Love in the Guru-Disciple relationship
((The Divine Words of Navajyotisri Karunakara Guru translated from original Malayalam)
In the beginning, during the ignorant ages, people lived like animals or evil spirits. Evolving from that state, today we have reached to the status of ‘Self Manifest Dharma’. (the spiritual status wherein one is able to perceive the self-evident cosmic Truth). What is the ‘radiant substance’ in that conceptual pursuit, how should I place myself in that – this is the present state of thinking in this Kaliyuga. This state is full of all qualities. Churning good and bad alike and absorbing its’ essence, the world is moving on in its track.
Imbibing in ourselves this efficiency of living and imparting it to our children, our effort is to foster it through the generation. Almighty God has shown to us to do it in the best way. For instance, different images surface in our mind without our being aware of it. When we say Bhakti, Yoga, Karma or Jnana, there arise in our mind different reflections on each of this. When small kids see their father, they have one image, while the grown ups have a different one. It is the same when we see the mother. Thus, when we come across with every person, different people will have different thoughts. Likewise, a painter or singer has different mental pictures.
How did this image come into the mind of man? That is because of the inner fragrance of each person. We develop this little by little. This is a secret within us even without our knowledge about it. Like this, several images develop in us, one toward God too. About God, we have a mixed image arising out of our different thoughts, which are then blended with beauty, humility, truth, fortune and self-esteem. That arises on its own from us. This is mind’s association in the nature of its evolution. It has to be experienced and cannot be communicated by words.
Bhakti (divine love or devotion) is like a great mountain of love. That is a path of love. That love is the feeling of blessedness towards everything, the feeling of sacredness, which comes in us spontaneously. For children, the love would be for toys or tasty things. With the progression of age, that will transform in two ways. One will be in performing work with all sincerity, while the other is of sensuality. This we know from experience, but cannot explain how.
Transforming thus ourselves, when we reach a Mahatma who embodies this truth and who acts with humbleness, truth and self-sacrifice, or to a concept similar to this, we become aware of its profundity. It is such a great blessedness. We are living in its companionship (i.e. Guru). What we, who live like this, should think is that ‘I should absorb this in my soul and develop it inch by inch and work for the benefit of my contemporaries, home, society and nation’.
Some may see and understand this and go. Some others are not like this. They would undergo whatsoever sacrifice for the sake of others and strive very hard. Although all are human beings, for some people, seeing this type of work itself will cause annoyance. For some others, (it will be) some selfishness in the nature of love; or, whatever others might do, there will be the ignorance to give value or respect and understand it. Thus, we have shortcomings in all aspects. We will have (good) culture only when we become prepared to change it. For that, (one has to) come to some public area of work and after understanding the vice and virtue in that, we should again come to the path that demands sacrifice. Like that, we have to elevate ourselves and proceed to take up the sacrifice of imparting the virtuousness of this blessed path to all individuals among us. It is through such doers of sacrifice, today we have got accustomed (to this path) this much.
How shall we take up this work? Through whom shall we take it? All of us have knowledge. There is also the interest to take up all this. But when the occasion comes, it will not be possible to do it; or if it is done, it will not be beneficial to each other. There will be many obstacles owing to which we will not be able to fulfill our actions. We should march ahead removing these obstacles. After thinking and deciding well what should be done for this, we should go in that direction.
For Hindus, first there is the ‘Bhajana Mattam’ (i.e. venue for devotional singing). Then there is the temple. After that is the ashram. Similarly, for Christians, there is the ‘Vanakkamaasapura’ (a dwelling for prayer), then the church, after that the Metrapolita. For Muslims, it is ‘Taikkav, Mosque and Mecca. It is in this order, the wise has been doing it. Each type of knowledge has been familiarized to us in this way. That knowledge has been enjoined in all religions. What is the meaning of this enjoinment? Combining spiritual and worldly matters through life, it has been brought up linked with each other like a chain. Otherwise, people will leave it off.
The Guru-Disciple relationship is not like that. Surrendering all protection as well as punishment at one place (at the feet of Guru), everything is gained from there and brought back (into our life). This is the love in the Guru-Disciple relationship. My savior as well as chastiser is only You! In a way, it is like the rule of a king. But it is not the relationship between the king and populace. It is the learning through life. Making him do something in every birth, with his life and devotion, love and respect, gathering all that he does with its purity, washing it with humility, indefinable love is being given by providence. There is no word for this except divine magnanimity. We should do every action absorbing this magnanimity.
There will be Father, Mother, Brother or Sister only when we give regard to it. The status that we give to God also is similar. Before we commence drinking water or eat something, we close our eyes for a second. We used to do that when we begin to break up earth with a shovel or take up tools or pen. It is a general belief that drivers, boatmen and mahouts do not respect anything. But the driver while holding the steering and the mahout while taking up the hook will for a moment remain there closing the eyes. The mahout is praying that when the elephant sees the hook, it should behave. It might trample him to death or pierce him down. Similar is the case with boatman. It is enough he observes a shred of raincloud, great would be the upheaval inside him.
Those who fly in the sky with great celebration, we might think that they are free like birds, but once he enters into it, his attention would be riveted to it until he touches down his destination. So, where all should be our attention? The duty of Guru is to keep us in such concentration(s) first.
Now, we are living in a small path of knowledge. Not only that, we have commenced the acting of a part. Then first it should be learnt how love in the innate human nature should be nourished. We have a habit of sharing love with and without bias. We should also learn how this love should be at every position. Let us be learned, ignorant or whatever, only by sharing this love, we can advance in this world. We are beginning to learn the greatness of love knowing it intimately in everything.
Devotion (Bhakti) is the fullness of love. In whatever way there would be other thoughts (knowledge or pursuits in life), it would not be possible for it to go above true devotion. The nature of devotion is to see one’s deity or Guru as God. A person, who desires God’s love, might experience limitless sorrows. That time, one should console himself that it is for removing the filth of his sins and strongly establish himself in love again and again. Since he would be able to undergo all sorrows filled with love and ambrosia, when his sacrifice is seen, it would not be understood as sacrifice. Sorrow should come essentially. Although he is convinced that whatever he does is good, if his contemporaries accept it, he will not know what sorrow is. Without experiencing lot of sorrows, it will not be known what sacrifice is. Let it be that sorrow is not experienced. Is it possible for him then to understand another’s sorrow? In that case, he will neither know it from self-experience nor able to know the sorrow of others.
The love that he will have for other living beings depends upon his surrender to God. His eminence will be in keeping the purity of his character by hating nothing and seeing everything with love. Knowing all sorrows, with loving behavior and knowing it experientially, become identical with it. Then the seat of sorrows as well as the seat of happiness is oneself. He can see the earth as a flowerbed and see the forests with full of stones and thorns as a garden. When he reaches at such places, through the bliss he experiences, he can enjoy the essence of all beauty in the world. He might see the vision of God through it. He will have an overflowing mind, which can see God in everything. This is what is said as ‘inner intelligence’ (mati buddhi). The devotion, which is unlike this, is for gratification of desires. That type of devotion will in the end, cause frustration.
When the pile of desires becomes broken, there will be sorrow. Even If the devotion is lenient, there will be sorrow. Let a person be a true devotee or otherwise, there will be many tearful surges of weeping. In fact, he sees with great delight the form of his personal deity in every sentient and insentient nature. Then he weeps unknowingly with the love that made him witness the glory of the Supreme. Thus, a devotee who has experienced God in different ways would shed tears out of divine love. Despite all this, those who have no knowledge to see and understand love, when he is tormented with tales about him about which he is not aware, he would weep thinking that these people torment me without knowing the truth and whether God does see this or not.
(75th Janmadina Poojita Samarpana Souvenir)