- Components present in the Guru necessary to kindle chanting (spiritual practice) in others
- The spiritual level of the one imparting the Name and the importance of the words in the Name
- Misconcepts about the gurumantra
- Receiving a gurumantra
- Who receives a gurumantra ?
- Receiving a gurumantra through a vision in a dream
- Do not ask for a gurumantra
- Not imparting a gurumantra to one or not advising spiritual practice
- The Guru's referral to another Guru
- The real gurumantra
- Power of the gurumantra imparted by the Guru
- Receiving a gurumantra from the Guru principle
- The ritual of imparting a gurumantra and the spiritual experience of the disciple at that moment
- No reduction in the Guru's energy by His imparting a gurumantra
- Energy in a gurumantra persists even when the Guru renounces His body by attaining the superconscious state (samadhi)
- Where should one chant a gurumantra ?
- Why is it said that 'A gurumantra should be kept a secret ?'
- A gurumantra is not necessary !
Though the word gurumantra includes the word mantra in it, it mostly implies to which Name of The Lord a disciple should chant.
One should chant the Name recommended by the Guru rather than chanting the Name of one's favourite deity for the following reasons.
1. One does not understand which Name is best suited for one's own spiritual progress. Only the Guru is capable of providing this guidance.
2. Chanting the Name of one's favourite deity helps only to raise one's sattvik (sattva predominant) nature. The gurumantra however can take one upto the unmanifest state (nirgun), that is beyond the three components (trigunatit).
3. The gurumantra does not contain mere letters but has spiritual knowledge (dnyan), divine consciousness (chaitanya) and the Guru's blessings. Hence spiritual progress is faster. This Name containing divine consciousness is called a sabija or a divine mantra. However, one has to practise Spirituality to obtain the ultimate result by chanting the sabija mantra.
4. Due to faith in the Guru, one chants the gurumantra with greater faith than the mantra decided upon by oneself. Also when remembering the Guru one tends to chant the Name given by Him and thus one's chanting increases.
5. When one chants the Name of one's favourite deity atleast some amount of ego accompanies it. On the contrary, when chanting the Name recommended by the Guru there is no ego.
The importance of the gurumantra will be illustrated from the following example. RamgaDvale Baba who was over 180 years old undertook spiritual practice for over a hundred years. People in the vicinity of Omkareshvar knew Him as Baba for the past fifty years. Several people used to experience His spiritual prowess.
Since our Guru's gurubandhu H.H. Bhuranandbaba renounced His body, His disciple Parmanand has been looking after His hut at MehetakheDi. Parmanand's name before he became an ascetic was Dilip. In the past six to seven years RamgaDvale Baba usually stayed in that hut and Parmanand served Him. Since the beginning of 1996, Baba's health started deteriorating. He almost stopped eating and drinking. He would pass urine and stool on the bed. Often He would ask, “Dilip, shall I sleep on your lap ?” Parmanand would agree. Baba would sleep thus for two to four hours. On 16thAugust 1996, around 4 o'clock in the afternoon Baba began shouting, “Call Dilip, call Dilip.” Hearing this Parmanand rushed to His side. He asked Paramanand to 'give Him water'. After drinking the water He said, “This ordeal has occurred because I chanted an efficacious (siddha) mantra, but did not receive a gurumantra. Recite the mantra that Bhuranand Baba gave whilst initiating you, once and move your hand above My head”. After Dilip followed His instructions He said, “Now lay Me down. The ordeal is over”. After laying Him down on the mattress He immediately breathed His last. Baba's spiritual progress was at standstill because despite undertaking spiritual practice for several years, He had not received a gurumantra. The moment He acquired it He was liberated. A gurumantra obtained in this way is useful only from the psychological point of view.
Chanting, service, sacrifice, love for others without any expectation (priti), faith, etc. should be atleast 70%. (In an average person these attributes range from 0% - 2%.) The ego has to be as low as 5%. (In an average individual it is 30%.)
level of the one the Name %
|Importance of the
words in the Name %
|Amount of divine
energy in the imparted Name %
|90 (Paratpar Guru)||1||100|
One will realise from the above table how a saint of the highest level (for example Shri Brahmachaitanya Maharaj Gondavlekar) recommends chanting of the same Name (Shrirama's) to everyone, yet it proves to be beneficial maximally. Those with a lower spiritual level who advise chanting to others should recommend the Name appropriate for them as otherwise those chanting it do not benefit much. Some saints of the highest level however recommend various mantras to different disciples depending on their requirement. 'Once Baba imparted the gurumantra “Whatever has to happen will happen” to someone ! In reality the Guru's resolve is important, not the words in the gurumantra.'
The above table also indicates that even if the one imparting the Name has a spiritual level between 70% and 90% the divine consciousness / energy in the Name which He imparts is more. The reason for this is that saints of 70% to 90% spiritual level are assisted by saints more evolved than Them.
Many people harbour the following misconcepts about the gurumantra. The reason for development of these misconcepts is unfamiliarity with spiritual terminology.
1. Baba often tells people, “Chant Hari Om Tatsat (? ??? ? ?????? ?)”. Then they begin to feel that they have been initiated with a gurumantra by Baba. However when Baba tells someone to chant “Hari Om Tatsat” the implied meaning is “Chant The Lord's Name”. Gondavlekar Maharaj used to recommend chanting of Rama's Name to everyone. His books too recommend the same but here the meaning is “Chant The Lord's Name”. Not being able to understand this, several individuals feel they have been blessed by a Guru. Then they wonder why they are not getting any spiritual experiences despite their having a Guru when actually they have not been blessed by one.
2. At times on Gurupournima day Baba imparts the gurumantra at the insistence of His disciples. But even those mantras are not real gurumantras.
3. When a seeker is initiated with a gurumantra he becomes a disciple. But when the discipleship is namesake, how can the gurumantra be real ? Baba says, “When the disciple is not serious, the Guru too is not !” But since most of them are unable to understand this, they consider themselves disciples of Baba.
4. Since Baba refers to both, those who merely pay their respects to Him as well as seekers as devotees or disciples, many are convinced that “I am Baba's disciple”. Since Baba views everyone with equanimity He does not get thoughts like “He is My disciple” and “He is not My disciple”.As a result, He calls each one His disciple.
Only one who has intense desire for Liberation (mumukshutva) or for being blessed by a Guru (guruprapti) and intense motivation to obtain His grace, is initiated with a gurumantra.
If one considers the spiritual level of an average person as 20% and that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) as 100% then the average individual is not at all interested in Spirituality. An individual with 30% spiritual level performs ritualistic worship (puja) of deities, recites holy verses and goes to the temple. At a spiritual level of 40% he is able to chant. At a spiritual level of 50% he does service and at 60%, sacrifice in the real sense of the word commences. At 55% he is blessed by a Guru and is initiated with a gurumantra. In short, only when one's interest in Spirituality exceeds 50% does a saint behave as a Guru towards that seeker. Only when one sacrifices more than 55% of one's body, mind and wealth for Spirituality does one receive a gurumantra. Hence inspite of remaining in the Guru's company for several years people are not initiated with a gurumantra because they have not attained the required spiritual level.' (29)
Saint Tukaram's example is famous for this. He was initiated with the gurumantra 'Rama Krushna Hari (??? ????? ???)' by His Guru Babaji Chaitanya through a vision in a dream. When the Guru imparted this mantra to Him, He (the Guru) had renounced His body. The following points will help one to recognise whether the mantra in a dream is psychological, based on the rule that 'one dreams in accordance with impressions in the subconscious mind' or spiritual in nature, that is whether a vision in a dream is true.
1. If a mantra is repeated in a dream on three consecutive nights, it indicates a spiritual dream.
2. If a spiritually evolved person is asked then He deciphers whether the mantra in the dream is psychological or spiritual.
One should not ask any Guru for a gurumantra. Not just a gurumantra but a Guru does not give anything that one does not deserve and if deserving then He gives it Himself. Once when Bhau Bidvai (Achyutanand), one of Baba's disciples was leaving for his office Baba summoned him and initiated him with a gurumantra.'
6.4.1 Not imparting a gurumantra to the undeserving : 'Once a person came pleading to Saint Eknath to be initiated as His disciple. Just as water poured over a pot placed upside down goes waste, so also is preaching to a mind full of attachment. That man was Eknath's neighbour and used to ridicule Him. Knowing that it would be futile to initiate him, Eknath deliberately avoided initiating him that day saying, “Today is not an auspicious day. I will see which day is auspicious and will let you know” and sent him off. Two years later the man returned and began pestering Eknath for an initiation. Eknath replied “Come tomorrow morning at eight o'clock.”
The next day Eknath instructed His family members to keep everything except the water ready for the ritualistic worship (puja). Just then the man seeking initiation arrived and sat comfortably in the verandah of Saint Eknath's house. As planned Eknath said, “What has happened to everyone today ? They have kept everything except the water ready for the ritualistic worship” and then began pacing up and down with a tumbler. When Eknath came out the man said, “Maharaj, when will You initiate me ? Once You do so I will be able to go to the fields happily.” Eknath replied “You are pestering Me to initiate you since the past two years. For so long you have seen Me pace up and down for water for the ritualistic worship, with a tumbler but you did not even offer “to fetch the water”. Actually you have come after a ritualistic bath wearing auspicious clothes (sovLe). So if you were to fetch water immediately you would certainly be initiated today. If you are unable to fetch water which is free of charge from a distance of just fifty steps due to your laziness, then how will you be able to offer your body, speech, mind, wealth, etc. in the service of the Guru ? You are still not prepared to receive initiation, let us see later !” Saying thus Eknath sent him away.'
6.4.2 Not imparting a gurumantra till one is prepared to receiveit : 'Once MartanD (Nanamaharaj Taranekar in His childhood) obstinately told his father, “Father, give me a gurumantra and make me Your disciple.” The father responded, “I impart gurumantras to others but I have not received any directive from Lord Datta to initiate you.” So MartanD asked, “Then what should I do ? Who is my Guru ? Which deity should I worship so that I am blessed by a Sadguru (guruprapti)?” Seeing the child's motivation Shankarshastri told him, “Do periodic readings (parayans) of the Shri Gurucharitra. You will be blessed by a Sadguru because of the grace akin to divine nectar (amrut), of this monarch of holy texts”.'
6.4.3 The disciple too is Brahman : 'If everything is Brahman then is the disciple any different from Brahman ?' Considering this some saints inspite of being eligible to become Gurus do not get involved with becoming Gurus and discipleship. According to Them when a seeker comes in contact with such a saint at the opportune moment he can be spiritually uplifted instantaneously. They behave in this manner according to the rule that 'He moulds one like Himself at once, it requires hardly any time.' Hence considering 'a Guru-disciple relationship as inferior' such Gurus send seekers who visit them to other Gurus.
a. 'Baba did not initiate a disciple with a gurumantra inspite of the disciple's being with Him for sixteen years but did so at the behest of another disciple. Two to three days later the newly initiated disciple suffered from a stroke and was hospitalised. When Baba visited him in the hospital the following conversation took place.
The disciple: Baba, I forgot the gurumantra.
Baba : Never mind. But when you had a stroke did you not remember the Name of the female deity (devi) ?
The disciple: Yes, but since then I forgot the gurumantra that You initiated me with.
Baba : It was I who gave the female deity's mantra too. That spiritual practice is still going on.
During a conversation that disciple told the compilers that he had been worshipping the female deity since childhood. His chanting of its Name was continuous. Knowing this, Baba had not given him a gurumantra for sixteen years. He gave him the gurumantra at the request of another devotee but then made him forget it and thus eliminated the confusion in his mind about which Name he should chant, the female deity's or that imparted by Baba. He made him forget the gurumantra also so that the devotee on whose behest He had given it would not develop ego that “Baba gave a gurumantra to someone after my telling Him to do so”.
b. If both spouses are His disciples then at times Baba initiates only the husband with a gurumantra and asks him to initiate his wife with the same mantra. Sometimes He does not do so. In this context Baba says, “If a wife serves her husband and is chaste (pativrata), then if her husband who is a seeker attains the Final Liberation (Moksha) she will follow suit. Hence she does not require another gurumantra”.'
6.4.5 Having a different Guru according to the Guru lineage : 'This is my personal experience - When I went to GuLavni Maharaj He told me that I was already blessed with the grace of Dnyaneshvar Maharaj of ALandi and that I would meet a Guru of the same lineage.'
1. If a disciple feels that 'a saint other than this Guru should be my Guru' and if the Guru considers the other saint to be really great then He sends him to that saint.
2. If another Guru had been the Guru of the seeker in the past birth then He sends him to that Guru.
3. After completion of specific spiritual practice the Guru sends the disciple for further spiritual practice to an appropriate Guru from that path. After we completed spiritual practice from the Path of Yoga as advised by H.H. Anna Karandikar of Äahanu within a year He told us, “Bhaktaraj Maharaj of Indore is your Guru (from the Path of Devotion). Never leave His side.”
4. If a disciple and a Guru progress with the same pace then the same Guru continues to be his Guru. However if the disciple makes progress faster than the Guru then the Guru refers him to another Guru (Sadguru).
When the Guru spontaneously tells one to chant a Name, it is a gurumantra.
'However once a gurumantra is imparted it is not the ultimate. It is necessary to continue that chanting and to complement it with service, sacrifice and love for others.
A disciple of Baba had been given various gurumantras by different saints in 1967, 1971, 1975 and 1977. When in 1980 Baba gave him a gurumantra during Gurupournima he questioned Baba, “When various saints have advised me to do specific chanting why should I chant only what You have advised ?” Upon this Baba replied, “Continue that chanting which occurs automatically.” Three to four months later only the chanting which Baba had recommended continued, the rest stopped.'
9.1 Power of the appropriate mantra : A seeker had been chanting the thousand Names of the deity Lalita (Lalitasahasranam) twenty times daily for twenty-two years. So in a day he would chant twenty thousand times. Despite this he was not getting any spiritual experiences. He had also read many books on Spirituality. At our first workshop when told 'Chant the Name of your family deity (kuladevata)' he said, “How can I give up the chanting that I have been doing for the past twenty-two years ? I will attend the workshop but will continue to chant whatever I am currently doing.” At the very next workshop a lady narrated how after chanting the family deity's Name for a month she was experiencing Bliss. Hearing this, at the end of the workshop that seeker asked, “What is the minimum chanting of the family deity's Name that I should do ? The rest of the time I will chant the thousand Names of Lalita.” We told him, “Chant six rounds of the maLa (rosary) everyday.” That night he experienced Bliss as never before in his life. Then he asked another seeker, “Did the Guru transfer His energy (shaktipat)?” He got this spiritual experience so fast not because the Guru had transferred His energy but because he had chanted the appropriate Name.
'Khombare Guruji of NarsobavaDi had been initiated with a gurumantra by Swami Rameshvaranand. Several years later when Khombare Guruji was in a coma, Baba whispered the same mantra in his ear and he regained consciousness.'
11. The ritual of imparting a gurumantra and the spiritual experience of the disciple at that moment
'Most people feel that there is a ritual for imparting a gurumantra, that at an auspicious time they should bathe and go to the Guru with a coconut, a garland, peDhas (a sweet delicacy), money, etc. But in reality, with Baba it is not so. How will Baba think of an auspicious moment (muhurt) when He is already beyond the restrictions of purity and seclusion, time, place, etc. ? Every moment that He chooses is auspicious. With regard to the offerings Baba says, “Am I madto accept transient objects from you and give you the eternal ?”.''Give Me what I want, your mind. Only then will you be blessed with the real gurumantra. If not thenyou will get the namesake gurumantra meant for the “namesake disciple”.'The Guru desires spiritual emotion (bhav). 'If there is spiritual emotion one receives a gurumantra'.
'Baba initiated Mr. Vyankatraman of Vishakhapattnam with a gurumantra at the 1993 Gurupournima in Goa. He has described that ritual in the following words - “I am indeed very fortunate that on the auspicious day of Vyas pournima Baba summoned me and initiated me with a gurumantra. At that time I performed all the rituals simply, meticulously following the norms and Baba too did everything informally and casually. Baba gently said, “Close your eyes. Do not make efforts to chant the mantra deliberately. Just concentrate on what happens internally. Chanting will commence automatically.” I complied with His instructions and it actually occurred according to His wish. Somewhere deep down I realised that my chanting had automatically started along with the breath. It was as if a streak of light shone in front of me and spread within me. This, aminorexperience as a sample of “spiritual knowledge” is the best gift that Baba has endowed me with”.'
Inspite of giving an initiation, a gurumantra, etc. or bestowing a blessing or grace upon several people there is no reduction in the Guru's energy. The reasons for this are given below.
1. Energy is never utilised when performing a task for the Absolute Truth. It is wasted only in actions related to the Great Illusion(Maya).
2. Since the Guru is really the manifest form of God He too possesses unlimited energy like God.
13. Energy in a gurumantra persists even when the Guru renounces His body by attaining the superconscious state (samadhi)
Since when imparting a gurumantra the Guru charges it with energy, that energy in the gurumantra does not diminish even after His renunciation of the body.
'Baba's gurumantra is from the Path of Devotion and is not related to the stage of ritualistic worship (karmakand) so it can be chanted anywhere for twenty-four hours of the day. Baba Himself has told some people to chant in the toilet, during menses, during the period of seclusion after childbirth and mourning (soyar-sutak) or under all circumstances for that matter.' All places and time have been created by God Himself so there is no question of chanting the gurumantra at a particular place or time. However, if the GuruHimself has imposed some restrictions, then they should certainly be followed.
1. When initiating a seeker with a mantra, the Guru considers his requirements and incorporates His energy into it. When the same mantra is told by that seeker to someone else the latter does not benefit from it as the former does not have spiritual energy. If this happens, then there is a possibility that on hearing the latter's experience the former may also get misled and he too may give up spiritual practice.
2. When one has to keep some secret one remembers it incessantly. Similarly when a mantra has to be kept a secret, the chanting of the mantra increases.
3. Since each one's mantra is different one knowing the other's mantra would not be of any use to the other.
4. A gurumantra is not simple chanting of The Lord's Name but a mantra so if one chants another's mantra wrongly it may prove harmful to oneself. [Refer 'Science of Spirituality : Chapter 10 - Path of Mantra (Mantrayoga), point - Pronunciation and its importance'.]
However, when conversing with other seekers there is no need to keep a mantra or any other spiritual practice a secret as through it everyone is able to learn something. Besides, discussion does not cause any harm. The gurumantra we were initiated with is 'Shrirama jai Rama jai jai Rama (? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?? ??? ||)'.
Ramanuj had been given the gurumantra 'Om namo Narayanaya (? ? ??? ???????? ?)' by Goshthipurna. Goshthipurna had asked Him to keep this a secret. Since He was told that 'one can attain Liberation (Mukti) with this mantra', Ramanuj climbed the roof of a nearby temple and started chanting the mantra aloud. Several passers-by heard this mantra. When Goshthipurna heard this He was enraged and told Ramanuj, “You have disobeyed My order. You will languish in hell.” Ramanuj responded, “If by Your grace all these people attain Liberation then I will happily go to hell.” Hearing this Goshthipurna was pleased and said, “From today onwards the doctrine of Qualified Non-dualism (vishishtadvait) which regards Brahman and Prakruti as identical and real entities will be known as 'Ramanujdarshan' afteryou.”
Just as parents of a child and the child, both do not need to tell each other that they love one another, so also in a true Guru-disciple relationship a disciple realises that the Guru has bestowed His grace upon him. The Guru does not need to tell him that. Yet in the beginning most disciples do not perceive that the Guru has showered His grace upon them. The Guru imparts a gurumantra for them to realise that. Consequently the disciple begins to feel that he has a Guru who takes care of him and endows him with His grace.
(Ref: Sanatan's Publication - 'Path of Guru's Grace (Gurukrupayoga)')