Gurupurnima is the day with the brightest full moon of the year and a special day to offer gratitude towards the Master or Guru, who blessed our journey with love and grace.
Dispeller of darkness
One of the most significant and important elements in the path of spirituality in the life of a seeker is the guru. In the Indian culture, the guru has been given the highest place of respect and worship, more than the god. Many saints and enlightened mystics have again and again repeated how a guru is so important, that basically the guru becomes the medium for a meeting with god or with the divine. Guru means the dispeller of darkness and in any seeker’s life the guidance and presence of a guru is uttermost important.
The enlightened saint Kabir from India once said, that if the guru and the god are standing in front of him, to whom should he bow down first? And then he answers himself, “that I would bow down to the guru because the guru is the one who has shown the path to god. This very couplet describes the significance of the place of a guru in Indian culture. A guru can be of the inner life, spiritual life, or the guru can be for music, yoga, ayurveda, or any of the arts and sciences. But no matter who the guru may be, he or she is given the highest place of respect and worship.
Inner and outer guru
In India is very common that people would dedicate almost a whole life to be with a guru and follow his or her guidance and practice it. Many times in the west I find people who are either not familiar with this or they find it a little difficult to commit because there is a little impatience or hurry to learn something or to reach, or get something. Many times people say that they are more interested in the inner guru than in the outer guru. But let me tell you from my own experience and journey being with various spiritual masters is that only and only the outer guru can take us to the inner guru. And that is real true concern: that the true guru wants you to come in contact with the inner guru. One of the main criteria of a real guru is that the real guru will never let you become dependent on him or her – he would rather like you to be free even from him or herself.
A guru can be hard sometimes. It is not always that the guru will be sweet and goody-goody and loving… no, sometimes he is tough and he can be a little straight, but that only happens because there is love and concern, like a concern of a mother for a child. So in this journey, a disciple goes through all sorts of experiences of being loved and sometimes also being neglected but ultimately all is good for the growth of the disciple or the seeker.
Finding a guru
Many times people ask how to find the right guru or how to know who is the true guru. My suggestion is that, if one is really sincere then somehow existentially you will be taken to the right teacher, the right guru, the right guide – in a way I can say that the guru will find you. And once this connection happens, your journey will begin. And once the journey starts, one has to remember that it is a journey which requires a lot of trust and a lot of patience. The guru will always have enough patience because the guru is nothing but patience, love, compassion, grace, divinity, light, truth… all these and I can go on. All this will be possible in a seekers life when the seeker has enough patience and trust and he’s ready to continue that journey no matter what.
I have been with my spiritual master now for almost thirty years and this journey has brought immense amount of blessings. Being with a guru does not mean that everything is around just spiritual life. Actually my own experience has been that the guidance and the clarity given to consciously function and act in the day-to-day life, which could be how do I respond to certain situations, how do I act or non-react in certain situations. In this way the guru can really give you true guidance to simplify things and to be conscious, and in each and every act to bring more and more awareness and at the same time simplicity in our day-to-day lives.
For this grace and compassion that a guru can have, hundreds and thousands of saints, seekers and poets have written some amazing poetries or mantras or slokas in the praise of guru, where they have compared the guru higher than the god, higher than the divinity, higher than the ultimate – giving them the highest place of respect and worship.
“GURU IS LIKE FULL MOON AND DISCIPLE IS LIKE ASHADH (month of clouds and rain.) THE DISCIPLES HAVE COME WITH THEIR DARKNESS OF MANY LIVES. THEY ARE LIKE DARK CLOUDS. IF THE GURU CAN SHINE LIKE THE FULL MOON IN THAT ATMOSPHERE OF DARKNESS, IF HE CAN PRODUCE LIGHT IN THAT ATMOSPHERE OF DARKNESS, ONLY THEN HE IS THE GURU. THAT IS WHY ASHADH PURNIMA IS GURU PURNIMA. IT HAS AN INDICATION TOWARDS THE GURU AND AN INDICATION TOWARDS THE DISCIPLE. AND NATURALLY, WHEN THESE TWO MEET, THERE IS MEANINGFULNESS.” Osho