The Guru-disciple tradition is unique to Bharat. It is only because of this tradition that despite various foreign invasions, the Hindu Dharma has stood the test of time. Founder of Sanatan Sanstha Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale has especially preserved this tradition. ‘A Guru teaches a disciple through incidents or spiritual experiences and gets the spiritual progress of a disciple done through His mere presence’. This spiritual experience is clearly visible in Sanatan Sanstha. Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale has moulded seekers from Sanatan Sanstha on all fronts’. Hence today more than 100 seekers from the Sanstha have attained Sainthood. The article given further elaborates on how Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints mould seekers just like the Guru does.
1. Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints are simple with no external show off !
Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale has no external show off. Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints are also like Him. But other Saints are different with respect to attire, privileges, seating arrangement on a dais, an accompanying troupe of servitors, garlands bouquets etc.. Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints are very casual and behave just like seekers or disciples and mix with everyone. They even dine with seekers. Hence when conversing with them no one is under stress. Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints instead of preserving their uniqueness merge with the crowd. They use the same facilities provided to seekers and avail of no special concessions.
2. Saints moulding seekers in the true sense of the term
through the processes of Personality Defect Removal and Ego Removal
2 A. Making seekers aware of their mistakes
God does not make a single mistake. Hence if a seeker wants to merge into him then he has to make efforts with intense yearning. Saints scrutinise the mistakes of seekers and indicate which defects are responsible for them. They guide them with respect to shortcomings in their seva. That is how they mould seekers fast and help them to experience bliss.
2 B. A live example of how Saints mould seekers
A very important aspect of spiritual practice are the processes of personality defect and ego removal. It is on this that Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints lay more emphasis and help every seeker, with yearning. Spiritual progress can never occur without personality defect and ego removal processes, on the contrary if not done they cause deterioration. Hence, they concentrate more on this process. Once a seeker was repeatedly committing the same kind of mistakes e.g. making changes in allotted sevas by doing as per mind and not following the set norms, forgetting to convey messages, not receiving phone calls etc. One Saint would calmly explain his defects by giving new perspectives each time to the seeker. Anyone would get bored or irritated listening to the repeated mistakes of a seeker but as the perspective of the Saint was ‘getting that seeker out of that state’ is my spiritual practice, that Saint had greater yearning to transform the seeker. Through satsangs conducted by different Saints the importance of not committing mistakes was impressed upon the minds of different seekers. Should the need arise Saints can be harsh but the very next moment they speak to the same seeker with immense love. This unique way of moulding seekers is found only in Sanatan Sanstha.
2 C. Overcoming mistakes
Saints not only teach seekers how to change wrong thoughts in the mind, to take the correct perspective for them, to overcome personality defects and enhance virtues, but also guide on how to overcome mistakes. Accepting mistakes, asking others for forgiveness, writing mistakes on the blackboard, feeling remorse are the mediums, through which the mistakes can be overcome. This prevents timely spiritual deterioration of seekers. Also new destiny is not created and the seeker does not get entangled in the cycle of birth and death again.
3. Guidance from different Saints
about the varied principles of spiritual practice
3 A. Spiritual practice, purity of the mind and spiritualisation
Teachings on ‘Differences in worldly transactions and spiritual practice, how to spiritualise life, which spiritual practice to perform as per influence of time, how to perform spiritual practice based on your temperament, how to remove subconscious impressions through the process of Personality Defect Removal etc. are received from Saints. Saints give teachings to keep the mind clean and enriched with spiritual emotion and devotion. Consequently, no matter which sphere it is that is in culinary, art, music, dance or construction, seekers undertaking seva there can make rapid spiritual progress. Seekers rendering seva in different spheres and those performing seva at home too have attained Sainthood.
3 B. Saints give the teaching to look at the Gurus as a Principle
If the Guru-disciple relationship from the earlier eras (yugs) is pondered upon and if some current sects are observed, then it appears that ‘Some Gurus bring disciples together and guide them’. In Sanatan Sanstha the teaching is, ‘look at the Guru as a Principle’. Hence seekers look at the guiding Saint or fellow seekers as a Principle. No one gets entangled in the other. Also, from the viewpoint of spiritual practice several seekers get moulded simultaneously.
Just as Shri Dattatreya has made 24 Gurus for their virtues so also seekers try to learn something from others. Seekers spreading Spirituality learn from society but before practicing those precepts they confirm them with acquaintances. Consequently they remain in the learning mode and march ahead. The learning attitude of seekers grows. Even though the Guru does not guide about spiritual practice directly, the seekers follow all the instructions about the spiritual practice appearing in ‘Sanatan Prabhat’. So the Guru does not need to teach each and every disciple at every given point of the time. Obedience is the king of virtues in a disciple. As Sanatan Sanstha’s seekers have imbibed this virtue in themselves, they promptly comply with the advice.
3 C. Saints impart the teaching that a problem has to be resolved
not only by the concerned seekers but all who have become aware of it
Once water had accumulated outside an ashram. Many seekers passing by had seen it. A Saint narrated this incident to seekers in a satsang. The water which has accumulated here is certainly the responsibility of seekers from construction section but those seekers who have not acted upon seeing it are equally responsible for it. This attitude harms there spiritual practice too. This perspective created awareness in seekers that they should not restrict themselves only to the seva allotted to them but should try to correct an error committed by anyone else and that this itself amounts to spiritual practice. This helps in developing the attitude of viewing every incident as spiritual practice. This itself is spiritual practice for the sake of society (samashti) and this mistake helped in impressing that ‘whatever you see is your duty in the minds of seekers. That is how the perspective of paying attention to the problems faced by society and the nation will be developed in seekers.
3 D. Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints giving lessons in daily living through own actions
There is an air conditioner in the room of a Saint. In summer, it gets very hot in the area in which his room is located. But the Saint refused to use the air conditioner as seekers do not get this facility. Seekers learnt a lesson that one should not use a facility which is not available to others. From this also, The Saint did not maintain his uniqueness of being a saint.
4. Saints and Socialism
Those advocating the principle of equality to all in the name of communism have themselves become wealthy but the poor have remained as they are. It is the communists themselves who suppress the poor. As against this through smallest of the small actions, Saints teach how to think about the society. This is true socialism.
We studied the special features of Sanatan Sanstha’s Guru-disciple tradition briefly. Actually, these features are infinite. Sanatan Sanstha’s Saints as well as the Guru-disciple tradition stand apart due to these unique features. For this we offer gratitude a million times at the Holy feet of Paratpar Guru (Dr.) Athavale.
– Mr. Yadnesh Sawant, Sanatan ashram, Devad, Panvel (8.7.2019)
Saints taking seekers to the next level of spiritual
practice by guiding them in individual spiritual practice
The characteristic of Sanatan seekers is assessing their progress of individual spiritual practice and guiding seekers at all levels. When this is done seekers can receive accurate guidance after evaluating whether their journey towards the target of Self-realization is occurring with appropriate momentum, whether the seeker is receiving bliss and whether the seekers have any physical, psychological or familial problems which pose as obstacles in his spiritual practice. As Saints are Omniscient, only they can guide seekers appropriately to perform every action throughout the day as spiritual practice or as per expectations of God.