By Mahatma Umesh Dhar
Guru is a Sanskrit word which can be attributed to a person who is empowered by God to dispel the darkness of ignorance by both real Divine Light and the metaphorical light of understanding. The word gu connotes darkness and ru connotes light. So the combination of gu and ru is a very special attribute indeed.
The Divine Light is a real light and is an extremely brilliant entity. Even thousands of suns taken together cannot equal its intensity. Being the creative force behind the creation it has existed from time immemorial and has been completely changeless. There have been countless devotees of God throughout history who have witnessed the existence of this Light, for example, St Paul, John the Baptist and Arjuna. But merely reading the experience of these lucky people is like trying to taste sugar with somebody else's tongue. Each one of us must have our own experience. And that is what people can get only from the Guru of their time.
Guru Maharaj Ji was born on December 10, 1957, the fourth son of his father who was the perfectly enlightened soul and the Perfect Master of his time. From the age of two and a half, Guru Maharaj Ji's divinity was manifested to people when he began to exhort them to seek love, light and Knowledge.
When he was four years old, Guru Maharaj Ji was giving discourses in his mother tongue (Hindi) and at six he gave his first discourse in English. When he was eight and a half years old, he proclaimed to the world that he was the Light of the world who can reveal the Light of God to every individual and establish peace and love on this planet. His appearance in the West was not until 1971 when on June 17 he arrived in London for the first time. Since then many thousands of people have received his practical initiation called Knowledge, a gift which justifies his claim as the Guru - because this opens to an aspirant the inner light and primordial vibration (Holy Name Revelations XIX:12).
Guru is One
The Hindu scriptures say that Guru is only one (Ekam nityam … sadguru tam namami) and the Bible corroborates this when it says that God has begotten only one form for saving mankind. But this does not mean that this one aspect cannot manifest more than once. According to the Indian records, there have been many manifestations of Guru on this earth and according to the Christian records there has been only one so far but there is definitely to be at least another one (next manifestation of the saviour form). This difference in opinion about the number of manifestations is immaterial because we know full well the discrepancies and inadequacies of recorded history. But if consideration is given to the works of Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, etc. as recorded in the respective scriptures, then it is impossible to hide the fact that they all revealed the same brilliant light and Knowledge of God. This is why if one of them is accepted as the Perfect Master then all the rest are automatically to be categorised in the same rank.
All these manifestations of the same Guru or the one saviour aspect were the light of the world as long as they live in the world. Jesus explained the same thing when He said, "Yet a little while is the light with you, walk while ye have the light lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth …" (John XII:35). "As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world …" (John IX:5). As for the people of today, the living manifestation of the same everliving saviour is Guru Maharaj Ji. He is living amongst us in order to give the perfect company without which no-one can take advantage of enlightenment (Hebrews VI:4, 5, 6). Past Masters cannot give this perfect company or, in other words, can give only by taking a body in our time.
Guru or the Saviour is therefore none other than God having taken a step towards you. If a man standing 200 yards away comes closer to you then there will be some change in his appearance (he will look bigger, his voice will become more audible, etc) but as far as he himself is concerned he will continue to be the same man. So, rejecting the man who has come close to you will be just the same as rejecting the man who was standing a long distance from you. Similarly, when God comes close to us such a change takes place -once invisible now He is visible - He becomes Guru (or Christ - the Anointed One). Mankind should therefore be prepared to receive Him because, despite the fact He is in a physical form, rejecting Him will be the same as rejecting the imperceptible God. Trying to worship the imperceptible God without accepting the Guru or the manifested Saviour will be completely meaningless.
The Father and Son
That is why Jesus had to say to the people of His time, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one cometh to the Father but by me." (John XIV:6). "I and my Father are one" (John X: 30). "He that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me." (Matthew X: 40).
Jesus says that the Father judgeth no man, but has committed all judgement unto the Son (John V:22). The same thing has been said about Guru in all other scriptures. In the Upanishads the desirable relationship between the Guru and the disciple is mentioned in the following verse: "If one has supreme respect for God and also honours his Guru as God, then the light of His teaching shines in the greal soul, it shines indeed in such a soul." And the same thing is said about the Christ by Jesus, "All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father - he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father" (John V:23).
The way the apostles respected the Son was ridiculous. When they objected to the woman in Bethany serving and giving comfort to Jesus' physical form through costly gifts and presents, it was the climax of disrespect. This was immediately followed by Jesus' ascension and disappearance from them. The lack of single-mindedness towards Him (Mark XIV:S) clearly proved that they were not worthy of Him (Matthew X:37).
Honouring the Master
So the right way to honour the Guru or the Christ was clarified by Jesus in the interest of the devotees around Him. Jesus said, "Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet but she hath washed my feet with tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint, but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment". "Ye have the poor with you always and wheresoever ye will ye may do them good but me ye have not always" (Luke VII:44-46 and Mark XIV:7, 9).
The Guru-disciple pair have a way of loving each other that is unique. When an onlooker sees the spiritual relationship between the Christ (Guru) and a disciple he can't help but notice that when a devotee wants to express his love towards the Master he will support the Master's work and give comforts to his physical form. When the Guru expresses His love for His devotees He gives them Grace, Knowledge of God and divine experiences.
Guru Puja means honouring the Guru. The Guru must be honoured because He is the Way and the Truth (the goal of life). If you don't honour the Guru then you are not honouring the Father. That is why one day a year is set aside to introduce the living Guru, who is an expression of God's love, to the world. This day, according to tradition, is observed on the full moon of Asarh month (July) in the Hindi calendar. Due to its purpose this day becomes so holy on a practical level - the love of the devotees rises to such height of ecstasy - that no-one can predict what gifts the day will have in store for a disciple, if he honours the Guru in the way he should. So the day Guru Puja prepares a devotee to offer his devotion to his Lord, but ultimately it is not the day that counts, it is the Grace of Guru and the devotion of the devotees that makes the day worthy of such importance. And that is what Guru Puja is!
(Reprinted from Divine Times, London)
I hear the melody of His flute, and I cannot contain myself;
The flower blooms, though it is not spring; and already the bee has
received its invitation.
The sky roars and the lightning flash(
the waves arise in my heart. The rain falls
and my heart longs for my Lord.
Where the rhythm of the world rises and falls, thither my heart has reached: There the hidden banners are fluttering in the air.
Kabir says: "My heart is dying,
though it lives."
- Saint Kabir
Nine Steps of Devotion
When he arrived at Australia's Guru Puja '73 in Adelaide, Mahatma Padarthanand Ji stressed the importance of devotion in the practice of Knowledge. Below are the nine steps of devotion as set out by Mahatma
1 To be in the company of saints
2 To listen to Satsang attentively with love and affection
3 Having left all worldly ego, serve the Lotus Feet of Satgurudev
4 To sing the glory of the Lord with an open heart
5 To remember the Name with strong faith
6 Detachment from worldly rituals. Be polite, humble and lead the life of a real saint
7 Give honour to saints more than yourself
8 Have strong contentment; find fault in yourself
9 See God equally in all