Guru Bhakti

Guru Bhakti is reverential love and sanctified feelings towards the Gurudev.  It is total surrender to Satguru and absolute faith in His words for they are veda-vakyas.  Doing obeisance with humility and reverence, perfect obedience in carrying out his commands, worshipping His lotus feet with love and devotion, listening to His holy upadesh and sincerely practicing it are the multiple expressions of Guru Bhakti.

It is not possible for any aspirant to attain the highest if only he has Guru Bhakti.  The Guru’s grace frees the sadhaka from the thralldom of matter and the fetters of prakrithi.  The surrender at the lotus feet gives peace to the agitating mind and ushers steadiness and composure.  What is the secret of Guru Bhakti?  It is complete self-surrender backed by sincere and earnest effort.  Faith in the words of the guru is the first and the last rung in the spiritual ladder.  The identification of the guru with the supreme is a great stride in the spiritual path.

Guru bhakti is the grace of the divine and is not a result either of intellectual knowledge, interpretation of shastras; good vocabulary; or scholarship.  Meditation, satsang, austerities, and vairagya — (the essence to realize that Paramathma is the abiding and eternal truth and everything else is transitory), induce detachment and dispassion.  The guru will imperceptibly help the aspirant from downfalls and shield him to resist temptation.  The redeeming grace of the guru is a sheet-anchor for a sadhaka.  The impenetrable armour of guru’s grace protects the chela from the piercing darts of the prarabdha.  With surrender, the guru helps to erase the disturbing elements of the mind and gives him strength to do sadhana and overcome maya.  Guru bhakti transforms the ego-sense into infinite consciousness.  It is the culmination of the three yogas and the foundation of the spiritual life.  Without Guru bhakti one cannot proceed even an inch.  Divine Mother Sree Rama Devi has often said to serve mankind is the service of the guru who manifests and pervades as one supreme shakthy.  Guru “uchista” is the bodhana given by the guru.  True and abiding happiness is at the lotus feet of the Guru, but the ringing note is unconditional surrender.

It is conformed on the sadhaka to obey the guru, whose words are “Amritha-dhara” based on supreme knowledge, and a wider and deeper vision, while the sadhak’s knowledge and vision are limited.  It is like a man on the hills who can see miles in front while the man on the plane can see only a small portion.  The only condition for the manifestation of grace is surrender.  Then the “I” will remain an unattached observer of actions and thoughts and be convinced that everything is being controlled by the higher power and the ego should  submit to it.  The ego has to be sacrificed and one needs strong perseverance, but the guru’s grace will protect and aid the aspirant, which he on his own  is incapable of achieving by his own efforts.  True bhakti is a matter of intense feeling and it is unshakeable whatever the trials and tribulations are; his mind remains unmoved.

Guru bhakti is the kernel of dharma.  All Gods are propitiated if and when the guru is propitiated.  We in our ignorance are not able to realize His glory and greatness, just as the sun to our naked eyes seems no bigger than a huge ball due to the distance.  The guru’s grace is the pillar and support for a sadhaka, for it flows in a mysterious way if one only opens oneself with total surrender, and dedication, sincere and earnest prayers.  One can always keep contact with the guru for distance is not a barrier.  Constant communion opens a channel between the guru and shishya, for the grace and light to flow.  Reverence and humility alone can break down the prison walls built brick by brick by ahankara, and crush the web woven by the notion of “I and mine.”  The relationship between guru and shishya is one which goes much deeper than anyone can understand.  He cannot reach the guru by growing higher but the guru comes down in His infinite compassion, responding to his appeals, Disciple should execute guru’s will follow His lead and do His bidding with intense devotion, pure and unselfish motives, and untainted with desires.  Guru bhakthi elevates the mind and culminates in jnana.  The grace of the guru falls on one and all alike, as the rain falls on trees, shrubs, plants, weeds, and grass, uniformly but the growth depends on ones potentiality.  The guru comes not when we want but when we need.

Govind, the farmer, tall with a calm face, friendly eyes, hospitable and God fearing, lived in a village near Dhond, with his faithful wife, and two sweet children.  The rustic farmer lived a simple life, cultivating his few fields, and contemplating on tragedy of life, and the mysterious way of nature: The year passes and never returns, the days of the year are unrolled while the days of his own life are shortened, and how time eludes.  Life like a candle flickers in the wind and vanishes.  Man sits to plan but old age creeps in and his energy is diminished.  The scene of song and dance passes away in the twinkling of an eye, sorrow and misery takes vantage.  Man clings to glory and wealth, vying with one another in the ambitious race for power and fame.  He thus wonders at the instability and the diverse problems confronting life.

Very near his hut, under the deep shade of the spreading branches of an old and majestic tree a few disciples gathered in the evening to pay homage and listen to the words of a Guru.  Govind was extremely eager to join the group of devotees, but knew not how to approach.  Early one morning when he was in his fields at work he saw the venerable Guru passing along the bund of the field. Mustering courage he fell at the lotus feet of the guru, who blessed him and enquired his needs.

Govind replied “Maharaja, I have no desires, my only wish is to surrender and seek peace at Thy lotus feet.”  The Guru smiled, and to test his sincerity and obedience asked him to cut the crop in his field.  Govind was only too glad to carry the behest of the guru.  He ran home to fetch a scythe and started to cut the crop which was yet unripe.  The wife in bewilderment followed him and so did his friends and neighbors, who were amazed at the sight.  They failed to persuade him to desist, for he was too absorbed in his act.  Next morning Govind met his Guru, who had learnt that the crops had been cut.  The guru said, “I may have asked you to cut the crops, but should you not exercise your discrimination?”  “Maharaj,” said Govind “when everything has been surrendered where is the intellect to discriminate?”  The guru smiled and was pleased at the steadfast faith and total surrender of Govind.  At the harvesting time all were amazed to notice that Govind’s crop yielded the thrice the quantity, than it usually did.  The grace worked its own wonder.

- V. R.

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One Response to “Guru Bhakti”

  1. Jai Mata !
    Genuine guru bhaktas come in two categories. The first comes to him for self liberation i.e. to attain mukti. The second category is the Guru sevak. He does not even desire mukti. He has only prayer – “May I always serve You in all lives to come and help to reduce Your burden and give You whatever relief I can. ” The devout act of pressing the Guru’s feet is symbolic of this bhakti. The Guru’s Feet are always tired from His unending strife of redeeming the creatures in the world and the bhakta desires to press His Feet and give his Guru some relief.

    This pressing of the Guru’ Feet is not a physical act but a mental activity. It does not require the Guru’s physical presence. Every time the devotee thinks how I can help my Guru and make Him happy, his thought is equivalent to pressing the Guru’s Feet.

    Another act of serving the Guru’s Feet is that of removing the stones and rubble on the road on which his Guru will be treading. Here, the bhakta knows what and where the Guru’s road is from the teachings and instructions given by the Guru. In anticipation of the Guru’s coming, the bhakta cleans the road of the sharp stones and obstancles so that the Guru’s Feet is not hurt. This act is also a mental activity. A devotee knows what the mission of his Guru and intelligently paves the road for its completion.

    Alas ! Such bhaktis are rarely to be seen today ! The present day bhakta sees the Guru’s Feet only when he has His physical darshan and the moment the Guru winds up His Spiritual Ministry, the devotee slowly starts forgetting the Guru’s Feet. He sees the Guru’s Feet again when he is in trouble and does not bother to see Them when His Guru is in trouble.

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