatkar) that the manifest is really unmanifest Bliss occurs, the knowledge of the unmanifest that is thinking that the unmanifest is different from the manifest dissolves and one experiences “I am Brahman” that is he experiences non-duality. Hence, saints term the unmanifest as the most subtle among spoken topics (vachyansha) and the manifest as the ultimate target (lakshyansha), that is The Lord. Since scholars have no experience of satsang (holy company), this concept is not acceptable to them. Rameshvar Bhatt who was instrumental in immersing the holy verses of Saint Tukaram in water attained Absoluteness (Purnatva) with the grace of Saint Tukaram alone.’ – H.H.Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon.

4. The mechanism of action of the Guru’s grace (Gurukrupa)

The success of any activity depends upon the functioning of the various components constituting that activity. Just as the hydrogen bomb is more powerful than the atom bomb, so also is the subtle in comparison to the gross. This point will be illustrated by the example of the various methods employed to destroy the enemy, given below. The more progressive the step, the more effective it is.

A. Physical: Perceiving the whereabouts of the enemy with the five senses, for instance sensing the enemy or his movements, one can shoot with a gun. However, if he hides behind a structure, motionless then the gunman will not be able to shoot him and therefore cannot kill him. Here, only a physical weapon is employed to kill. Different substances are used for different functions, for example different tablets are used as medicine for different disease causing germs, etc. Therefore if mere physical means do not help then they should be combined with subtle means as described below.

B. A combination of physical means and a mantra (subtle): In the ancient times, arrows were shot from a bow only after chanting a mantra. Due to the mantra, the name of the enemy would get recorded on the arrow and no matter where the enemy hid in the three regions (triloks) that is earth (bhu), nether region (bhuv) and heaven (svarga) the arrow would certainly kill him. This was due to the energy of the subtle means (mantra) which accompanied the weapon (arrow). The motive behind chanting mantras while preparing medicines in the Ayurveda is the same. Similarly when removing a spirit responsible for possession blackgram (udid), marking nut (bibba), lime, needles, etc. are used to the accompaniment of mantras. Nevertheless, at times inspite of both the physical and subtle being present, one does not achieve much success. At such times a more subtle means, that is more powerful mantras should be used as given below.

C. Mantra (more subtle): In the next step an enemy can be vanquished without using physical weapons like guns, bows and arrows, etc. In order to achieve certain things, for instance marriage, riches, etc. various mantras are prescribed. At times, however, even mantras do not yield results. In such cases the next step has to be implemented.

D. The intention (sankalpa) [even more subtle]: Even a mere thought like ‘May it occur’ in the mind of an evolved person (saint) is sufficient for the occurrence of an event. Nothing else is required. However, this is possible only in the case of a saint whose spiritual level exceeds 80%. Only when a Guru makes an intention (sankalpa) ‘May this disciple progress spiritually’ does the disciple make real spiritual progress. This itself is termed as the Guru’s grace (Gurukrupa). A disciple cannot make spiritual progress without it as otherwise the adi (one with a beginning) illusion persists.

Anadi and adi are the two types of illusions. Being unaware of the presence of God in the Great Illusion (Maya) is the anadi (one without a beginning) illusion. This illusion is destroyed through the subtleness of the intellect which is acquired through the study of the scriptures. The illusion which has no beginning [an (अन्‌) + adi (आदि) = no beginning (अनादि)] is called anadi while the one which has an origin is called adi. Even after meeting Shri Guru so long as one experiences happiness and unhappiness, that is so long as attitudes perceiving that ‘one is happy or unhappy’ are generated in the antahkaran, till then that illusion persists. After meeting Shri Guru that illusion gets transformed into the adi type. The adi illusion is overcome with the Guru’s grace alone, that is one gets a spiritual experience of that nature.

E. The presence (most subtle): In this final step one does not even have to express an intention. Mere presence, proximity or company of the Guru is sufficient for a disciple’s spiritual practice and progress to occur automatically. The mission of a Guru of a spiritual level of more than 90% is of this nature.

This has occurred because of Me but I have not done it.
He who has realised this is liberated from the cycles
of birth and death.
– Shri Bhavarthadipika (Shri Dnyaneshvari) 4:81

The literal and implied meaning: In ‘this has occurred because of Me’ Me refers to The Supreme God principle in oneself. ‘But I have not done it’ implies absolving oneself of the sense of doership. A beautiful example to illustrate this is the sun which awakens everyone and makes the flowers bloom when it rises. This happens simply with its existence. The sun does not ask anyone to wake up or the flowers to bloom.

The Guru’s grace operates based on points ‘D. The intention’ and ‘E. The presence’ given above.

The Guru’s energy of initiation (anugraha) itself is the universal energy of the Guru principle (Gurupad). Though initiation is acquired through spiritual practice (sadhana) as the means, it is actually Shri Guru Himself who is the ultimate solution!

5. What should one do to acquire a Guru and His grace?

The only virtue responsible for the rapid acquisition of a Guru and the constant bestowal of His grace thereafter, is intense motivation for Liberation (mumukshutva) or intense yearning for a Guru. A youth strives to win a girl’s heart by constantly contemplating on what he should do to please her. Similarly, one should make all efforts to acquire the Guru’s grace so that the Guru calls one His own. One should constantly strive day and night to do whatever one can to please Him. In the Kaliyug, acquisition of a Guru or His grace is not as difficult as it was in the previous three eras (yugs). A salient point to be noted here is that one cannot acquire a Guru without bestowal of His grace. A Guru is already aware of who His future disciple will be. One should undertake the spiritual practice mentioned in the following points in order to acquire the grace of the Guru. The points are enumerated in ascending order of importance. Along with the practice of these points one should also try to develop the qualities of a disciple.

6. Spiritual practice according to the Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga)

In order to acquire a Guru, points ‘6.1 to 6.4’ and for the constant bestowal of His grace excluding point ‘6.3’ all the other points should be practised conscientiously. In point ‘6.2’ the only modification is that instead of the family deity’s Name, the Name imparted by the Guru should be chanted.

6.1 Worship of the family deity (kuladevata)

The Lord chooses each individual to be born in that particular family (kula) whose family deity he needs to worship so as to make spiritual progress. Worship of the family deity also alleviates the intensity of the destiny which accompanies each one till the last breath. Due to these two main reasons, instead of any other spiritual practice, one should worship the family deity (kuladevata) in order to acquire a Guru. To achieve this end, one should perform His/Her ritualistic worship (puja), chant verses (stotras) in His/Her praise, recite holy books periodically (parayans), visit His/Her temple (darshan) as often as possible, etc. Details about why one should undertake the spiritual practice of the family deity (kuladevata) is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 9 – Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’.

Worship of Lord Datta: Unlike the bygone days, nowadays since rites like shraddha, paksha, etc. for departed souls are not performed by most people nearly 30% of people are troubled by ancestors’ unsatisfied souls.  That is why there are obstacles both in worldly life and in one’s spiritual practice as well. Since an average person can never know whether he is included in those 30% or whether he will be troubled by ancestors in the future, one should chant three malas (rosaries) of ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’ daily. One should increase the chanting to six to nine malas if the trouble is severe.

6.2 Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasmaran)

Chanting refers to the continuous remembrance of The Lord’s Name. Of all the Names of The Lord, chanting the Name of the family deity (kuladevata) is the most useful. In fact it is the foundation of all the spiritual practices incorporated in the path of Guru’s grace (Gurukrupayoga). As one does chanting gradually one’s spiritual level reaches 40%. Then chanting occurs automatically off and on and one is also able to perceive a little in the subtle dimension. Also due to chanting one forgets about other things and begins to experience Bliss off and on. Detailed information on chanting of The Lord’s Name is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 9 – Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’.

6.3 Satsang (Holy company)

The Bliss obtained through chanting of The Lord’s Name is experienced automatically despite not chanting, at a satsang (spiritual meeting). Such an experience is obtained at a spiritual level of 50%. Due to the collective sattva component of all the seekers at the satsang,each one who attends it is benefitted by it, that is the raja and tama attitudes in each one gradually begin to decrease. It is much easier to obtain the experience of Bliss by attending a satsang rather than increasing one’s own sattva component by chanting. Hence a seeker diligently attends satsangs more often. If a satsang is conducted by an evolved seeker then attending it proves to be even more beneficial. Since the sattva component of an evolved person is substantial the amount of frequencies of Bliss emanating from him is greater and as a result a seeker experiences more Bliss.

The importance of satsang (holy company) will be illustrated by the story below.

Once an argument took place between the Sages Vasishtha and Vishvamitra on the relative superiority of satsang (holy company) and penance. Sage Vasishtha proclaimed satsang to be superior whereas Vishvamitra was in favour of penance. To decide the winner of the debate, they went to God. The Lord said “Only the serpent Shesh will be able to settle the dispute.” Then the duo went to the serpent Shesh. When they asked Shesh the question, He replied, “Please lighten the load of the earth on My head. Then I will think it over and answer your query.” So, Vishvamitra made the following resolution, ‘I offer the benefit acquired as a result of a thousand years of my penance. May the earth above Shesh’s head shift a little’. Yet, the earth did not stir. Then Sage Vasishtha expressed His resolve, ‘I now offer the benefit gained as a result of half a ghatka (twelve minutes) of being in satsang. May the earth lighten the load.’ The earth immediately moved upwards.

Another benefit of remaining in satsang is that one develops the feeling that the other seekers attending it are ‘one’s own’. Hence, the younger generation starts living amicably forgetting the animosity present for generations together. From this very feeling the concept that ‘the whole universe is my home’ develops in due course of time. More information on satsang is provided in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 44 – Introduction to Spirituality and Individual Spiritual Practice’.

6.4 Service of the Absolute Truth (Satseva)

After attending satsang for a while a seeker realises that the ones who are active participants at or those who conduct a satsang (spiritual meeting), so also if the satsang is being conducted by an evolved seeker then they experience much more Bliss than himself. So, the seeker who wishes to experience Bliss like them instead of merely being a passive listener starts participating in the activities at the satsang. Thus he participates in organizing the satsang, for instance by distributing pamphlets giving information about the satsang, by pasting posters and putting up banners, giving information by personally contacting people, by tidying the venue of the satsang, spreading out mats or arranging chairs for the audience, etc. At a later stage he studies the matter himself and conducts satsangs. One should take special note of the following points with regard to service of the Absolute Truth.

  • Service has to be that of the Absolute Truth (Satseva). It has to be performed with the body, mind and wealth. Unless the spiritual level rises to 60% service does not occur wholeheartedly. Until then it is performed only intellectually. Service with the mind means chanting The Lord’s Name.
  • By giving precedence to satisfying someone else’s desires, gradually one’s needs become less and the seeker becomes more adept at following the path of Spirituality.
  • The service of non-truth (asat), for instance the service of patients is mostly done under the influence of emotions considering illusion to be the truth. Also, the ego that ‘I am doing this service’ is present in such an attitude. As a result, as spiritual practice it is not of much use. As against this, to overcome the ego, one serves the Absolute Truth with spiritual emotion (bhav). Besides with service of the non-truth (asat), a ‘give and take account’ is generated.

A. Importance of spreading spirituality (the best service of the Absolute Truth)

  • 1. Doing whatever one can according to one’s potential towards the Guru’s mission is the simplest and the most important path. This point will be highlighted with the following example: Suppose preparations are going on for a programme and everybody is busy doing different chores like cleaning or decorating the place, cooking or cleaning utensils. If one is busy in cleaning the place and at this juncture if another person steps in and joins the group busy with the cooking then one does not feel any closeness towards him. On the contrary if he comes forward to assist in the cleaning then one definitely feels drawn to him. The same is true for the Guru. The mission of Gurus and saints is to inculcate a liking for Righteousness (Dharma) and spiritual practice among the masses; to inspire them to practise Spirituality and to spread Spirituality. If one performs this task according to one’s potential then the Guru feels, ‘He is mine’. Such a thought in the Guru’s mind itself is the heralding of His grace (Gurukrupa).

    Once a Guru handed over some grains of wheat to two of His disciples and told them, “Preserve these grains carefully until I return.” On His return after a year, the Guru approached the first disciple and asked him, “Have you preserved the wheat carefully?” Replying in the affirmative the disciple brought forth the container with the wheat grains and showed it to the Guru. He then said, “The wheat you had given me is just as it was.” Then the Guru approached the second disciple and asked him the same question. The disciple then took the Guru to a nearby field. The Guru was overjoyed seeing a field flourishing with the wheat crop everywhere. In the same way, one should spread the Name and spiritual knowledge (dnyan) imparted to one by the Guru, to others.

  • 2. The spread of Spirituality is more important than the superconscious state (samadhi)

    The Guru is pleased and says the disciple has attained
    the superconscious state,
    He tries to awaken him for the sake of the masses. – 52:5
    He fondles him gently, embraces him lovingly,
    O dearest disciple return to the waking state. – 52:6
    You have crossed the illusion of worldly life
    But if you remain in the superconscious state,
    The spiritual knowledge will remain obscured in you,
    Then how will the masses attain salvation? – 52.7
    -Shri Gurucharitra

  • 3. The comparative importance: The following table gives the amount of the Guru’s grace (Gurukrupa) that a disciple can acquire by performing a particular action.
The disciple’s action The Guru’s grace %
(Gurukrupa)
1. Paying a visit (darshan) to the Guru 2
2. Asking questions only on Spirituality 10
3. Performing tasks at the ashram 40
4. Effective *part time spread of Spirituality 70
5. Effective *full time spread of Spirituality 100

*To spread Spirituality effectively one needs to have all the virtues of a disciple. It is not sufficient to preach like a politician or a social reformer.

  • 4. Service unto the unmanifest (nirgun) and manifest (sagun) forms of the Guru: The spread of Spirituality is service unto the unmanifest form of the Guru. This service has 70% importance in acquiring the grace of the Guru whereas service to the manifest form of the Guru has only 30% importance. To achieve the complete grace of the Guru (Gurukrupa) it is essential for one to do both.
  • 5. Collective (samashti) and individual (vyashti) practice of Spirituality: Collective practice of Spirituality means that which is undertaken by society, whereas individual practice is confined to an individual seeker. According to the influence of time (kal) in the Kaliyug, the importance of practising Spirituality collectively is 70% and that of practising it individually is 30%. Hence, to progress spiritually it is important to motivate as many people in the society as possible, to practise Spirituality. This is the service of the Absolute Truth in its real form. However to accomplish this one needs to increase one’s own spiritual level.

B. How can one accomplish it?: Some people err in thinking that ‘When I myself am not well versed about Righteousness (Dharma) and Spirituality, how will I be able to spread Spirituality?’ When Lord Krushna lifted the Govardhan mountain with His little finger the cowherds and their wives (gopas and gopis) helped in their own way by supporting it with their sticks. Though the Guru, that is God is the one who will reinstate Righteousness (Dharma) each one should make one’s small contribution towards it. One should study and teach Spirituality or provide financial help for the mission, whatever is possible according to one’s ability. If both these are not possible then one can paste posters, put up banners, organise lectures or workshops on Spirituality, collect funds for the mission, etc.

6.5 Acquisition of a Guru and service unto the Guru

With service of the Absolute Truth one’s spiritual level rises upto 55%. Then some saint accepts one as His disciple. Thereafter one begins doing service unto the Guru.

6.6 Sacrifice

Once a spiritual level of 60% is attained sacrifice in the real sense commences. One needs to give up the attachment to the body, mind and wealth in order to make spiritual progress. Of these, sacrifice of wealth is the easiest as it can be done physically. One can give away one’s wealth totally. However, the body and the mind cannot be sacrificed likewise. Yet one can sacrifice them before giving up wealth. This means that initially one can do service physically and chant The Lord’s Name mentally. Later, only when a seeker progresses upto 70% can he sacrifice wealth to some extent. This is akin to the trapeze artist in a circus. So long as the girl does not let go of the handle-bar of the swing she is clutching, the man hanging upside down on the opposite swing cannot catch her. Similarly, so long as a seeker does not sacrifice everything, God does not take care of him. How sacrifice of the body, mind and wealth goes on increasing stepwise is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 44 – Introduction to Spirituality and Individual Spiritual Practice’ under point ‘10 C’.

Sacrifice does not mean giving away all of one’s belongings. Rather it is getting rid of one’s attachment to them. The Guru makes the disciple sacrifice the objects in his possession. Finally, when the attachment ceases, He showers him with plenty. Since Shivaji Maharaj had no attachment for the kingdom he had offered to Samarth Ramdas Swami, the Swamiji returned it to him.

6.7 Donation (offering)

Donation should always be of the nature of ‘donation to the deserving’, that is ‘to the one worthy of it’. In this world, there is none more worthy than saints. Hence, whatever one wishes to donate should be offered only to Them. This is possible only for a seeker in the stage of mental worship (upasanakand). The one practising the inferior path of Action gives alms to beggars, donations to schools and hospitals under the influence of emotions. One acquires only merits from it. The seekers desirous of Liberation (mumukshu) want neither merits nor sins, since only heaven and not the Final Liberation (Moksha) is attainable with merits.

Saints and Gurus are the manifest (physical) forms of the unmanifest God. Hence, any offering made to saints and the Guru is as good as an offering to God Himself. Thus offering back to God that which is bestowed by Him does not create a “give and take account” but completes it. As such, the offering made to saints reduces the accumulated account (sanchit) and increases the ability to withstand the effects of destiny. Moreover, neither is any “give and take account” thereby created, nor is any merit acquired. Hence, whatever has to be offered should be given only to saints or for the mission of the Absolute Truth.

6.8 Spiritual love (priti) for others

One feels spiritual love (priti) for others only after attaining a spiritual level of 70%. Spiritual love means love without any expectations. In worldly love, there are expectations. By practising Spirituality the percentage of the sattva component increases and one tends to satisfy the visible and invisible creation in one’s surroundings. There is an expansion of love and one develops spiritual love towards others. One is able to perceive the presence of The Supreme God in each and every object and the whole world becomes one loving family – ‘वसुधैव कुटुंबकम्‌ ।’. In order to achieve this, in the beginning, one has to make efforts to love others. For this, it is important to remain in satsang (holy company). At first, one begins to feel spiritual love for other seekers attending the satsang (spiritual meeting) then for seekers from other sects, still later for non-seekers and finally for all living creatures.

6.9 The stance of a spectator (sakshibhav)

After attaining a spiritual level of 80% one is able to observe everything including one’s own spiritual progress as occurring due to the Guru’s wish.

6.10 The mission after attaining Self-realisation (Dnyanottar karya)

After attaining a spiritual level of above 90% the disciple lives with the feeling, ‘Now I am left only to repay the favours done by others’, that is one continues to live doing what is necessary for the society. With such spiritual practice the Guru’s grace is constantly showered on the disciple and he marches towards the Final Liberation (Moksha).

7. Initiation from the Guru (Gurudiksha) and Gurumantra

8. Physical indicators of the bestowal of the Guru’s grace

Once a seeker had gone to visit Chile Maharaj. Maharaj showed him his tonsured head on which there was an imprint of a hand. On enquiry Maharaj told him that, that indelible mark was imprinted on His head when His Guru had placed His hand on His (Maharaj’s) head to bless Him.

9. The necessity of continual grace of the Guru

Once one acquires a Guru and is initiated with a Gurumantra the bestowal of Guru’s grace begins. To maintain it perpetually it is mandatory for one to conscientiously continue the spiritual practice recommended by the Guru throughout one’s life.

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