Significance of Gurupurnima and Who is Guru?

The full moon day in the month of Ashadha (June-July) is celebrated as "Guru Purnima". It is in honour of the ancient lineage of enlightened beings who have graced the world with their presence. The word "Guru" in Sanskrit means dispeller of darkness.& Guru is the one who dispels the darkness of ignorance and leads the seeker towards the path of enlightenment.

The yogic science is not about how to bend your body or hold your breath. Yoga is the science of human mechanism and by bringing it into your life, you understand its mechanics and are able to either dismantle it or put it together. It is a scientific method through which you could undo the boundaries that nature has set upon human life. To start with, every boundary that we set has the purpose of protection. We build a fence around our house with the intent or protection. But in a while you become unaware as to why you set up these boundaries and then the boundaries of self-preservation become boundaries of self-imprisonment.

You cannot experience true wellbeing unless you transcend the limitations of boundaries that you have set upon yourself. This is the human predicament. When you are in danger, you want fortresses around you. The moment the danger is gone, you want it all to collapse and disappear. And if the boundary that you set for your self-preservation does not disperse when you wish, you feel imprisoned and suffocated. For a human being, confinement is even worse than torture. The moment a human being feels confined, his suffering is unlimited.

Yoga brings about an awareness that will allow you to transcend these boundaries tools that will allow you to keep these fortresses to the extent that - they serve their purpose and at the same time, make them vanish when you don’t want them. How to build this magical fortress? This was what Adiyogi imparted. He was the first yogi and the first "Guru". Using the basic illusory nature of nature itself, he came up with many incredible methods to build that magical fortress that you can walk through but no enemy can penetrate. He passed on that tool to the human race –the tool of yoga. This day is in celebration of that.

Guru Purnima used to be one of the most important festivals of this nation. They celebrated it irrespective of caste or creed because in this country, knowledge or knowing was of the highest value to the people and not wealth or money. For the same reason, a teacher or guru who could impart that knowledge to the seeker was considered the highest entity in society. Before the British came to India, our holidays used to be different. Around Amavasya or new moon day, we had three days of holidays and another two more around Purnima or full moon day. During those days, we were meant to go to the temple and work towards our inner wellbeing. But with the arrival of the British, Sunday became the weekly holiday.

This particular period is the best time to receive the Grace of the Guru, to make yourself receptive. What should I do is always the question. If you don't do anything of your own, if you are less of yourself, that is the best way to be receptive. The sadhana is structured in such a way that it absorbs you into activity in such a way that in the daily process of living, you forget who you are, you forget what you are, you forget what your life is about.

There is a beautiful story in the Zen system of allowing human consciousness to grow. A disciple goes to a Zen master and asks:

What should I do for my spiritual growth?

Sweep the floor, chop the wood, cook the food, thats all.

For that, why should I come here? I can do that at home!

But if you are sweeping the floor at home, its your own floor. You will not sweep the neighbours floor if it is dirty, will you? Chopping the wood and cooking would be for your own use and for those who you consider as yours. You will be making use of your activities to enhance who you are instead of making use of every one of your activity to dissolve who you are.

This is all the difference between making our activity or our karma either into bondage or into a process of liberation. Either you are acquiring karma or your karma is becoming yoga. Thats all it is. Just sweeping the floor or cooking food for someone else is enough for your liberation. Planting a tree will be enough - not on your property, not for you and your children to sit under its shade but simply planting a tree so that anybody, even your enemy may sit under its shade one day and enjoy its fruits. Such an activity becomes a process of dissolution. Otherwise, every activity is a way of imprisoning yourself.

So this is the month of Grace. Grace is like manure for growth. With Grace, a human being can catapult himself to another dimension of existence, capability and possibility. To make use of Grace, what should we do? Nothing... The less you do anything for what you consider as me and myself, the more available you become to Grace.

The Role of a Guru

As the word Guru suggests gu means darkness and ru means dispeller dispelling darkness. How to dispel darkness? Darkness is not an existence by itself, so you cannot kick it out of place. Darkness is the absence of light. We value light for the clarity that it brings us. If you were an owl, darkness would bring clarity to you; light would be disturbing and blinding; this is also true for many other creatures in the wild.

No matter in what stage of life you are, what aspect of life you are addressing, what is of importance is to have clarity about it. If someone tells you,  you are not the body; you are not the mind your mind agrees with it, but experientially, it is not true for you. You still feel, this is me and that is you. What you need is experiential clarity. When there is pain, disease, or whatever kind of physical suffering, you may wish you were not the body. But it is not your reactions to situations that you face or suffer that matters; it is not what you see in moments of compulsion that matters - what you see in moments of utter clarity is what really matters if you want to move ahead in life.

Suppose you are in a dark room and you are not able to see anything you are uneasy, you are troubled. If the lights go on, you feel the world is with you again. Everything is just the same now, as it was before, but just because you can see clearly, the world has changed in your experience. This is a Gurus work to make you see everything the way it is. If you see it clearly, your life will change. We do not have to change anything because the existential cannot be changed. You can change psychological situations; you can change physiological situations; you can change social situations, but you cannot change the existential. But if you see existence the way it is, everything about you will change.

A moral teacher would try to change you. But a Guru will not try to change you. His intention and his work are to bring clarity. If you see things clearly, if you know that the whole universe is one not because someone says so, but because you see so everything will change. If you see existence the way it is, not the way you think it is; everything about you and your relationship with existence will change. Essentially, the work of a Guru is not to bring morality to you but to bring spirituality to you. The difference is just this: one is an imposition, another is a natural blossoming. This is about seeing to it that this human nature reaches its ultimate possibility. If human beings blossom into their ultimate nature, they are naturally the very source of creation, because that is the seed. You did not create yourself; the source of creation is functioning within you.

If you plant a seed, it becomes a plant. When it is a plant, you cannot even believe that it was a seed, but if you wait and it flowers, once again a seed will burst forth. In between, there are many processes. We are not against the sprout, the shoot, the leaves, and the flowers – it is just that we do not want you to be caught up in it. To understand the nature of the seed means, you can create life the way you want it

Creating life the way you want it does not mean building a particular kind of home, building a particular kind of career, having this much money, dressing this or that way. Making this life the way you want it means that this life will function at its best if it is kept the way the Creator intended you to be. If you go back to your original nature we call it the seed if you are conscious of the seed nature within you, you can become a sprout; you can become a plant; you can become a tree; you can become whatever you want, but it will not entangle you.

So what role will a Guru play? He has a strong sense of aesthetics. Because of that, only if you strive to keep yourself open, depending upon how much openness you create, that much of an active role he will be able to play. When you are walking on the street, whether you are walking on the middle of the road, on the pavement or you step into a pit this are not determined by you, these depends upon the fact whether there is enough light for you to see clearly or not. Like that sunlight that helps you to see, a Guru can influence every aspect of your life if you are willing. If you want him to only influence your spiritual life, this will be fine with him too. Some people see that kind of clear sunlight only once a year, when they go on a vacation. Some people wake up early every morning, just to welcome the sun. That is your choice.


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