By Prakasarao V Velagapudi, Ph D
Chairman, Datta Yoga Center/ Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple Frisco TX (It was delivered on December 21, 2017)
Jai Guru Datta. Jai Guru Hanuman
On behalf of all the devotees here and across the globe It is my great fortune to invite Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji to Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco Texas. I have been speaking and talking about Sri Swamiji His powers his energy, his sankalpa, vaksuddhi, miracles, music, guidance, compassion, appearance, eyes, personality, and so on since 1990 – the year my dance to the tune of Sri Swamiji started. The more I think about Sri Swamiji and more I try to understand Sri Swamiji, less you are equipped to describe Sri Swamiji. Nobody can comprehend him, nobody can grasp him, nobody can fathom him, nobody can understand him, nobody can predict him, and nobody can gauge him.
Uniqueness of Hanuman Temple
1. Hanuman Temple is like a modern era Agraharam. In olden days Agrahara was a village inhabited by Brahmins. In general, Agraharams have row of houses on either side of the road with village temple at the center, thus resembling a garland around the temple. Per the traditional Hindu practice, an Agraharam is held to be two rows of houses running north-south on either side of a road at one end of which would be a temple.
If we look at Hanuman Temple, it is like a modern Agraharam. Temple being considered a Divine Abode, there are houses on three sides – north, south and east symbolizing garland. It is place where all the devotees of Sri Swamiji and Lord Hanuman live to call it a modern Agrahara.
2. There are only two Marakata Hanuman Murthies in the world – one in Frisco and the other one in Hyderabad. Marakata stone has so many benefits people can reap when they visit the Hanuman Temple. Marakata, meaning “the green of growing things.” It increases mental acuity, strengthens memory and inspires eloquence in speech. it has an invigorating effect on thought, reflection, and philosophy. It opens the hearts and strengthens one’s connection to Divine Love, and sustaining one in their spiritual journey. It is also believed to promote self-esteem and restores confidence.
3. Spatika (Crystal) Shiva Linga and Panavattam (Base) is another uniqueness of Hanuman Temple. Although we may find Crystal Shiva Linga, but it is very rare to see a Shiva Lina with panavattam made of crystal adorning the shrine. Hindu scripture Siva Lingam made of crystal as the highest form. They are-thermally passive, radiating coolness on blistering hot days. They can trap and spread light in a dazzling display. It also has healing properties. It is believed that Spatika Lingam removes all curses and negative karma and will enhance one’s confidence and power.
I bow to the lotus feet of my Guru, who is an ocean of mercy and is no other than Sri Hari Himself in human form, and whose words are sunbeams as it were for dispersing the mass of darkness in the form of gross ignorance.
Do we Need a Guru?
This is a perennial question many people ask. People seek Guru for several reasons that can be classified into materialistic and spiritual need. Some approach for selfish reasons. Some meet a Guru to gain numerous material benefits and resolve numerous surrounding world of work, personal difficulties, family issues, mental problems and so on. We live in a society beset with numerous problems Nothing is certain in the modern world. Unpredictability is the essence of our time. Day to day stress is permeating our lives. Mental peace is a rarity. We are not able to cope up with the stress and not able to resolve our own problems. We are caught in the web of illusion and delusion. We are not able to find peace of mind and maintain sanity. In this materialistic society, we have forgotten our own divine nature. Our relationship with Paramatma is rusted and severed.
Our ego engulfed us preventing us to recognize the divinity within. We think we all know everything. We have forgotten the riches of Gurukula concept that made Hinduism the most scientific, knowledgeable and spiritual in nature. We have developed the illusion that we can find the answers by reading the books and other scriptures. We even an argue that we have read many scriptures and we can even recite word by word some of the scriptures. Many of us have prepared for the exams, read many books and even memorized them. Right after we finish taking the exam, we rarely remember what we studied and what was the essence of the subject matter. Generally speaking, we cannot understand the inner meaning of the books without the proper explanation from a guru. Like parrot we can repeat the word without understanding the inner meaning. Intelligence is not enough to understand the scriptures; intellectual understanding is essential. Listening to a Guru has more impact on our mind, firmly fixes in our heart, and stick to our conscious level. Gurus who have soaked in the knowledge, who have grasped the inner meaning of the words, who have touched the lives of many people, who can assess the level of understanding of the recipient, and who knows how to deliver the message at a right time, are the only one who can guide the disciples and channel them to the right path.
Devotion is essential to receive the blessings of a guru. Receiving the nectar of blessings depends on the level of disciple’s devotion. Without the unwavering devotion, a disciple thirst for knowledge cannot be quenched. Similarly, his problems in life cannot be adequately addresses by a Guru. Guru is ever ready to help, give enough strength, cushion the severe blows and ease the severity of the problems. Being a God incarnate and being a trikaalaJnani, a Guru knows the right time to give right dose of advice. Guru will help the disciple to cross the ocean based on disciple’s disposition. A Buddhist monk, Kadampa Geshe Potowa, said, “Even to learn worldly crafts, things we can understand by seeing them with our eyes, we need a teacher to show us. So how is it possible that we, who have just come from the lower realms and are entering a path where we have never been before, could travel it without a guide?” Obviously, it is not possible to develop the tranquility during innumerable hardships and reach the spiritual realm where you may have chance to experience the unity of atman with Paramatman.
Siva Purana captures the need to have a Guru: “Just as gold gives up dirt on contact with fire in this world, very similarly a human gives up sins on contact with a Guru. Just as a pot of ghee melts away (disappears) when (placed) near fire (similarly do the sins slowly melt away or disappear in vicinity of a Guru.” (15:27)
Who is Guru?
Defining a Guru especially a Sadguru is the most difficult task even for highly elevated person. In general, it is believed that a Sadguru must be a Siddha possessing numerous of powers. Sri Swamiji comes from a lineage endowed with spiritual acumen and musical tradition. He is the one who conquered the senses where duality disappears. His glance itself might result in liberation. In fact, Guru Gita says the only way to describe a Guru is with words like aha, oohu. Words are insufficient, expression is limited, mind is blurred, heart is overwhelmed, and senses are numbed to describe the true nature of a Sri Swamiji. One of the best description of Gurus is found in Guru Gita itself. "I bow to the divine Guru, who is the bliss of the supreme Absolute, the embodiment of the highest joy, who is supremely independent and the personification of pure knowledge. There is no trace of duality in him. He is perfectly detached and all- pervasive, like the sky. He is the goal of the wisdom of the great statement 'Thou art That.' He is the One without a second. He is eternal, pure, and taintless. He is steady and the witness of all. He is beyond all modifications and devoid of the three gunas."
It is only with Sadguru one’s desires slowly fade away, doubts dispelled, happiness swells, senses subdued, and duality eradicated. Natchintai of Nallur in Sri Lanka has written extensively about the greatness of his Guru Chellappan and who constitutes a Guru. Part of his description can be aptly attributed to Swamiji. One gets the feeling that he may have foreseen the appearance of Sri Swamiji.
Father and Mother, are You. Dear brothers and sisters are You
Incomparable wife is You. Precious sons are You.
Royal potentates are You.
The devas and all gods are You.
This great earth is You; and that which guards and governs me is also You.
You it was who stayed the river.
You are He whose half is Shakti.
You are the truth-revealing Vedas.
You are both righteousness and error.
You are the One adorned with ashes1.
You are He with an eye upon His brow1.
You are the prize that I have gained.
You are the One who has made me Yours Indra and the gods are You.
The multitude of rishis are You;
Both the sun and the moon are You; and ‘tis You who as the lingam stands.
Mantra and tantra are You.
This life and the next are You.
All beauty and loveliness are You; and our Protector too is You.
You are the One without an end.
You are the Lord who is my father.
You are in truth the Changeless One.
You are that which is in the heart.
You are He who has no parts.
You are also all beliefs.
You are that which is known through search.
You are order and perfection That which is love is You.
Body and life are also You. Far and near are You.
Truth and untruth too are You. Verse and melody, are You.
The contents of the song are You.
Numbers and letters, are You; and that which is my help is You.
How to Find a Guru?
Many people keep wondering as to how to find a Guru? How do you know which guru is real and what are the qualifications we will be looking for? Sri Swamiji is a Satguru par excellence. He speaks and represents the ultimate truth. His speeches and advises may be harsh, critical and hurtful to his devotees because he speaks only the truth (Satya). A guru who is truthful can take his devotees to the path of truthfulness. He is above the three Gunas. He conquered (arishadvargas) six internal enemies such as Kama, krodha, Lobha, Moha, mada and Matsarya—lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride and envy—which may cause any body’s downfall. He admonishes His disciples to be beware of the pitfalls and advises them to avoid them to grow spiritually. He is beyond and free of three gunas – tamas, rajas and sattva. Sri Swamiji is kind, compassionate, calm, knowledgeable, devoid of malice, patient, loving and ever smiling.
He loves his disciples more than a father loves his children. Whenever anybody experiences these signs when they see Sri Swamiji, then they are connected because of purva Janma sukrutam. These signs are: Knowledge flourishes, sorrow diminishes, joy wells up without any reason, abundance dawns and all talents manifest. If these qualities are experienced in Sri Swamiji’s presence, please keep meditating on His image, feel the connectivity and start preparing to be a devotee.
To the degree you feel connected to the Guru, these qualities manifest in your life. Sit with your eyes closed, feel the connection with the Guru, and start making your own knowledge sheet. In fact, Bhagavata Puranam (111.25.20) says, if a person who is deeply attached to the body and bodily relations is similarly attached to a God-realized saint, the doors of redemption will be opened for him.”
Similarly, we find a forthright advice in Kathopanishad (1.3.14) which says,“Arise and awake, approach the excellent and experienced ones and learn to realize the Truth. Narrow' the path and difficult to tread, sharp like the edge of a razor. But success is sure to those who dare and do.”It unambiguously states that we must approach a Guru who can lead us to overcome the trials and tribulations, who can give enough strength to face the devil, subdue the ego, dispel the ignorance, develop patience and forbearance, help us to surrender and inspire us to trek the spiritual path.
Sri Swamiji obtained highest knowledge, acquainted with all the scriptures, attained Ashtasidhis, achieved God realization, descended to earth only help the fellow human beings and take the message of vasudaika kutumbam across the globe only to establish dharmic values for the sustenance and survival of human race.
Ashtavakra wisdom on various aspects of human existence is recited in the Mahabharata. For example:
A grey head does not make an elder, Not by years, not by grey hairs, not by riches nor by relations did the seers make the Law, He who is great to us, is one who has learning.— Ashtavakra, Vana Parva,
A seeker or a disciple should approach a qualified Guru who is conversant with spiritual life and who is knowledgeable about scriptures. He should approach a Guru with the attitude of submission and sincere interest in following spiritual path. He should be allowed to remove the material greed and eliminate mental impurities. Thus, Bhagavad Gita (4:34) says, just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The Self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.
What does a Guru Teaches?
Through His speeches, advises, piercing eyes, silence, gestures and smiles, Sri Swamiji teaches us to go beyond material illusion and look for permanent happiness. In spite, all the knowledge one may have in scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Tantras and others would not be enough to know oneself. Even Narada was not happy with his knowledge. He goes to Sanatkumara and asks, ‘Master, teach me.’ Sanatkumara said, ‘First tell me what you know, then I shall know what to add.’ The Narada said, ' 'I know the Vedas, the Puranas and all the sciences. I have mastered the mantras, mantravidya, but not Atmavidya, I do not know the Atman I do not know myself. I have been told, sir, that those who came to know themselves were set free from sorrow. I suffer and am restless, help me to pass beyond sorrow.' 'All that You have so far learnt is only words.' Then Sanatkumara led Narada to know the mystery of the self, the infinite fullness which exists only in the self, and is itself present everywhere. He made known to him the further shore, which lies beyond the darkness.
The darshan of Sri Swamiji is the first step towards the ultimate reality where veil of ignorance is lifted, and all duality transcended. That's the essential reality which India has pursued for millennia. Our ancient Rishis have realized the secret life which lies within one’s own self. Happiness is not found outside. It is hidden inside. It is a Guru like Sri Swamiji who can show you the path for self-realization.
Long ago the rishis of the Upanishads had revealed the mystery of the guru: Without learning it from another, how could anyone know That? But to hear it from just anyone is not enough, even if he repeats it a hundred, a thousand times... Subtler than the subtlest is that; it cannot be obtained by any discussion... Neither by reasoning, nor by ideas, nor even by the simple recitation of the Vedas, can it be known... Wonderful is he who can utter it, wonderful he who can hear it, wonderful he who knows it, having been well taught... (Katha Upanishad, 2)
A living Guru is necessar
A living Guru is essential for spiritual maturity. Numerous examples are found in our scriptures. Namdev was an ardent devotee of Lord Vitthal of Pandaripur and used to sing powerful songs on him. His Kirtans were so effective that even Lord Panduranga used dance in front of him. The guru’s touch needs to be transmitted to a disciple to grow. The need for a living guru is illustrated by the story of a great saintby the name Namdev.
Once Sant Jnaneswar assembled all the saints of the century such as Nivruthinad, Sopandev, Namdev, Muktabai, Chokkamela and others at Sant Goroba’s house. As per the instructions of Jnaneswar,
Sant Goroba tapped each Sant’s head to determine the spiritual maturity. Goroba concluded that Sant Namdev was still immature which was backed by Muktabai. Angered by this assessment, he went to Panduranga and complained.
Although God had appeared to Namdev in vision many times, still Panduranga told him that he needed a guru for final liberation. Namdev protested, “But, Lord I commune with you, the Lord of the universe. Why do I need a guru?” Vittala replied, “Namdev, this is my law. Everything in this world should be done through instruments. You need a living guru.” Namdev said, “Then, Lord, at least show me where to find my guru.” Lord Vittala directed him to go to Vishoba Khechar, an enlightened sage, and Namdev was liberated through his guidance.
Sant Jnaneswar had all praise for Guru. He gave credit to cross the ocean of existence. He even admitted that he cannot adequately praise the Guru by saying how can we add the lustre of sun or add scent to sandalwood. He even described as to how to approach a Guru:
“It is better that one should remain silent and bow at the feet of the master. When the sun shines, the moon fades in the background; when the Guru shines, all the sciences fade away. Thus, the only adequate way of expressing one's appreciation of the greatness of the Guru is to submit in silence to the feet of the Guru, for the greatness of the Guru can never be adequately praised. "Let me make my heart the seat for the Guru, a handful of flowers of praise. Let me apply to the feet of the Guru a fingerful of sandalwood ointment, made pure by the consideration of identity...... Let me put upon his feet ornaments of spiritual gold, let me place upon them the eight-petalled flower of pure joy.
Let be burn the essence of egoism, wave the lights of self-annihilation, and cling to the feet of the Guru with the feeling of absorption." (XV, 1-7)
How do we identify Swamiji as Guru?
The description of a Guru in Rudrayamala is astonishingly fits the nature of Sri Swamiji.
Rudrayamala says, for anyone to be a guru, he must be of noble character, preferably born in a respectable family, of auspicious appearance, endowed with intellect, calmness of mind, and all good qualities, have a good and moral conduct, be pious and chaste and have control over the senses, be proficient in mantras and ever-engaged in japa and devoted to the worship of ishta devata. A mother is considered as the best guru for a son or daughter since there exists a pre-established connection between the two. Initiation by mother of a child is said to give eightfold results than what is ordinary. "The Guru is God and God is the Guru. Therefore, considering the Guru to be God, one should worship him with all one's heart, with great devotion, respect, and love. "Yogashikha Upanishad.
Kularnava Tantra describes the qualities of a guru, the need for attaining detachment and the way receive the grace of a Sadguru.
"O Kulanayika, all the yogic kriyas in this world arise from the Guru. Therefore, to attain That one should always serve the Guru with a feeling of devotion."
"When the Guru becomes pleased, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahadeva, and other deities, great seers, and Siddha yogis are also pleased and shower blessings.
There is no doubt of it." "O Goddess Kuleshvari, when one has supreme devotion for God and for the Guru, the meaning of the Guru's wisdom reveals itself from within." Then one acquires the capacity to understand the inner mystery.
“The Guru is the father; the Guru is the mother; the Guru is God. If Shiva is angry, the Guru can protect you, but if the Guru becomes angry, no one can save you."
The Guru is the mother because, like a mother, he always protects his children.” Shri Guru's feet are the supreme ornaments. To remember the Guru's name is to repeat the mantra. To obey the Guru's command is to perform every kind of good action. To serve the Guru is to sing the divine name." In the same way, repetition with faith, day in and day out, of the mantra given by the Guru is the source of all attainments. “Every house has a lamp, and in the same way there are many Gurus, but rare is that Guru who, like the sun, gives light
Sri Swamiji is the personification of what he talks. He possesses phenomenal energy, confidence, strength, radiance and attraction. A disciple experiences the glow, spark and attraction in the guru's company and feels happiness, peace and calmness.
Tukaram, in one of the Abhangs, requested Vittala to protect him and save him from the ocean of life and death.
Hey Vittala/Swamiji you are my mother and I am your kid, please don’t let me far away from you
Hey Vittala/Swamiji you are the cow and I am your calf, please don’t leave me without feeding
Hey Vittala/Swamiji you are the deer and I am your fawn, please don’t leave me alone and go away
Hey Vittala/Swamiji you are the bird and I am your chick, please don’t leave me without nourishing
Hey Vittala/Swamiji you are the turtle and I am your egg, please feed me through your kind glance
I am in deep neck of this samsara Sagara please pull me out from this He Vittal
Let us join our hands and welcome Sri Swamiji with thunderous applause.