"Unflinching devotion to the Teacher is paramount in the life of a true seeker. To begin with, an external God can be the object of faith. But once the devotee grows to be a seeker, only a Wise Teacher can fulfil his quest.  It is then for the seeker to get purified and enlightened by the words of wisdom from his Guru.  Their bond and attunement put the Teacher on the pedestal of God.  Such an impeccable Guru-sishya bond alone bestows wisdom, strength and fulfillment to the seeker."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

Today I thought of telling you something about Guru Bhakti. Generally, I ask or I leave it to Mā to speak about Guru Bhakti because she is the best person to speak about it.

निगमाचार्यवाक्येषु भक्तिः श्रद्धेति विश्रुता ।
Nigamāchārya-vākyeshu bhaktih śraddheti viśrutā
(Aparokshanubhutih 8)

In any human matter, if you want to be good, effective and knowledgeable, then there is one quality which you must have, that is sraddha. As I have often said, ‘sraddha’ is a Sanskrit word and it is almost impossible to find an English equivalent for it. But nevertheless, I am using this kind of a terminology for it – ‘Assiduous application’. If you are able to apply yourself assiduously to anything, it is called sraddha.

I am talking and you are listening. If you are able to listen to what I say with full attention, application and wholesomeness, then that is called sraddha. Sraddha does not stop there. “What did Swamiji say? How is it relevant to me? What am I to do, following my listening to Him? Do I do it? How long have I done? What is the effect? If the effect is still lacking, what is the reason?” In all these matters, you have to be assiduous in studying, observing, applying, verifying etc.

Śraddhānusāriṇi vidya. A knowledge in any field of human life follows the degree and depth of sraddha one has.

Now, this sraddha, Sankara defines as ‘Guru Vedānta vākyeshu, bhaktih’.  Bhaktih means devotion, devotional fondness, devotional bond. For what or towards what? Guru Vedānta vākyeshu. The statements and utterances of your teacher, your Guru and then generally Vedanta. The entire Vedanta are words of wisdom uttered by the wise people and the teachers of our land. They are actually eternal teachers. By virtue of having spoken what they have done and by virtue of the relevance and benefit they offer, generation after generation, learned, imbibed, pursued, perfected the message. And after perfecting, they started sharing it with others and disseminating it. And in every generation, we had such people who imbibed, pursued, perfected and disseminated. So you can imagine, they are not a one-time teacher. By virtue of the words of wisdom they uttered, they continue to be teachers even now. So, whether it is Guru vākya or Vedanta vākya, both are equally words of the Guru. Now in these statements he says ‘Bhaktih’. Just like you will have devotion to God and Godly things, you must have devotion to what the Guru says.

I would like you to examine your mind whether you have enough of this devotion and you are satisfied with it. If you have devotion, the learning becomes tremendously and incredibly easy. I remember whenever I used to sit with my Guru or spent time with him, whatever he did, his gestures, the manner in which he spoke, the content and message of what he said, the answers he gave, otherwise the revelations he made, all of them my mind used to take to them unquestioningly, (I should not use the word even ‘unquestioningly’) with fullness and wholesomeness.

Whenever somebody speaks and it is true, if you have devotion to what he has said, that devotion itself will make it absorbed by your system. When I say “My dear ‘X’ or ‘Y’, don’t worry. This is not something to be worried about. Your mind is flexible enough, it can absorb and assimilate all this.” When I say this, why is it that you don’t just accept and act upon? It is a statement I am making. And I am making to whom? I am making to the one whom I consider to be dear, near and to whom I should impart whatever I have. It is much more costly and much more worthy than writing out a will in the name of your children or giving some money to your children for being spent on education or otherwise. After all, it is sharing of truths, sharing of wisdom, sharing of the inner treasure. By decades and decades of search, research, valuation, examination, assessment, verification etc. I am saying what I say. And when I pass on these words of treasure to you, what should be the attitude with which you should take?

When I say “Don’t neglect your body. Take some exercises.”, that one word should be sufficient for you to incorporate exercise in your life. Nothing else is required. But what I find is that by familiarity sometimes, even otherwise, people lose their respect, people lose their regard. They don’t have any weddedness and loyalty to what the Guru says.

There are people who suffer psychologically or mentally from many problems. I know these problems are non-existent but the mind cooks up these problems. When I explain to them that “This is the truth about it, my dear son or my dear daughter, be free of your trouble.” Whenever somebody narrates to me his or her story and it is one of suffering, agitation, tension or otherwise, do you know with what kind of identity I listen to it? Absolute identity. As I hear, the problem becomes mine. Normally as you are suffering, I should also be suffering. But, but, but as you are suffering, it makes me also suffer. For you, it is a direct suffering. For me, it is a suffering that my dear X or Y is suffering. It may be an incident or an accident that puts you to suffering but in my case it is the knowledge and the sight that somebody very dear to me is suffering on that account. Both are objects and causes of suffering. But that suffering my mind is able to assimilate only because of either the knowledge or the quality, the mind has. When I have got also the same mind as you have, my mind is not different. Our human bodies are alike. Human minds are also alike. Human intellects are also alike. What is the difference? Maybe one is slightly sharper than the other. But the broad qualities of the mind and intelligence are the same. Only in application there is a difference. Somehow, I have understood the subtlety of the mind, the flexibility of the mind, the unaffectedness character of the mind. That is why, day in and day out I speak about the mind, its unaffectable, unaffected nature.

So, when I say my dear X, you need not suffer. Whatever it may be, your mind is flexible and assimilative enough to take in any kind of an impact. Why don’t you understand this and use my words which are emitting knowledge, transmitting knowledge? Use that as a tool to make your mind also flexible and assimilative. When I say that with so much of affection, fondness, concern and involvement, what else do you need to take up the message and then actualize it in you? I don’t think there can be anything in this world which will help you more than this.

So, when Sankara says Guru Vedānta vākyeshu bhaktih śraddheti viśrutā, the devotion one has to the words of the Guru and the scriptures, that is called sraddha. It is very famous. I think it requires a life long contemplation from every one of you. Your whole sadhana will be cut short provided you can take to the words of the teacher with fondness, loyalty, weddedness and adherence. Ten years of sadhana will be reduced to 10 days. “Oh Swamiji has said this. My Guru has said this. So, it is the truth. Let me imbibe it.” So without any struggle your mind will become flexible and it will become assimilative. And you will start saying ‘okay’, not only things of the past, even those of the present and those are likely to come in the future. “My mind is, has already assimilated the past, is assimilating the present and will assimilate the future. Let it be anything, cruelty, dirt, absolutely shameful things, impossible things, disharmonious things, detestable things.” Conversely, later on, even praises and compliments also you will have to assimilate. Initially it is the bad things. Later on, fame, recognition, praise, acknowledgment, compliments etc. that also you must be able to assimilate and be free from.

So, my dear souls, please remember what is meant by Guru Bhakti, what is meant by sraddha.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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