There is a famous story in our scriptures of Eklavya who
dreamt of becoming a great archer.
He went to the best and most famous Guru of archery,
Dronacharya, and humbly begged Dronacharya to teach him
However, for various reasons, Dronacharya refused.
Unfazed, resolute in his devotion, Eklavya did not despair.
Rather, he went deep into the forest for his sadhana of
learning to be an archer. There, he created out of clay the
image of Dronacharya.
Each day, he offered devout,
pious prayers and love to this image of his Guru. His faith
and devotion were so strong that even though he had been
rebuked by the physical Guru, the spirit of the Guru came
into his heart and taught him archery. Eventually, Eklavya
became renowned as a great archer.
sitting in front of our Guru, even living in the shelter of
our Guru, even being given all of the Guru's grace, still we
frequently do not learn what the Guru has to teach. Still we
remain stubborn and set in our own ways. But, look at
Eklavya who was so filled with faith, dedication and piety
that he learned from his Guru even having been sent away by
the Guru. We must always remember that, no matter how far
away our Guru is, he is still reaching us, still teaching
us, still touching us. We must not depend upon being in the
presence of our Guru to learn from him. If our hearts are
open and pure, we can learn from him no matter how far away
he may be. The key is faith. The key is to keep the image of
the Guru in our hearts at all times.
What is a Guru?
While in the West, the term has taken on myriad, frequently
derogatory connotations, the true meaning is pure and
simple. In Sanskrit, "gu" means darkness, and "ru" means one
who removes. So, a "guru" is one who removes your darkness.
It is one whose mere presence emanates so much light, so
much love, so much divinity, that every darkness within you
is alchemically changed into light. And there is no darkness
too dark for a guru. Their light can shine through and
transform even the darkest darkness. Even the darkness of
midnight would last but a second if the sun decided to rise
6 hours early. This is the power a guru has.
Unlike a "preacher" or "minister" or "rabbi", a guru does
not necessarily have to be a religious figure, nor does it
have to be a person of a specific religion, gender, age or
ethnicity. It is simply someone who holds the light for you
if your path becomes shrouded in darkness; it is someone who
will carry you if you get tired; it is someone who -- after
you have been in his/her presence -- you are not the same.
You are lighter, freer, more filled with joy. It is someone
in whose light you want to bask forever.
In the West, guru is frequently defined as "teacher." Yet,
the crucial difference between a teacher and a guru, is that
while a teacher can explain things and give you verbal
information, they can not actually take you to the realms of
which they teach. An astronomy teacher can tell you about
other planets, but can not take you there. A science teacher
can explain life on the bottom of the ocean, but he can not
take you there. A geology teacher can explain the properties
of diamonds to you, but he cannot fill your hands with the
precious gems. In contrast, a guru not only teaches you
about God, but rather, He takes you to God. He not only
teaches about peace, He gives you peace.
In Sanskrit, the word guru means one who removes our
darkness. Yet it is not merely the darkness of ignorance. It
is not simply that we go to our guru with a question, ask
him, he answers it and then our confusion is cleared.
Rather, the mere presence of the guru in our life removes
all darkness - all anger, all pain, all confusion.
Meaning of Guru Purnima:
Guru Purnima is the day in which we pay our reverence to the
Guru - it is a day filled with devotion, with love, with
piety. On this day, Indians across the world pay their
deepest reverence to both their personal guru, as well as to
Sri Maharishi Vyasji. Vyasji is heralded as the editor of
the four vedas, and the author of the 18 puranas, the
Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita. Having brought such an
immeasurable treasure chest of wisdom to the world, Vyasji
is worshipped as the Guru of Gurus. It is he who has brought
forth this ocean of divine light to dispel the darkness of
humanity. Therefore, on this day we also pay our deepest
respects to Sri Vyasji.
Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day of Ashadha
and the four month period of Chaturmas (the holy time of
year in which the monsoons come).
After the long, hot, dry months of summer in which
innumerable people, animals and crops have perished, the
rains come, quenching our thirst and bringing us life. And,
in India, when the rains come it is not a mere drizzle which
lasts for 10 minutes. Rather, the rains are downpours of
heavenly nectar, completely saturating the parched land.
Similarly, on this day, as we find ourselves dying of thirst
for knowledge, as we find our hearts and minds have become
dry due to ignorance, anger and darkness, the Guru comes,
pouring forth upon our lives the rain of wisdom, of love, of
light and of life. Just as the flowers which have wilted and
yellowed in the never-ending heat of summer, suddenly stand
erect and succulent as soon as the rains come, so we, who
have become ignorant and "dead" to the divinity within us
are immediately born anew due to His grace in our lives.
Yet, just as the soil must allow the rain to penetrate its
depths in order to reap the benefits of this life-giving
nectar, so we must become porous vessels into which the
divine nectar of the Guru can flow.
Guru Purnima is a day of renewing our faith, our shraddha,
in He who bestows the light upon our lives. It is a day of
re-opening our hearts, our souls and our lives to His divine
presence and letting it penetrate and saturate every aspect
of our being.
There is a beautiful story told of a man who wanted to
walk on water. He begged his guru to give him a secret
mantra or a special boon so he could complete this
remarkable feat. The man was extremely pious and devoted,
and he had been in his guru's service for many years.
Therefore, the guru gave him a leaf, folded many times until
is was very small. He told his disciple, "Within this leaf
is a secret formula which will enable you to walk on water.
However, you must not open it because the formula inside is
So the man agreed, and he takes the folded leaf carefully in
his hands and begins his journey across the river. He is
walking fine when suddenly he is overcome by curiosity. What
could be this secret formula? Is there really a secret
inside? Is it a powder or a stone or some holy mantra
printed? Where did his guru get it? His doubts get the best
of him and he begins slowly to open the leaf as he walks,
careful lest any of the secret formula should spill out into
the water. As soon as he unfolds the last piece to unveil
the secret, he suddenly sinks into the water and drowns.
Inside the leaf was written the simple word, "faith."
It was not the leaf, nor any secret powder or mantra that
enabled the devotee to accomplish a miracle. It was the
strength of his faith in his guru and in the "boon" his guru
had given him. As soon as that faith wavered and doubt crept
in, his life was lost. This is the power of faith.
Guru Disciple Relationship:
At this time of Guru Purnima, we must look at what really
makes up the Guru-Disciple relationship - what makes it so
special, so unique, so powerful and life-transforming?
That answer is faith. Faith can work true miracles and
without it, much of life is futile. The guru might be of
infinite power, knowledge and compassion. Yet, without the
faith of the disciple, the guru can do very little for him.
There is a beautiful poem that says:
As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to
I brought my broken dreams to God, because He was my friend.
But, instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried, "how could you be so
"My child," He answered, "what could I do? You never did let
That "letting go" is the faith. If we can surrender to the
guru with complete faith, he will transform our lives.
However, if we "hang around" and doubt and think that we
know better than he does, then we gain nothing.
A guru should not be chosen haphazardly. Most people say
that they "just knew" as soon as they met their guru. That
is the way it should be. Our hearts should fill with joy in
his presence. Our entire beings should feel like they are
bathed in warm sunlight. We should instinctively know that
he can take us where we need to go.
So, in the early stages, before we take a mantra, or before
we officially make someone our guru, that is the time to
watch and reflect: "Is he (or she) really the one?" However,
once we know, deep in our hearts and souls, that the
decision is right, then we not look back. We should offer
ourselves with full abandon at the feet of the guru and our
lives will become magic.
Many people today, especially in the West, are hesitant
about what they see as "blind obedience" to the Guru. They
feel that somehow they will be lesser people if they become
obedient to a master. They don't want to feel like "slaves."
I hear this so frequently by people who have been
over-indoctrinated by the Western ideal of individuality.
And yet, we must realize that we are living our lives as
slaves of our own egos and vanity. We live in blind
obedience to the call of our senses and desires. We have
blind faith in that which our minds and hearts tell us and
we act accordingly. Yet, these false "masters" so frequently
lead us astray. We act out of impulse or emotion and later
regret it. Our egos and our vanity cause us to engage in
actions we later regret.
Let us realize that we are, as it is, acting in obedience to
a master. Therefore, let us at least choose a master who
will lead us to the light, not the darkness, a master who
will lead us to wisdom, not ignorance, a master who will
lead us to peace instead of piece, a master who will never
give us an order we will live to regret. Let us live our
lives in obedience to the divine orders of our guru instead
of in slavery to the volatile callings of our egos, our
emotions and our senses.
Boliye: Sri Gurudev Bhagwan ki Jai!
May God bless you
In the service of God and
Swami Chidanand Saraswati