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Who is a Guru?

Today is Guru Purnima, a birthday of an ancient and eternal Guru. Somewhere, some time and long long ago a Guru is born and we all learnt from him. All the knowledge of the past, present and future is descended from this Guru. This day is celebrated in honor of that ancient and eternal Guru. This day is a very special day in the Guru-Shishya or Master-Disciple tradition. A teacher is not possible without becoming a student. A Guru is not possible without becoming a Shishya. A master is not possible without becoming a disciple. The discipleship is a beginningless beginning and the mastership is an endless end. A discipline is an attitude and masterliness is a quality. A right disciple transforms into a master eventually. A right discipleship transforms into a mastership eventually. It is a great transition. It is an eternal learning curve. 

The word Guru has a Sanskrit origin. It is made up of two words: Gu and Ru. The word Gu has been derived from a Sanskrit word Gunateet, meaning beyond Gunas, attributes or qualities. And the word Ru has been derived from a Sanskrit word Rupavarjita, meaning formless or beyond all forms. The ultimate divinity is beyond all the formulations of our mind. It is beyond all forms and attributes. This is one meaning. The other meaning of the word Gu is destroying or removing. And the other meaning of the word Ru is darkness or ignorance. Therefore, the other meaning of the word Guru is one who is capable of destroying the darkness of unconsciousness, one who has the quality of removing ignorance. Guru is one in whose presence the darkness of unconsciousness transforms into the light of consciousness. In his presence the darkness of ignorance is transformed into a light of divine knowledge. Guru acts like a catalyst and a change agent. Just look at the darkness. Nothing can be done with the darkness directly. It is there from the very beginning if there was any beginning. Whatever that we can do, we can do only through the light. A small candle of light disperses the whole darkness. And we can not say that the darkness is thicker and a far bigger and brighter light is needed. No, a small lamp is enough. Let us say that there is a room. And this room is filled with darkness all over. All the windows and doors of this room are closed. And let us say that the darkness of this room is of 100 years old. That is, no light has entered in this room for the last 100 years. Can we now say that the darkness of this room is thicker because it is 100 years old and a far bigger and brighter light is needed to disperse this darkness? No, even a small lamp is enough to remove this darkness of 100 years old. The same is true with our ignorance. Nothing can be done directly with the ignorance. It too exists from the very beginning if there was any beginning. Ignorance is beginningless. Something can be done to it only through knowledge. A small candle light of knowledge disperses the darkness of ignorance. And the same small candle light of knowledge can disperse the darkness of ignorance of millions of lives. What is darkness? The absence of light is darkness. What is ignorance? The absence of knowledge is ignorance. This is how darkness and light are related to each other. And this is how ignorance and knowledge are related to each other. The darkness is beginningless and the light is endless. The ignorance is beginningless and the knowledge is endless. 

The word Guru is also derived from a Sanskrit word Gurutvakarshana, which means a gravitational pull or force. A Guru is also one towards whom we all naturally get pulled or attracted. He has this natural aura or charisma. The attraction is natural and not a forced one. It is a pull factor and not a push factor. He doesnt influence anybody but he inspires everybody. There is a fly (Shalabh) that gets attracted towards the light naturally. It eventually dies with the burn of the light but does not go away from the attraction of the light. It gets pulled and attracted towards the light naturally. The butterflies get attracted towards the fragrance of the flowers. These are the natures arrangements indicating towards the attraction of the divine light of eternal knowledge and wisdom or Brahmavidya. There is an eternal attraction towards this divine knowledge. A true disciple or Shishya is born with this attraction. 

There is an ancient Guru Mantra: Gururbrahma Gururvishnu Gururdevo Maheshwarah. Guru-Sakshaat Parabrahma Tasmai Shrigurave Namah. 

The above mantra means that the Guru is the God of creation. He is the God of sustenance. And he is also the God of annihilation, destruction, and transformation. The formless God appears in these three forms and still remains beyond and formless. The ultimate Guru or God is formless, transcendental, and beyond. My salutation to that supreme God.

God first appeared in a human form and in the form of a disciple. This disciple had the experience of the divine through the nature. The human body comes into a being (creation), it strives and lives (sustenance) and then dies (disappearance) into the formless of the divine again. We come from the formless and again disappear into the formless. But in the process, with the help of the Guru, in the presence of the Guru, we attain to the experience of the divine which is deathless and immortal. This is the short and sweet story of the Guru-Shishya or Master-Disciple relationship. Who must have been the first Guru? The answer is the whole existence in all its forms. The first disciple in a human form must have learnt from the whole existence around him. It is said that the nature is the first teacher and the best teacher. It is said that Lao Tzu, the greatest Taoist Master got enlightened from the falling of a leaf of a tree. When Dattatraya, another awakened sage, when asked about his Guru, named 24 things like an insect, a bird, sun, moon, etc. as forms of a Guru, and the list did not include a human name. King Janak had Ashtavakra as his Guru and Ashtavakra was just a twelve year old boy. Buddha had passed through many Gurus in human form but nothing concrete had really happened to him through them. And he went on. He moved on. The ultimate truth happened to him under the Bodhi-Tree. There are many such mysterious stories of Gurus and Shishyas, Masters and disciples. Therefore, a Guru can be anyone or anything through whom or through which a higher learning happens. Guru is a turning point in the life of a disciple. Guru is not a dead-end but he is a new opening. He is a new opportunity. He is a new beginning. He is a new meaning and a new life. Guru is a mid-point where the old dies and the new begins. 

, one of the mystic poets of India, wrote this in one of his couplets: Guru Govind Dou Khade, Kake Lagu Pay. Balihari Guru Aapake, Govind Diyo Bataye. This is the dilemma of the disciple. Guru and God are both standing before me. To whom should I bow down first. I bow down to my Guru first because he or she is the one who has shown me the ultimate path to God. Now, the first Guru can either be our mother or father or both. The mother nature is our first Guru because even for our parents to become our Guru they have to fist learn from the nature to become the Guru. Therefore, our parents are very sacred people. They can also become our Guru

Let us do a small numerology. Today is 15th July, 2011. In pure numbers this amounts to: 15-07-2011. Let us sum all these numbers. This amounts to a number seventeen (17). Again sum these two numbers. It gives us eight (8). The number eight in Hindu Mythology also refers to infinity. The number infinity is also called lazy eight or floating eight. In the meditation Mala of 108 beads the numeral eight (8) refers to infinity or the endless end. Zero or cipher (0) refers to Shunya or the beginningless beginning. And the numeral one (1) refers to the one that is eternal, transcendental and beyond. It means the oneness of the divine. It means the truth is one. It means that the truth is one but it manifests into inner infinity and outer infinity. Therefore, a Guru is a beginning in the form of a disciple and an end in the form a Guru or an awakened one, and is also the one who is transcendental, beyond and endless. The divine knowledge is endless. It has a beginning but without an end. Let us do one more numerology. Let us take the word GURU. Let us apply the numeric numbers given to 26 English alphabets in the ascending order to this word Guru. For the word GURU this gives us: 7+21+18+21. Let us sum all these numbers. This gives us a number 67. Let us sum these two numbers again. This gives us a number 13. Let us sum this again. This ultimately gives us a number 4. In the ancient Hindu tradition the number four (4) is called Turiya. It means simply the 4th. It means the beyond. It means the transcendental. It means the supreme God. It means the one who is beyond the three dimensions of the creation. It means the one who is beyond the three forms: past, present and future. It means the one who is beyond three Gunas: Tamas, Rajas and Satva. The one that is eternal and beyond. Albert Einstein used to say that he could see the fourth dimension of the existence but is not able to express the same in words and formula. This is that formless dimension. The number is only a beginning and Nirvana is the Goal. Our mind means numbers. And Nirvana means beyond the mind and beyond the numbers. That is why to Pythagoras all numbers were divine. There are four dimensions to our existence. And these are: Physical, Metaphysical, Metaphorical, and Spiritual. The spiritual dimension of reality is formless and beyond all expressions. It can never be defined. And it can never be expressed. It can only be experienced. It can at the most be expressed through symbols and metaphors. 

The Guru Geeta declares: The Guru is not different from the conscious Self. And without doubt this is the truth. Therefore, wise men should make an effort to seek knowledge of Atma from Him (Verse 22, Guru Geeta).

The hidden knowledge, absence of the knowledge of self, the world-Maya, the body are all caused by ignorance (Ajnana). By whose grace one attains direct knowledge of the self, he is known by the name Guru (Verse 23, Guru Geeta).

The ultimate Guru or God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Shrigurave Namah. I bow down in grace and gratitude to that Guru. Happy Guru Purnima !!