Guru: India's greatest contribution

Guru: India's greatest contribution

It is not easy to come under the sway of a sadguru. It comes with sincere, devoted spiritual practice accumulated over several lives.

The modern mind finds it difficult to accept the notion of reincarnation, but it is easily forgotten that it was widely accepted even in the Catholic Church until the fifth Pope decided in the interests of keeping the laity together to ban it.

A sadguru is a self-realised master who has realised his or her divinity. Such masters are hard to recognise as they appear to be breathtakingly ordinary.

Swami Vivekananda found it hard to understand Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in their initial encounters. But they are not ordinary. 

They are fully aware of their communion with the Supreme Self. They are permanently connected to the Divine Charger. Their lives are a moving testimony of selfless service. Their actions are hard to understand but irrespective of what they are, it will always be directed for the fulfillment of a selfless purpose.

They voluntarily take birth, assume name and form and serve those who come in touch with them with a degree of dedication and commitment that will help the aspirant reach his goal. Such masters are mahatmas. The power they wield is awesome and enormous but they seldom use it. They do not like disturbing the natural balance.

From time to time, they may perform miracles but this is not for exhibiting their powers but to instil devotion in the hearts of those who come into contact with them. The late Sri Sathya Sai Baba would often say: “Miracles are my visiting cards.”

In the Vaishnava tradition, the guru is known as acharya. In Sufism, the guru is known as Murshid or Sheikh. Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak and the last guru was Guru Gobind Singh. Sikh temples are called gurudwaras, clearly pointing to the fact that the guru alone is the gateway to God. Moses taught the Ten Commandments to the Jews and showed them the path to liberation. 

Lord Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount that gave birth to Christianity. Mohammad became the last Prophet after a series of divine revelations that gave him the tenets of the Holy Quran. 

After attaining self-realisation, both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira preached their respective codes of conduct to guide their followers.

All spiritual and religious traditions rightly emphasise the oneness of God and exhort their followers to live a noble life as ordained by their founders. The principle of guru tatvam is therefore universal.

This is why the Guru Gita emphatically proclaims: “There is no greater Truth than the guru, there is no Penance greater than the guru and there is no wisdom greater than the guru.”

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