There is this song, ‘Ajo Ananthaya, Nitya Shudhaaya Sat-chid-ananda nanada GURU OM!’
Ajo (Never Born), Ananthanya (Infinity), Nitya Shudhaaya (Forever Pure), Sat-chid-ananda (Pure Bliss). That is the Guru tattva or Guru principle.
Guru principle is like Space, and you cannot avoid space. Whether you recognize the Space or not, is another question. You cannot escape Air. Whether you recognize the air or not, is another matter. And Guru Poornima day is the time for you to recognize that there is Space and there is Air! Air is everywhere but when you sit near the fan, you can feel it. In the same way, in the world, in the universe, the Guru principle is there. When you recognize it, you feel great, and you feel blissful. Recognition of the existence of the Guru Principle and the role it has played in life is Guru Poornima. In our body, the throat chakra is for Gratefulness. Above the throat chakra, is the Ajna Chakra, the seat of the Guru. So, Gratefulness is the way to reach the Guru Tattva. Where does the Guru lead one to? To Bliss (top of the head), i.e, the Sahasrara Chakra. So, Guru is sandwiched between Gratefulness and Bliss. This Guru Principle removes darkness, removes all suffering.
When we chant, ‘Bhishaje bhava roginam’, it means, “Guru tattva is the medicine for people who are stuck in small worldly things, plagued by the disease of small-mindedness. It is referred to as a disease because the mind wants to get out of suffering. Guru tattva brings that absolute comfort one aspires for. You know, there are some people who live without light; they don’t even know about electricity. Animals live without electricity, without light; they don’t need it. But human beings need light when it is dark. So, human beings need the Guru tattva, they need knowledge. People living without knowledge are equivalent to animals. One without wisdom lives an animalistic life, not a human life. It is fashionable to be civilized and to have a Guru in life. If there is no Guru in life, it means life is uncivilized; like a person who does not know anything of technology.
It is a privilege, a good fortune to have access to knowledge. And the ancient Seers, from millennia, have preserved this beautiful tradition, and Guru Poornima is the day we feel very grateful! It is an occasion to remember to celebrate life with knowledge, life in knowledge, and life for knowledge. It is wisdom that can eliminate misery in the world. If wisdom cannot bring happiness, nothing else can. So, we have this privilege to spread happiness, wisdom, and knowledge. Wisdom is not just information, it is a quality of our consciousness; it is a quality of life. Wisdom does not come just by studying and attaining degrees, or by stuffing yourself with information. Something triggers inside and you become wise. Some Naadi (energy channel) inside, or some part of your consciousness flips over and wisdom dawns. Wisdom is not attained simply by reading. You cannot just read a lot and be very wise in everything.
Wisdom is a quality of consciousness, a quality of life, and this wisdom gets transmitted in good company. The Presence of the Guru does not bring you any information, it shifts the quality of consciousness, and that is what brings the wisdom in your mind. Now, should we go and sit in front of a Guru all the time to become wise? Not necessary. Wherever you are, simply feel the presence of the Guru tattva. Guru tattva or the seat of the Guru is lodged in between the eyebrows, in the Ajna Chakra, where the pituitary glands are situated. The Ajna Chakra or the space in between the eyebrows is the seat of the Guru. It is situated above the Vishuddhi Chakra, in the throat region pure space. You enter the pure space, you enter into meditation, and you reach the Guru. And it is the Guru who pulls you into meditation. You are stuck in the heart region where there is love, hatred, and fear. If you have to get out of hatred and fear, you have to get into the inner space. And who pulls you into the inner space? The Guru tattva. So, the Guru pulls you into the inner space.
When you come to the inner space, what happens to you? You become pure, i.e., Vishuddhi that means So Pure. The heart becomes pure, the mind becomes pure, and that connects you to bliss, which is the Sahasrahara Chakra. This is the science of Yoga. It’s so amazing if you go into the depth of it. Every moment, it reveals something more. So, do not think that just by words, by reading books, or by stuffing yourself with a lot of information, you can become wise, No! Wisdom comes by that ‘shift’; that is why it is called Grace. What does Grace (or Good luck) mean? Something you cannot explain. If you could explain how you got something, then it is not luck. When do you call something Luck? When you cannot explain the cause of it. Of course, it is the same for bad luck. If you have bad luck, you can’t explain it either. So it is gratefulness, which leads you to Guru tattva and further to Bliss and vice versa. Because, when you find that solace, then you feel more grateful. So, what is wisdom? It is a quality of consciousness; like alertness. What is alertness? Your presence in now! You know when you suddenly become alert, your mind shifts (opens up), and suddenly you are all alive. Words cannot describe what alertness is! In the same way, words cannot describe what wisdom is.
Everybody, some time or the other in life has experienced a little wisdom. Whether one has maintained it or not, is yet another question. It is wisdom that holds the key to happiness. No wisdom, no happiness. So, people seeking happiness will have to go come to the Guru. People seeking knowledge will have to come to the Guru. People seeking a better quality of life have to come to the Guru; they have to acknowledge the Guru principle in their life. One of the saints of the middle ages, a great yogi said, ‘who drinks the nectar? The one who has a Guru. The one who doesn’t have a Guru in his life, goes thirsty, there is no juice in his life; he does not know true joy. But one who has a Guru drinks the nectar; again and again ‘. There is plenty of nectar in the inner realm of our Being. One who has a Guru drinks it in abundance. One without a Guru goes thirsty all his life. He is describing our own physiology. Bliss is above the head, in the Sahasara Chakra. The nectar is there. When there is Guru in life, then you get access to it. Otherwise, life becomes meaningless.Ajo (Never Born), Ananthanya (Infinity), Nitya Shudhaaya (Forever Pure), Sat-chid-ananda (Pure Bliss). That is the Guru tattva or Guru principle. Click To Tweet
There are a lot of beautiful poems written on this. I’ve not read them all, only heard a little bit here and there. But the essence of all that is how the quality of consciousness gets shifted, and this shift is a gift (wisdom is a gift). The company of wise brings bring about a shift in the Consciousness, rather it is given to you as a gift, and you feel thankful. It is not something that you have earned in your life. You cannot earn it, but it is bestowed on you, and there lies the key. Many people think wisdom means reading a lot of books. Wisdom has nothing to do with books. Wisdom has nothing to do with gathering information. It is just the quality of consciousness that shifts in the mind, which is bestowed by the Guru Principle, by acknowledging the Guru in life. One has to acknowledge this. The Guru does not accept or reject anyone. It is the student, the disciple, who accepts a Guru as ‘His Guru’.
In India, there is a famous story of Eklavya (a character from the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata). Eklavya is considered the epitome of devotion. As the story goes, Eklavya wanted to learn archery to save the deer in the forest that was being hunted by the leopards. He was the son of a poor hunter. He went to Dronacharya (a master of advanced military arts) and requested him to teach him archery, but Dronacharya rejected him because he was the teacher of the Royal family, he was a Raj Guru. He was teaching the royal princes of Bharat (India). In the olden days, a teacher of the royal princes cannot take on someone else and teach him archery and make them equal to the prince. It was not considered ethical. He teaches archery to the princes to make them great archers, to protect the Nation. Therefore, the same knowledge cannot be taught to all and sundry. It was forbidden to make anyone else as powerful as the prince. His duty was to not to create a competitor for the prince. Otherwise, the Nation would not be safe and secure. So here, Eklavya wanted to take Dronacharya as his Guru, but Dronacharya would not accept him as per the law of the land. Nevertheless, Eklavya accepted Dronacharya as his Guru. He went home and made a statue of his Guru. He learned archery and became better than the princes. He became an expert. He would just hear the sound of the animal and aim an arrow at it. Arjuna, the prince found out about this. He saw that Eklavya was far better than he was. So, he went to Eklavya and asked him, ‘Who is your Guru?’ Eklavya said, “Dronacharya is my Guru!”
Arjuna went to Dronacharya and questioned, “How is this possible? This is not acceptable. You are supposed to teach only me, but you taught this man and made him more skillful than me.” Dronacharya was baffled about this unknown student of his, whom he had not taught, and who had become a competitor to the prince. They both go to meet this boy. Eklavya leads them to the statue that he made of Dronacharya, whom he considered as his Guru. Dronacharya then says, ‘You have to give me some Dakshina (a fee for learning)’. He asks Eklavya to give him the thumb of his right hand as a token. Eklavya, without a second thought, cuts off his right thumb and gives it to the Guru. Without the thumb, there can be no archery! This story projects the Guru in a very cruel picture. The boy has learned on his own, while Dronacharya goes and asks for his thumb, thereby snatching away his skill. How heartless can a Guru be! This is one way to view this story: the Guru robbing the student of his skill. But the other picture, if it were not for this incident, nobody would have ever heard or spoken about Eklavya. On a superficial level, it seems as if Dronacharya had done gross injustice to Eklavya, but actually, Dronacharya has uplifted Eklavya in status and fame. This one act has made Eklavya immortal. So, when people quote Devotion, they only quote Eklavya, not Arjuna. See the greatness of Dronacharya, he took the blame on himself and uplifted his student. That is why, even if the Guru is wrong, your devotion can never go wrong. But, the Guru is not wrong, it appears as if he was partial to Arjuna but he uplifted Eklavya and preserved his Dharma (duty) too. His duty was to maintain the law of the land: There cannot be anyone better than the prince. This is a beautiful story. There is a full dialogue on this, which is very interesting. Yoga Vasishta has another nice story of how Vasishta gives knowledge to Sri Rama. Very beautifully, Vahishta gives knowledge to Sri Rama and uplifts him from depression; makes him realize that he is incarnate of the Divine and the Light of the world.
So again, wisdom is a quality of Consciousness. It can be developed through sadhana or grace, not through information. Wisdom can directly be instilled in two ways:
1. Through spiritual practices (sadhana). Through sadhana, that quality of consciousness develops in you
2. By placing your attention on it. Whatever you place your attention on, that quality comes into your consciousness. You become that quality. If you keep thinking of someone who is angry all the time, you will also get into that state of anger.
So, wherever the mind goes, it absorbs those qualities. So, when you take your attention on wisdom, then your consciousness becomes that. Someone who is enlightened or very wise is called ‘Pratah Smaraniya.’ It’s a common word used in India. It means that which is worth remembering very first thing in the morning. As soon as you wake up, whom do you think of? Whoever or whatever you think of, your mind assumes that quality. That is why it is said when you wake up in the morning, think of the Guru, or any otherwise person, or any saint. Your consciousness becomes like them. Then, the whole day passes in that state, because you have incorporated wisdom (by remembering the Guru), and the quality of Consciousness has changed to that level. This is called Pratah Smaraniya. A man of great achievement and a saintly person is called ‘Pratah Smaraniya’. Pratah means Morning, and Smaraniya means worth remembering – ‘That which is worth remembering the first thing in the morning’. Usually, people say a prayer before going to bed and when they wake up in the morning. In the morning it is worth remembering those with wisdom so that you become wise. That is a practice, and it makes a lot of sense. We are in a world where emotion attracts emotion. If some people have an emotion, others catch on to that emotion too. Similarly, wisdom catches on to wisdom. In the company of wise people, your quality of consciousness also shifts. If it doesn’t, then you have to think, “Why not?” Maybe Time could be a factor because it is impossible not to change when there is wisdom in somebody around you. Remember this: Wisdom is not information. It is a quality of Consciousness. When you walk around from now on, think that you have a diamond inside you, a gem inside. You have acquired some gems, some wisdom. Walk-in life with the feeling that you have been given something very precious.
Meera, a devotee of Lord Krishna, could not make progress without a Guru. So she went to a cobbler and accepted him as her Guru and burst into the song, ‘Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo’ (meaning: today I got the most precious wealth). Though she was a devotee of Krishna, the Guru gave her the mantra of ‘Ram’. Ram and Krishna are completely contradictory in nature. Whatever Ram did, Krishna undid it all. Have you heard the comparison between Ram and Krishna? Ram was born at 12 Noon and Krishna was born at midnight. When Ram was born, there was a big celebration, but when Krishna was born there was fear all around. Ram was born in a palace whereas Krishna was born in a prison. Ram will not cross the line that his father drew and would obey his father implicitly, and Krishna never listened to his father. Many such things are completely opposite. That’s why people say, “You should follow Ram and not Krishna. You should listen to what Krishna said but you should act like Ram.” It is easier for parents and their spouses.
Meera used to sing the name of Krishna all the time, and her Guru gave her the mantra ‘Ram’. So she sings, ‘Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo’. What I am saying is that, even though her Guru gave her the mantra ‘Ram’, it did not cause any conflict in her. If someone is Christian, a Sikh, a Buddhist or a Hindu, it doesn’t matter. Whatever religion you are born into, or whatever religion you practice, doesn’t matter. Spiritual wisdom carries you forward. So, honor the knowledge. That is why Meera sings, “Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo”. It is a very famous song in India; most Indians have heard this. Meera says that this is a wealth I received, a blessing I received. It is a great wealth!