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There is unambiguous unanimity of opinion that human life is the source for attainment of certain aim by the Jiva. There are two classes of people. One class of people believes in life after death and rebirth while the other class of people does not believe in rebirth. The former class of people endeavors for the enjoyment of a life full of eternal and unmixed happiness in this world and for attainment of liberation from the whirls of rebirths and deaths hereafter. The latter class of people strives for a life full of pleasures unembittered by the pangs of dislikes. All pursuits in life of both the classes of people are thus ostensibly identical so far the attainment of happiness and deliverance from sufferings and unpalatables, in this world, are concerned. The true aim of the Jiva however, is the attainment of eternal bliss and salvation during human life and deliverance from rebirths after death and complete union with the Supreme ultimately and attainment of perfection, which can be achieved during human life alone.
Cause of Sufferings
As stated above, all pursuits of entire human being are towards achievement of integral happiness and liberation from sufferings. But due to grave misconception, delusion and ignorance, sensuous enjoyments are generally mistaken for eternal happiness. Consequently all efforts are misdirected towards the attainment of sensuous pleasures. This misdirection of efforts ultimately leads to frustration and sufferings.
Happiness and sensuous pleasures are not identical. Happiness is absolute and eternal. It emanates invariably from completely controlled, concentrated, steady and tranquil mind. It is, in fact, a sublime mental faculty. It is entirely unknown to any materialist. Sensuous pleasures, on the other hand , are merely momentarily palatable feelings of the sense organs, which are always subject to change according to the change of circumstances, time and temperament. Hence any effort to find happiness in the objects of senses, i.e. materialism is futile. Materialism can only provide momentary satisfaction the cravings of sense organs which ultimately leads to grave sufferings. Thus the pursuit for the attainment of sensuous pleasures is the primordial cause of all sufferings.
Bliss and Salvation
For achieving eternal happiness, concentration of mind is indispensable. Mind attains concentration and stability by its immersion, in the most subtle Divine Light which is self-effulgent and ever-existent in all human beings alike. This self-effulgent Divine Light is all pervading and eternal. It illumines the sun, the moon, the stars and the fires. It is called 'Vergo' 'Jyoti', 'Vishwarup', 'Param Prakash', 'Chandna', Noor-i-Elahi', and the like. It is, in fact, the Creator of the Universe. Mind gets to it through Shabd-Brahma. Mind instinctively loves light as is evident from all newly born children. Shabd-Brahma is actually the Name of this Divine Light which in reality is the Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient God unmanifest. Sabad Brahma is also called Mahamantra, Pawan Nam, Pak Nam, sat Nam, Adi Nam, Holy Name, Gaibi Dhun, Gaibi Awaz etc. Life-force or Chaitanya potency as we call it, emanates from this Shabd-Brahma. Its attributes are connoted by the words Om, Ram, Krishna, Khuda, Allah, God, Wahe-Guru and the like. Complete absorption of the mind in the Shabd-Brahma leads it to the Divine Light, i. e. to the Supreme. Immersion of the mind in the Divine Light and its (mind's) complete absorption with the Shabd-Brahma provide it concentration, equanimity, tranquillity and stability. This very state of mind is called salvation and a state of absolute and integral bliss.
Need of a Sadguru
The union and absorption of the mind with the Shabd-Brahma and its ascension to and immersion in the Divine Light, however, are impracticable without practical knowledge of the Shabd-Brahma and without practical vision of the Divine Light. Due to its incomprehensible subtlety, the Divine Light is imperceptible to the material eyes. Nor its vision can be had through any other means. Lord Krishna says that the Divine Light i.e. God cannot be seen through the study of Vedas or rituals or gifts, sacrifices or austere penances.
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. XI-V. 48
It is visible only to the Divine Eye. Every human being is possessed of Divine Eye, but initially it remains unopened. It is openable by living Sad-Guru alone. There is neither any other method by which nor any other person by whom this Divine Eye can be opened.
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. XI-V. 8
Lord Krishna tells Arjun, "You cannot see Me (Divine Light) with- these material eyes; therefore, I open your Divine Eye with which you behold Me, the Divine Light." Shabd-Brahma or Mahamantra is also unutterable and untranscribeable (incapable of being written) in letters. Its knowledge also is unacquirable through the study of the Vedas, the Quran or the Bible or from teachers of learnings. Its acquaintance is gained from a living Sad-Guru alone. Even Incarnations or Sad-Gurus who have already relinquished their mortal bodies cannot impart knowledge of the Shabd-Brahma. Thus this very impracticability of attainment of the knowledge of the Shabd-Brahma and the vision of the Divine Light, the very basis of the achievement of bliss and salvation which is the highest aim in human life, through any other means and personality, foreshadows the imperative and indispensable need of the living Sad-Guru. And it is why Lord Krishna asked Arjun to go to the shelter of a Gyanee Tatwadarshi Sadguru to acquire Gyan, i. e. the knowledge of the Shabd-Brahma and the vision of the Divine Light.
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. IV-V. 34
(Lord Krishna says to Arjun: By prostrating at the feet of the Gyanee Tatwadarshi Sadguru, by serving Him with heart and soul and by asking him again and again with humility and reverence, obtain Gyan, viz. the knowledge of the Shabd-Brahma and the vision of the Divine Light withinself from Him. He will reveal this Gyan to you).
It is very significant that for acquiring True Gyan and a true way of life Lord Krishna did not instruct Arjun to study scriptures or to perform sacrifices or penances or to chant any mantra like Om, Ram, Hari etc. or to go to the shelter of Ram or Valmiki or Jank or any other Sadguru who had been known since before and were known for their divinity and True Gyan but were no longer in mortal bodies at that time but directed him to seek the shelter and guidance of a Gayani Tatwadarshi. Likewise neither Lord Jesus Christ nor Prophet Mohammed nor Lord Buddha instructed the people of their time to study scriptures or to seek the shelter of any Sadguru who were not in mortal bodies for acquiring knowledge and salvation. Rather they all advised them to come to their shelter respectively. This signifies unambiguously that the knowledge of Shabd-Brahma and the vision of Divine Light is acquirable from the Living Sadguru alone and from none else and without this Gyan, eternal bliss and salvation remains only empty words, a mere myth! Hence for attainment of eternal and integral happiness and salvation in the world and for deliverance from the whirls of rebirth and death hereafter, the grace of a living Sadguru is entirely indispensable.
Who is a Sadguru
The word 'Guru' is composed of two terms viz. 'Gu' and 'ru' 'Gu' connotes darkness and 'ru' connotes Light, i.e. dispeller of darkness. The word Guru, therefore connotes a person who dispels inner darkness and shows eternal light. By light here is meant the self-effulgent Divine Light which is ever-existent in all human being. Every creature on this earth sees the sun light, the moon light and the fire light. But they are not self-effulgent. The sun, the moon and the fire merely radiate the primordial, and eternal Supreme Light which is called the Divine Light.
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch XV-12
('The light of the sun which illumines the entire universe, the light which is in the moon and in the fire, know it to be My (Divine Light) effulgence' says Lord Krishna).
It has been already stated that the Divine Light is self-effulgent and all pervading. But it is visible to human being with Divine Eye alone. It is not visible to non-human beings, not even to human being with material eyes.
The Guru makes visible this self-effulgent Divine Light by opening Divine Eye within oneself and removes the darkness of ignorance about this Light. No person, however, learned can be called a Guru who is not able to open the Divine Eye and show the Divine Light withinself instantaneously.
It has also been stated that the Divine Light, in reality, is the Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient God, unmanifest. The Sadguru is the Divine Light or the Almighty God manifested. Since the Sadguru himself is the manifested Divine Light, it is only He who is competent to reveal the unmanifest Divine Light within oneself. It is entirely beyond the competence of any other person to do so.
The Divine Light has been described in the Upnishads as Nirakar Brahma, i.e. God unmanifest or without physique; and the Sadguru as the Sakar Brahma, i.e. God manifested or God with physique. A reference to verse 20 of Ch. X and verses 61, 62, 65 and 66 of Ch. XVIII of the Gita which are reproduced below, is relevant in this connection. Lord Krishna says: -
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. X-v-20
(Arjun, I am the Soul seated in the heart of all beings. I am also the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings).
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. XVIII. v. 6
(Arjun, God is existent in the hearts of all beings; He causes the revolution of the body as an automation through his Maya i.e. Trigunas).
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. XVIII-v.62
(Arjun, go to His shelter alone with all your heart and soul. Through His grace you will attain the abode of Supreme and eternal Peace).
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. XVIII-v.65
(Absorb your mind in Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me and bow to Me. Truly you will reach Me, I assure, you are dear to Me)
(Hindi Quote) = Gita ch. XVIII-v. 66
(Relinquishing the attachment of sense organs and surrendering all actions, come to my shelter alone (Hindi Quote). I shall absolve you of all sins. Do not grieve.)
In verse 20 of Chapter X of the Gita reproduced above, Lord Krishna unambiguously declares that He is the Soul (Divine Light) seated in all beings. Again in verse 61, He says to Arjun that God is ever-existent in all beings. In verse 62, He instructs him to go to His shelter alone, i.e. to the shelter of the God who is existent in him and in all beings. But in verse 66, He says, "Come to My shelter alone." The words (Hindi Quote) in verse 62 and (Hindi quote) in verse 66 are very significant. They clarify that the very God who is existent within every being is the Sadguru. The expressions of Arjun - (Hindi Quote) - I am your disciple - in verse 7 of Chapter II and (Hindi Quote) - you alone are the adorable Supreme Guru, i.e. Sadguru of all gurus - in verse 43 of Chapter XI of the Gita clearly testify to the fact that Lord Krishna was the Sadguru of that time. From the above it is evident that the Sadguru is the very manifestation of the Divine Light i.e. God.
Thus we see that it is the living Sadguru alone who reveals the true knowledge of the Supreme Reality, viz. the manifest and unmanifest God and it is at His command that even the lowest and the most degraded character attains purity and becomes Saint within a twinkling of an eye.
Those who teach various mantras or the performance of various kinds of sacrifices and penances are not gurus. They are simply teachers. They teach the exercises of tongues or other limbs of the body just as a game teacher teaches gymnastics or a language teacher teaches one language or the other. They do not reveal True Gnan. They are themselves unaware of it. Hence they are not helpful in the attainment of true bliss and salvation.
A pertinent question in this connection generally rises in the minds of the common people how to discriminate between a Sadguru and a mere teacher or a hypocrite, It is evident that the sun does not require a candle or a torch to make him visible. It is a well known fact that the sun never sets in, but during the night he becomes invisible. He becomes visible only when the rays of the sun reach us. From his rays we get the light and know that the sun has appeared. Similar is the case with the Sadguru. The word of the Sadguru is the rays of the Divine Light. By his word we do not mean his utterances.
His word is the Shabd-Brahma. When He imparts the knowledge of Shabd-Brahma, the all-pervading Divine Light becomes visible. Sant Tulsi Das praises the glory of the Sadguru in the following words: -
(I pray to the lotus feet of the Sadguru, who is the ocean of mercy and manifested God in human body: His word is just like the rays of the sun which removes the heap of darkness of passion and ignorance about Divine Light).
On the aforesaid test, the discrimination between a Sadguru and a hypocrite becomes very easy. One who cannot impart the knowledge of Shabd Brahm and make visible the Divine Light withinself, is a hypocrite and not a Sadguru and no spiritual benefit can be obtained from such hypocrites. Lord Krishna has explicitly said that only a Gyani Tatwadarshi is a Sadguru. By Tatwadarshi he refers to one who has got the vision of the Divine; realized and become one with the Absolute Truth, who has lost his separate identity; and by Gyani he refers to him who has realized the Truth but has not renounced the world nor has taken shelter in a lonely place, rather he remaining in the world and performing all worldly duties just as an ordinary man, has renounced all attachments, passions and fruits of actions. In his opinion, to do one's duties in life uninfluenced by pair of opposites viz. happiness and sorrows, gains and loss, victory and defeat, is the way of life of a Gyani. Describing the state of mind of the God-realized Gyani Soul, He says that the God-realized Soul is immune from the cravings of the mind and remains completely satisfied in his ownself. His mind is not agitated nor perturbed by sorrows nor has he any attachment for happiness. He is above likes and dislikes. He is free from passion, anger and fear. He is disinterested in good and evil. He remains unattached to everything. He has completely withdrawn his senses from sense organs and has burnt the relish of senses. He remains immersed in the Supreme and possessed of exclusive devotion to Him. Lord Krishna emphasizes that, "the Gyani who is exclusively devoted to Me, who has merged his mind and intellect in Me and is firmly established in Me is My ownself; there is no separation of Me from Him."
Referring further to the way of life of the Gyani, Lord Krishna says that he performs all his worldly duties without looking for results. He remains disinterested in success and failures but is always active. Since it is impossible to renounce all actions completely due to nature-born gunas, the Gyani performs all actions but remains unattached to the results or relish because he remains in complete control of his mind and senses. His mind and body and all actions stand completely dedicated to the Supreme.
From the above it becomes quite evident that a Sadguru does not live in reclusion.
The question which agitates the mind of many people that whether or not one should look into the character and personality of the Guru is solved by the aforesaid traits of the Guru. Since a Gyani ostensibly works just in the same way as an ordinary man does, it is very difficult to fathom the true character of the Guru. More over since a saint always loves to tread a path unfamiliar to the common man and even contrary to the prevalent ethics, any attempt to probe into the character of the Guru by ethical yard stick is bound to lead to miscalculations and misunderstandings. "The rules or conduct of life which the intellect of men lays down cannot apply to the liberated Soul i.e. Sadguru. He is outside the narrow jurisdiction of these fallible tribunals. He is not governed by the judgments of men or the law laid down by the ignorant. "The only thing to be sure of in the Sadguru, therefore, is whether he is competent to open our Divine Eye and make visible the Divine Light. If he is so competent, the natural conclusion is that he is beyond all mean natures and is not only the purity in thoughts and actions personified but the very God manifest. And it is only he who is competent to lead man to perfection."
Who is Competent to Receive True Gyan (SHISHYA)
There is a blind belief that purity of hearts, thoughts and actions is prerequisite to the attainment of Gnan, viz. the vision of the Divine Light and the knowledge of the Shabd-Brahma and that the door of Gnan is completely shut to the impure, the degraded. A deep analysis of the cause and nature of human body will reveal the fallacy of such belief. The human body or the bodies of all being for the matter of that, are composed of tri-gunas and all actions of entire human being are guided by the influence of these gunas. The very birth of a man is indicative of the fact that his mind is completely enlaced in delusion because births and deaths are the results of actions performed in delusion. Delusion breeds passion, desire, anger, infatuation, lust and egoism which are the very root cause of all evils, sins and bondage. The destruction of the veil of delusion and the conquest of its sprouts (passion, desire, anger, infatuation, lust and egoism) are the only ways and means for the attainment of purity of hearts, thoughts and deeds. The destruction of the veil of Maya and the conquest of the aforesaid evils, however, follows from the complete control and concentration of mind, which in its turn is not possible without true Gyan. Hence the natural corollary is that purity of hearts, thoughts and deeds is not possible without Gyan.
The contention that mind can be controlled and purity attained through the study of scriptures, through jap in the form of utterances of mantras like om, Ram, Krishna, Khuda, God, Wahe-Guru, through the practice of tap, i.e. being in the midst of fires or forcibly controlling various limbs of the body; or through sacrifices, i.e. pouring pure ghee into the fire or killing animals is not only fallacious but most mischievous. It is a common experience of all who count beads and recite mantras that while they are uttering the mantras their minds wander from one sense object to another or is, at best, fixed to the corns of beads and to their numbers they count. There is no likelihood of control of mind through these processes. So far being in the midst of fire is concerned, we all know that the driver of a locomotive or a cook remains in the midst of fire for major portion of his life but nobody has ever heard of his attaining control over mind. Such is the case of a fisherman in the ocean also. So far forcible control of limbs of the body is concerned, every being remains suspended downhead in the womb of the mother till he is born but neither any newly born child nor any gymnast has ever been heard of being in complete control of his mind. Pouring of ghee into fire or killing animals are all unwise acts and there is no instance to cite that anybody attained control of mind through these actions. The reality is that these various terms like jap, tap and sacrifices have been greatly misinterpreted and misunderstood. 'Jap' in fact constitute the constant absorption of the mind in the Shabd-Brahma or Mahamantra as it is called. Similarly 'tap' signifies the constant immersion of the mind in the ever-existent Divine Light withinself and sacrifices signify the burning of the passion, attachment, desire, lust, anger, infatuation and the fruits of action in the fire of Gnan, i.e. Divine Light and in the service to the Sadguru. And all this is possible only after the knowledge of the Shabd-Brahma and the vision of the Divine Light is gained and never before. After the Gnan is acquired through the good grace of the Sadguru, the perfection is attained by the practice of jap, i.e. constant union of the mind with the Shabd Brahma, tap, i.e. immersion of the mind in the Divine Light and sacrifices, i.e. consecration of all mind, body, possession, thoughts and actions to the Sadguru. Hence neither purity nor control of mind is possible before attainment of Gnan.
As a matter of fact, all round purity is not a means but an end in itself. The fire of Gnan and devotion burns all impurities of minds and hearts, just as the fire burns the impurities of gold. The only prerequisite to the attainment of Gnan is indeed a keen aspiration for it and humility, reverence and unreserved service and devotion to the Sadguru of the time. When the grace of the Sadguru of the time is obtained by selfless and unreserved service and reverence, he imparts true Gnan and subsequently constant practice of absorption of the mind with the Shabd-Brahma and immersion in the Divine Light and service to the living Sadguru purifies the heart and soul and vouchsafes salvation and bliss. Hence the door to Gnan is open to entire humanity. What is expected of him is an intense aspiration and unreserved dedication and service to the Satguru alone who is competent to purify even the vilest of the beings in a second and deliver him from the bondage of births and deaths.