- 1. The types of disciples
- 2. The Guru’s forms and His worship
- 3. How should one behave with the Guru?
- 3.1 How should one approach the Guru?
- 3.2 Offering obeisance (namaskar)
- 3.3 Offering something
- 3.4 Continuous chanting of The Lord’s Name
- 3.5 The Name imparted by the Guru is more important than the Guru’s speech
- 3.6 What should one do when the Guru reprimands, abuses or beats?
- 3.7 One should not force the Guru to eat
- 3.8 One should keep only one thought in mind, that ‘the Guru should not experience any discomfort’
तद् विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया ।
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिन: ।। - श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता ४:३४
Meaning: Acquire spiritual knowledge (dnyan) by going to the Guru, offer obeisance (namaskar), ask questions and do service. The Guru possessing immense spiritual knowledge and experience will endow you with that knowledge.
‘This verse (shloka) itself describes the following three types of disciples.
When the one who has a desire to acquire knowledge of the soul principle, that is, a superior seeker offers obeisance to one who has experienced the Absolute Principle (the Sadguru), the latter bestows the seeker with spiritual knowledge (dnyan). The superior disciple is a seeker who inspite of being trapped in unhappiness in the state of the embodied soul is convinced that “I am not the embodied soul but am really The Supreme God (Shiv)” through the study of the scriptures. He is the one who has overcome the anadi (one without a beginning) illusion but has not gone beyond the state of the embodied soul (jivadasha) and is thus not experiencing the state of The Shiv (Brahman) principle. He struggles just like a fish out of water for a Guru and wanders in search of Him. In such a situation God Himself appears before him assuming the form of his Shri Guru. After the seeker has offered obeisance, that is after his complete surrender to the Guru, when the Guru gives him a mere glance he feels that he has accomplished the very essence of his existence.
The quote by Saint Tukaram which means, “He moulds one like Himself at once, It requires hardly any time” is in the context of such a disciple.
In His Dakshinamurti verse (stotra) Shri Shankaracharya describes the superior seeker as, ‘गुरोऽस्तु मौनं व्याख्यानम् । शिष्यऽस्तु छिन्नसंशय: ।’. This means that the Guru taught through silence (moun) and got rid of all the disciple’s doubts. Brahman is the nature of the soul and cannot be described in words. The adjective wordless is affixed to It, that is It is referred to as “The Wordless Brahman”. For the superior seeker silence (moun) itself is the real deliverance, the teaching. He is rid of all doubts at that very moment and acquires the spiritual emotion (bhav) of non-duality. He begins to experience the entire world from the sky to even his own body to be composed of Brahman. A superior seeker is one with an intense desire for Liberation (mumukshu).
Since Arjun (from the Mahabharat) was endowed with divine qualities one may refer to Him as a superior seeker. ‘Saint Dnyaneshvar says, “Only those who are capable of being in the same class as Arjun really deserve to hear the Gita”. The word Arjun can be defined as ‘शुद्धांत:करणयुक्त: इति अर्जुन: ।’ meaning that the one with a pure antahkaran is Arjun. After the deliverance of the Gita Arjun says,
नष्टोमोह: स्मृतिर्लब्ध्वा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाऽच्युत ।
स्थितोऽस्मि गतसंदेह: करिष्ये वचनं तव ।। - श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता १८:७३
Meaning: I have lost the attachment that “I am the body” and have regained the realisation that “I am Brahman”. All this is the result of remaining in Your company. Now that I am free of doubts, I am sure that I shall be able to obey Your directives.’ This means that he was worthy of receiving this most secret teaching. Such a seeker has a sattvik (sattva predominant) temperament.
A superior seeker does not fall prey to any supernatural powers (ruddhi-siddhis) attained during the course of his spiritual practice. Even if the hitherto unrevealed secrets of this universe were to lie exposed before him, they would be unable to divert him from his ultimate target even for a fraction of a second and he would attain the state of Absoluteness. The superior seeker is the one worthy of Sage Vyas’s quote, ‘शिष्यादिच्छेत् पराजयम् ।’ meaning that the Guru should expect defeat from His disciple. This implies that the Guru expects His disciple to merge into God.
The Guru imparts spiritual knowledge to him by answering his questions. Since he is yet to master the Yogas, that is the art of being one with God (yogarudh) he is qualified only to do spiritual practice from the path of Action (karmasadhana). Such a seeker predominantly has combination of sattva and raja temperaments.
A Guru gets a lot of service done from him and then imparts him with spiritual knowledge. He needs to do spiritual practice for several births. He is predominantly of the rajasik (raja predominant) temperament.
The medium and inferior disciples can gradually become superior but this constitutes a rare exception. One comes across many who have fallen prey to supernatural powers (ruddhi-siddhis), desire to be respected by others (lokeshana), etc.’
- H.H. Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon
A. Keeping the Guru’s photograph or idol in the temple in one’s home: The Guru’s photograph or idol should be kept in the temple at home and should be worshipped like the deities, everyday. If it is the practice to sing a specific poetic verse for the Guru during the ritual of waving a lamp (arti) then it should be sung. If not, then one may sing Dattaguru’s poetic verse (arti) or chant the Name imparted by the Guru at that time.
The one living alone: After the acquisition of a Guru all the idols and photographs of deities in the temple in one’s home should either be given away to a seeker who performs ritualistic worship (puja) regularly or should be immersed in a river or the sea. Only the Guru’s photograph should be kept in the temple at home. This assists one in going from ‘many to one’. If the Guru has advised the chanting of a specific deity and if it is a male deity then His photograph or idol should be placed to the right of the Guru’s photograph and if it is a female deity then Her photograph or idol should be placed to the left of the Guru’s photograph.
Later, after marriage for the sake of the other family members one should keep the male and female family deities’ idols or photographs in the temple at home, following the above rules.
If the one who has acquired a Guru is the head of the family: If the head of a family has acquired a Guru while the others in the family have not; then one should place the photograph of one’s Guru in the centre of the temple at home where the other deities are kept. The other male and female deities should be arranged as described above. However, after the demise of the head of the family who had acquired a Guru, his Guru’s photograph should either be given to another disciple of that Guru or should be immersed in a river or the sea.
If the one who has acquired a Guru is not the head of the family : If a student or a woman has acquired a Guru and faces opposition from parents or the husband respectively, then he/she should keep the Guru’s photograph in a place where it is not seen by the others such as one’s closet, book, purse, etc.
B. Keeping the Guru’s photograph in the house: As far as possible the Guru’s photographs should be kept in the temple in one’s home. However, if one wishes to keep His photographs in the living room, kitchen or office so as to remember Him constantly then instead of thinking that they are mere photographs one should harbour the feeling that the Guru is actually present there. This is because just as a word coexists with touch, form, taste, odour and energy so does the Guru’s divine consciousness (chaitanya) accompany His photograph. One should wipe the Guru’s photographs daily and worship them offering incense and should offer obeisance to Him after doing the same to the deities one worships. If one is unable to worship the photograph in the office with incense sticks then obeisance should be offered with wholehearted devotion. If a photograph is kept in one’s wallet, locket, etc. then that too should be removed and offered obeisance similarly.
C. Garlanding the Guru’s photograph
‘Question : A person’s photograph is garlanded only after his death,
not when he is alive. Then why is a saint’s photograph
garlanded when He is alive?
Baba : Saints’ photographs are garlanded because They are not
alive. They are actually dead. (Their ego is dead).’(1)
Since the ‘Guru is God in the manifest form’ He is garlanded just like the deities.
D. Offering to the Guru (Gurudakshina): One should send money to one’s Guru every month instead of offering Him money all at once on an annual or a bimonthly or trimonthly visit (darshan). The motive behind this is that the disciple should remember His Guru atleast every month. One should also send more money for Gurupournima and for every religious festival. Finally one has to surrender one’s body, mind and wealth to the Guru, entirely. Keeping this in mind a disciple should offer a greater portion of his monthly income and total assets stepwise, to his Guru. Only if one surrenders everything to the Guru then He gives His everything, that is, His Omniscience and Omnipotence to the disciple. Offering everything to the Guru is the real offering (Gurudakshina).
E. Gurupournima: Merely expressing gratitude to the Guru is not the only motive behind celebrating Gurupournima. The grace and blessings and the non-verbal knowledge endowed by Him on that day is ten times, more than that endowed by Him on any other day. Those, participating actively in the celebrations, benefit in proportion to their participation in it. Naturally, those who come on that day merely to pay their respects (darshan) obtain less benefit. The real disciple remembers his Guru every moment. Perhaps Gurupournima is celebrated so that the namesake disciple remembers the Guru atleast once a year!
F. The Guru’s birthday: It is important to celebrate the day the Guru met His Guru rather than celebrating His birthday, as the former is a kind of rebirth. The celebration should be held according to the date (tithi) in the Hindu lunar calendar. If one does not know that date, then one should certainly celebrate His birthday. But that too should be according to the date in the Hindu lunar calendar.
G. Remembering the Guru (Gurusmaran): Remembering the Guru (Gurusmaran) and the Guru are not distinct from each other. Gurusmaran is memory of the Guru’s physical (sagun) form. Remembering The Lord’s Name (Namasmaran) bestowed by the Guru is a form of the Guru’s unmanifest (nirgun) form which in a way assists in the attainment of the unmanifest form of the Guru. Hence, He who remembers the Guru dearly is worthy of worship in the three regions (trilokas).
Only that disciple who drinks the nectar (amrut)
of the manifest (sagun) form becomes immortal*.
- Shri Gurucharitra 2:59
* Immortal means the unmanifest (nirgun).
When performing ritualistic worship (puja), etc. of the Guru one should be aware that He is not a physical form but a principle. ‘The body consciousness (dehabuddhi) of the one who loves the Guru’s physical form lies in himself and in the world’.(2)
‘One should approach Him in a naked and exposed state.’
The implied meaning: ‘Naked’ refers to not possessing anything, that is listening to everything that He says without speaking and ‘exposed’ means without hiding anything from Him.
One’s attire when visiting the Guru: The clothes should be simple. The attire or ornaments one wears should not be a display of one’s worldly riches.
A. The obeisance to be offered to the Guru by a disciple following the path of Yoga.
Initially: Since the battle in Spirituality is just beginning one should offer obeisance sitting on one’s knees, that is, in virasan (the posture of the brave one). Virasan is also called viramudra.
Once the target is achieved: One should offer obeisance by prostrating on the ground before Him (sashtang namaskar).
B. Placing one’s head on the Guru’s feet: If one meets an acquaintance, one always smiles, shakes hands with, greets him with obeisance (namaskar) or if he is elderly then offers obeisance by touching his feet. Whether one meets the Guru at one’s home, in His ashram, on the road or elsewhere one should place one’s head on His feet. Placing the head on someone’s feet denotes the surrender of the intellect.
The amount of frequencies of Energy (Shakti) or Bliss (Anand) emanating from a Guru and a saint
The amount of frequencies of Energy (Shakti), Bliss (Anand) or Serenity (Shanti) present depending on the spiritual level
|The spiritual level||The amount of frequencies of
Energy, Bliss or Serenity %
|1. An average person
|2. A saint of 70% level||Predominantly Energy||30|
|3. A saint of 80% level||Predominantly Bliss||60|
|4. A saint of 90% level||Serenity||90|
The amount of frequencies of Energy or Bliss emitted through various organs: First carefully observe the eyes, palms, feet and other parts of the body in the Guru’s sketch given below and note which part emits more Energy or Bliss. Only then read further.
Every individual may not get spiritual experiences from such experiments. The table below gives information regarding the spiritual experiences of only those who are able to perceive a little in the subtle dimension after having done some spiritual practice.
|The organ||The amount of frequencies of
Energy or Bliss emitted %
|1. The eyes||20|
|2. The hands||20|
|3. The feet||40|
|4. Other organs||20|
From the above table one will realise why one offers obeisance to saints by placing one’s head on Their feet instead of merely folding one’s hands in the obeisance (namaskar) posture. At that time, a saint often touches one’s back or head. This bestows an even greater benefit. When one places one’s head on the feet of a saint, Energy or Bliss frequencies enter one’s body through the Brahmarandhra in greater quantities.
C. The real obeisance (namaskar): ‘मनेन नमन: ।’ means offering obeisance mentally. Undertaking spiritual practice however is the real obeisance.
Instead of offering pedhas, garlands, coconuts, etc. it is better to offer some favourite dish of His made at home, money, etc. because the Guru distributes the pedhas, garlands, coconuts, etc. but the money is useful for His mission. However, the most valuable thing that one can offer to the Guru is spiritual emotion (bhav).
A. One should chant The Lord’s Name continuously so as to purify oneself in order to be able to serve the Guru.
B. Chanting occurs easily and automatically in the Guru’s presence and when doing His service. One should take advantage of this phenomenon.
‘Question (Dr. Jayant Athavale): Sometimes instead of listening to Your speech my concentration turns towards chanting. If this happens, there may be inattention to a certain task one might have been asked to do. To avoid this, should I stop chanting the Name and instead listen to what You are saying?
Baba : While paying attention to chanting the Name, one need not pay attention to anything else; because all these things are from the gross dimension; whereas the Name is associated with the God (Purush) principle.’(3)
‘Question: When accompanying the Guru, if the disciple walks ahead of the Guru, He shouts, “How dare you walk ahead of Me?” If he remains behind, the Guru yells, “Why are you lagging behind when you are My disciple?” and if one walks alongside Him, He rebukes, “Are you trying to compete with Me?” Then how should the disciple behave? And what is the Guru’s intention behind it?
Baba: In fact not much importance should be attached to the Guru’s rebuke, as the Guru’s motive is to teach the disciple to continue chanting The Lord’s Name and not to feel aggrieved by the Guru’s rebuking.
Once Shri Anantanand Saish, Baba’s Guru was supposed to travel somewhere by horse carriage. He asked Dinu (Baba’s former name) to sit in the carriage. However, thinking “How can I sit beside the Guru?” Dinu instead of sitting in the carriage kept running behind it, barefoot. The Guru gave Dinu His slippers to prevent his feet from getting hurt. But he did not wear them thinking, “How can I wear the Guru’s slippers?” and kept running behind the carriage clutching the slippers to his bosom. The Guru then shouted at him. On asking Baba “Was this shouting due to Your disobeying the Guru?” He replied in the negative. Further Baba did not reply as to why the Guru shouted at Him. In short, instead of analysing the reason why saints or the Guru reprimand, one should continue chanting The Lord’s Name and perform Their service because eventually comprehending the real reason is beyond one’s intellect!’(4)
More information on why the Guru rebukes is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 6 - Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga)’ point ‘Reprimanding and abusing’.
‘One should not force Baba to eat due to the following reasons.
Many people who come to pay their respects to Him fondly bring pedhas, barfi or homemade ladu, chivda, etc. Often it is impossible for Him to taste even a little bit of everything.
One should take Baba’s physical condition, age and dietary restrictions into account.
Baba has no likes and dislikes of His own. If Baba says that He “liked” some food item brought by someone, it is actually the spiritual emotion (bhav) of that person that He is appreciating. If Baba says He “liked” someone’s chakli then an onlooker’s bringing chakli for Baba the next time proves wrong.’ (5)
Even if the Guru just touches a food item it is an expression of His acceptance.
Once a lady disciple of our Guru, that is Baba came to stay with Him for Divali. Her intention was not to celebrate Divali joyously with Baba, instead her attention was fixed on whether Baba was following dietary restrictions like not eating oily foods. Another lady disciple of His wept after Baba scolded her because she felt upset that it must have caused Him trouble to yell at her. Once at Indore at the construction site of the ashram, Baba standing on broken bricks was beating up a disciple. The disciple however instead of paying attention to the beating was worried lest Baba lost His balance and fell injuring Himself!
‘The Disciple’, published by Sanatan Sanstha.
The Teachings of Saint Bhaktaraj. Second edition :
H.H. Shrimat Sadguru Bhaktaraj Maharaj’s Platinum jubilee celebrations, Magh Shukla Navami, Shake 1916 (9th February 1995), Indore. Compilers: Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavale, Dr. (Mrs.) Kunda Jayant Athavale. Publishers: Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskruti Sanstha, Mumbai.
. Pg. 108 . Pg. 62
. Pg. 28 . Pg 144
Sant Bhaktaraj Charitra, First edition: H.H. Shrimat Sadguru Bhaktaraj Maharaj’s Platinum jubilee celebrations, Magh Shukla Navami, Shake 1916 (9th February 1995), Indore. Compilers: Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavale, Dr.(Mrs.)Kunda Jayant Athavale. Publishers: Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskruti Sanstha, Mumbai.
. Pg. 127