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Author Topic: EDITORIAL - GURU  (Read 11290 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: February 19, 2007, 05:37:17 AM »
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  • The place of Guru is unique in our culture. The period of the-first Ashram (Brahmacharyashram) is supposed to be spent in the Ashram of the Guru. The student had not only to stay at the Guru's hermitage for studies, but had also to attend to the domestic work of the Guru's household. The Ashrams of the Guru's of those days seem to be the residential schools of today; but they had one more advantage. The Guru is not in the picture in modern re¬sidential schools after the school hours; but it was not so in the case of the Ashrams of the sages. They were with the students for all the day. Hence they could inculcate their personality in their students y much better than the modern Gurus (teachers) can do.
    Even Rama and Krishna, who were supposed to be the incar¬nations of Lord Vishnu, had Gurus, because for all practical pur¬poses they behaved like other human beings. It will be recalled that Rama learnt the art of archery from Vishvamitra, while Lord Krishna, when he was at the Ashram of his Guru Sandipani, even went in the wood and chopped off the firewood for the domestic use of his Guru. After completion of the education, the Guru would, so to say, hold a convocation and confer the degrees on his students who would go back and start their married life (enter Grihasthashram),

    Apart from these cases where there was agreement between the Guru and the students, the Puranas abound in examples where the relations between the preceptor and the students were strained. The glaring example of Karna can be remembered very easily. Karna went to Parashuram for learning the art of wielding the missiles; but Parashuram was not ready to impart his knowledge to anyone who was not a brahmin, and hence when this fact was known he cursed Karna that whatever art he had learned from him by deceit would not be found useful by him in the nick of the time.

    The example of Ekalavya is altogether different. He prepared an earthen statue of Dronacharya and learnt all the art of archer from it. When Dronacharya knew about it he went to see Ekalavya,. who was very glad to meet his Guru. On seeing the skill of Ekalavya. in archery, Dronacharya was wonderstruck. He simply could not imagine that acute concentration could yield such amazing results;. but he was the paid Guru of the Kaurawas and Pandawas and Arjuna was his pet student. Hence he could not afford to allow any archer to excel Arjuna in archery. He therefore, played a trick on Ekalavya. and demanded his right hand thumb as his Guru-dakshina (fees), thus creating a deficiency in Ekalavya's skill as an archer and maintaining, the top position of Arjuna.

    In the historic period also we see that the reverence for the Guru had not receded. The Guru was always held in high esteem. The classical example of Shivaji Maharaj can be cited in this context. Dadaji Kondadeo was his Guru in his childhood and it is said that he played a very important role in shaping the character of Shivaji Maharaj. In the later age Shivaji used to call Samartha Ramdas as his Guru. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used to speak very highly about both these Gurus. Though only one example of Shivaji Maha¬raj is cited, the reverence shown by him for his Guru was universal in those days. Everywhere the Guru was given his due respect.

    In all the Sanskrit and Marathi Classics the Guru is always praised and saluted immediately after the God, who of course always takes the first place. Every Classic starts with the salutation to the favourite deity of the author. Next to that comes the salutation to the Guru. Most of the Marathi writers have spoken very highly about their Gurus. The Guru is the light for them. In order to have proper inspiration to write a book or a poem, they have all uni¬versally requested their Guru to shower his blessings upon them.
    Traditionally it is supposed in our country that unless you have a Guru, you are not on the proper lines of progress. Saint Dnyaneshwar was calling his elder brother Nivrittinath as his guru.   Similarly Saint Ramdas also was calling his elder brother as his Guru, and got his initiation in the path of religion from him.   Here we may feel that both Dnyaneshwar and Ramdas were much superior to their elder brothers in intellect and in knowledge.   We therefore, simply fail to understand why they chose such Gurus; but the whole idea of a Guru in the Indian mind was altogether different.     A Guru was no doubt a source of inspiration.   He was a sacred person.   He was an honoured person; but above all he was a person before whom a disciple had always got to be humble, before whom he had got to bow down, howsoever high he may go.   When you have a Guru and when you become humble before him, the ego and the pride in you is always under control.   The case of Changdeo, the contemporary of saint Dnyaneshwar, is a very good example of such an ego.    He had conquered death and by yogic means he had obtained control over fierce animals like the tiger and the serpent; but he did not have a Guru to give him advice and hence his ego went on growing without any limit.   He underestimated the powers of Dnyaneshwar and only realised his folly when he saw that Dnyaneshwar had control over inanimate objects like the wall. The control over ego and pride was therefore a very great advantage in having a Guru and that was perhaps the reason why nobody was supposed to have had real know¬ledge unless he was initiated by a Guru.

    Shri Sai Baba, who is so widely prayed for health, wealth and prosperity, himself talked about his Guru and always made it a point to bow down to his Samadhi in Lendi baug every day. This clearly shows that, howsoever great we may consider a person to be, still he also has a place where he has to bow down and pay his respects.

    It will be seen from the aforesaid discussion that in the Indian culture, the Guru has been treated more as a symbol of respect and honour than an individual. Hence the following shloka eulogizing the Guru, used to be chanted every morning by the old people.
    In recent years, however, may be because of the spread of communism, the reverence, respect, and faith are all lost by the young: generation. They have neither honour nor respect for their parents, teachers or elders. They are always in a defying or challenging mood. If such state of affairs is allowed to be continued for a long time it will lead to anarchy. In order to avoid this future cata-strophy, the elders should first of all improve their own behaviour and make it ideal. They can then try to implant the respect for the Guru in the minds of the youngsters so that by and by, they will start respecting not only their teachers but also all their elders.

    Note:- As proposed in the issue for the month of March-1974, we have published the article about Saint Dnyaneshwar Maharaj in the issue for the Month of April-1974, and it has extended over 13 pages. On a review it is found that an article as lengthy as that is quite necessary to bring out all the facets of the life of a Saint. As this article should not encroach on the size of other articles it is pro¬posed to publish the article on the Maharashtrian Saints hereafter in two instalments from the current issue, in which the first instalment of the life of Saint Namdeo is published.

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