The spirit of the festival Diwali dwells in lighting diyas (earthen lamps), which symbolises the inner awakening or enlightenment. The spirit of the festival of colours i.e. Holi, lies in spreading harmony. The spirit of Christmas lies in sharing be it gifts or heartfelt wishes for others. The spirit of Eid lies in charity. Similarly, the spirit of the most auspicious festival for all disciples across the world i.e. Guru Purnima or Guru Puja lies in expressing the purest and reverential feelings of love and gratitude towards the Guru. Also, this festival marks the dawn of a spiritual new year where disciples embark upon with new enthusiasm, resolutions and rejuvenated spirits on the path of devotion.
The festival finds its origin in the era of the great sage Ved Vyasa. It is celebrated every year on Ashadh Punam, the day this legendary figure was born, who classified the four Vedas, wrote 18 Puranas, the Brahm Sutras and uttered Mahabharata, which was penned by Lord Ganesha Himself. Through his intense literary classification and compositions of the great epics and scriptures, he opened the portals of the esoteric world of spirituality for the inquisitives. He also, following the eternal Vedic regime, initiated his disciples into the eternal science of Brahm Gyan. In the honour of such divine personage and to worship the Perfect Master or the Sadguru of the time, who by bestowing the same eternal knowledge of Brahm Gyan ushers the disciple towards his ultimate blissful destination, this festival is celebrated with great exuberance and devotion.
Verily, worshipping has been equated with Gods and deities residing in the heavenly abode. Most of us all through our lives have seen our elders or have ourselves bowed in front of their immortal power. Why then this tradition of worshipping someone with a physical garb, living within the brackets of the mortal world surfaced in the annals of our glorious history? In other words, why do we worship a Guru?
A bird's eye view of all the Vedas, scriptures and texts of wisdom would easily provide us with the fact that the Guru is the ultimate power in both worlds. He is the Living GOD– Generator, Operator and Destroyer of the life of a disciple. He amalgamates in himself all the three roles i.e. the role of a creator, protector and exterminator for his disciples. Therefore, in our Vedic tradition we worship the Guru before anyone else.
Let's analyse all the three roles of a Guru on the basis of the scriptural, psychological and historical evidences.
THE ROLE OF A CREATOR
As per the Vedic wisdom and our sages, there are two births of a human being. The first one is through his mother's womb and the second one is through the spiritual womb of his Guru.
Our Vedas elucidate the same–
Aacharya Upanyamano Brahmcharinam
(Atrahva Veda- 11:3:5:3)
Meaning, Acharya (Guru) at the time of Upanayan Sanskaar (bestowing Brahm Gyan) bears his disciple in his spiritual womb.
Just as a new life gets initiated in the womb of a mother, similarly, the initiation of a disciple into Brahm Gyan under the patronage of a Sadguru marks his becoming a Dwij that is 'being born again'. This second birth is considered much more glorified and superior than his first birth. Reason being, the first birth culminates in the mortuary whereas the second birth culminates in eternity. Also, the second birth sets him free from the vicious cycle of transmigration and eventually leads him to reside in the ultimate bliss. Moreover, as after taking birth from the mother's womb we enter this mortal world, similarly, after being born through the spiritual womb of a Guru, we enter the inner-immortal world where we come face to face with the wonderful reign of the Supreme Being. Jesus Christ also proclaimed– “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
When the mother of cowherd Chandragupta confronted Acharya Chanakya, who wanted to take her son along with him to the University of Takshashila, she said– 'You can't take my son; I have given birth to him. I bore him in my womb for nine months. He is my dream.' Acharya Chanakya humbly replied– 'I have done his Upanayan Sanskaar (bestowed him with Brahm Gyan). I too have borne him in my spiritual womb. He might be a dream for you, but only I can translate that dream into reality. You have given birth to a probability, but only under my spiritual wings it will become a possibility.' History stands witness how an ordinary boy who wandered on the streets as a cowherd, under the patronage of Acharya Chanakya was transformed into the King of the Kings– Chandragupta Maurya, who unified the nation and established the kingdom of righteousness.
Hence, a Guru like a spiritual mother not just brings forth his disciple in the cosmic world of eternity, but also brings out the best in him.
THE ROLE OF A PROTECTOR
After giving birth, a mother is very protective about her child especially when he is an infant. She always stays close to her child, guards him and watches over him. Similarly, a Guru, after initiating the disciple into the realm of the spiritual world does not abandon him. Rather, he always stays close to him. A disciple, who abides by all the commandments of his Guru, always feels his presence around him. He feels an all-time inner-connection with his Guru, which eventually strengthens with time. However, a mother can protect and guard her child only in this life; but a Guru is such a protector who shields and guards his disciple even beyond life. An incident from the life of Lahiri Mahashya when he met his Guru Mahavtari Babaji for the first time, in a cave on the Dronagiri Mountain, verily stands evidence to this.
When Mahavtari Baba gently struck on Lahiri's forehead, he retrieved everything about his previous birth. He writes, “…the saint approached and struck me gently on the forehead. At his magnetic touch, a wondrous current swept through my brain, releasing the sweet seed-memories of my previous life. 'I remember!' My voice was half-choked with joyous sobs. 'You are my guru Babaji, who has belonged to me always! Scenes of the past arise vividly in my mind; here in this cave I spent many years of my last incarnation!' As ineffable recollections overwhelmed me, I tearfully embraced my master's feet. 'For more than three decades I have waited for you here– waited for you to return to me!' Babaji's voice rang with celestial love. 'You slipped away and vanished into the tumultuous waves of life beyond death. The magic wand of your karma touched you, and you were gone! Though you lost sight of me, never did I lose sight of you! I pursued you over the luminescent astral sea where the glorious angels sail. Through gloom, storm, upheaval, and light I followed you, like a mother bird guarding her young. As you lived out your human term of womb-life, and emerged a babe, my eye was ever on you. When you covered your tiny form in the lotus posture under the Nadia sands in your childhood, I was invisibly present! Patiently, month after month, year after year, I have watched over you, waiting for this perfect day. Now you are with me!’
Moreover, in the role of a protector, a Guru also shields his disciple at the psychological and emotional levels. A Guru, with his pure love and faith, gives his disciple a strong foundational support, upon which a disciple resolutely treads the path of his life while making the correct decisions. His divine love shields him from the negative effects of the feigned material love of the world.
Swami Vivekananda often quoted– '…ever since our first meeting, it was the Master (Ramakrishna Paramhansa) alone who had faith in me– no one else, not even my own mother and brothers. That faith and that love of his have bound me to him forever. The Master was the only one who knew how to love and who really loved. Worldly people only feign love to gratify their own self-interest.'
Indeed, it is the selfless love and prowess of a Perfect Master, who as a divine protector guides and shields his disciple (at all the three levels– physical, psychological and spiritual) from all impending dangers.
THE ROLE OF AN EXTERMINATOR
Lord Shiva in the Vedic texts has been referred to as the God of destruction. It is not mere destruction but 'constructive destruction'. To understand the concept of constructive destruction, in contemporary parlance, we may cite an example of personal computers. With the arrival of personal computers, the economy significantly profited without much economic upheaval. It raised the productivity and ushered in significant value for many. But at the same time, computers killed the market for typewriters. Typewriters became obsolete and organisations investing in them certainly lost out. Similarly, the market for all the small gadgets– like, MP3 players, point-and-shoot cameras, wrist watches, voice recorders and calculators got swallowed by all-in-one efficient Smartphones. For the development and growth, constructive destruction, i.e. eradication of smaller insignificant things holds great importance in the business world.
In the spiritual world as well, constructive destruction is done by the Guru in the life of his disciple. Our scriptures proclaim, 'Gururdevo Maheshwaraha'– A Guru like Lord Shiva brings in constructive destruction in the life of his disciple. For his growth and development, he too exterminates and eradicates all the obsolete, redundant and unwanted thoughts from his mind and ushers him towards a more significant and supreme goal of his life. This constructive destruction facilitates the self-development of a disciple, which eventually helps him climb the ladder to success in life.
A Guru characteristically plays the role of a Generator, Operator and Destroyer (GOD) for his disciple and leads him all the way to eternity from mortality. Hence, worshipping the Guru holds a great importance in the life of a disciple. Therefore, we being fortunate to be the disciples of the Perfect Spiritual Master of the time, H.H. Ashutosh Maharaj Ji, let us celebrate this most auspicious festival with great enthusiasm and devotion.