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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
As usual this year also I was asked to give a message for Gurupoornima to be played and heard by the Brahmavidya seekers and students in our different centres. I spoke generally. In the next publication of Vicharasethu and Vicharasarani, the speech is printed. So it has been transcribed and it was before me in the computer and I am sitting with it to make it ready for publication. I am going through it. The subject is quite fresh in my mind.
I am wondering whether people sufficiently know the importance and sublimity of Gurupoornima and what they are supposed to do. Gurupoornima is an occasion for the great spiritual holy teacher and his disciples to join together and spend some time reading what we call the Prasthāna-Trayam, the three important texts called Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sūtras. These three together are very well documented and they represent the entire sanātana dharma, the great knowledge of dharma in our country.
We really don’t know when these texts were evolved but one point we can clearly say is that they were evolved and recorded in prehistoric times. The evolution had taken place very very early. It is indeterminably old but the writing was done and we are able to trace it historically. About the Upanishads we cannot say anything other than they are prehistoric but so far as Bhagavad Gita is concerned, it is a part of Mahabharata.
Mahabharata war, the date and star on which it began, it ended, the planetary positions, the star positions on the sky, everything is clearly recorded. You know in India, every day is named after one of the celestial bodies whether it is Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Again, we have 27 days of the month, all of them after a star or a constellation. We have another month called the Lunar month. It consists of 30 days and it is related to the moon, the waxing and waning of the moon to be intercepted by a full moon day and a new moon day. Everything is after nature, after the planets and heavenly bodies.
Our day is constituted by the revolution of the Earth on its own axis and the year is the time taken by Earth for completing one circumambulation around the Sun. So we are very natural, hand in gloves with nature in everything. We have recorded when Mahabharata was written and Bhagavad Gita was written. Then again, our Vyasadeva started writing Brahma Sūtras on Gurupoornima day. Sankara started writing commentaries for them on Gurupoornima day. Ascetics stop travelling and they remain in their own hermitage. They will not cross water which will be flowing somewhere around the kutīra, that is the limit of their travel. This is a time when they spend with their students, both of them jointly read, understand, try to think, writers start writing, keep writing etc.
One point you should understand is this Gurupoornima and Chāturmāsya are supposed to be a period about four months of the year, one-third of the year where the śishyas come very close to the Guru and they live with him, doing all kinds of service around him. It gives them an opportunity to move very closely with him. It is not in a classroom, school or college where they are under some administrative heads above them, there are rules and regulations for them to run the classes etc.
Two teachers came to me yesterday and from whatever I thought, I felt that we should immediately approach the High Court saying that the eleventh and twelfth classes of education are totally in doldrums. They are packing 62-63 students in a classroom which can accommodate only 40 and they are giving ten periods of the day with altogether three times break. They say the students will not be able to learn like this. They also say no value of any kind is being taught. They are always making some foreign author to be the model writer about education etc. So our children are completely cut away from our country, our tradition, our education standards and the like. I said, “Will you help me to get more information? I would like to take it up and present a public interest litigation case in High Court.” It will get done by FRNV.
Can you imagine 62-63 students packed in a class? The teachers were saying, “In teaching, eye contact with the students is very important. We will not be able to establish anything with them unless we are able to see each other.” In a class of 60-63 students, they are not able to do it. So what kind of an education is there and that too 10 periods of the day with not adequate interval? So the standards are changing very fast. I don’t know why we want them to mug up so much of information. "Jack of all trades, master of none" - seems to be the policy or the principle.
In Gurupoornima and Chāturmāsya, no such restrictions and regulations are there. They freely move with sufficient respect and humility so far as students and disciples are concerned and a lot of fondness and insistence on the part of the teacher. The disciples get a very good opportunity to observe the teacher and he doesn’t conceal anything from them like how he sits, how he goes, when does he take rest, how does he eat. You can ask the teacher any questions that you like, personal, familial, societal, professional, anything. It is actually to go to a model human, a model teacher, a model knowledge-man and learn from him until at last you yourself become a model knowledge-man.
We have got very good maxims and also descriptions about who will be a teacher, who is a teacher, who is a student etc. Here also people are coming and staying. I come here to address the people who sit before me and to talk to them. Sometimes questions are invited and answered but very few people take interest in coming to us in closer quarters and in asking questions about how this knowledge is put into practice. The practice comes where we interact with our environments and circumstances.
Maybe you are living in a room. How do you interact with your room, with the furniture there, the different types of clothing? If your bathroom is there, previously it was far away, now it is in the same room, what are your toilet habits, how do you wash your teeth, how do you take your bath? In everything, there is something to understand, learn and know. How do you take food, what is the interval? Do you have any health problems, how do you look after them? How do you interact with your own family members, visitors, students? Do you get angry? If so, what do you feel? Is it right to get angry?
One day I was massaging the feet of my Gurudev. He had a bend. A plaster was there. In one of his legs, a bend is there. I wanted to straighten it. I was young so I started massaging. I massaged applying enough of force. He did not tell me that it was a little painful or anything like that. Maybe it was painful to him I don’t know. We were also talking one thing or the other. At one point, I found he got immensely angry with me. So I continued to massage and at the end of the massage, after wiping etc. I asked him, “Baba, why is that you burst into anger so much?” He said, “I don’t know”. “Is it that you were you pained?” “Yes, I was pained.” “Why did you not tell me?” I don’t think I massaged for many more days. Because his leg was almost like this, I wanted to straighten it up. If I had continued my massage with the same force, maybe for 15 days, there would have been definitely some good effect. But that did not take place.
So this incident where he got angry and started speaking really a little out of control, this is a very singular instance in my life. But this anger made me more amused and considerate than otherwise.
Our contact with the Guru should be in order to learn and assimilate, not at all to find fault with. Whatever is human you will find in the Guru and whatever is enlightened, that also you will find in him. First, he has his nature and that nature is born, practically inherited and some part of it he has acquired. So the inheritance plus acquisition will be there as the basic nature of a man. To this basic nature, you start administering various kinds of moderations, sublimations, enrichments, beautifications and all. However much you may do, that basic nature will be there like our complexion, tone and voice.
So a Guru will have his own personal nature, however much you may touch it up, you are touching up X, that X will remain there. So sometimes the X will suddenly come forth. I think you should understand all this. How will you come to know? You have your own mind picture of what a knower of truth should be, who he is and all that but unless you come close to him, you will not have occasion to know anything. We are going to a Guru to learn, to understand, to get confirmed, corrected, moderated, improved, embellished; all these are necessary for us. So what I always feel is that our people are not making use of their contact and association.
Once Satchidananda Swamiji came here. He was a disciple of Papa Ramadas of Kanchangad in Malabar. Ramadas was a very rare devotional type of knower. Mataji was there. Satchidananda Swamiji, after he came to the Ashram, he never left that place. He was always looking after them. So when he came here, he stayed for one or two days, I asked him. Other people, inmates were there. “Swamiji, you have been very close to Papa Ramadas. I would like you to say something from your closeness and whatever experiences or otherwise you had so that our people will be benefited, we all will be benefited.”
You know what Satchidananda Swamiji said? He said, “Swamiji, I have been very close to Papa. He was sleeping in a room. To be of assistance to him, I was also there. We were very close but I am wondering in all my closeness I had, have I used it well, and learned whatever I could, I should have learned from him, I have a doubt.” This is what Satchidananda Swamji after decades of close association with his Guru said. Then he also discussed some of the very trying moments he had. He said, “When Papa was living, it was all easy, I could make him understand, he appreciated me. But after Papa left, my association with Mataji sometimes got a little strained and all those occasions by the grace of God I could surmount everything and everything ended up well.” This is the note with which that particular lap of conversation concluded.
You have to think very well and understand what is an association with a Guru and what should a seeker, student or śishya learn from there, use the opportunity for.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.