When the heart is sincerely yearning for liberation, a fortunate soul reaches the feet of a Sadguru. A Sadguru is one who is capable of giving relief to this seeker seeking liberation from the worldly miseries. He is the one who can show the way to go across the worldly ocean remaining afloat in the midst of vicissitudes. The Guru is the one who bestows fearlessness.
Surrender to a Knower of Truth
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He who is well-versed in scriptures, who is taint-less and pure, who is free from desires, who is a Knower of Brahman of the highest order, who has withdrawn into the Supreme, who is peaceful like fire that is devoid of fuel, who is an ocean of mercy that needs no cause for its expression, and he who is a friend to those good people who surrender to him.
Worshipping such a Guru with devotion, and when that Guru is pleased with one’s surrender, humility and service, approaching him, one should ask about all that is to be known.
Points for Introspection:
Life in this world is transitory. However much one possesses wealth, property, luxury, comfort, a good family, name and fame, there is no security in life. Everything that one possesses may be lost at any moment, however much one clings to it.
Man finds that all the happiness that he enjoys in life by possessing various things is smeared with the fear of losing them. At times he feels threatened by the impermanency of life, by the fact that everything is perishable. His condition becomes like one facing a huge storm which threatens to sweep him away. He feels fearful and does not really know where to turn in order to get assurance and solace.
In his heart of hearts he cries for someone who would hold his hand and show him the anchor in life; one who would show him the way to go across the worldly ocean in which he feels he is getting drowned every moment. Seeing the perishable and momentary nature of the world, he grows more and more dispassion.
At such a juncture of life, when the heart is sincerely yearning for liberation, a fortunate soul reaches the feet of a Sadguru. A Sadguru is one who is capable of giving relief to this seeker seeking liberation from the worldly miseries. He is the one who can show the way to go across the worldly ocean remaining afloat in the midst of vicissitudes. The Guru is the one who bestows fearlessness.
Sri Shankaracharya has described the qualities and attributes of such a Guru (verse 33). He says a Guru is one who is well-versed in the scriptures. Not only well-versed and scholarly, he lives the knowledge gained from the scriptures, every moment of his life. Realizing Brahman, he becomes Brahman.
The Guru is sinless. There is no narrowness in his mind. His mind is ever-expansive, limitless and taintless like the sky. This is so, because he is never smitten by any desire. He is pure and transparent. He is a Knower of Brahman of the highest order.
He is the one whose mind has completely withdrawn from the worldly attractions and it ceaselessly dwells on Brahman alone. Desire agitates the mind of human beings. The Guru, having no desire, is absolutely quiet and peaceful like a fire for which the fuel (desire) has got completely burnt off.
Above everything, the Guru is an ocean of mercy and compassion. Without any reason, he feels compassion for every creature. It is his nature. He cannot but be otherwise. And by virtue of this nature he becomes the friend of everybody who comes to him with humility.
What should a seeker do when he has been able to find such a Guru?
In shloka 34, Shankaracharya says, having approached the Guru, a seeker of liberation should with devotion and humility prostrate at the holy feet, surrendering himself completely. With devotion and humility he should worship and serve the Guru and attentively take care of all his needs. To such a Guru who is thus pleased, a seeker should ask whatever he wants to know about the Self.
The seeker should humbly but openly, without any reservation, speak to the Guru about his fears, doubts and anxieties; tell him about his aspirations and yearnings in the spiritual path. Most humbly, the seeker should then follow the Guru’s instructions.
These shlokas when chanted give a deep feeling of devotion to the Guru and lead to fearlessness.
श्रोत्रियः (śrotriya:) = one who is well-versed in scriptures; अवृजिनः (avṛjina:) = one who is taintless, pure; अकामहतः (akāmahata:) = one who is free from desires; यः (ya:) = who; ब्रह्मवित्तमः (brahma-vittama:) = a Knower of the highest order; ब्रह्मणि (brahmaṇi) = in Brahman; उपरतः (uparata:) = withdrawn; शान्तः (śānta:) = one who is peaceful; निरिन्धनः (nirindhana:) = devoid of fuel; इव (iva) = like; अनलः (anala:) = fire; अहेतुकदयासिन्धुः (ahetukadayāsindhu:) = one who is an ocean of mercy that needs no cause for its expression; बन्धुः (bandhu:) = a friend; आनमताम् सताम् (ānamatāṃ satām) = to those good people who surrender to him;
तम् (tam) = that; आराध्य (ārādhya) = having worshipped; गुरुम् (gurum) = Guru; भक्त्या (bhaktyā) = with devotion; प्रह्वप्रश्रयसेवनैः (prahvapraśraya-sevanai:) = with humility, surrender and service; प्रसन्नम् (prasannaṃ) = pleased; तम् (tam) = him; अनुप्राप्य (anuprāpya) = having approached; पृच्छेत् (pṛcchet) = should ask; ज्ञातव्यम् (jñātavyam) = that which is to be known; आत्मनः (ātmana:) =of the Self
यः श्रोत्रियः, आवृजिनः, अकामहतः, ब्रह्मवित्तमः, ब्रह्मणि उपरतः, निरिन्धनः अनलः इव शान्तः, अहेतुकदयासिन्धुः, आनमताम् सताम् बन्धुः,
ya: śrotriya:, avṛjina:, akāmahata:, brahma-vittama:, brahmaṇi uparata:, nirindhana: anala: iva śānta:, ahetukadayāsindhu:, ānamatāṃ satām bandhu:,
तम् गुरुं भक्त्या आराध्य, प्रह्वप्रश्रयसेवनैः प्रसन्नं तम् अनुप्राप्य, आत्मनः ज्ञातव्यम् पृच्छेत् ।
tam guruṃ bhaktyā ārādhya, prahvapraśraya-sevanai: prasannaṃ taṃ anuprāpya, ātmana: jñātavyaṃ pṛcchet.