Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Importance of Guru in Sahaj Marg: Dr. Sanskrit Kannan

This article is a continuation from the previous article titled, "The concept of God" by Dr. Sanskrit Kannan, an SRCM Preceptor (Prefect), which was published at:

This grand statement that “Guru is God” brings us to the next important aspect of our discussion, viz., the importance of the Guru and the significant role that He plays in our life.  Swami Vivekananda has said, “Know your Guru as Brahman” and Lord Kṛṣṇa too has said, “know your Guru as myself” (“ācāryavijānīhi”).

In Indian tradition, the ‘Teacher’ or ‘Preceptor’ or the ācrāya or the ‘Guru’ has always been held in high esteem.  We have this well-known verse in Sanskrit.

         gurubrahmā guruviṣṇuh gurur devo maheśvaraḥ |
gurusākāt parabrahma tasmai śrīguravenama” ||

This says that the Guru is the Creator (Brahmā), for He creates the disciple.  According to our tradition, we are twice-born (dvija) – the first birth is when we are born out of the mother’s womb – the physical birth.  The second birth is when one is initiated by the Guru.  Guru is the protector (Viṣṇu) as he protects the disciples from many obstacles that come across in their path of journey (yātra) towards the Ultimate Reality.  He destroys (Śiva) the samskāras of the aspirants.  That is why the derivation of the word Guru is given in the Advayatārakopaniad (16) as,

         guśabdas tvandhakāra syāt ruśabdas tannirodhaka|
  andhakāranirodhitvāt gururityabhidhīyate ||

(The syllable “gu” stands for “darkness or ignorance” and the syllable “ru” stands for its removal.  Since, he removes the (inner) darkness or the ignorance, he is called “Guru”).  The Guru is the Ultimate Reality (Parabrahma).  The Śvetāśvatara Upaniad (VI.23) says,

         yasya deve parā bhakti yathā deve tathā gurau |
 tasyaite kathitā hi arthā prakāśante mahātmana”||

(“These truths, when taught, shine forth only in that great Soul, who has supreme devotion to God and an equal degree of devotion to the Guru”). Thus, the scriptures proclaim the greatness of the Guru and equate the Guru to God Himself.

In Sahaj Marg, the importance of the Living Master (as Guru is addressed) cannot be explained by mere words but can only be experienced.  That does not mean that Sahaj Marg advocates “gurudom” or one should become a slave of the Guru and serve him all through his life.  What our system say is that since God does not possess any organs and mind, He cannot receive our prayer and come to our rescue.  But the Guru in the human form possesses the mind and more importantly the heart full of love and compassion for all the beings so that He is able to serve all at the appropriate moment.  Since the living Guru under the Sahaj Marg system is established in God, He is divine and hence, Omni-pervasive.  So, a sincere prayer in the heart by anyone from anywhere in this vast universe reaches Him instantaneously and necessary action is taken automatically (This is done so naturally!)  

That is why Lord Kṛṣṇa has said in the Gītā (XII. 5) “kleśo'dhikarasteamavyaktāsaktacetasām, avyaktā hi gatirdukha dehavadbhiravāpyate” , i.e., it is futile to worship the God in His unmanifested form.  So, he suggested to Arjuna to worship Him, love Him, dedicate everything to Him as He was the Master in loving form for Arjuna.  If we look at the Bhagavad gītā and Kaha Upaniad, we can find one striking evolution of thought in the Gītā.  In Kaha Upaniad, the body is considered as the chariot, the intellect as the Charioteer, the five indriyas as five horses, mind as the rein and the Soul as the person in the chariot.  But the Gītā goes one step ahead and presents the Lord in human form as the Charioteer (instead of Buddhi).  Rev. Chariji Maharaj said that the Guru in the human form represents the divinised mind and by connecting oneself with Him, one can reach the goal smoothly.

The Kaha Upaniad (III.14) also proclaims “uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varān nibodhata” (Arise, awake, realise (that) by approaching the Chosen One”).

Rev. Chariji Maharaj also pointed out this in a very telling manner.  While talking of knowledge, He said, “You can know a thing only if you become that”.  If you go and ask him, he would say,
“Be it”.
“How to be it, Sir?”
“Become it”.
“How to become it, Sir?”
Go to the one who has already become that!”

This clearly brings out what has been quoted above from Kaha Upaniad.  So, we need a personality amongst us who can make us become ‘That’, what He represents, in this lifetime itself.  This means the personality should be of the highest calibre and a Chosen One for the purpose.  He is beyond space and time and can act so, according to the need.  Age or knowledge is not a criterion for such a personality.  We have this wonderful verse ascribed to Śakara in Dakiāmurthi Stotra

         citra vaatarormūle vddhā śiyā gururyuvā |
 gurostu mauna vyākhyāna śiyāstu chinnasaśayā

(“It is a wonder under the banyan tree.  The disciples are old (aged) and the Guru is young.  The explanation offered (by the Guru) is silence and the disciples remain with their doubts dispelled”).

Nobody can claim to be a Guru by the merit of their ‘sādhanā’ or knowledge or age.  In fact, these are not at all a criterion for becoming a Guru.  It is only the grace of the great Master who chooses, prepares and places one of His associates as his disciple, representative as the Master by the Divine Master and always remains a disciple to his Guru.  Thus, He has to play twin roles – as the Master for all the beings and as the humble disciple of His Master.  So, there is no question of even the thought of power, position, fame or any such things.  It is a position of tremendous responsibility, total commitment for the welfare of all – even those who do not accept Him.  Anyone can claim to have left Him but He cannot leave anyone, for having merged in the Absolute and the “Nothingness”, He cannot exclude anything or anyone!  That is why, I said, in Sahaj Marg, “Guru is God”, for, God alone can remain like this.

Rev. Babuji Maharaj has also pointed out that in the strict sense, only God is the real Guru.  

Patañjali also accepts this view and says (YS I.26) , “sa ea pūrveāmapi guru kālenānavacchedāt”.  This proves again that the Guru, living in the present, represents all the knowledge and the evolution of the past extending upto the unimaginable future.  In short, though his body is limited, He is not limited by space and time[1].  He represents, in the hearts of all the seekers of Reality, without any barrier of space, time, sex, nationality, colour etc.  This great phenomenon unknown in the history of mankind, perhaps hinted in the sacred scriptures of our land, is practically experienced by all of us.  This is called “prānahuti” in our system.  It is beyond words, for words cannot represent the Reality whereas the Master can.

Suffice it to say that the Guru of Sahaj Marg represents the Reality, nay, He is the Reality, He is the means and the path to lead us all to the Reality which He himself is[2].  Our prayer also says, “O Master, thou art the real goal of human life.... Thou art the only God and power to bring us upto that stage”.  That is why Rev. Babuji Maharaj, in Efficacy of Raja Yoga in the light of Sahaj Marg has said, “If A is equal to B and C gets equal to A, then ultimately C becomes equal to B[3].  Hence, in our system, mergence in the Master is synonymous to mergence in God (Brahmalaya). 

Shri. Kamlesh D Patel, the current President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission ( and the Spiritual Master of Sahaj Marg has said in one of his talks with an emphasis: “We are all here for brahma vidya. We all want to practise and achieve. Then, why not do it wholeheartedly? Why not do it with joy?”

Thus we see the uniqueness of the status given to the Masters of Sahaj Marg conforming to the views expressed in  sacred scriptures. 

[1] There is a beautiful verse by the great poet Māgha with which he begins his great poem Śisupālavadham (I.1) “śriya pati śrīmati śāśitu jagat jagannivāso vasudeva sadmani|
vasan dadarśāvataranta ambarāt” which means “The great Lord, who is the container of the whole Universe is living in the house of Vasudeva”.
[2] See the views of Viśiṣṭādvaita wherein it is stated that God is the upāya (menas) and upeya (the goal)
[3] Complete Works of Ram Chandra (Volume I) (p.133).

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Concept of God (Sahaj Marg Angle): Dr. Sanskrit Kannan

         From time immemorial, man has been worshipping God, either as impersonal Power or the Creator or the Base, or the personal God, Ideal, Lover, Protector, or in any other form according to his aesthetic pleasures.  Simultaneously, there had been also a question as to the need of accepting a God and if He exists, the nature of such a God.  Different systems of philosophies have advocated different views.

         If we go back to the Vedic period and pre-Vedic period, we see that the people were worshipping the Nature as God (ādhibhautika).  Then, they started worshipping the different powers behind the Nature (ādhidaivika).  In the g Veda, we have hymns addressed to different deities – Indra, Varua, Agni and others, glorifying each one of them.  But, we can also see that they worshipped these gods either out of fear or expecting for some fortunes, health, removal of enemies etc.  Then the prominence of Śiva, Viṣṇu and Brahma Trinity, as they are called, with their respective functions as destroying, protecting and creating.  But when the Vedantic system and especially the Advaita gained popularity, the God was conceived as attribute-less (nirgua) while other systems considered God as with attributes (sagua). 

The Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation, currently guided by its Spiritual Master, Shri. Kamlesh D Patel, goes far beyond all these conceptualisations.  Rev. Babuji Maharaj, the founder president of Shri Ram Chandra Mission ( and the spiritual Guru of Sahaj Marg, has said that God is neither ‘Sagua’ nor ‘Nirgua’, but beyond both.  He is what He is.  In fact, Rev.Chariji Maharaj, the successor of Rev. Babuji Maharaj has pointed out many a time that the concept of God as Sat-Cit-Ānanda, as advocated by Advaitins is still at a lower level.  The scriptures too support His view.  The Nāsadiya Sūkta of the g Veda says, “Nāsadāsīnnosadāsīttadānīm” (“There was neither sat (existence) nor asat (non-existence) at that time) while referring to what was there in the beginning before creation.  

In the Upaniads, we find contradictory statements: The Chāndogya Upaniad (6.2.1) says, “sadevasaumyaidamagraāsīt”, i.e., “Oh, dear, only existence was there in the beginning”. The same Upaniad (3.19.1) says, “asadevaidamatraāsīt”, i.e., “non-existence was there in the beginning”.  Rev. Babuji Maharaj has very correctly called ‘THAT’ as ‘Non-being-Being”.  

The Bhagavad gītā also supports the view of Rev. Babuji Maharaj.  Lord Kṛṣṇa (II.16) says,
nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sata
Ubhayorapi dṛṣṭo'ntas tvanayos tattvadarśibhi
(The Unreal does not have existence and the real does not cease to exist.  The truth has been realised by Seers by going beyond both these).

         While seeing the Cosmic form of the Lord, Arjuna (XI.37) says, “tvamakarasadasattatparayat” (“You are the Imperishable and are what is beyond Sat and Asat”).  Hence, there is no room for duality when we transcend both.  Therefore, Rev. Babuji Maharaj has very rightly called ‘That’ as “Non-being-Being”!  Coming to the aspect of ‘Cit’, Rev. Master has said that if we accept ‘Cit’ we should accept the manas (mind).  But Rev. Babuji Maharaj has said, “God is mindless”, which is reflected in the Muṇḍaka Upaniad (II.1.2) also “aprāo hi amanaśubhro hi akarātparatapara”.

            As for Ānanda (Bliss), Rev. Babuji Maharaj has pointed out that we have to transcend bliss[1].  Therefore, the concept of Sat-Cit-Ānanda as representing the Ultimate Reality is not the final end and Sahaj Marg goes far ahead of this.

         As for worshipping God as ‘Power’, Rev. Chariji Maharaj pointed out once during a discussion that “if we accept God as power, we have to accept disintegration in God, for when power is generated, there is disintegration.  Hence, God will cease to be omni-pervasive.  So, Sahaj Marg looks at this aspect also from a different perspective, that God is beyond power.  Regarding idol worship, Rev. Babuji Maharaj and Rev. Chariji Maharaj have repeatedly pointed out the limitation of such worship.  Therefore, Sahaj Marg says that God cannot be seen, heard of, touched, smelled or tasted by the organs (indriyas) – we can only experience the condition.  That is why the Sahaj Marg mission prayer says “ bring us upto that stage”.  Rev. Babuji Maharaj has rightly cautioned that no one should talk of God unless he has experienced ‘That’.  Further, it cannot be taught, but can only be felt by the grace of the Guru, who comes in the human form to take us all to that Base, Bhūma, Tam, Zero, Nothingness, otherwise known as God or Brahman.  Hence, we say that “Guru is God”.

[1]Complete Works of Ram Chandra (Volume I) (p.13) “..the end of Reality is the real Bliss.  When that too is gone, we have reached the destination.  That is the highest mark which is almost inexpressible in words”.