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Be Endowed with Gurutva – Exalted Dimension

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

12 August 2022

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The Guru is one who has been able to understand the profundity of what is present in this body. He explains the magnificence of what is contained within, invisible to the senses. A Guru alone can gift the disciple unconditionally, expecting nothing.

[Essence of Gurupūrṇimā Message 13 July 2022]

Gurupūrṇimā is the most sublime and auspicious day in the Indian calendar. There is no other day which represents greater significance, import and message. This is a day earmarked for Guru, the Teacher.

What is Gurutva?

I thought, during this Gurupūrṇimā, I would speak primarily on what is meant by the word ‘Guru’. We also have a beautiful, chaste word called ‘Gurutva’. In my young days, I have heard in my own family, this word was being used to mean ‘gravitas’ or dignity and solemnity of manner.

Let me explain with an illustration. We harvest paddy on the fields. After reaping, the harvest is brought, crushed and the paddy removed. When cleaning, to separate the paddy seeds from the chaff and dust, the collection is poured from a height and fanned from a side. By winnowing like this, the good grains, because of their heaviness (gurutva) would come down and the lighter chaff and dust get blown away. Also, when choosing rudraaksha beads, we immerse the beads in water, and those that sink down to the bottom due to their gurutva are selected and those that float are rejected.

The word ‘Gurutva’ means profundity, solemnity, dignity and loftiness. In spiritual life, it implies the ability to receive, retain, and give. As one progresses, he must ultimately resemble the sky and God! Am I clear?

Not knowing ‘I’ is delusion

You are living in this world. But your pramāṇa (proof or testimony) for living is only your body! Everyone says ‘I’, but none ever thinks as to what this ‘I’ represents, the dimensions it incorporates. My dear children, understand it very clearly that without this knowledge, all your attainments are within the fold of ignorance and delusion. You may do anything, achieve anything, go anywhere, people may praise you, but understand that your life is basically tottering under ignorance and delusion.

Delusion about what? Delusion about what you are! Not about anything else! This ‘I’ is the core of your life, the substratum of everything that you do. But you hardly think about it and hardly know about it! The Guru is one who thinks only about the ‘I’! He has understood that everything in this world are merely fleeting, ephemeral! But the ‘I’ does not change at all! This changeless ‘I’ is the only reality in the whole creation! If there is a God, that God is no other than this ‘I’!

Remembering God

I openly tell: “I don’t want to remember God! If I have to remember Him, I have to forget him first. Then only I need to remember him. So, my dear God, I don’t want to remember you at all!” I don’t find any difference between remembering God and forgetting God. My God is beyond memory and forgetfulness! And which is that God? The ‘I’ is that God! When I forget, ‘I’ is first there to forget, when I remember, the same ‘I’ is there to remember. ‘I’, the God, is present in forgetfulness as well as in memory. ‘I’ is never dislodged, never displaced. And I find that is the only God! A Guru is one who reflects upon this ‘I’, realizes It and also relates It to people.

You may have many teachers ­– your mother, father and many in the schools and colleges. None of them will tell you about the ‘I’. They only speak of that which gets born and dies. Can you ever find a person in this world who has experienced his birth? Can you find anyone who can say he has died? Nobody has died; but we are killing people in our own mind, and performing śrāddha for them. The ‘undying father’ is considered to have ‘died’ and we offer him balls of rice. The father and the mother have dropped their bodies! How will they eat?

The Guru is one who has been able to understand the profundity of what is present in this body. He explains the magnificence of what is contained within, invisible to the senses. A Guru alone can gift the disciple unconditionally, expecting nothing.

Importance of giving

In the 18 purāṇas compiled by Veda Vyasa,  there are two cardinal messages:


अष्टादश पुराणेषु व्यासस्य वचनद्वयम् ।
परोपकारः पुण्याय पापाय परपीडनम् ॥

– Helping others in any way is virtue (puṇya). Hurting or harming anybody is vice (pāpa).

Evil act may be by the mind, word or action. The moment you think or speak ill of others, that ill becomes yours. If possible, try to do a little help or service to others. Do you have benevolent feelings for others? Are you prepared to help and serve to the extent you can? Even a beggar offers part of what he has collected to the hundi in the temple or for the sake of others. None of you can say you have no money. Have you not eaten? Give at least a share to the ants! When you give, God and providence will conspire to strengthen your hands and resources.

The physical world is governed by various laws – physical, chemical, bio-physical, bio-chemical and biological laws. But what about the mind and intelligence? It is the mind that takes an imprint of the world. Where are you actually seeing the world? Your mind reflects the whole, endless world of infinite variety. So, is the mind small? What are the psychic laws operating within the body? That is the supreme law of benevolence I refer to! So, give, give, and give!

Nothing you can take from this world. Your body does not belong to you. It survives on air and oxygen. Who has produced the oxygen? Who preserves your body on the earth? If these fundamental elements are not created by you, how dare you say “my body”? You yourselves are somebody else’s. Nothing is yours! Can you understand this? A Guru is one who imparts this wisdom!

Those who understand this in depth, get endowed with Gurutva. Only because of this Gurutva, we ascetics take up sannyasa. The Guru is one whose life becomes deeper, broader, and loftier every day. It becomes supremely moral and ethical.

A dacoit becomes a Sage

Imagine the dacoit Ratnakara. He was robbing the people of material possessions. He wanted to rob the Seven Saints who were passing by: “Halt!” – he shouted. They gently turned and looked at him. That one glance transformed him! They asked, “Why are you asking us to halt? We shall happily give you the sticks as well as the water-pots we have.” The conversation grew from there and completely transformed him.

He soon came to realize that his own wife and children would not partake of his sin. He came back and fell at the feet of the Sages: “I have nobody upon this earth to depend upon. Own me up, tell me whatever is good for me! I am at your service.”

He became Sage Valmiki and wrote the epic Ramayana. He was a robber. Even now, he continues to be a robber! Through his beautiful Ramayana, presenting the venerable Maryādā Purushottama Sri Rama, he has been robbing people of all dross, ill and evil from their hearts and minds. We have not seen his picture. We don’t know about his hermitage. We have not found the scripture he wrote, the steel pen he used. But his Ramayana has been printed in millions of copies!

A myth or a history?

This happened in Treta yuga. People say that it is only a mythology, not historical. Ramayana as a Text is before us, it is not a myth. How can the author be a myth? Thousands of generations have passed. In every generation, there were a few to read it, re-read it, think about it, explain it to others, and reach the message to the nooks and corners of India.

Even now, I wish to exhort our government to conduct an enquiry as to how such an immense educational spread or knowledge-dissemination could be achieved by the people of those times. India is a vast country, teeming in millions, living in inaccessible places, such as forests, mountains and hilltops. How this culture was spread everywhere, to every corner? How? What was the means? – It was only because of the dedicated austere life of a few people! I would like to ask: Why do we call Ramayana just a legend or mythology?

India is the largest democratic country in the world. In that democratic country, under a constitution that was given to us in 1950 on the Republic Day, we have a government elected by the people. The Supreme Court passed a judgment for the Government under the Prime Minister to appoint a committee and build a temple for Rama!

Tell me whether this is history or not. How did the legendary Rama become history for the Supreme Court? Can you ever say this modern event is non-historical? Draw a line from Treta Yuga, connect it to the present event! A temple is getting built! In about 45 days or so, the people collected nearly two thousand one hundred crores of rupees for the purpose!

This is what a saintly pen can do. This is something that Dasaratha could not have done. Even Rama himself would not have been able to do. Only the ascetic pen of Valmiki could accomplish this!

How is it that you call Rama just a mythological figure? Anything that causes history is more historical than the history itself. If we have a culture which can cause and shape the history of the land, does it not deserve to be called the history of the country? When are we going to understand this? I want Indians to roar like a lion about what we culturally possess, what we have culturally evolved, and the treasure we are holding on to. We don’t mind poverty, we equally disregard riches.

Our immortal literature

Our Vedas, Upanishads and such other writings are everlasting. Even now they are alive, they don’t die. Man is mortal; but he can produce an immortal literature. Do you know why? It is not the merit of the body, it is the greatness and grandeur of what he contains in the form of the mind and the intelligence! It is his Gurutva!

We have a wealth and a treasure by virtue of which we can float ecstatically in the pairs of opposites of the world. We have a treasure! In Bhagavad Gita (2.50) Krishna says –

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभे सुकृतदुष्कृते ।

One who adopts Samatva-buddhi-yoga abandons both virtue and vice.

My dear souls, think for a moment! If you can say, “I don’t want even virtue, sukṛta”, how noble and great should be the inner attainment? This is what the ‘I’ can give you! This is what it represents. This is what the ‘I’ beckons you to accomplish.

A Guru is one who reflects upon this ‘I’, understands and realizes it, and lives in its light. He alone can disseminate its greatness and grandeur!

The call of Knowledge

I left Calcutta. Do you know how I left? I was reading Māṇḍūkya Upanishad. In the Kārikā, Gaudapada has said (2.37):

निस्तुतिर्निर्नमस्कारो निःस्वधाकार एव च ।
चलाचलनिकेतश्च यतिर्यादृच्छिको भवेत् ॥

Stop praising anybody. Stop prostrating before any God or Goddess. Do not perform any post-death ceremony for anybody. Have only a two-fold refuge – the moving body and the immovable Soul! Understand the fleeting nature of the body. Comprehend the immortal nature of the Soul – realize it. Become an ascetic and live upon chance and providence.

What a wonderful statement! Whenever I have read, I have read only to understand. Whenever I have understood, I have understood only to become. So, when I read this, it was an exhortation, a persuasion, a compulsion, a beckoning.

After reading it, I could not remain where I was. I went and submitted my resignation: “The time has come for me to retire from professional life. Please allow me.” I shaved off my hair, got gerua (Ochre) cloth, went to my Guru and asked him to give it to me. I received it. His eyes were tearful when he gave me this. I wore it and left.

Knowledge is the greatest persuasion in human life. Nothing else. And this Knowledge is such that it immerses you in the ecstasy of the Soul. When a man is able to enjoy this ecstasy, what does he do? Shankara says in Kaupīna Pañcakam:

वेदान्तवाक्येषु सदा रमन्तः भिक्षान्नमात्रेण च तुष्टिमन्तः ।
विशोकमन्तःकरणे चरन्तः कौपीनवन्तः खलु भाग्यवन्तः ॥

Most fortunate are those who wear only a loin cloth and wander freely without any concern. They rejoice in contemplating on the words of Vedanta, contented with the food offered by others (bhikṣā).

I read this verse. For me it was not just reading. It was realizing. Experiencing. Thereafter, streets of India welcomed me, and the invisible Providence graced me. I have been carrying on.

I tell God: “My dear God, I think of you and am happy with you. I do not know whether you are pleased with me or not. If you are pleased with me, well and good. If you are displeased with me, it is your affair.” This kind of a nothingness I have been able to enjoy.

Ecstasy of nothingness

I have nothing and I want nothing. Our whole Ashram is built on nothingness! Nothing belongs to us. And I like to recite (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.17):

निष्किञ्चना मय्यनुरक्तचेतसः शान्ता महान्तोऽखिलजीववत्सलाः ।
कामैरनालब्धधियो जुषन्ति यत् तन्नैरपेक्ष्यं न विदुः सुखं मम ॥

Those exalted souls, who possess nothing, whose minds are lost in the romance of devotion to Me, who are composed, magnanimous and are full of affection towards all creatures, and whose minds cannot be polluted by desires – incessantly taste the bliss emerging from the state of non-expectation. How can others get to know of this unique bliss born of Me.

Krishna told Uddhava, “Leave, before I leave. Your problem is my leaving! You are not able to bear the impact of separation. So, leave before I leave, throwing the impact to me. Go to Badarikashrama. Remain there. See me everywhere. One day, by the passage of time your body was born, another day by the passage of time the body will fall. Never think of either birth or death. Death is but a sleep from which you will never wake up.

My dear souls, our country is great!

My Gurudev

I went to Calcutta to pursue a professional life; but I very soon ended up as what? A disciple of my Guru! My whole focus changed. My Gurudev was a visible God for me. I saw him living before me, doing nothing! Nothing! My search was over. The discovery was full. Unassailable.

Things moved very fast. I started reading the scriptures. The scriptural assertions and exposures encouraged my sitting and absorption, and the absorptional sitting in turn reinforced my reading. Assisted by both of them, like the two wings of a bird, my mind started soaring higher and higher! And I left. All this I gained from my Guru. After seeing him and becoming his disciple, I never sought refuge in a temple or any kind of a celestial being.

In the Retreat, I am going to speak on this point, particularly from Yoga-Vasishtha. Shiva is asking: “How can the universal God have legs and feet?” If God were to have legs, he will not be God. That is why in Puri Jagannatha, the deity has no hand, no leg! The most popular deity in India, Puri Jagannatha, has no hands and feet! Suppose he had legs, can he come fast? He should not have a body so that he can appear anywhere. These are the stunning statements of reality! This is the Gurutva of human life! Our country is great!

Contribution to the world pool

Our Sreedharanji is sitting here. He is a spiritual person, my disciple also. Years back, he had raised a point: “Shall I leave the job and plunge myself into sadhana?” I said: “You contribute so much to the world. The time has not come. Wait. Continue to work. But do your sadhana. Whatever is necessary to intensify, I shall give you and help you.”

Why I am mentioning it? I am a person who always tells people to contribute to the world pool. It is not enough if you build your family. An individual is a member of the family. The family is a member of the societal segment. The societal segment is a member of the nation. The nation is a member of the entire globe.

So, as you think of yourself and your family, you should think of the society also, and be a societal being. This is the way of spirituality.

I am happy. I bless you all that you understand the role of a Guru in one’s life; also, the mission of human life – especially as a seeker or a disciple of a Guru.

I am happy that all of you have come here. I bless you to have Gurutva. Do not be floating like chaffs and dusts. Be sufficiently profound, great and noble. You should not merely be enriched by this knowledge, you should enrich the world also by your contribution.

Jai Guru!

– Vicharasethu 2022

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“The word ‘Gurutva’ means profundity, solemnity, dignity and loftiness.”

“If there is a God, that God is no other than this ‘I’! ”

“A Guru alone can gift the disciple the knowledge of the ‘I’, the Self.”

“You yourselves are somebody else’s. Nothing is yours !”

“We can float ecstatically in the pairs of opposites of the world. ”

“Contribute to the world pool. It is not enough if you build your family. So, as you think of yourself and your family, you should think of the society also, and be a societal being. This is the way of spirituality. ”

“I bless you to have Gurutva. Do not be floating like chaffs and dusts. Be sufficiently profound, great and noble. You should not merely be enriched by this knowledge, you should enrich the world also by your contribution.”

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