Verses for Introspection by Ma Gurupriya

13 - गुरुर्न स स्यात्

Who is a true relative?

Listen to Shloka here
गुरुर्न स स्यात्स्वजनो न स स्यात्पिता
न स स्याज्जननी न सा स्यात् ।
दैवं न तत्स्यान्न पतिश्च स स्यान्न
मोचयेद्यः समुपेतमृत्युम् ।।
श्रीमद् भागवतम् ५.५.१८
gururna sa syāt–svajano na sa syāt–pitā
na sa syājjananī na sā syāt |
daivaṁ na tatsyān–na patiśca sa syān–na
mocayedyaḥ samupeta–mṛtyum ||
- Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 5.5.18


That Guru is not a Guru, that relative is not a relative, a father is not a father, a mother is not a mother, that deity is not a deity and the husband is not a husband, if he cannot liberate one from impending death.

Points for Introspection:

The real purpose of this life is to attain liberation by realizing one’s real identity – the Self. When one experiences the birthless and deathless nature of the Self, he understands that the body with mind and intelligence alone perishes with death, but the soul is imperishable and immortal.

Every human being’s aim in life should be to strive to realize one’s real Self – the immortal Soul. However, mostly man, out of ignorance, identifies the Self or Soul with his body-mind-intelligence and considers himself mortal, changeful and perishable. With the suffering of the body etc. he too suffers because of the mistaken identity. When one realizes that ‘I am the Self – the real, imperishable, immortal’, then one enjoys the supreme, unbroken, bliss. One who does not strive to realize the Self or liberation from the mistaken identify, that person is committing one’s own death (suicide) by holding onto objects which are perishable and unreal instead of trying to realize that which is Imperishable and Real. (Vivekachoodamani.4) This shloka says that only those who help a man to go beyond death by helping him in the process of realizing the Self are a true friend and relative.

The shloka goes to the extent of saying that a Guru cannot be called a Guru, only because he has given ‘deeksha’, (initiation) or has taught the scriptures. Unless the Guru guides the disciple at every step and makes all effort to enable the disciple to realize his deathlessness/immortality, he is truly not a Guru.

In a similar manner, the relatives are not true relatives in spite of their good and helpful behaviour, unless they help one in attaining liberation. The father, even though he gives birth and takes care, is no father at all; the mother, even if she carries the child in the womb and brings him up, is not a mother, if she does not help the child in gaining the spiritual goal. A deity is no deity at all, if having been worshipped by man, the deity does not help the devotee to get liberated. A deity is not only to be worshipped. The result of the worship should be an intense yearning for Self-realization. A husband is not a husband, even if he takes a vow of looking after the wife till life ends, but does not help her to get liberation.

Chanting of this powerful shloka generates in the mind intense yearning for liberation. It also gives clarity to the mind that the relationships in life which help in the path to liberation are the true relationships. The futility of other relationships and hindrance created by them are clearly understood.

Word Meaning:

गुरुः (guruḥ) = guru; सः (saḥ) = he; न स्यात् (na syāt) = is surely not; स्वजनः (svajanaḥ) = relative; सः (saḥ) = he; न स्यात् (na syāt) = is surely not; पिता (pitā) = father; सः (saḥ) = he; न स्यात् (na syāt) = is surely not; जननी (jananī) = mother; सा (sā) = she; न स्यात् (na syāt) = is surely not; दैवं (daivaṁ) = deity; तत् (tat) = that; न स्यात् (na syāt) = is surely not; पतिः (patiḥ) = husband; च (ca) = and; सः (sa/) = he; न स्यात् (na syāt) = is surely not; न मोचयेत् (na mocayet) = does not liberate; यः (yaḥ) = who; समुपेतमृत्युम् (samupetamṛtyum) = impending death.


यः समुपेतमृत्युम् न मोचयेत्, सः गुरुः न स्यात्, सः स्वजनः न स्यात्, सः पिता न स्यात्, सा जननी न स्यात्, तत् दैवं न स्यात्, सः पतिः च न स्यात् ।

yaḥ samupetamṛtyum na mocayet, saḥ guruḥ na syāt, saḥ svajanaḥ na syāt, saḥ pitā na syāt, sā jananī na syāt, tat daivaṁ na syāt, saḥ patiḥ ca na syāt.