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Why is a Guru essential according to our scriptures?

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    According to our scriptures, a spiritual seeker needs a spiritual guide. Vyasacharya conveys this important idea through Arjuna Saranagathi to Krishna.
    There are many misconceptions that a guru is not required. But our scriptures declare otherwise.
    Krishna himself says in the fourth chapter

    Thadviddhi pranipathena pariprashnena sevayaa
    Upadekshyanthi thae jnaanam jnaaninasthathva darshina: 4.34

    May you gain that knowledge by prostration, by service and by proper enquiry. The wise sages will impart that knowledge to you.

    Kjrishna says Guru is a must and Mundakopanishad declares

    Thadvijnaanaartham sa gurumaeva abhgachcheth
    Samithpani: shrothriyam brahmanishtam 1 . 2 . 12


    Let him ( the student) in order to obtain the knowledge of the eternal, take sacrificial fuel in his hands and approach that preceptor alone who is well-versed in the Vedas and is established in Brahman.

    This mantra gives the complete and exhaustive definition of a guru.
    One should necessarily go to a teacher, which, unfortunately many people think, is not necessary.
    Some say Atma is the guru and one need not search outside. This is not said anywhere in the shastras. Atma is an absolute principle which is not capable of teaching or guiding or blessing.
    Many others say that world itself is the guru. This is not correct because when the world is available in the front, we will interpret it according to our (mis)conceptions and will not learn the proper way.
    My teacher always quotes the story of a person who wanted to correct an alcoholic. He wanted it to be conveyed that alcohol is poison, capable of killing a person. He called the alcoholic to demonstrate. He brought two vessels, one with alcohol and the other one with water. He picked up and dropped two insects and dropped one in each bottle. The insect in alcohol struggled and died. The teacher asked the alcoholic, what lesson he learnt from this experience. The alcoholic said “ from this I learn that whoever consumes alcohol will not have insects in his stomach, but have a clean stomach” !
    Mind always interprets any instance to its advantag if it is week. This clearly illustrates, learning from the world is very often a fallacy.

    People often quote the names of mahathmas who became wise without the help of a guru. They should have been exceptions and cannot be taken as a rule. If a genius like Ramanujam does not require a guide, it does not mean, all schools and colleges should be abolished !
    So, the universal rule is that a guru is required.

    Now, what type of a guru is required for spiritual knowledge ? What we need is consistent , systematic teaching, communication, step by step for a length of time by a competent guru.

    This is because spiritual knowledge is more subtle than objective sciences. The guidance we need is consistent teaching.
    Spiritual energy cannot be passed by any shortcut method ! Krishna’s teaching to Arjuna is in the form of a dialogue and not a monologue. Krishna very often asks “have you understood” ? And arjuna asks questions and doubts. Infact he asks the same doubt which he asked in the beginning of third chapter, again at the beginning of eighteenth chapter ! This shows, the enormous patience required by a guru.

    A definition of guru reads
    Gukarasthvandakaro vai rukarasthannirvathaka:
    Andhakara nivarthithvath gururithyabhideeyathe

    The letter “gu” stands for darkness; “ru” means eliminator;
    Guru means the eliminator of darkness, that is self-ignorance. Hence we require a teaching guru, a physically available guru for interaction. And it is unto such a teacher that a student has to surrender and that is what Arjuna did in the second chapter.

    Love,
    Chithra.




     
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  2. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi chitmam,

    Wonderful explanation. Archarya devo bhava....i salute all teachers...who have taught me...in all walks of life....

    And i also wish that guru is given the same place as before....the respect....
     
  3. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Shanthi,
    Yours is almost an instant F B ! Thankyou !
    All our pujas & prayers start with
    Om s(h)ree Gurubhyo namah
    Salutations to my Gurus.

    They come next only to our parents.
    I am happy, you liked the explanation.
    Love,
    Chithra.



     
  4. vidhi

    vidhi Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Chith

    So the meaning of Guru is Eliminator of darkness. Though I have heard the example of alcohol, water and insect this is the first time I am hearing a meaning ful explanation for it. Yes it is very much true.

    Love
    vidhi
     
  5. arch174

    arch174 Senior IL'ite

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    HI everyone,
    Can I also put forward my little thoughts?
    my father is not a very spiritual person (does not believe in Rituals)..but he instilled right values in his children...he always insisted that we must learn from each and every person whom we meet..young/old,gud/bad..in that sense we grow spiritually also...each moment of our lives
    It is God's gift to always have sumone to guide us esp in the times when we somehow cannot think for ourselves.....we have someone whom we choose in gud times to seek advice in not so gud times
    However knowledgeable we may become there is bound to be someone who is one step ahead of us.....who is more closer to God...may God grant us the humility to recognise the Maker in disguise
     
  6. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Vidhi,
    Thankyou for the feedback.
    I now hasten to add, that my post is about the necessity of a guru for learning scriptures and not life lessons !
    Love,
    Chithra.



     
  7. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    Yet another "enlightening" :idea: post. Thank you so much. As a spiritual seeker I have always known that a Guru is a must to aid me in my path of spirtualness. Also without doubt do I know that my Guru will appear to me when "I" am ready. Through our daily trials and tubulences I feel God is prepping the waters to test if student is ready for the Guru. As I am much slower learner it is going to take time to be ready for Guru. It is not just the physical time but mental time as well. I can see me rambling in ur thread. As per the small story you have given it proves beyond doubt to me that our mind must be ready to recieve the Guru. It truly is a commitment,dedication and desire to absolve us of our worldliness. This is usually propelled by grief or untoward incidents at whcih point the mind slowly turns inward and begins to seek God. So for that journey let me get prepared. Thank you again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2007
  8. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear AC,
    You have understood my post very well, I am happy !
    My spiritual guru made his presence in my life, at the right time, I feel. It was not planned; my intention was strong. Period.
    Ofcourse, it was at a late age & I thought- So be it if that is God's will.
    There is no special preparation, except a strong intention.
    Love
    To
    Chitra
    From
    Chithra.





     
  9. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    I agree to the strong intention part. Somehow I feel tied to grihashara( i mean to say family and world) that the intention is weak. Also how will we know? Would our minds be ready to accept this person as Guru? Could you please elaborate if you dont mind? Thanks.
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear AC,
    It is enough if in the depth of your heart, there is an intention. You do not have to wait or look forward. Things will unfold on their own, God willing.
    One of my school classmates (ofcourse Madurai friend!) has been telling me for years " you attend so many classes related to everything. Its high time you join our vedanta class". I was reluctant for a long time because I feared it would be very challenging to understand vedanta & I might get disillusioned. Infact in 94, I attended the first class, more to please her ! I did struggle to understand for the first few weeks. Then I made a strong intention that I will try my best and apply myself completely to grasp.I gradually realised that I had come to the right path, though at a late age. It was my guru who insisted that I must write these posts on vedanta !
    It is more like his mission that I do, without bothering about replies or views.I enjoy immensely writing this column.
    So the call will come - do not overly worry about it.
    Love
    To
    Chitra
    From
    Chithra.


     

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