|“Poojaa Guru Ko Keejiye, Sab Pooja Jihi Maaheen;
Jo Jal Seenche Mool Taru, Saakhaa Patra Aghaaee.”Being God-centric is being Guru-centric. The Guru is the gateway to attaining God realisation. Without the Guru in our life, we have no direction; we do not know our destination. The Guru is the one who can instruct us, enlighten us, guide us, and lead us to liberation. As much as the Guru has to fulfill his role, the disciple also has to religiously assume his responsibilities and become worthy of his status. The month of Aashaarh in the Hindu calendar is very special in that its full moon day (Purnima) is dedicated to the Guru. As we celebrate Guru Purnima, let us reflect on the special relationship that binds the Guru and the disciple, and how that relationship is fundamental in the pursuit of our goal of liberation.When we come to this world, we are ignorant. Ignorant of where we came from, why we have come on this plane of existence, ignorant of what we should be doing, and also ignorant of our destination. The Guru is the only one who can remove our ignorance and help us discover our true Self and our real purpose in life. In the following saakhee, Satguru Kabir Saheb beautifully describes the Guru and the disciple:
“Guru Naam Hai Gamya Kaa, Sheesh Sikh Le Soee;
Binu Pad Binu Marjaad Nar, Guru Sheesh Nahin Koee.”
The Guru is the one who can impart the knowledge of ‘Truth’ and the disciple is the one who accepts all those teachings. If any one of them cannot honour his respective status, then he is not worthy of his position. In other words, the Guru and the disciple do not have interchangeable roles. As much as the Guru has to fulfill his role, the disciple also needs to assume his responsibilities within his limits. The following story illustrates how a disciple who tried to go beyond the limits of his position failed to be a worthy disciple.
There once was a disciple who had completed his studies and was about to leave his Guru’s ashram to go back to his village. The disciple thought to himself that he was very knowledgeable, even more knowledgeable that his Guru. He was very happy that he was going to leave his Guru and was looking forward to establish his own ashram. Being so proud of himself, he decided he would defeat his Guru before leaving. He caught a small bird, kept it is his hands closed behind his back. He told his Guru that he was holding a bird in his hands, and asked him to say if the bird was alive or dead. He thought that if the Guru would say dead, he would open his hands and show him the live bird. And if the Guru would say alive, he would simply twist the bird’s neck and show him the dead bird. The Guru, being very wise, knew that the disciple wanted to trick him. The guru responded that the bird’s life was in his hands; therefore it was fully dependent on him whether the bird would be alive or dead. The disciple realised his mistake and asked for forgiveness from his Guru. Using our knowledge to trick our Guru is disrespectful and shows that one is unworthy of being a disciple.
In the life story of Satguru Kabir Saheb, there is a well-known incident of how a self-declared erudite dared to challenge all scholars, Saints and Sages to establish himself as the wisest scholar. This erudite, who named himself Sarvajeet (because he thought no one could win over him), was humbly requested by his mother to go and meet with Satguru Kabir Saheb, and that if he won over him, then he could call himself Sarvajeet. Sarvajeet was known to have read all the scriptures and sacred texts. He carried all his books on an ox-cart and made his way to meet Satguru Kabir Saheb. When he reached there, he inquired with a girl, who happened to be Kamaali, a disciple of Satguru Kabir Saheb, his whereabouts. Knowing the intentions of Sarvajeet, Kamaali told to him that Satguru Kabir Saheb’s hermit was on such a slippery pinnacle that even an ant cannot climb up there. How can a Pandit think of climbing that pinnacle with an ox-cart full of books?
“Kabeer Kaa Ghar Shikhaar Par, Jahaan Silahali Gail;
Paanv Na Tike Pipili Kaa Tahaan, Pandit Laade Bail.”
Ignoring this warning, Sarvajeet requested for a pitcher full of water to be sent on his behalf to Satguru Kabir Saheb. Upon receiving the pot full of water, Satguru Kabir Saheb knew Sarvajeet’s intentions. He just dropped a needle in the pot and told Kamaali to return the pot of water to Sarvajeet. Surprised, Sarvajeet could not understand why Satguru Kabir Saheb sent the pot back with a needle in it. He therefore went to meet with Satguru Kabir Saheb. Satguru Kabir Saheb told him that: “ I know that you sent the pot full of water to signify how full of knowledge you are. However, my tiny needle was able to easily pierce through all of your knowledge”. Realising his mistake, Sarvajeet asked for forgiveness and became Satguru Kabir Saheb’s disciple.
“Pandit Parhi Guni Pachi Muwe, Guru Bin Mile Na Gyaan;
Gyaan Bina Nahin Mukti Hai, Sat Shabd Parmaan.”
Pandits have studied and studied and studied until they died, not knowing that the real knowledge is obtained from the Guru. One cannot obtain liberation without that real knowledge which can only be obtained from the Guru. The proof lies in the word, the true word. This is the truth. Here, the word is not one which is made of man-made alphabets, but that which is beyond human imagination. This is also why the books, which can only contain words made from the alphabets, cannot confer liberation. We need a Guru.
As we celebrate Guru Purnima, let us honour our Guru and pay our respects to him for all the grace and blessings he showers on us. It is our duty to surrender ourselves to the Guru’s feet and embrace bliss. Such bliss will lead us to our ultimate goal in life.
Mahant Jay Jaggessur
Kabir Association of Toronto
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