The Light of the Guru | Soham Bose

| 7:37 am

Once a shepherd found a lion cub in the jungle. He brought it home. The cub grew up among the sheep. He started eating grass and bleating like a sheep. One day the sheep were grazing on the meadows near the jungle. It so happened that a lion saw the flock and noticed the cub who resembled him grazing among the sheep. He was astonished. He came closer and let out a loud roar. All the sheep vanished leaving the cub alone. The lion asked him, ‘who are you?’ The little lion cub replied, ‘I am a sheep’. The huge lion said, ‘No you are not, you are a lion like me’. The cub was afraid. He thought the lion was trying to deceive him. He said, ‘My mother is a sheep, my father is a sheep, I eat grass and I bleat. I am also a sheep.’ The lion was exasperated. He remarked, ‘If you were a sheep you would have run away but you were not afraid of my roar. That proves you are a lion like me. The cub still had some misgivings because of his samskaras but the lion caught him and forcibly took him to the jungle lake. There he stood beside the little cub and made him look at the waters and compare the reflections on the still waters. The little lion cub at last realized the great foolishness and went away with him leaving the flock.

In this allegorical story the little lion cub symbolizes the ignorant disciple and the big lion is the Guru. He identifies the disciple and takes him away to the spiritual realm. To the land of light and bliss. Away from the darkness and suffering.

The Guru is the light. He is the guide. He is the one who has the key to that secret passage that leads from the mooladhara chakra (coccygeal plexus) to the sahasrara chakra (seat of the thousand petalled lotus). Without him nothing is possible. It is he who gives us the right direction, positive encouragement and also the spiritual power to proceed in that direction. He is the one who has seen it, been there and experienced everything. And now he has come to guide us, to lead us where he had been, to where he belongs. From the annamaya kosha to the anandamaya kosha. The individual soul is like a floating earthen lamp on water. It wanders aimlessly. It moves along with the waves of this samsara (the world of maya) and eventually loses itself in the dark, abysmal depths of the ocean. The Guru personifies the cosmic soul. Only his grace and blessings can lift the individual soul and help him reach the goal. Mahavatar Babaji lifted Lahiri Mahasaya, Shri Yukteshwar helped Paramahamsa Yogananda, John baptized Jesus, Totapuri guided Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramakrishna blessed Swami Vivekananda, and Sivananda Saraswati of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh aided Satyananda, Chinmayananda, Chidananda, Vishnudevananda and Satchidananda.

“imam vivasvate yogam
proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha
manur iksvakave ‘bravit” – Srimad Bhagavad Gita (Chap 4 Shloka 1)

The Blessed Lord said: I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivaswan (sun god); Vivaswan conveyed it to Manu (his son); and Manu imparted it to (his son) Ikswaku.

This has been the custom, this is the tradition and it will be so forever. The Guru guides the disciple and takes him under his wings out of great love and compassion. The Guru’s grace follows the disciple even after his death.

There is a beautiful story about lord Krishna. One summer evening little Krishna was playing in the waters of the Yamuna. Yamuna is a sacred river in India that starts its journey from Yamunotri in the Himalayan Mountains and merges with the Ganges at Allahabad. It is very much connected with the life of Krishna. Now Krishna was playing in the waters and mother Yashoda was keeping a watch on him. As was the custom in India and still is in the evening hours many devotees had floated lamps on the waters of Yamuna. As the devotee places the lamp on the waters, he remembers his God and utters a silent prayer, “let my wish be fulfilled, let this small earthen lamp reach thy abode”. That day so many devotees had floated earthen lamps. Little Krishna as he frolicked among the waves noticed some of the lamps moving in his direction. He tried his best to take the lamps from the waters and put them on the shore. But there were so many lamps! And Yamuna as we all know is a wide river. Most of the lamps floated away from him and turned upside down and sank deep into the dark waters. Mother Yashoda asked Krishna why he was not saving all the lamps from the waters. Little Krishna answered, “mother I am very small, my arms are not that big, I can only save the lamps which are approaching me. The rest shall move away”. In this cryptic remark is hidden a great spiritual truth. God is always there, the Guru is always there. But we also need to make an effort. We need to search for him. If our search is sincere, if in our quest we are devoted, if in our sadhana we are dedicated he will definitely appear in front of us and guide us through this life and beyond.

He himself has assured

“tesam aham samuddharta
mrtyu-samsara-sagarat
bhavami na cirat partha
mayy avesita-cetasam” – Srimad Bhagavad Gita (Chap 12 Shloka 7)

Those, Arjuna, I speedily deliver from the ocean of birth and death, their mind being fixed on me.

Even when we find him the road is not easy. The Guru tests the disciple in various ways. The more the disciple progresses in the path of sadhana he faces more difficulties. Passion, lust, greed, jealousy, hitherto unforeseen qualities that are deep inside him surface. It is all because of the wonderful dual process of purging and purification. Every disciple has to experience all the negative qualities. Only then he can rise above them. During this turbulent phase the Guru keeps a watch on him. He never admonishes since he too had passed through all the stages.

One of the qualities of the Guru is that he knows everything about the disciple. His past, present and future. And guides him accordingly. The Sadguru is indeed all knowing, all powerful and all pervading. But he never says so. He is like an extremely rich father who hides his wealth from his son. For like a true father he never wants his son to remain a rich man’s son. He wants his son also to become a rich father like him. Thousands of years of darkness can be removed by a single flame. And that flame is the guru. As practitioners of Yoga we have to remember our ideal and our purpose of sadhana. Yoga is not just a few asanas or pranayamas. It is something extremely fascinating and mysterious. But to experience the divine and unravel the mystery we need a Guru. We have to search for a guru and we have to find the guru.

Now the question arises, What are the practical ways to find a Guru? How to recognize the Guru?

Whatever spiritual practices you are following daily, continue with it. In search for the Guru do not neglect your daily Yoga practice. Be it Satyananda Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, Vipassana, Vinyasa, Iyengar or Ashtanga Yoga simply continue with it. Be totally devoted and dedicated to your practice. Try your level best to lead a simple, balanced and disciplined lifestyle. Be regular in your Yoga practice – this is the method. If you are sincere in your practice God will send your Guru to you. He will send the perfect Guru to you. One with whom you can relate to and can share all your innermost worries. God doesn’t seek knowledge or erudition. He identifies only simplicity and sincerity. So though it seems a bit too simple this is the only internal way to find a Guru.

Make a sankalpa. A sankalpa is like a positive resolve. A sankalpa is so powerful that it can change your whole life. A sankalpa like, “I will find a Sadguru and he will guide me to self realization” will definitely lead you to your Guru and help you in your spiritual odyssey. Repeat your sankalpa as your first thought upon waking, as your last thought before going to sleep, at the beginning & end of your sadhana, at the beginning & end of Meditation, before and after meals. Any moment during the day or night can be an opportunity to reinforce, to intensify your sankalpa. Think of it, or mentally repeat it at any time. One very powerful method is to repeat it before and after Yoga Nidra. Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati of Bihar School of Yoga, a great saint of modern India has given us the wonderful assurance “Anything in life may fail you but not the sankalpa you take in Yoga nidra.

Every night before going to sleep pray to God to send you the Sadguru. Praying is a beautiful method and it really works.

You can also take help of an external method. Read as many spiritual books as you can like the:

Gospel of Ramakrishna
Autobiography of a Yogi
Books from Self Realization Fellowship
Books from Bihar School of Yoga
Books from Divine Life Society, Rishikesh and
Books on Yoga and Spirituality.

As you know more about the different systems of Yoga it will be easier for you to find which system suits you the best. Is it the Integral Yoga of Paramahamsa Satyananda of Bihar School, the Kriya Yoga of Paramahamsa Yogananda, Hariharananda Giri or the Ramakrishna Mission Order? Spiritual study will also broaden your outlook and instill faith in the science of Yoga.

When the Guru appears in your life the experience will be so overwhelming that you don’t need to try to recognize him. Your mind stops and you follow him. A single encounter and your whole life is transformed. As Thakur Ramakrishna said in his characteristic rustic way, “ the Sadguru is like a venomous snake. One strike and you are dead.”

It is extremely difficult to progress in the spiritual path without a Guru. If we look into history we find only a few cases where there is no external manifestation of a Guru. Like the case of Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo of Pondicherry or Gautama Buddha. But these were powerful men and god like in their courage and determination. And most importantly they had the spiritual insight to find the inner Guru who resides within us all. But we cannot feel, hear or experience the inner Guru. So for us who function in the realm of the senses, mind and intellect the external Guru is indispensable. Paramahamsa Satyananda puts it brilliantly, “ this external Guru is like a detonator. Just as you detonate a bomb, in the same way, the external Guru is the detonator to awaken the inner Guru”. Though he appears to be a human, the Guru has indeed become God and with his unconditional love, compassion and divine understanding he guides us all and protects us all.

Brahma-nandam param-sukhadam,
kevalam jnana-murtim,
Dwandwatitam gagana-sadrisam,
tatvamasyadilakshyam

I salute to the guru who is the embodiment of pure bliss and divine knowledge; who is the giver of all happiness; who is beyond the dualities of this material world; who is as infinite as the sky; who is the sole aspiration and goal of life;

Ekam nityam vimala-machalam,
sarvadhi-sakshi-bhutam;
Bhava-titam triguna-rahitam,
sadgurum tam namami.

Who is unique, eternal, pure, unwavering; who sees with the eyes of wisdom; who is beyond emotions and beyond the three gunas.

May we all find the Sadguru, who is the embodiment of supreme consciousness, truth and bliss.

About The Author

Soham Bose, Founder/Director Satyananda Mission of Yoga. Soham has been teaching Integral Yoga (i.e. incorporating the different aspects of Yoga like asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation, & Yogic lifestyle) since 2005.

He dropped out of conventional education and later met Yogacharya Shri S.M. Chakravarty of the Hariharananda Kriya Yoga lineage and was greatly influenced by him and at his behest went to Bihar School of Yoga, Munger and Rikhia ashram. He believes in the efficacy of Hatha Yoga for health & wellbeing and Kriya Yoga for mental and spiritual development.

He has written articles on Yoga for Complete Well Being Magazine, India, Splendour Magazine, India, Integral Yoga Magazine, USA, Yoga Magazine, UK, Yoga Chicago, USA,
Yoga Awakening, Africa, Asana IYJ, Hong Kong and Yoga & Health, UK.

In 2009 he started SATYANANDA MISSION OF YOGA to serve the practices of Yoga among all the people, to take the rudiments of Yoga to every person, every society, in all areas of life, schools, colleges, rehabilitation & correctional institutes, sports, army, management, corporate and financial sectors. He currently organizes and conducts Yoga Workshops and classes in India & overseas as the Programme Director & Yoga Teacher of SATYANANDA MISSION OF YOGA.

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