Today is 18th of July, 2008 and an auspicious day of Guru Poornima. As I feel the compassionate Grace and divine blessings of our Gurus flowing abundantly today, I can’t help but write down my thoughts that are stirring in me. They surely have something to give and say to us on this special occasion. With all my gratitude and complete humility, I bow down to the Divine Preceptors, who at the behest of God are assigned the task of giving spiritual teachings and guidance for the upliftment of the human soul.
Since morning, as the day has been progressing, my mind instead of concentrating on the glory and praises of the Guru, has been mentally occupied with a continuous stream of inspiring and thought raising questions. I am thinking today as to what are my responsibilities and duties towards my Guru? The Gurus are flawless and are constantly sending their divine vibrations, but how can I be more effective and receptive in receiving what they continuously give? How can my relationship with the Almighty, who is an Infinite teacher or Adi Guru and a friend or sakha be more purposeful? How to become an ideal disciple? How to receive the subtle vibrations and god messages from the Higher World? What are the noble qualities of a perfect disciple and how does he stand out from the other so many disciples? How to maximize learning in minimum time span in this life? How to please the Divine and the God given Gurus? What makes the Guru trully pleased and happy with his disciples?
As I think over the couple of raised questions, I am reminded of the life and story of Eklavya, the great marksman of Mahabharat times. In those days, only the Kshatriyas, the warrior class were given the education and training of archery, shooting, horse riding and other martial arts. Eklavya, being the son of a bheel or the tribal was not qualified and permitted to be initiated in archery. So he used to hide behind the bushes and trees and observe Guru Dronacharya imparting daily lessons in shooting and archery to Arjun and others in the forest. Eklavya wanted to be the favourite student and wished to please Guru Dronacharya. He was keen to learn the nuances of archery and also longed fervently to be the best marksman in the land of Hastinapur. So he established Dronacharya’s image in a stone idol in the forest and without telling him began to worship him and practising the learnt art after seeing him from behind the bushes without the Guru’s consent.
But as luck would have it, when Dronacharya found out that Eklavya was practising archery with his bows and arrows hiding in the thick forest in front of his idol without his consent and knowledge, Dronacharya was furious. Eklavya had installed his Guru’s statue, nestled him in his mind with devotion and began practising archery and became an expert and had also acquired the potential of a world class archer.
But alas! Dronacharya was furious instead of being pleased with his devotion. To show his displeasure, he asked for his right hand’s thumb as a guru dakshina or teacher’s fee, which Eklavya very bravely cut off and offered to him without blinking his eyes. In turn, for this extra-ordinary act, he has earned a name and glory for himself in history as a classic example of a devoted disciple.
But now, when I review the story of Eklavya with a different view-point, I find myself ruffling some questions which give a new glimpse and perspective to the whole historical saga. Why did Dronacharya get furious with Eklavya and ask for his right thumb so essential for positioning and releasing the arrow from the bow? Why did not his guru bless him for his exceptional devotion towards him and to archery?
To me, these are the most probable answers that seem to be satisfactory and answer all my questions. And let me tell you that even earlier, this was one of the memorable stories that I have kept in my mind so that I emulate the qualities of a great student and learner from the pages of history. Here are some of the qualities that I feel are essential to adorn and play the role of a worthy student. So Mandira, please read to know what makes a good disciple rise in the eyes of his teacher.
Honesty. Be completely honest with your guru. Do not hide anything from him as a pure relationship such as that of a guru -shishya rests on one thing – trust. If you are honest, he will prepare and show you the kingdom of God. God will reveal Himself at the appropriate time to his follower and ardent devotee when the last traces of shallow egoism, craftiness and deception has been completely washed off from his core and inner being, called antha karan.
Do not do anything in deed or thought which will tarnish you and never hide or cover it up from your guru. In real sense, your Guru is the Parmatman or God residing in you so be pure in heart. Do not allow and mix the basal impurities of the mind to blend with the purity of your soul! Be as pure and innocent as your heavenly Father!
Eklavya was always competing with Arjun and wanted to supersede him and take his place and become Dronacharya’s favourite. To this, let me tell you Mandira, that we become special or favourite of our Guru because of our virtues and qualities of the pure soul and not because of specializing in some activity or skill! The qualities and virtues in us belong to the soul while the skills and talents belong to the mental abilities. Can you see the fine line and differentiate the two? Think about it.
The best guru dakshina to our guru will be our guileless and guiltless heart. That will make him most happy. If Eklavya had only wished to be the most superior archer in the world, it would have been a great thought. But he too like Karna, wished to compete with and beat Arjun and thereby become number one in the kingdom. Do you see and understand the fine point that I wish to bring your attention to?
The main aim and aspiration behind Eklavya’s whole endeavour was to compete and not excel! It is ultimately the thought and intention behind any action of a person which defines and decides the result or the fruit of his action. So in your lasting relationship with your Guru, the foremost thing to remember is- Be honest with yourself and your Guru both. Honesty pays. Do not attempt to hide what and who you are. Just be like a mirror in front of him. You will reflect Divinity!
Attunement. The continuous turning in of the mind with the Mind of the Guru is the next essential requirement, my dear Mandira. A true guru is omnipresent and all pervading. He is ever present in the universe and instead of a monologue, a dialogue is possible if you keep your mind always focused on him. He will send you the necessary subtle thoughts, inspiration and spiritual guidance through telepathy, silent hints and meaningful gestures and suggestions in others in your environment. Read them! Decipher them! Interpret them! Soon you will get attuned to the constantly flowing divine powers in your life and you will be able to act on them. Like all other things, attunement also comes with practice. So practice it. Do not waste your energies in unnecessary talking, unproductive activities, gossips, arguments, lethargy and mental confusion. Stay calm, tuned, focused and interiorized so that you are ever prepared and enabled to pick up any subtle hint of guidance delivered to you as soon as possible.
The direction of the flow of the mind’s energy through the senses is outwards. Stop for a while now and then. Remember it and bring your mind to the centre of equilibrium time and time again. Be centred always. Do you remember the post on ‘awareness’? Read it again and this important lesson will be reinforced.
Devotion. Just as we offer fresh and clean flowers to God, likewise an untarnished and virtuous heart is to be offered to God!
Offer all your unnecessary, unhealthy and weak thoughts to God, empty out everything and you shall be rewarded in many enriched ways. It is only with devotion towards one’s guru that we are able to purify ourselves of all the contamination, demerits and shortcomings accumulated over the past so many lives. The Guru will show us through his stainless Spirit what is divinity. By emulating and following his footsteps, the muddy waters of the mind begin to settle down and we cast off the blemishes and stains ingrained in our psyche gradually. This process being life long, should be endured to get maximum results. So you see the guru is the cleaner, the polisher and the exhibitor of our Divine soul. So my dear child, give your heart and mind as an offering at the Guru’s feet. He will eradicate and sweep the muddy layers of the materialistic perception and attitude of the mind and in return give you devotion.
Devotion is the vehicle which will take us to God’s kingdom.
There are so many stories of devotion of great disciples and devotees down the lanes of history. Can you recall and get inspired by some of them?
Surrender Self surrender comes to a devotee once his heart fills up and brims over with devotion. It begins to flow naturally and the devotee submits himself completely at the holy feet of the Guru. To me, surrender is not the annihilation and crushing of one’s personality as is widely believed. Surrender to the guru comes by itself with the knowledge that there is a Supreme Power, the highest Force in existence and that is reflected from time to time in the guru. So in fact, we surrender to the Highest Force which is ever shining in the divine preceptor.
The devotee realizes only with selfless devotion towards his guru that his self image and belief is untrue and deceptive and that he is incomplete and powerless. His understanding and perceptions are based on his false and changeable ego which is limiting and misleading. His ego is the sole cause of his restricted personality while his Divine guru is all powerful, capacitated and all knower in persona. As this knowledge dawns on him, he humbly surrenders himself and comes face to face with his true self. A true guru’s aim and mission is imparting self realisation through self discovery. Self realization leads to God- realization.
So dear, please submit your egoism and be humble always. Humility is a great gift and a virtue in humans and it is an indicator of the soul’s evolution.
Be a great learner. My dear child, our whole life is meant for attaining valuable education and continuous learning. Therefore never be shy of admitting that you are still a student and be a keen learner all your life.
Keep good friends, read enriching books and add value to your life. Be your own good critic.
Be open and receptive to criticism and correct yourself. Accept your mistakes and then take corrective measures. Be a good listener and listen attentively. Respect others and their views and ideas. Avoid arguments and in its place focus on what you can learn from the person and situations.
Look around yourself quietly and observe carefully. Wait patiently till your soul unfolds to you life’s hidden mysteries. That’s true learning!
At night before sleeping, evaluate yourself and your day sincerely. Pray to God to give you better understanding of things and his grace to uncover all the power and glory of your Spirit. Let your soul blossom and shine. God and nature work in silence. Come in contact with blissful silence. Attain peace and divine blessings.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti Om.