Weekly Food For Thought

Who is a Sad-Guru?

The Rishis of ancient times were revered with the utterance of this laudatory verse as gurus by those who approached them for spiritual guidance. Let us probe into the implications of this authentic summary of the credentials attributed in this verse, to the Sad-Guru or Proper Preceptor.

Brahmanandam Paramasukhadam Kevalam Jnanamurthim
Dvandvathitham Gaganasadrsam Thathwamasyadi Lakshyam
Ekam Nithyam Vimalam Achalam Sarvadhee Sakshibhutham
Bhavatheetham Trigunarahitham Sadgurum Tham Namami

Brahmanandam:

The Guru is the embodiment of Brahma-Bliss, since he is merged in the Ananda which Brahman is. It is not imported or acquired or attained. It is inherent in every heart. The world, the cosmos, every particle, is Ananda itself but being ever in it, with it, of it and for it, man is unable to be It, on account of the darkness that misleads him and deludes him.

Man has the potency to elevate himself to this Ananda. Only he has to get rid of the obstacles that deny this experience. He is Brahmam and so his nature is Brahma-anandam. But, he does not know that all he believes he knows is known only as distorted or deluded. His waking experiences are as unreal and self-contrived as his dream experiences. The I-sense, the ego, constructs the world it is after. It shatters the One into many and takes pride in deceiving itself. It reduces the Ananda by resorting to polluting desires and actions. When ‘I’ is eliminated, Ananda is experienced fully. One becomes truly and genuinely One’s Self when this ‘I’ does not intrude. ‘I’ sets one apart and establishes Dwaita (Duality). No ‘I’ brings together and establishes Unity, One-without-a-second, Adwaitha (Non-dualism). ‘I’ sense arises, persists and disappears. It is Kshara , liable to deteriorate. The One-without-a-second is AKshara , it is symbolised by OM, the Pranava , the Ever-alive. The Guru who is ever in this consciousness has Brahma-ananda. Such a one is the Guru to be sought.

Parama-sukhadam:

The Guru grants the highest joy. What exactly constitutes this joy? Is it physical well-being? Mental poise? Intellectual alertness? Sharpness of the senses? No. The rishis declare that words return crestfallen after attempting to describe that state. Even the mind with its fast-moving wings of imagination cannot reach that state. The highest joy has its source and spring in the Atma , the spark of the Cosmic Splendour. The person who is ever aware of the Atma in him and in all is therefore the Sadguru.

Kevalam:

Beyond all limitations of time and place the guru is pure chaithanya , Is-ness; his consciousness is all pervasive; that is to say, God alone is the Sad-Guru.

Jnana Murthim:

What is meant by Jnana?

“Advaitha Darsanam Jnanam”: the awareness of the One, without a second, is Jnanam (the supreme wisdom).

And the sadguru is the embodiment of that wisdom, having unbroken experience of the One. Those who are commonly known as gurus are signposts, name boards. They have not travelled the entire journey and reached the goal. But the Jnanamurthi is with you right through, beside you and before you, smoothing the path until the journey ends in him.

Dvandvathitham:

The Sadguru is unaffected by the inevitable dualities of life: joy and grief, profit and loss, ridicule and respect.

Gaganasadrsam:

Untouched by happenings and incidents but forming the perennial base, like the sky enveloping the nature.

Thath-thwam-asyadi-Lakshyam:

The living exponent and experiencer of the four crucial axioms of the Vedic thought – That-thwam-asi (That Thou Art), Ayam Atma Brahma (The Self is verily Brahman), Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman) and Prajnanam Brahma (Consciousness is Brahman).

Ekam:

The One; though apparently passing through varied experiences and even no experience while awake or dreaming and in deep sleep, The One is unaffected and remains as One – the guru is firmly established in the One.

Nithyam:

Eternal, untouched by time, the Sadguru is eternally pure, aware, serene. 

Vimalam:

Faultless, nothing can tarnish its purity. The Guru has no desire or sense of want. He is perfect.

Achalam:

The Sadguru, which is another name meant for God, knows no change in his primal perfection, whatever form he may assume. The motion picture film projects 16 pictures a second on the screen in the cinema but they give transitory and counterfeit experiences. The Achalam is the unmoving screen. 

Sarvadhee:

All-pervasive, all-activating intelligence. 

Sakshi Bhutham:

That which has become the witness of everything, everywhere, like the sun which activates but is only witness of the activity.

Bhavatheetham:

He is beyond all urges, emotions, feelings and thoughts.

Trigunarahitham:

Not bound by the three modes of qualities that divide living beings into categories – the serene mode, the active mode and the dull. When bound, you are human, when you are free from entanglements and limiting characterizations, you are divine.

Sadgurum:

The worthy Guru.

Tham:

To Him

Namami::

I offer my reverential homage.

Let us pay homage to that Sad-guru who lead us on the path of illumination to the realization of the one Self.

Weekly Food For Thought

Not Knowing

We spend much of our life in pursuit of knowledge. It seems you can never know too much and our families and culture all support this approach to life. As a result most of us find it uncomfortable or even frightening to not know something. It seems difficult to not know what to do, what you want, or what is going to happen.

But what if there is a richness and possibility in the experience of not knowing? What if in our rush to get to the place of knowing and certainty we pass over the empty spaces of uncertainty that may contain even deeper truths? Life is complex and has many dimensions. Some of the more subtle and yet profound elements of our life may not fit so easily into concepts and ideas….our usual type of knowing. Discovering these deeper dimensions may require a slowing down in our thought and action to allow the quieter and deeper aspects of existence to be recognized. Is not knowing really a place of lack or incompleteness, or is there something worthwhile to be found in the silent moments even when we truly do not know anything?

There is nothing wrong with knowing something when you do know it. But it turns out there is also nothing wrong with the experience of not knowing, and not knowing can even lead to surprising new depths of knowing. Becoming familiar and comfortable with not knowing can also allow a more complete and satisfying experience of life as it is. Since what we do not know is often much greater than what we do know, the space of not knowing is where much of life is actually happening.

Right now, do you really know how your heart manages to beat so regularly? Do you really know how electricity works, where your life is going, how to grow and improve as a person, what love really is, who to trust, and why you are here? And yet your heart is beating, electricity does seem to work, your life is going somewhere and you somehow seem to grow as it unfolds, love and trust do happen, and finally you are here, you do exist. All of these experiences are not contained in or dependent on your knowledge and yet they are happening and add tremendously to the richness of your life…

And yet we struggle against not knowing. We strain and strive to know as much as we can. We push ourselves to learn more and more. What if this pushing and striving is a source of our pain and difficulty in life? What if not knowing by itself is a perfectly fine sensation? It is only when we are struggling against that experience that it becomes painful. Again there is also nothing wrong with knowing, or not knowing. It is our striving and efforting to have another experience that is painful.

To simply not know can be a profound relief from the struggle. And it can even open our awareness up fully to allow ourselves to not know. It is when we do not know that we tend to pay attention. In the blank space of not knowing is a natural curiosity and hunger for the truth. This curious hunger is an alive and always changing experience of the richness of all that can be known and all that is beyond our usual ways of knowing.