Yesterday I was speaking about wisdom as defined in the 13th chapter of Bhagavadgeeta. Amongst the twenty refinemental disciplines that constitute Jnaana, one important discipline is Acaryopasana - the worship and the service done to the Teacher. About this Acharyopasana I thought I will mention something today.
It is one thing to honour a Saint or Teacher, listen to his words, read his book, and follow him as far as possible remaining at a distance. It is something like seeing the moon from the earth, enjoying the soothing moonlight coming from the brilliant orb. Not taking any interest to know the details or the cause of the brilliance.
But when you grow to be a seeker, you can no longer remain satisfied with this distant status — just listening to him or reading his books. You would like to know the way, a specific practice, that will take you to the goal the Teacher extols. Then you approach the Teacher in closer terms and humbly seek initiation from him. Once you get initiation and become his disciple, your pursuit becomes entirely different. You must open your mind before him and ask him to comment, correct and improve your thoughts, words and actions. You must abide by his advice and suggestions.
The next step comes when you want to live in the proximity of the Teacher, serving him in whichever way it is needed. Service to the Guru remaining in his close proximity is by itself the most sublimating sadhana. It is the surest way to efface one's ego.
When you start serving the Guru, you have to know his likes and dislikes, the values he upholds, the ideals he extols, the message he wants to spread, the manner in which he would like people to behave. First, all these have to be known with keen observation, attention and subtlety. And then, it will be a constant effort on your part to follow these, keeping aside your own likes and dislikes. This is what purifies a sadhaka, dissolves his ego.
As long as ego is there, it will vex you, disappoint you, whether you are in an Ashram, in your house or in your office. It will make your mind heavy and intelligence obscure. When the ego is dissolved, the mind becomes light and flexible like air, free to move and enter anywhere. The intelligence becomes clear and penetrating, resolved to see and judge matters rightly.
As the wind blows, it moves over dirt and filth, collecting foul smell. As it goes on further, it passes through the flower gardens and virgin forests, collecting fragrance. It has no trouble in passing through any region. And nothing clings to it. It flows in tune with nature, enriched by nature's qualities, manifesting its own free nature. When the ego is dissolved, a man attains this wonderful state.
Such self-effacement is not attempted by many seekers. Rarely some do attempt. When the ego becomes extinct, such people will be selected particularly by Nature or God to fulfil some great mission in the world.
Why did Valmiki look after Seeta and her children? He was an ascetic who had left his wife and children ! After years of ascetic life, when he saw pregnant Seeta abandoned by her great husband Rama, he said," I will look after you, my dear daughter. I don't cast any blame on you, neither do I blame your husband. I shall arrange for your protection and nursing." Seeta and the children became part of Valmiki's life. What extent of ego extinction was necessary on his part ?
The purpose of Acharyopasana is to get yourself identified and evaluated properly. What are the insufficiencies ? What are the disharmonies ? where are the slips and gaps ? When you become receptive and you have a sense of humility and surrender, then alone will the Teacher tell you the corrections and improvements you need.
See, I often have something to tell the people who come here. But I don't, because I don't feel confident that they are close to me. I am not sure whether they will take to my suggestions or corrections heartily. Human ego is very very stealthy and elusive. When a good thing is spoken in a good manner for a good purpose, the listener will take it the other way.
It is one thing to do what you like. It is altogether different to do what God likes, or what the Guru likes. Generally people would offer God what they would like to offer, not what God would like to have. Even while buying a saree for the wife many would not ask the wife what kind of saree she would like to have !
As the ego gets more and more sublimated, the mind will become peaceful, happy and ecstatic. You will be able to do well whatever is required to be done from time to time. Yudhishthira's ego resented when he was asked by Krishna to announce "Aswatthama has been killed" after killing the elephant called Aswatthama. It was Krishna who had asked him to announce. It was for Krishna to worry about the propriety or impropriety of the action. But Yudhishthira could not take to Krishna's suggestion unquestioningly. That level of selfeffacement or ego-extinction Yudhishthira's mind could not attain, and therefore he had to suffer hell.
Either you have the full knowledge of complex nature, understanding of the subtle laws determining the long-term welfare of individuals as well as the society, or you believe in the words of the Teacher or the Knower. If both you cannot do, then Samśayātma vinaśyati - you are a doubting man, and destruction is your lot. So, better be wise and eliminate the ego. Get rid of your likes and dislikes. And for that, close association of the Acharya, with a sense of surrender, is the surest way.
Harih Om Tat Sat
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