Friday, July 15, 2011

Role of Guru in Spiritual Life...

On the auspicious occassion of Guru Poornima, here is a wonderful story
which I came across in the book "Swami Brahmananda as we saw Him: Reminiscences of Monastic and Lay Devotees" published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai narrated by Swami Brahmananda, the spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna that appeared in the appendix titled 'Role of Guru in Spiritual Life' which has earlier appeared in the Vedanta Kesari, July 1987, p. 273 - 278.

"A certain king once developed dispassion for the world. He had heard that King Parikshit had attained Supreme Knowledge after hearing the Bhagavata for seven days. He sent for a renowned scholar who lived close by and began listening from him to the recital of the Bhagavata. Even after hearing the Bhagavata regularly for two months, he did not attain to any knowledge whatsoever. He said to the Pandit: 'Parikshit attained Supreme Knowledge after hearing the Bhagavata for only seven days. And even after hearing it for two months, how is it that I have not realized anything? If you do not answer this question by tomorrow, you will not get any money or other remunerations.' Worried at the profound displeasure expressed by the king, the Pandit returned home with a heavy heart. He could not arrive at any definite answer to the question even after hard thinking. He became much distressed and started worrying with numberless puzzling thoughts crowding in his mind. He had an intelligent daughter who was very much devoted to him. She saw her father in that distressed condition and asked him again and again the cause of it. Pressed by the love for his child, he was forced to tell her the cause of his sorrow. The daughter smilingly told him, 'Father, you need not worry at all. I shall answer the king tomorrow.'

Accompanied by his daughter, the Pandit presented himself at the king's court the next day and said, 'My daughter will answer your question.' The daughter began by saying, 'If you want an answer to the question, you must abide by whatever I say.' When the king nodded assent, the Pandit's daughter told the palace guards: 'Bind me to one pillar and the king to another. At the king's command, the guards did as told. Then the little girl said to the king, 'O king! Please release me quickly from this bondage.' The king said, 'You are asking for the impossible! I am myself bound, how can I remove your bondage?' The girl smiled and said, 'O king, this is the answer to your question. King Parikshit was a seeker of Moksha, and his teacher was Sri Shukadevaq himself, the all renouncing, great knower of Brahman. King Parikshit attained to Supreme Knowledge as a result of hearing the Bhagavata from Sri Shukadeva. On the other hand, my father is himself attached to the world and is expounding the scriputre to you with the hope of getting money in return. How can you attain Knowledge after hearing him?'

This meaningful story makes it clear that without the instructions of a Sadguru, there is not possibility of release from bondage.

further in the article...
There is no race as grateful as the Hindu. When the Hindu lets go of his devotion to the Guru, he would cease to be a Hindu. Recall to your mind the Mahabharata story of Upamanyu who was devoted to his Guru. That devotion to the Guru, that immovable faith, that infinite faith in the words of the Guru had once established India on the highest pedestal. If India has to prosper again, it would do so only with the help of this devotion to the Guru, knowing him to be God - not as an imagination, but God in reality. When we are ready to lay down even our lives at his feet, we would become capable of performing great deeds. Not only shall we be successful in carrying on our spiritual practices to attain mukti, but we shall also be able to do something for our country and race.

available for purchase at all the centers of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission.

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