A View of Santhigiri Ashram

A View of Santhigiri Ashram
Lotus Parnasala and Sahakarana Mandiram , Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reordering Hinduism: A Workable Guruparampara

Gurucharanam Saranam

Reordering Hinduism: A Workable Guruparampara

(From the Teachings of Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru)

Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru said that in the re-ordering of Hinduism, the role of Santhigiri Ashram differs from other Ashrams. Other Ashrams have all followed the trodden path of their predeces­sors. That is what is going on even now. All this has to be re­ordered, not partially, but totally. In other words, today we are in possession of three traditions of worship in the Hindu system. A single comprehensive system is to be evolved in the place of these three. For this first of all we have to have the right understanding of the new principle and have full faith in it. The first step is to understand. Only then can it be translated into action. Most people have the old worship tradition in their blood, flesh and marrow: it is part of their very being.

Guru said that once a person’s faith is firm in the new way, the next step is a cleansing of his pitrus and the devas they had worshipped. All these entities as well as the powers he worships now are to be offered up to the Radiance of the Brahman. In their place faith in the Guru has to be established. This faith should be based on the conviction as to what Guru really is. God is to be worshipped in the image of the Guru. This is the ancient Hindu principle. Hence ‘gururbrahma’- that is the Guru is Brahman. And lastly he is ‘saakashaat parabrahman’ - the Absolute Itself. This has to be realized first, to reach it to the people at large. The qualities of such a Guru who has evolved and attained the state of Parabrahman also should be realized.

Guru further said:

"The Parabrahma Guru treats the good and the bad alike. The Guru would try to bring a wicked person to the path of goodness through making him struggle and suffer in life. The good person also is treated the same way. There is only a slight difference. This is the difference: The wicked man’s activities will have a high degree of faults and still the Guru will forgive and show lenience towards him. On the other hand a good person will be disciplined severely. If he is not responsive the Guru might even turn him out. The Guru would not discipline him further.

Why is this so? If the good man goes astray—even if it is just a step amiss— it will amount to a fatal flaw in his life’s dharma. Such a fault cannot be corrected in his lifetime. That is why sometimes gurus are found to reject disciples. It does not matter, let him go, is what the guru would think. If the man stays on and errs further a situation could develop where he can harm himself irreparably.

In the case of the wicked person the guru would go out of his way to give him a chance for reform. That is why in a conscious relation­ship between guru and disciple, the disciple strives to follow the guru’s words with utmost vigilance. The gurus who thus try to guide people will have numerous difficulties to face. It is because the guru’s word—however righteous or good—will not be in keeping with what people are used to. Look back and you will see the turbulence unleashed by each past attempt to change an existing norm.

Consider the recent religions—Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Bud­dhism and the Arya Samaj. It is enough to have a look at the history of these religions to have an idea of the enormity of suffering gone through by the founders and their followers. It is this suffering that has given value to their sacrifice. In the context of our times we have to adopt a more forceful and rational path. Otherwise apart from failing to guide people, our road in all likelihood might take a turn for the worse. We might regress immeasurably before we return to the right path again.

Therefore each one in this path should be firm of intent and have confidence in his own strength and reason to carry out his task. The travelers on this path—whatever be their particular way of life— should align themselves to the way of the Guru. We should com­pletely absorb the idea behind it. Only then can we serve the cause and establish norms based on precedence. Otherwise we might break away from the path, impelled by desire or base anger.

It is for this that we need to acquire a complete understanding of this first and be able to glory in it. We should thereafter perceptively make restrained efforts towards progress. Each individual must necessar­ily be able to exercise reasonable tolerance. He must radiate love and be ready for sacrifice. Only paramparas consisting of such individu­als have been able to progress.

All who embrace gurumargam should be courageous, loving and capable. Then all of us can realize the future ordained by God. This is how our guruparampara should set its goal and move forward. It is the house­holders who should take particular initiative and come to the forefront to propagate the ideal. Men and women should, in the mechanics of living, act only on the basis of mutual respect and affection. The family has unity and wholeness then. Such love fosters genera­tions of good children! It will be easier for such children to acquire the vital knowledge for living. To transmit that knowledge to future generations, two or three other means also have to be adopted.

Firstly there should be no consideration of caste, creed or ethnic divisions in the guruparampara. All should function in unity. This unity will foster togetherness like that of a closely-knit family. Through this, work can be found and done together. Such co-operative efforts can be instrumental in lightening the struggle of life.

Education should evolve in accordance with the values of the parampara and its cultural traditions. Organizational ability and learning combine to develop a sense of unity. In this preparation, we have to be specially mindful of one fact. The guru has to be a person who has accumulated all the powers natural to the devas. It is not for following the path of the devas. But a guru who has not known the path of the devas cannot remedy the errors in that path, to lead humanity.

The guru should fully discover the paths of devas and rishis who were our predecessors and free them from faults. He should have also realized the stages of Devendra and Ganapati. He should have evolved further through the stages of Iswara, Daivam and the Brahmam. Only a Guru of such evolvement can bring about and establish this truth in its entirety".
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