Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrating devotion

Gurupurnima is called the day of the Master, but it is actually the day of the devotee.

There are three types of people who come to the Master - the student, the disciple and the devotee. A student goes to a teacher and learns something, gets some information and walks out of the school. The student is the one, who collects information, but the information is not knowledge, it is not wisdom.

Then, there is the disciple; the disciple follows the example of the Master. But a disciple is with the Master for the sake of learning wisdom, for the sake of improving his life, for attaining enlightenment. He is trying to bring a transformation in his life.

And then there is a devotee. A devotee is not there even for wisdom. He is simply rejoicing in love. He has fallen in deep love with the Master, with Infinity, with God. Students are in abundance, disciples are a few, but the devotees are rare.

One of Buddha’s disciples named Sariputra achieved enlightenment. Soon thereafter, Buddha told him, “Now you go ahead, go into the world and preach, teach, and do the same work I do. Carry on my work.” As instructed, Sariputra left Buddha, but he was crying. People asked him, “Why are you crying when you are enlightened?” He replied, “Who cares about this enlightenment? It could have waited. I would have waited. I didn’t even bother about it or ask for it because the joy of being at the feet of Buddha was so great. Being a devotee was so great. I cry now because I miss it. I would have preferred that to this enlightenment.” He said.

Who is a Guru? A Guru is just like a window. Guru simply means one who brings more joy, more alertness, and more awareness into your life. A Guru is not one who holds any authority over you. A Guru is not one who dictates terms to you. Rather, a Guru encourages you to be in touch with yourself. A Guru reminds you to live in the present moment, and a Guru takes away the guilt, agitation, sorrow, and anguish, which allows you to be yourself. That in the true sense is the meaning of Guru. A Guru does not simply fill you with knowledge, but he kindles the life force in you. In the presence of the Guru, you become more alive. The Guru invokes not only intelligence but also the intellect in you. Knowledge may not invoke intelligence, but in a state of intelligence, knowledge is inherent.

In the Upanishads, five signs of sadguru are mentioned. In the presence of a sadguru knowledge flourishes (Gyana raksha), sorrow diminishes (dukha kshaya), joy wells up without any reason (sukha aavirbhava), abundance dawns (samriddhi) and all talent manifest (sarva samvardhan).

Once you have found a sadguru, remember that he or she is always there with you, watching and giving you wisdom. Spiritual path is not only a path of learning more; it is also a path of unlearning. Learning has no end; unlearning has an end. The true path is one that takes you home and kindles that deep love in you.

Love is not just an act. It is our very nature. It is what we are made up of. Love is something that even the Divine rejoices in. The infinity longs for you as much as you long for it. It is waiting to receive you. It is as anxious as you are to be near. So when a devotee flowers in this planet, infinity is very happy.

Understand that you are the number one devotee, and feel grateful for the great knowledge you have received from your Master. Turn back and see how they changed and developed in the last one year. Assess what you have learnt and how have you grown in knowledge. This Guru Purnima rise in devotion.

- His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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