Volunteering For The Guru/ Guru Karya

Why should we engage ourselves in the service of Our Guru?

According to Vedic scriptures, It is important to seek a real Guru to progress on the path of spirituality. It may take a person about 12 years if he performs his sadhna with utmost sincerity without any Guru. Having a guru, the whole process gets expedited exponentially. A guru takes upon himself to ensure the journey to inner awakening, for his disciples, is smooth and consistent. Highest level of trust and dedication towards the guru frees one from accumulating newer karma. The presence of guru in one’s life makes the transition through harder times easier. Krishna himself instructs in the Bhagavad-Gita to seek shelter of a Guru  and to serve the guru submissively to achieve self-realization:

tad viddhi praṇipātena

paripraśnena sevayā

upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ

jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”

Bhagavad-gita 4.34

 

When we perform prayers with a pure heart, we feel a connection to the deity that we are praying. The deity is nothing but a mirror to show us our true self. It’s a medium to connect us to the supreme consciousness. Going to the Temple, Church or any religious place helps us to turn our senses inwards, it provides us with the serenity where we experience oneness with the whole universe. Mind and ego disappear for some time and the doorway to bliss opens. All these experiences don’t come from outside, they are inside us and we can feel it because we are present in that moment, we are connected to ourselves. We forget all our worries, sorrows, fears, anxieties and pains when we are immersed deeply in our prayers. It happens because during that time we lose our physical identity and are connected to the supreme consciousness on a soul level, a level which transcends all restlessness, all miseries. The soul can only experience eternal peace and blissfulness and that is its true nature.

According to our scriptures, a Guru is a living medium for us to feel that blissful state. There are many couplets in Hindi and Sanskrit where Guru has been accorded a higher stature than God. Guru removes the veil of darkness from our intellect and lets us come face to face with our true self. Service to the Guru is considered more valuable than service to the deities. Guru is like a magnet which can transform any iron into a temporary magnet. Guru is like the fire which passes its energies to iron or wood, and they start behaving like fire. When you serve the Guru with a pure heart and without expectations, it’s the best form of Karma Yoga that can ever be performed. Guru’s grace is automatically bestowed upon you. You are able to perform better than your capabilities because Guru’s energies are supporting you. Guru Seva or volunteering for your Guru brings out your best potential. It teaches you humility, compassion and love for all beings. These qualities are our soul’s natural qualities. Guru Karya helps to sublimate our false ego.

Guru Ashtakam by Adi Shankaracharya is about attaching one’s mind to the lotus feet of the Guru.

शरीरं सुरूपं तथा वा कलत्रं यशश्र्चारु चित्रं धनं मेरुतुल्यं

मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ||1

Your physique may be superb, your consort likewise, your reputation resplendent and renowned, and your riches as high as Mount Meru; yet if your mind is not centered upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what is the use of all this?

कलत्रं धनं पुत्रपौत्रादि सर्वं गृहं बान्धवाः सर्वमेतद्धि जातम्
मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ||2

Wife, wealth, sons, grandsons and all such; home and kindred; all these things maybe there; yet if your mind is not centered upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what is the use of all this?

षडङ्गादिवेदो मुखे शास्त्रविद्या कवित्वादि गद्यं सुपद्यं करोति
मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं || 3

The Vedas with their six limbs and the knowledge of all sciences may be on your lips; you may possess the poetic gift and may compose prose and poetry; yet if your mind is not centered upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what is the use of all this?

विदेशेषु मान्यः स्वदेशेषु धन्यः सदाचारवृत्तेषु मत्तो न चान्यः
मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ||4

You may be honored in other lands and prosperous in your homeland; in the paths of righteous conduct there is none who surpasses you; yet if your mind is not centered upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

क्षमामण्डले भूपभूपालवृन्दैः सदासेवितं यस्य पादारविन्दं
मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ||5

You may be constantly extolled and your presence may be highly honored by hosts of emperors and rulers of this world; yet if your mind is not centered upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

यशो मे गतं दिक्षु दानप्रतापा जगद्वस्तु सर्वं करे यत्प्रसादात्
मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं || 6

Your reputation may have traveled in all directions through philanthropy and prowess; all the things of this world are in your hands as rewards for your virtue, still if your mind is not centered upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

न भोगे न योगे न वा वाजिराजौ न कान्तामुखे नैव वित्तेषु चित्तं
मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ||7

Even if nothing attracts you and you have practiced dispassion through yogic practices towards objects of sense pleasures, still if your mind is not centered on the lotus feet of your guru, it is of no use.

अरण्ये न वा स्वस्य गेहे न कार्ये न देहे मनो वर्तते मे त्वनर्घ्ये
मनश्र्चेन लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ||8

The mind may have attained vairagya for all things around you, even for your body,. Still if your mind is not centered upon the lotus feet of your guru, it is of no use

 

Abha Bajaj is the editor and admin of Galaxy of Yoga E Magazine. She is a seasoned Yoga Instructor and Yoga Therapist, based in Singapore. She firmly believes that yoga is a way of life and not just a tool for physical and psychological well being. Her deep thirst for deeper understanding of yogic philosophy brought her under the guidance of Dr.Omanand (Guruji) and affirmed her belief that when the seeker seeks,the Guru appears.

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Abha Bajaj is the editor and admin of Galaxy of Yoga E Magazine. She is a seasoned Yoga Instructor and Yoga Therapist, based in Singapore. She firmly believes that yoga is a way of life and not just a tool for physical and psychological well being. Her deep thirst for deeper understanding of yogic philosophy brought her under the guidance of Dr.Omanand (Guruji) and affirmed her belief that when the seeker seeks,the Guru appears.

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