Having a teacher to guide us in any field is invaluable. This is true in Spirituality as well. Since Spirituality is subtle or intangible in nature, it is difficult to identify with certainty who is a spirit-ually evolved guide or Guru. A Guru is very different from a teacher or a preacher. He is a beacon of spiritual light in our world, and teaches us the universal spiritual principles that underlie all religions and cultures.
Definition of a Guru or an evolved spiritual guide
There are various aspects to the Supreme God Principle. These various aspects of God perform specific functions in the Universe. This is pretty much akin to the Government of any country which has various departments to facilitate the smooth governing and functioning of the country as a whole.
Just as we have a department for education in a Government that facilitates teaching of modern sciences throughout the country, the aspect of God which looks after spiritual teaching and spiritual growth in the Universe is known as the ‘Guru’. This is known as the unseen or unmanifest Guru or the ‘Teaching Principle of God’. The unmanifest Guru pervades the entire Universe and is with us at all times during our life and even after we die. The salient and highlighting feature is that the unmanifest Guru stands by us throughout our life and slowly lifts us from our worldly life into a spiritual way of life. The Guru guides us according to our spiritual level – our capacity to imbibe knowledge whether we know it or not, helping us develop skills such as persever-ance, dedication, attention to detail, tenacity, compassion etc. through our lives. All these skills are intrinsic to being a good seeker and are vital in sustaining our spiritual journey. For those who proactively seek spiritual growth the Guru is more active, guiding them in an unseen form according to what is needed for them.
From the entire population of the world, some take up spiritual practice that is universal and beyond the confines of formal, organised religion. Among these, through their spiritual practice (regardless of their religion of birth) very few reach a spiritual level of over 70%. The unmanifest Guru then works completely through some of these evolved individuals who are then known as the manifest Guru or the Guru in the human form. In other words, a person has to be at least of 70% spiritual level to qualify as a spiritual guide or a Guru. The Guru in human form acts as a beacon of spiritual knowledge for humanity and is in complete alignment with the Universal mind and intellect of God.
Literal Meaning of Guru : The word ‘Guru’ is derived from Sans-krut and has a deep spiritual meaning. Its syllables ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’ stand for the following – ‘Gu’ denotes the spiritual ignorance that most of humans are in. ‘Ru’ represents the radiance of spiritual knowledge that dispels spiritual ignorance.
In short, the Guru is the One who dispels the darkness of spiritual ignorance and bestows spiritual experiences & spiritual knowledge.
The Guru Principle
Gurupournima is celebrated on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Ashadha.
This day is celebrated every year to express gratitude unto the Guru Principle. The Adi Guru, Sage Vyas (Founder of the Guru-disciple lineage), is worshipped on this day. Hence, it is also known as Vyas Pournima. This is the most important festival in the life of a seeker. The Guru is the manifest form of God. Hence, even this celebration in gratitude to the Guru is done for the seeker’s spiritual progress.
The Guru Principle is a thousand times more active on this day than on any other day. That is why, seekers and disciples participate in the mission of serving the Truth with all their body, mind and wealth.
Participating in Gurupournima preparations and celebrations provides seekers unique opportunities to serve the Guru Principle and thus, progress spiritually.
Thus, Gurupournima has equal importance for every seeker, irrespective of his religion or spiritual path.
What must be done to attain a Guru ?
Being able to attain a Guru quickly and the constant bestowal of His grace thereafter, are possible by virtue of the single quality of intense mumukshutva (yearning) for a Guru. A youth strives to win a girl’s heart by constantly contemplating on what he should do to please her. Similarly, we should strive day and night to do everything to please the Guru, so that He considers us His own and bestows His grace.
In the Kaliyug, being blessed by a Guru or with His grace is not as difficult as it was in the three previous Eras. A salient point here is that we cannot attain a Guru without His grace. A Guru is already aware of who His disciple will be. We should undertake spiritual practice to attain the grace of the Guru. For this, we should develop the qualities of a disciple.
The Guru Principle is One
All Gurus are the same internally, though externally their physical appearance may differ. Just as the milk oozing from any udder of a cow is equally pure and clean, so also, there is only one Guru Principle in all Gurus and the waves of Anand (Bliss) emanating from all are the same. Just as sea waves advance towards the shore, the waves of God, that is the Guru are emanated towards the society. The taste of water in all the sea waves is the same. Similarly, the Principle in all the Gurus is the same. If a water tank has many outlets, whether small or large, the same water from the tank flows out from all of them. However varied the shapes of light bulbs maybe, when electricity flows through them, only light is emitted from them. In the same way, though Gurus differ in physical appearance, the Guru Principle, that is, the God Principle in them is the same.
Source : Sanatan’s texts ‘Gurukrupayoga’ and ‘The Disciple’