The Importance of Guru in our lives
People are born on this earth. Some are successful, some are not. Some are rich, some are not. Similarities and dis-similarities are always there, but broadly classified, the lifecycle of every person born, is the same. Think of it : We all are born, grow up with good / bad education, start working, grow old and die. Further broken in a day's schedule : We get up in the morning, go to work, eat during the day and sleep at night. The only differences are that the timings of day and night may differ for different people OR, that some people may be earning more than the others in a day's work, they may be having more worldly amenities at home, but the lifecycle or the structure remains same.
In short, during our entire lives, broadly, we either, sleep, eat or work. What else do we do in life ? This gives rise to another important question - Why are we born at all ? OR What is the purpose of our life.
Let us try to comprehend this eternal and most important question of our lives. Elders say that GOD lives within us. How ? and Why ? -- The lifeline of the Human life is the "Atma" (The Soul). The God above us is the "Param - Atma" (Parmatma - The Ultimate Soul - GOD). "Atma" is a part of "Parmatma". That is, every soul born in this world, is a PART of the Ultimate soul or GOD. Since our lifeline, our soul is a part of GOD, We are a part of GOD and GOD resides within us.
Once we know who we are, the answer to this eternal question becomes simple. Our aim of being born in this life is to merge back into the powers, from where we came. "Atma ka Parmatma se milan" (The merging of our soul back into the source - The Eternal or Ultimate soul.) This is better known as "Moksh". When the soul is finally freed from this cycle of birth and death.
People are repeatedly born in the world, either to repay for their sins OR to enjoy the rewards of their Good deeds. "Moksh" cannot be achieved until the balance of the good and bad deeds of the soul is nil. Then, is there no way to rid oneself of this eternal cycle of birth and death ?
There is. This is the Importance of The Guru in our lives. Guru is the only source by which we can achieve this most difficult, yet the only task of our soul. In one of his dohas, Kabir has said :
Shish kate aur Guru mile, to bhi sasta jaan.
andar haath sanhaar de, baahar bahe chot.
Having created mankind along with the spirit of sacrifice at the beginning of creation, the Creator, Lord Brahma, gave them the following advice:
"May you multiply and prosper by this spirit of sacrifice (free from attachment); may this yield the enjoyments you seek. Foster each other with a sense of sacrifice and let the Gods be gracious to you. Fostering each other unselfishly, you will attain the highest good. Fostered by sacrifice, the Gods will surely bestow on you unasked all the desired enjoyments. He who enjoys the gifts bestowed on him without giving them in return is undoubtedly a thief".
The object of this advice must have been to ensure peace, progress, prosperity and tranquility for the entire mankind.
Then the ancient sages and seers of this wonderful land (Bharat) conceived and expounded the doctrine of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbhkam' (that this entire world is one family and that we are members of this global society) in order to elevate human dignity and universal brotherhood for attainment of peace and prosperity.
But as the human race multiplied, somewhere down the line, we forgot the divinely advice and the message of our learned 'rishis'. As the human race multiplied, we became more and more materialistic and self-centered. In the process, we developed a tendency to construct walls around us - walls of ego centric desires. That is how we restrict our vision, our thoughts, our actions, through the identification of oneself with the body. Myself, and those related to me, through this body, set the limits of my expansion. Engrossed with the material belongings, what we see within those walls, we think, belongs to us. And anything unknown to us and outside those walls, we regard that as a stranger and as an enemy. This identification with the body, not only builds walls around me, but cuts me off from others who are beyond these little walls. In the words of Rousseau, the famous French philosopher, "damn that man who said: this is mine and that in thine - and thus sowed the seeds of self centeredness and a feeling of jealously and animosity.
Before we were born, our parents existed, our neighbours existed, our society existed. We are born into a stream of existence and this cycle of birth, childhood, youth, old age, death and rebirth continues. The quality of this cycle (success or failure) may differ from individual to individual based on his past and present 'karmas', the birth that he takes in a particular family (rich or poor), his upbringing, his education and his environments. Depending upon our past and present 'karmas' and sanskars' we take birth again and again in any of the eighty-four lacs species (yonies) and keep drudging and travelling in the darkness of ignorance from one birth to another. Alas! we forgot wherefrom we came and what is our ultimate destination - i.e. salvation.
Mahatma Kabir prayed, "Oh God, save me from two fires - one, hanging upside down for nine months in my mother's womb and second, when my corporal frame is consigned to the flames soon after the soul leaves the body.
GURU plays the pivotal role in reminding us the Divinely advice, teaches us the art of living a balanced life with restraint and stability of mind. He is the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance and shows you the path of light and eternal bliss. He is the one who brings about awareness that actions (karmas) performed under the influence of senses, give rise to sensuous pleasures and pains, which are transitory and fleeting. He guides you how to discipline and bring under control the five wild horses - 'kaam' (passion), 'krodha' (anger), 'lobh' (greed), 'moh' (emotional attachment) and 'ahankaar' (ego) and helps you to take the chariot of your life in the right direction of inner peace and tranquility. He brings about a realization in you that over-indulgence in sensuous objects give rise to TAMOGUNA and the end result is regret, remorse, sorrow and loss of peace. Like a Divine Father, he holds your little finger and conditions you to fearlessly travel from the illusionary material world, to the realms of spirituality so that you could be one with the Real One and realize the ultimate truth - i.e., God.
He tells you that the actions (karmas) performed under the influence of mind and intellect are obsessed by desire and devoted to material gains, generally performed to serve the self and those closely related to the self, through this body. This gives rise to RAJOGUNA. The more you seek material pleasures, more is the desire to have still more and you are caught in the situation of a mirage ('mrigtrishna'). Mind has a tendency to swing like the pendulum of a clock - sometimes towards senses and then to the intellect. Therefore, it has to become steady.
Where are you lost, my son, says GURU, with all his love and tenderness. You are not the body, you are the soul. You existed before entering into this body and will remain even after leaving this body. Illuminate yourself. Perform actions under the guidance of conscience ('antaratman'), which is an inseparable part of 'Paramatman'. From the outside material world, enter into the inner world of consciousness. Be enlightened; be equanimous, and free from attachment. He who is unattached, his mind is stable. Sense objects cease for him, walls of ego centric desires do not exist for him. He belongs to the entire world and the entire world belongs to him - 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbhkam'.
Under the guidance of conscious, you realize that God resides in every human being and you learn to regard every human being like a mobile temple, worthy of worship. The shortest shortcut to attain salvation is to render service to his creation - the mankind. You are not obliging people by rendering service to them. On the contrary, they are obliging you by giving you an opportunity to serve them and helping you to increase the bank balance of your 'karmas' with the Divine Banker, The Supreme Lord. Serve them with a sense of dedication and sacrifice and earn the prayers of 'Dridra Narayan'. When our act of 'sewa' (service) is moistened with love and compassion, filled with feeling (bhavana), then the resultant contentment and happiness is gratifying both to the giver and the recipient in an infinite measure.
Such was the love and affection showered by GURUJI that anyone who came into contact with him, carried the feeling that GURUJI belonged to him and loved him the most. GURUJI used to say, "our path is clear and the shortest shortcut to salvation is - practice 'japa' (inward recitation of mantras), 'nishkaam sewa' (rendering selfless service to people) and 'dhyaan' (meditation).