Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18
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Ignorance is the mire of humanity; the one who rescues us from Avidya or Ignorance is Guru. Gu is Ignorance and Ru is light, the remover of ignorance. The medium of removal is Supreme Spiritual knowledge; the mediator is the Guru. He sheds light where there is darkness. Since Guru is the purveyor of spiritual knowledge and the dispeller of spiritual darkness, he is second only to Brahman. There are variations in the interpretation of Guru. considered in its parts: g, r, u. The g has a function of granting of Siddhis (supernatural powers); the r has the function of expunging the sins; the u portrays the latent unmanifested energy of Vishnu.
Guru came into place when Mantras, Tantras, Yantras had to be committed to memory for practice and posterity. The individual soul is full of spiritual ignorance (avidya); the accomplished Guru is full of spiritual knowledge; they found a mutual fit which leads to Mukta (liberation) of the individual soul. Guru knows the Pinda, the Rupa, and Rupa atitia (body, form and what is beyond the form). Pinda refers to the embodied soul fed by Pinda, food. The form is Saguna Brahman, the visible form of Brahman: Siva and Vishnu. Rupa-Atita is what is beyond the form and refers to Parabrahman, the formless, the nameless and the attributeless. Take Jesus Christ, the son of God; he is the visible form; his Father, the God in heavens, is the invisible formless God. The Pinda is you and me, who know we have a body but ignorant of the immanent soul in us, which is an Amsa (fragment) of the Father. The need of Guru for God realization is illustrated by this analogy. There are many Lotus plants with flowers in the pond. The flowers progressed from bud to blossom from exposure to the sunlight. But when the pond became dry, the same lotus blossoms withered under the sunlight. Thus water is the primary essential element for the Lotus blossom to remain alive. Similarly, the Jiva is the Lotus plant and flower; the water is the Guru; the sun is the Paramatma. For Jiva, Guru is the primary essential element for the spiritual knowledge to blossom to attain Moksa. If there is no source for spiritual knowledge, the soul withers under the scorching radiation of Paramatma.
When Mantras, Tantras and Yantras were uttered, practiced and propagated, there was a need for a Guru or teacher to hold the repository of knowledge in memory. They also became the intermediaries between God and man, the Light and darkness. The Gurus brought the Light of spiritual knowledge and removed the darkness that shrouded the soul. The First Guru in this world is Siva and the First Pupil is Vishnu in the name of Matsyendra, the teacher of Yoga.
The path of Guru is Guru-Krupā-Yoga (Guru-compassion-Yoga), the Path of Guru's Grace.
Hymns by Sankara to Guru
Isa, the Supreme Lord, having been pleased with Bhakti and Vaidika Lakshana of his votaries in their very many previous births, incarnates out of compassion as Guru in a living and breathing form, inculcates in them the knowledge of the ultimate Reality and helps them cross the ocean of misery of this earthly existence.
Vaidika Laksana = Vedic marks = worship according to Vedic Scriptural injunctions.
Tirumanthiram Verse 139:
(of the soul) is to see the Holy Form of Guru, to chant Guruís Holy
name, to hear Guruís holy words, to reflect on the form of Guru.
Illumination (of the soul) is to see the Holy Form of Guru, to chant Guruís Holy name, to hear Guruís holy words, to reflect on the form of Guru.
Guru is the intermediary between God and man; He is the representative of God on this earth; between God and Guru, Guru takes the precedence.
Verse 1. One's Sariram (body) may be of great form, Kalatram (wife) beautiful, dhanam (wealth) as big as Mount Meru;. If the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 2. Wife, wealth, sons, grandsons, home and relatives: all these you may have. If the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 3. Satravidya (Scriptural knowledge) may be on one's lips; one may be Kavitvadi (exponent of poetry); one may write good poetry and prose. If the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 4. In foreign lands, I gain honor and fame; in my own country, I am blessed with wealth; I am of inimitable good conduct. If the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 5. Kings and emperors adore his feet; but if the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 6. Virtue and generosity brought me fame and rewards from all over the world. If the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 7. The mind does not dwell on Bhoga, Yoga, stallions and horses, the face of the beloved and riches; If the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 8: My mind does not abide in neither the forest, nor the house, nor the future accomplishments, nor the body, nor the precious. If the mind is not attached to the Lotus feet of the Guru, of what avail is that?
Verse 9. Man of virtue who studies this Guru Astakam (Octad on Guru), and whose mind abides in his sayings--whether he is Yati (ascetic), Bhupati (Lord of the world), Brahmachari (student), or householder-- realizes his desired goal of union with Brahman.