1. Introduction to Guru purnima
Guru purnima is a day to express gratitude towards one’s Guru. Each seeker thinks of celebrating this day in the best possible manner. Obviously, since Guru principle is active 1000 times more on this day than on any other day, seekers are benefited accordingly. Guru does not expect anything from his disciples. Guru keeps on making efforts so that His disciple progresses spiritually and is elevated to a higher level. For faster spiritual progress, it is necessary to increase seeker-ship qualities in oneself. The true gratitude towards a Guru would be when a seeker develops seeker-ship qualities and eventually becomes a disciple. Let us review in this article, ‘What exactly needs to be done to increase seeker-ship qualities’.
2. Let us imbibe nine aspects of spiritual practice to increase seeker-ship
- Personality Defect Removal: For this purpose, we have to accept our mistakes, go to their root cause to find the personality defect, make a note of it in our diary and take appropriate auto suggestions. We have to follow this process regularly.
- Ego Removal: Let us try to take each and every action in our daily life consciously with complete surrender (sharaṇāgat-bhāv). Let us become aware of all the acts and symptoms where our ego is manifested and try to overcome it.
- Leadership Qualities: Let us take more and more responsibilities related to service unto God (sēvā) and carry them out in the best possible manner. For this purpose, we need to study different aspects of leadership and practice them. If we sincerely practice the above three aspects of spirituality, it will be like practicing the following six aspects as well.
- Chanting: Chanting done without manifestation of ego, with complete surrender and avoiding ‘ten faults / offences’ is full of spiritual emotion. We do not have to take any other effort. This chanting happens effortlessly.
- Satsang: To lead a life without ego, defects and coupled with chanting is company of truth (satsang) in itself. If this happens we can remain in satsang for 24 hours and derive satsang from each and everything.
- Satsēvā: Service unto the Absolute Truth done along with chanting and surrender becomes satsēvā.
- Sacrifice (Tyāg): Sacrifice unto the Absolute Truth (tyāg) is more important on the day of Gurupourṇimā
- By regularly practicing all aspects of spirituality, we will be able to sacrifice our body, mind and wealth. Normally, Guru’s grace starts flowing when we commence our spiritual practice. However, when we sacrifice our body, mind and wealth to the extent of 55% we can get spiritual experiences of Guru’s grace. We should make an effort towards it. If in a day we are able to do physical satsevā for 13 hours along with chanting (by constantly being in connection with God) then we can say that we have done 55% sacrifice of body, mind and wealth.
- In sacrifice of mind if something happens against our wish we should not think about it emotionally, rather we should have an attitude that Guru has given us an opportunity to learn from this incident. To have this kind of attitude we should effectively implement Personality Defect Removal and ego removal process.To make sacrifice of our intellect we should practice “Yog Karmasu Kaushalam“, means by following the principle that ‘performing each and every task perfectly and efficiently itself is Yog’.In spirituality, we have to achieve dissolution of mind and intellect as soon as possible. This is achieved through sacrifice. Sacrifice of wealth is comparatively easy. Full time seekers might think that, ‘we have sacrificed everything and come to the ashram, so how can we sacrifice wealth?’ These seekers should exercise thriftiness and make appropriate use of Guru’s belongings. This way they will be able to achieve sacrifice of wealth.
- Spiritual love (Prīti ): We have to practice all the above aspects with love and without any expectations. Only through this, we will be able to develop spiritual love (Prīti) for everyone.
- Developing spiritual emotion (Bhāv): When we practice all the above 8 aspects in its entirety, developing Bhāv is a certainty.
3. How to be introverted
There is one more obstacle in implementing all the above aspects, that is lack of introspection. Generally, while doing our daily service (sēvās), we do not realise or cannot control our mistakes and reactions we have in our mind towards other seekers. We are not able to concentrate while chanting or doing sēvā. We face all such difficulties. In all these situations we fall short of introspecting ourselves. In any situation, instead of analysing ‘where did I fall short’, we blame co-seekers, planning and the situation. This is where we make a mistake. In order to avoid this mistake, we have to change our thought process. Let us understand this by the following examples.
Eg: A.: Anil complains that Sunil does not listen to him even after explaining his mistakes to him in different ways. So, he concludes that Sunil lacks listening attitude and stops telling him his mistakes. In this case Anil has thought at Sunil’s level and come to a conclusion.
If Anil introspects himself it would be as follows: Sunil listens to H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale (founder of FHA) and evolved seekers but not to me; which means that he does not lack listening attitude, whereas I am falling short in my efforts in explaining to him. When I become like H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale or an evolved seeker, he will listen to me. So I have to increase my efforts. This thought process will eliminate any negative thoughts towards Sunil in Anil’s mind and he will start thinking positively and will start making efforts in that direction. In this example, Sunil may or may not improve but Anil will improve and become like H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale or an evolved seeker. This is what is expected by H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale.
Eg: B: Satsang in a Srī Datta temple was stopped. Satsang conductor, Mr. Shinde informed that the number of attendees were few and they were just listeners and not curious. They had to be called for the satsang and yet did not attend. So, the satsang had to be stopped. In this example, Mr. Shinde thought at others’ level but he did not introspect at his level. He should have thought, whether everybody understood the topics he presented in the satsang or not? Was the timing for satsang convenient to attendees? Was he clearing their doubts in the topics presented? Did they have any other obstacles in attending the satsang? In this case even if the satsang was stopped if Mr. Shinde had made efforts to continue the satsang, he would have definitely achieved his spiritual progress.
If we make prayers in addition to the above efforts, it is not impossible to be introverted and practice nine folds of spirituality. Sometimes due to the black covering created around us by negative energies, we are not able to make desired and consistent efforts. H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale (founder FHA) has told us that if our spiritual level increases, distressing energies will not be able to trouble us. This means that we should increase our devotion and strengthen our spiritual power. It is not impossible to achieve this if the above efforts are coupled with maximum prayers.
Spiritual life is a playful interaction between a seeker and the spiritually evolved. In this, one has to offer and the other has to accept. The one who offers, accepts back again and the one who accepts, offers back again. In this interaction, one is known as the Guru and the other is known as the disciple (shishya). No part of worldly life is an exception to this either.
However, in the spiritual and religious aspects of life, the relationship between Guru and shishya is more pronounced. Its medium is speech as well as literature. The one, who has compiled, subject-wise consolidated, category-wise classified, planned and created a self sustaining structure for this literature in a very powerful, universal and ideal way; is known by the name, ‘Shrī Vyās. By doing this, He acquires the highest honor of being the ‘Universal Sadguru‘ (Guru with a spiritual level above 85%), in the hearts of the people. He is constantly offering (knowledge and guidance) to the universe through His everlasting literary works. He has a thousand hands (offering knowledge).
Vyāspourṇimā, which is popularly known as Gurupourṇimā, is celebrated so that the recipient of this knowledge does not fall short in his ability to receive it, and so that he preserves the tradition of expressing his gratitude for it. God Shrī Vyās is knowledge personified. The seat of Shrī Vyās (vyāspeeth), is one which is prepared by God Shrī Vyās by: pouring His knowledge into it, strengthening it with the two legs of karma (action) and bhakti (devotion), and firming it up with the base of yog (discipline)!
Those who have acquired the privilege of taking a seat at this vyāspeeth are called Shrī Sadguru. Gurupourṇimā is a great moment, which gives one the opportunity to offer gratitude and pay obeisance to such a Sadguru, for the everlasting flow of the divine nectar of knowledge. The donor, Shrī Sadguru, offers incessantly, whereas the receiver accepts only in parts. Even this small bit causes a revolution in the life of a receiver. Life progresses towards a sense of gratitude. The one who is aware of this will definitely experience the awakening of his ‘gratitude intellect.’ A golden moment to express this gratitude is Gurupourṇimā.
The importance of sacrifice (tyāg) and service to the truth (satsēvā) on the occasion ofGurupourṇimā
A gradual sacrifice of body, mind and wealth is necessary for rapid spiritual growth. The mind is sacrificed through chanting, the body through physical service unto truth (satsēvā) and wealth through donation (arpaṇ). The most appropriate donations are to Saints.
Our give and take account of previous births is responsible for financial problems in this life, such as obstacles in business, illness, never being able to hold on to money, etc. Many such problems get solved by offering donations to Saints. Most seekers experience this hence they make donations at different Holy places.
One needs to sacrifice everything to attain God. To attain this objective, one needs to increase sacrifice stepwise. Reducing our attachments is more important than how much one has actually donated. For example, it is more important to donate $100 when we have just $100, than to donate $10,000 when we have millions.
The Guru principle is a 1000 times more active on the day of Gurupourṇimā than on any other day. Hence we get more spiritual experiences (anubhūtīs) and receive more of the Guru’s blessings when we perform satsēvāand sacrifice on the occasion ofGurupourṇimā, than on any other day or for any other spiritual programme.
The importance of sacrifice of wealth during our spiritual practice and its effects
The overall importance of donation in one’s spiritual practice is as follows:
- It helps to settle give and take accounts.
- The process of undergoing destiny and finishing it, is accelerated.
- It decreases attachment to money.
- Due to coming out of the great illusion (Māyā), it becomes easy to do spiritual practice.
|To whom should one donate/ help financially?||Importance (in percentage)||Effect|
|1. For a worldly reason e.g. a wedding||1 to 2||It increases one’s give and take account|
|2. For a social cause e.g. a school, hospital, etc.||10||It helps liberate one from social debt. Also one gets a little benefit due to performing spiritual practice according to the path ofkarma.|
|3. The Guru||70||Since a Guru is an individual (vyashṭi) representation of God, it helps a seeker to become eligible to be a disciple.|
|4. For nation and righteous (dhārmik)activities||100|| An opportunity is given to get involved in righteous activities (Dharmakārya). The activities for nation and righteousness are the collective (samashṭi) representations of God. Also, these activities are important according to the current era.
Gurupournima related Spiritual Experiences of seekers
The Muslim girl manifested after sitting on the bench where the Gurupournimā special edition paper was kept
On 10/07/2006, I started for Jalgaon with Gurupournima, special edition in the “Bhusawal Passenger” train (place in India). I had kept the special editions under a berth. At Igatpuri (place in India), one Muslim came with his daughter and sat on the berth next to me. Within half an hour they both came and sat next to me. After some time the girl manifested and started making many hand gestures. She shouted” Kazi don’t beat me, I will leave her, the whip lashes are hurting me.” After she manifested I got up and sat on a different berth. At that time my nāmjap was happening. Throughout the entire travel no one sat next to her. That girl was in such manifested state for 3 hours. Later they both got down at Chalisgaon. At that time I realized that’ I had kept that pile of special edition of Gurupournima. The girl suffered because she couldn’t tolerate the Chaitanya emitted from the special edition. ‘
– A Seeker, Sanatan hermitage Devad, India
Desire for sādhanā increased after having very good spiritual experiences at the venue on the Gurupournima day:
I started spiritual practice by the path of Gurukrupāyoga in 01/01/2004. After few days I experienced my first Gurupournima. We were explained the importance of donation (arpan) during Gurupournima. Accordingly we were supposed to collect donations from the society. When I first went to my colony for collecting donation, people there said ” Where did you start asking for such alms?” At that time I got very angry. On the Gurupournima day when I attended the function, I had very good spiritual experiences (ānubhūtis). After that I developed intense desire (talmal) for sadhana. At the time itself, I decided that now I will never turn back. From that day onwards I started attending satsangs, meeting senior seekers, study sessions etc. One day as I got late from thesatsang, my husband got very angry at me. Next week when I attended the satsang, he came to drop me. He liked the atmosphere which was full of Divine consciousness (Chaitanya) and his sadhana too started from that day onwards.
Initially there was opposition for putting up a banner (made of cloth) during Gurupournima but permission was granted by the very same person later on
Initially during Gurupournima, the owner of the hall, denied us the permission to put up the cloth banner and started to scold us. We seekers started requesting him politely but he was not in the listening mode at all. At that time I reminded all seekers to pray to H H Dr. Athavale. So we all prayed unto His holy feet. Within 10 mins, the owner came back and said that it will be good if you put up banner at the corner, at that moment we all experienced the importance of active Guru principle (tattva).