Guruvakya as it is called in Sanskrit, the word of a Guru or a spiritual teacher holds utmost value in Indian traditions. It is said that a Guru, one who dispels the darkness called ignorance and guides the seeker to an understanding of brightness or pure knowledge is rare to find and when one find a Guru, it is said to be a seeker’s path to self-realization. Owing to great fortune one finds a Guru in this life. The understanding of the self is possible solely by the grace of a Guru. The techniques and practices to reach spiritual goals are taught to a sincere disciple who has passion to ascend on the path of self-realization by the Guru. No great person ever denied the existence of a Guru in one’s life.
Sampradaya is a term often used when speaking about a Guru- it is used to describe a tradition that has been passed on in an excellent manner to the next generation of sincere seekers. Sampradayas benefit seekers to connect with different teaching styles and paths towards the same end goal in mind. In some Sampradayas, the divine universal mother is shown as a Guru or the silent Dakshinamurthy is shown as a Guru. In some other Sampradayas, the avadhoota Dattatreya, who appeared as the son of divine couple Sage Atri and Anasuya is shown as the Guru. Several Gurus have taken birth as a blessing in this divine Universe and have, out of their boundless love for the welfare of all beings, given several teachings to uplift mankind from ignorance that arises due to an identification with the body. The teachings of a Guru or Gurubodha are in an accessible, approachable form to the beginner-seeker whose state of maturity in spiritual sciences is not as strong as the Guru’s. For the more advanced seekers, Gurubodha occurs at a advanced stage. The seeker must always plan to advance one’s spiritual progress by means of continuous improvement and inquiry. Sadhana is used to describe the practice of techniques a Guru gives to the sincere seeker.
Another word we hear often in relation to a Guru is Gurukripa or the grace of a Guru. It is said, to obtain Gurukripa is very difficult and only a humble, sincere seeker who meditates upon the lotus feet of a Guru and treats the Guru with utmost respect is able to experience it. In the modern times, we have seen instances where a person who has immense wealth is not able to enjoy its benefits owing to poor health or poor state of mind. One of the reasons for such an occurrence is the disbelief in the Guruvakya or even shunning a Guru or Guruvakya. It is said that a Guru can save a person from the wrath of God, but someone who has the wrath of a Guru, God too cannot protect. Such is the importance given to a Guru in a seeker’s life. The meditation upon the Guru must be inculcated by every sincere seeker and a Guru must always be treated with utmost reverence. On the occasion of Vyasa Purnima we bow to Guru Vedavyasa who is responsible for the abundant spiritual literature, due to which the world survives. Guru is the creative force, preserving force and the force of dissolution who guides sincere seekers towards the goal, whether present in a bodily form or not. Always remember to be grateful for the Gurus you have in life.
As Adi Sankara rightly says in his Guru ashtakam, the eight stanza hymn describing the importance of centering one’s mind upon the lotus feet of a Guru,
“I am honoured in other lands and I am prosperous in my homeland; in the paths of righteous conduct there is none who surpasses me”, thus one may think; yet if one’s mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?”
The complete translation of the 8 stanzas in the Guru ashtakam is found here: http://www.rkmdelhi.org/videos/guru-ashtakam-of-adi-shankaracharya/
Listen to the Sanskrit recitation in the link which always bring solace to the mind.
May you all have Gurukripa.