Every Ashadha Purnima, which fell on 16th July this year, is marked as Guru-purnima in the annual Hindu calendar. Following the age-old Guru-shishya tradition, those engaged in such a relationship, pay tribute their respective Gurus. Why so much importance to this practice? Bear in mind; the word Guru is made of two syllables – ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’. The two syllables respectively mean darkness/ignorance and light/enlighten. The one who is himself/herself enlightened enough to make you aware of the existential realities of life, many aspects pertaining to even invisible plain but vital to life mechanism, qualifies to be a Guru.
Remember, we are all born with 6 elemental limitations, measured in the backdrop of God being an unbound free spirit. First, limited creative ability, which doesn’t let us meet even bare existential needs in one’s own right. We, therefore, need due support of those beyond. Second, limited intelligence, whereby our knowledge base remains partial, thus, calling for being supplemented by other learned ones. But for which, we may fail to have a holistic understanding of the dynamics of life.
Third, for the above reasons, we are born with a sense of ‘want’, which in turn, leads to the sense of craving, desires, and possessiveness to meet up the void. Fourth, limitation of time whereby we measure happenings in the frame of past, present, and future. Consequently, we often get caught in our past reminiscences, which is nothing but a piece of history and with no relevance in contemporary terms. Particularly, the negative memories keep hounding from within. Or, we get too much involved in futuristic dream perceptions, which is uncertain. In both cases, we unnecessarily dissipate our energies towards unproductive ends, and clutter our mind space with imaginary thoughts. We, thus, end up short of vitals needed for fresh objective thinking or even to do justice to the callings of the present moment, which sets the terms of future. Consequently, we are often left behind in the run of time, ending up disgusted and stressed.
Fifth, we are bound by limitation of space, whereby we identify ourselves with our body-mind organism differentiated from others, and as also by our geographical root. A sense of divide thus comes into play, which lays down the ground for all sorts of conflicts we have to contend with in life. The sixth, binds us to the laws of causation. In this scheme of things there is a cause behind every action, which in turn, becomes the cause of future course of action. And there is nothing like a free lunch in this life. We have to bear with the consequences of what we do – good or bad – according as the intent and quality of the cause that drives our action. The imprints thereof lead to lot of self-acquired limitations, which makes our thought process even more complex. All that has related bearing on our future course of life, making our run of life all the more arduous. The fall out of these six limitations in our cognitive domain, is what Kashmir Shaivism terms as being under the spell of ‘Maya’.
Life has to still keep marching ahead chasing our aspirational urges, which we wish to achieve with ease and comfort. Here comes the role of a Guru. He comes as a beacon of light to help us come out of our ignorance. An enlightened Guru doesn’t play a magic wand nor offers us a quick fix method to overcome our ignorance. Step by step, he leads us through awareness route. Purposely so as to help expand our vision, become aware and unfold our own immense potential otherwise lying dormant out of ignorance. We then come out with our best to make it to the desired destination all by oneself. He first puts us through a process of self-enquiry. That gives us exposure to our mirror image – individualistic fault lines. Once we identify and acknowledge them, aided by educative inputs offered by Guru in small digestible doses, we could address them through regular course of self-reflection.
The Guru then makes us explore existential realities of life, so as to have holistic understanding of the truths of life, with all its strengths and weaknesses. He then shows us the way forward to transcend all our elemental limitations. Further self-reflection on these learnings, help absorb them in the deep realms of mind. Over a period of time, they begin to spontaneously reflect in our day-to-day conduct. Life may then turn into a pleasant experience overriding all the oddities and hazards of life.