Thursday, October 05, 2006

Guru Bhakti – 02

Hare Krishna Dear Friends,

The following incidents have been drawn from the book “Sparks from a Divine Anvil”. The Divine Anvil of the book being Sri Chandrashekara Bharathi Mahasvami. The narration is by Sri Jnanananda Bharathi (Sri R. Krishnaswamy Iyer in his purva-ashrama, an ardent disciple of Mahasvami), the author of the book.

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An earnest disciple approached His Holiness for the solution of a difficulty in his daily Japa.

D. I have been initiated into some Mantras and they relate to different deities. There is a different Dhyana sloka for each. The form of the Deity described in the sloka is sometimes not only un-attractive but is incapable of being conceived of. Even if with some difficulty I am able to form a mental picture, the picture seems to be grotesque. For example, a form with five heads and ten hands, and it is not possible at all to retain that picture for more than a second. Further, after performing a particular Japa, when I pass on to the next Japa, I have to create a mental picture quite different from the former. I find it a great strain to do so. The result is that even the Japa seems to be a strain, however earnest I may be doing it.

H.H. Are you performing the Japas with any definite purpose of invoking the particular Deity, with a view to get any special result? If so, you must undergo the strain and try your best to form a mental picture of the Deity in accordance with the description in the Dhyana sloka.

D. I have no particular object in view.

H.H. That is you have no other object in view than the purification of your mind and the grace of God.

D. Just so.

H.H. In that case, you need not strain yourself to make mental pictures of the Deities appropriate to each Mantra.

D. Am I to understand that the Dhyana slokas need not be repeated?

H.H. Certainly not, they must be repeated.

D. What is the purpose in repeating a Dhyana sloka without a mental picture of the Deity depicted there in?

H.H. I did not say that no mental picture was necessary.

D. If then a mental picture is necessary and if that picture need not correspond to the Dhyana sloka, will there not be a variation, if not a contradiction, between the two?

H.H. Not so, if the mental picture comprehends the particular Deity also.

D. If your Holiness means that the all comprehensive Vishvaroopa form of the God may be had for the mental picture, the difficulty in creating it will be far greater and further such a cumbrous form may be imposing and even terrible, as Arjuna found it, but cannot in any way be attractive enough to hold the attention of the devotee for any appreciable time.

H.H. You are quite right when you say that the Vishvaroopa form is difficult to conceive of and may not be attractive to all. I do not, however, mean any such mental picture.

D. Then what is the mental picture which your Holiness recommends?

H.H. You said that a mental picture which could retain our attention for some time must be easy to create and be at the same time attractive.

D. Yes.

H.H. It will be better still if the picture has not to be created anew but is already in existence.

D. Certainly.

H.H. It will be far better if your mind is not to give it an attractive appearance but it is attractive in itself.

D. Quite so.

H.H. It may be that people who lived long ago had the difficulty that you speak of but certainly we have no such difficulty.

D. How?

H.H. You have seen His Holiness our revered predecessor. Have you not?

D. Yes, I have.

H.H. I am sure that, even if you had seen him but once, he will have made a deep impression on you so that you can easily recall his figure before your mind’s eye.

D. Certainly.

H.H. You will agree also that he had a very attractive personality and it is a genuine pleasure to have his figure before our mental vision.

D. It is so.

H.H. You have here then the two requisites that you wanted, Easiness of Conception and Attractiveness. Instead of taxing your imagination to create for you a picture and to make it attractive enough, you have here a ready made figure of a personality whom you have met in person and who was eminently attractive in all the aspects in which one can attract another.

D. But if I have His Holiness’ figure before my mind’s eye when I perform the Japa of Shiva or Vishnu, will it not be really a contradiction?

H.H. Why should it be? You know that it has been laid down:

Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheswaraha
Guru saakshat Para Brahma Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha

Our very conception of a Guru is that he is verily the Absolute Brahman itself and necessarily includes all its limitations and manifestations. There is therefore no contradiction in having the form of the Guru before you when you are reciting the Dhyana sloka or repeating the Mantra of any particular Deity, for even that Deity is included and inherent in the Guru.

D. Am I to understand that the form of the Guru may be kept in mind whatever may be the Mantra taken up?

H.H. Why not? What is the necessity for changing the form when the Deity of the next Mantra also is included and inherent in that form? When we are told by the Shastras that every Deity is inherent in the cow and in the Brahmana, does it not follow that all the Deities are inherent in our Guru who, even ordinarily speaking, was certainly the best of Brahmanas, was in the highest ashrama, occupied the highest spiritual seat and had reached the highest stage of Atmic realization. Can he not represent any Deity that you want?

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Hari Om,


Blogger vedanta said...


Prostrations to all.

One of the Guru Gita slokas brings out the importance of Guru for a shishya thus:

Na guror adhikam bhaavam (some people use tattvam instead of bhaavam) na guror adhikam tapah
tattvajnaanaat param naasthi tasmai sree gurave namaha

There is no greater thought than the thought of Guru, there is no greater tapas than serving the Guru, there is no greater knowledge than the knowledge of the real tattvam (of Guru), to such a Guru I offer my prostrations.

AMMA says in many places that "if God is angry with a person, the Guru can save him -- but if Guru is angry, then not even God can save the person".

The emphasis on Guru has been brought out in the scriptures as well through various statements like "aacharyavaan purusho veda" (a person with acharya alone knows the reality), "tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevaya" (to know the reality, seek a Guru) etc.

This has also been emphasized by Sankara in one of his works where he says thus:

Advaitam trishu lokeshu na gurunaa saha

Follow advaita bhava towards the three worlds but never towards the Guru.

These scriptural and acharya's statements is being emphasized through practical instruction and implementation by Chandrasekhara Bharathi swamigal beautifully in the incidents in the series.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

8:22 PM  

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