We call someone our ‘Guru’ when they impart knowledge to us. The word ‘Guru’ also means ‘one who dispels darkness or removes ignorance’. We cannot see in darkness. Ignorance being lack of knowledge is compared to darkness and the one who dispels darkness is called a ‘Guru’.
However to me, the meaning of ‘Guru’ as one who removes ignorance, is easier to relate to.
About 6 years back, I took an interest in vedAntA and that is when I heard the word ‘Guru’ many more times. That is also when I felt that I did not have a ‘Guru’. I got my first opportunity to attend a 5-day session (of 2 hours each) by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Like many others who were queuing up to take his blessings before the discourse, I did so too.. I bent down to take his blessings and felt his look on me. There was something that connected and struck a chord in me. The next five days of attending his sessions were eye openers.
VedAntA I understood then is in the way I need to live my life. Spirituality as a word is not the translation for vedAntA, but in my perspective is the closest word to it in English . Spirituality and religion which until then meant the same to me, suddenly looked different. If I am asked what is the difference, I can at best articulate it as – ‘a spiritual person is also religious but a religious person need not be spiritual’.
I got an opportunity to attend a session for the corporates titled ‘Transformational Leadership’, by Pujya Swamiji. Another eye opener and one that made me ask myself,
– Are handling challenges this easy?
– I change the way I approach a situation and I can actually turn the situation on its head?
– How does my attitude depend on myself and not on the way the others are?
These questions did not fetch me answers immediately but when a friend gifted me a few books written by Pujya Swamiji, I could see these books leading me to the answers. The chord struck a little more deep in me.
I made a few trips after that to Coimbatore to meet Pujya Swamiji, of which a couple of them were my stay at his Ashram at Anaikatti. Every trip blessed me with the opportunity of meeting him for a few minutes. These trips and the few minutes with him helped me to seek some answers for myself. The stay in the ashram is one that needs to be experienced – the ambience, the satsangs, the silence where one is in harmony with nature and oneself, the temple and the pujAs in the temples, the sAtvik food.. This list would go on.
In every trip, it was a learning for me to see the way
– he would talk to people with compassion
– listen to a child reciting a mantra with keenness and a smile; and appreciate the child for the way the mantra was chanted
– carefully listen to what was being spoken; and with a smile correct a word in the sentence with a more appropriate word, if needed
– he would express in child like wonder when he hears something that is new to him
There were a couple more opportunities to attend his sessions in Bangalore and a few more minutes that I got with him, to seek guidance and blessings. His presence radiates so much energy that one can just feel themselves enveloped in that energy. His knowledge, his way of explaining vedAntA leaving no room for ambiguity in the student’s understanding, is truly a blessing to experience his teaching. I picked up more books written by him and more CD’s of his discourses.
My reading and listening of his books and discourses increased. The more I read and listened, the more I realised that I did not know. This made me want to learn more of vedAntA. Writing makes me understand vedAntA better. I started writing my perspectives of what I learnt in vedAntA. The more I wrote, more questions were triggered in me but yet clarity emerged.
‘That nothing is a co incidence’ rings loudly yet melodiously in me..
Today as I write this blog, Pujya Swamiji has attained his mahAsamAdhi about 24 hours ago. People say
– It is true that he is not present here in his physical form but his teachings will always remain, for us to learn from.
– You don’t grieve for a jnAni
– You celebrate the life of a mahAtmA and his teachings
None of this however stops my tears from rolling down; from expressing my grief over the loss of his physical presence. I am a human being first and a student of vedAntA next. I hence let myself shed my tears, welcoming the emotion of grief..
As his student, I have so much more to learn about vedAntA, about myself, and the inner growth I need to work towards.
I bow my head in gratitude for being ‘at the right place at the right time”..
When the sishyA is ready, the guru appears..
Om sri gurubhyO namaH..