Welcoming Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji March 6, 2022; Frisco TX

07 Mar 2022 870 Views

Prakasarao V Velagapudi, PhD

It is may distinct pleasure, fortune, and a rare treasure to welcome Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji to Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple with pleasure, delight,  emotions, sentiments, joy, happiness and thrill. Let us welcome Sri Swamiji with a round of applause to show how much we missed his divine personality, his presence, benevolence, magnanimity, grace, bliss, and compassion.

Devotees have been missing Sri Swamiji for more than 2 ½ rears – too long for any devotee not to have darshan for so long. Now we can see their faces lit up, their broad smiles, their happiness, their eagerness, and  their enthusiasm. Even Hanuman is smiling and happy to see Sri Swamiji. He is looking at all of us. Now we can experience Sri Swamiji. His mere presence is emanating illumination in the Temple, energy, vibrations, the vigor and liveliness.  Let us make up for the this long physical absence by reminisce about the nature of Sri Swamiji, the importance of a Guru in one’s life, and the significance of Guru Bhakti.

Sri Swamiji is a Sadguru par excellence, beyond our comprehension, beyond our description, and beyond our intellect. Whatever we wrote over the years, they only represent our outward description of Sri Swamiji based on our experiences. We cannot fathom the depth of an ocean, describe the luster of the sun, see the invisible treasure hidden in our own hearts, and grasp the power and energy of Sri Swamiji. No matter how much we may write and how many miracles we may describe, they would not match the powers of Sri Swamiji.

Some of His devotees describe Him as a teacher, Guru, Sadguru, Parama Guru, guide, musician, composer, Ashta Sidhi, Yogi, a man of miracles, healer, doctor, yoga man, magician, spiritual leader and simply say Swamiji; others say he follows the Vedic way. Still, others say He is a friend, family member; each person has his own way of looking at Him. Everybody has his/her own way of describing Him depending on their association and experience.

Who is this rare and extraordinary Avatara and how do you describe Him?

Amazing are His ways, wondrous are His deeds, scintillating are His eyes, enchanting is His smiles, gripping is His voice, soothing is His music, unfailing are His words, unpredictable is His behavior, peaceful is His presence, stupendous are His lectures, amusing are His examples, hilarious are His imitations; touching is His compassion, astounding is His depth of knowledge, remarkable are His powers, mesmerizing are His gestures; incredible is His vak Shuddhi (purity of speech), startling are His predictions, comforting is His counsel, incredible is His guidance, majestic is His demeanor, the royal is His walk, ever-flowing is His grace, innumerable are His blessings, mind-boggling is His recall of the events, unfailing is His Sankalpa, unimaginable is His globe-trotting, and impossible to comprehend His Avatar.

Is physical Presence necessary to follow a Guru?

Many of the disciples missed Sri Swamiji’s physical presence and have been longing for his darshan. There is no question that the physical presence of a Guru in one’s life inspires them to lead a good life, helps them follow a set of moral and ethical principles, consoles them at times of critical circumstances, encourages them to mold their personalities, and ensures them to solve their day to day problems. When asked about the importance of physical presence of a Guru, Narasimha Saraswati told his disciples not to get attached to the physical presence of their Sadguru. “ It is not necessary for the disciples to be always at the physical presence of the guru … But I am indeed ever with you. Try to feel my constant presence wherever you will be and wherever you go.” (Guru Charitra, p:66).

Srila Prabhupada mentioned that “But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me, I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So, we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection.”

Daya Mata, the successor of Paramahansa Yogananda, recalls the conversation she had with Guruji: “No disciple should ever think for even a moment that since Guruji is no longer physically present, he is unaware of the needs of each one who enters that sacred guru-disciple relationship with him. I know for a fact that he is giving you the discipline and spiritual training you need each day of your lives. Years ago, he told me: "When I have left this physical form, I will be with you more than I ever was in this life." I have found that to be true. And he did not say this only for me, but for all his disciples who would come after his passing. - Daya Mata (SRF Magazine 2010)

Who is Guru?

From times immemorial a Guru or a spiritual teacher has been given the highest place of honor in India and elsewhere. It is exceedingly difficult to define, describe, elaborate, and understand the concept of Guru. According to Swami Vivekananda, “The Guru must be worshiped as God. He is God; he is nothing less than that. As you look at him, gradually the Guru melts away, and what is left? The guru picture gives place to God Himself. The Guru is the bright mask, which God wears in order to come to us. As we look steadily on, gradually the mask falls off and God is revealed.”

On his first meeting, Swami Sri Yukteswar told Paramahansa Yogananda that obedience to the guru is the surest way when one is seeking God. I found him unerring in his wisdom. Yogananda sayas, “By listening to him, I saved myself many incarnations of roaming and trying to find out truth by myself. Guru is he who has experienced Truth. He serves as a guide in the dark forest of life. If you follow him, he will lead you out of the darkness. If you try to find the way alone, you may needlessly lose yourself in the forest for many incarnations. So follow the guru, and he will take you through safely.”

Swami Sri Yukteswar in his unerring wisdom defined the nature of Guru: Guru is he who has experienced Truth. He serves as a guide in the dark forest of life. If you follow him, he will lead you out of the darkness. If you try to find the way alone, you may needlessly lose yourself in the forest for many incarnations. So, follow the guru, and he will take you through safely. (The Divine Romance)

Bahinibhai (1628-1700) was a Varkari female saint who described the greatness of Gurus.

(1) With all my heart I will cling to the feet of the sadguru. Unceasingly I will contemplate him.

(2) If I do so, then, Oh my heart, what will be left of you there? You will find yourself in the net of contemplation.

(3) Yes, I will place my trust in the words of my sadguru, for whom I have a love that can never die.

(4) I will always remain the slave of my- sadguru, absolutely indifferent to worldly things.

(5) I will offer at his feet my body, my power of speech, and my heart. I will hold my sadguru in my heart.

(6) Says Bahini, "Oh my heart, rid yourself of the idea of self, and come as a suppliant to the feet of the sadguru." (Verse 117)

(1) As chief of all means of salvation stands that of the service of a guru, which changes one into Brahma Itself.

(2) I will, therefore, approach his feet, and there dwell, and then, Oh heart, who will care for you?

(3) There are Shastras and the Vedas and many great systems of philosophy, but a sadguru is superior to them all.

(4) Says Bahini, "If I have the favor of my Swami Sadguru, he will show my heart the easy way (to salvation)." (Verse 118)

Shiva Samhita Explains the vitalness of a Guru in one’s life:

11.Only the knowledge imparted by a Guru, through his lips, is powerful and useful; otherwise it becomes fruitless, weak and very painful.

12.He who devoted to any knowledge, while pleasing his Guru with every attention, readily obtains the fruit of that knowledge.

13.There is not the least doubt that Guru is father. Guru is mother, and Guru is God even; and as such, he should be served by all with their thought, word and deed.

14.By Guru's favor everything good relating to one's self is obtained. So the Guru ought to be daily served; else there can be nothing auspicious.

15.Let him salute his Guru after walking three times round him, and touching with his right hand his lotus-feet.

It is very difficult to define, describe, elaborate, and understand the concept of Guru. It becomes even more difficult to understand when we examine a different type of Gurus. One should learn at the outset that there are different kinds of Gurus. On one end of the spectrum any teacher is a guru, whereas, on the other end of the spectrum, we will find the incarnations of God in the human form with supernatural powers. Most people, however, forget that this has been said from the spiritual angle, and never from the physical point of view. Guru Tattvam is even far more difficult to define. It is beyond description, perception, and understanding. However, our attempts to define guru Tattvam should recognize the fact it is limited to our perceptions, knowledge, time, and language. Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji emphasizes this point by saying that “Guru Tattvam is not like an object which can be purchased or possessed, nor it is found or discovered as it has not been lost, stolen or hidden in a safe. It is everywhere provided you know the secret to find it.”

Guru Bhakti

Guru Bhakti is a method by which one can scrape off the Arishadvargas (six deadly sins), and develop unquestionable faith are the teachings, behavior, and advice. According to Narada Bhakti Sutras, “What is important is not the specific manner in which God is worshiped but the degree to which the devotee is filled with love.” (48-49). Guru Bhakti means total dedication and complete devotion to Guru.  Bhakti literally means "attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity"  Bhakti must be unwavering, and one-pointed. A disciple should never doubt Guru’s instructions and motivations. We all should be like Sananda who did not hesitate to cross the overflowing river at the calling of Adi Sankara. For his complete devotion, the Nadi (river) made padmas (lotuses) for Sananda to walk on them to cross the river without drowning. From that incident, he is known as Padmapada. Total submission of oneself at the lotus feet of a Guru ensures bhakti toward Guru. Kularnava Tantra emphasizes that “Devotion to the Guru is the one main truth; without that all learning, all austerity, family status, observances are useless; they are only decorations pleasing to the worldly eye. Whatever one’s station in life, if he be devoted, he is dear to the Lord and adorable as the Lord Himself.”

Svetasvatara Upanishad descries the significance of Guru Bhakti: “Yasya deve para bhaktih yatha deve tatha gurau, Tasyaite kathita hyarthah prakasante mahatmanaha.” If you have supreme devotion to God and the same kind of devotion to your guru, then to you, the essence, the subtle truths of the scriptures become revealed.” Thus it is that through guru-bhakti the sadhaka, the seeker, the disciple, creates an effective link, a connection, a channel which enables the guru to share with the disciple what the guru has been endowed with from God.

Tirukkural observes that “Attach yourself to Him who is free from all attachments. Bind yourself to that bond so all other bonds may be broken.: (Verse 350).

In fact, Adi Sankara says, one must try to realize the internal enemies that are robbing the individual from coming being spiritual and stealing the precious stones of Divine knowledge. Adi Sankara cautioned thus: Kama Krodascha Lobhascha Dehe Thishtanthi Taskarah Jnana Ratno-paharaya Tasmat Jagrata Jagrata.

Adi Sankara explains that desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy—these dacoits are residing within your own body. They are not outside. They are the enemies residing within all of us. And why are they there? To loot you of the Jnana-Ratna, to rob you of the precious gem of spiritual wisdom or Atma-jnana, to loot you and deprive you of the precious gem of Self-awareness and make you forget your Self and weep and wail and be in ignorance. In order to deprive you of this jewel of Atma-Jnana, they are there. Therefore, oh man, oh Sadhaka, Jagrata, Jagrata. Beware, beware. In this way, from the submerged level of the Chitta or the deep within, various samskaras and Vasanas are brought into activity.

Subdue your internal enemies to develop Guru Bhakti.

These Arishadvargas are recognized as powerful enemies of a man which are highlighted by Bhishma in Mahabharata. Yudhishthira sought the advice of from Bhishma to get rid of these internal enemies:

“Tell me, the wise one, from what springs anger and lust, fear, and loss of judgment, the inclination to do evil to others, jealousy and malice, pride and envy, slander and the failure to bear the good of others, and unkindness and covetousness".

Answering back, Bhishma responded:

"These vices are powerful enemies of a man. They tempt human beings. Once these vices prevail over a person, they attack him, like wolves jumping, upon their prey, and from these vices alone, all kinds of grief proceed".

Lord Krishna explains one of the possible relationships between some of these six enemies in the following verses. He shows how this Shad ripus (six enemies) overpower the critical and discriminating ability of our intellect (Buddhi) due to which we forget the purpose of our life, and then they are at work to destroy us completely.

“Dwelling or thinking on the objects of the senses a man develops attachment for them. From attachment, desire is born. Desire gives rise to anger. From anger arises delusion. From delusion arises a failure of memory. From the failure of memory results destruction of the intellect; and through the destruction of intellect, total destruction ensues.”

Lord Krishna talks about the relationship between a Guru and a disciple in Bhagavad Gita. “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Bhagavad Gita 4.34)

For one who actually wants to make advancement in spiritual life having a bona fide spiritual master to instruct him and show him the path is essential. Without a bona fide spiritual master, we have no strength or power ourselves to escape from the clutches of Maya. We cannot become free from this prison of Maya without the help of a bona fide spiritual master.

Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji has been constantly instructing his devotees in all his discourses for decades that they should not fall prey to these six enemies. He has been constantly advising them to remove “I” from them and helping thousands of his disciples to overcome these enemies through bhakti yoga, karma yoga, yoga, and meditation. One pointed concentration, total submission, undivided devotion, relentless passion to serve Sri Swamiji ensures Guru Bhakti.

The best way to show Guru Bhakti to our Swamiji is to follow him, follow his instructions, follow his guidance and soak in His grace. Mere doing daily puja for hours, chanting mantras sitting in front of chosen murthy, reading numerous books and mere attending his pravachanams do not reflect real bhakti. They are only steppingstones to develop intense desire to practice the teachings of our Sadguru. The best way to show true Guru Bhakti is to remove the selfishness, erase the ego, subdue arishadvargas, protect your culture, instill pride in your Dharma, protect your Dharma, practice Advaita philosophy, encounter Asuric forces, champion Ahimsa and advocate universal brotherhood. True Bhakti is to practice and implement the essence of Sri Swamiji’s time tested message.

A disciple wanted Narasimha Saraswati as his Guru. Realizing that this disciple left his earlier guru, Narasimha Saraswati talked about the devotion and bhakti that are essential components for any disciple, “it is never proper to talk disrespectfully of one’s Guru, and that he had committed a very great mistake in forsaking his Guru. He said it is not for the student to judge the merits and demerits of the Guru. Guru is the treasure house and abode of knowledge and wisdom. Guru is even superior to God; the student must ungrudgingly, selflessly, and dedicatedly and lovingly serve the Guru, whatever be the hardships of service. There is nothing comparable to the service rendered to the Guru. Only if the Guru is pleased will the god be pleased. ... Guru Bhakti and Guru Seva form the foundation of spiritual sadhana and winning of Guru’s grace is the fruition of all sadhana.” (Guru Charitra, P: 70)

As I mentioned before, Sri Swamiji is beyond our comprehension, intuition, understanding, and knowledge. The nature of Guru and Sadguru has been described by many of our scriptures, and numerous Gurus, and even Gods. Sri Swamiji is a Guru who can remove the ignorance, dispel the darkness, and eradicate the Arishadvargas (six enemies) provided the sishya exhibits true Bhakti toward Sri Swamiji. He is constantly looking after his devotees.

            In fact, the last message of Sant Ramdas to his disciples of to get rid of these enemies (Arshad Vargas). “Do not think much of your bodily wants. Have Satsang with devotees. Keep the image of Lord Rama in your heart. Repeat the name of Lord Rama always. Annihilate lust, greed, anger, hatred and egoism. See Lord Rama in all creatures. Love all. Feel His presence everywhere. Live for Him alone. Serve Him in all beings. Make total and unreserved surrender unto Him. You will always live in Him alone. You will attain immortality and eternal bliss”.

The more bhakti we have, the closer we get to Swamiji. Let us remember the greatness of Sadguru as stated in Guru Gita:

“I bow to the Sadguru who is the source of bliss, giver of great comfort, a form of pure knowledge, beyond all dualities, sky - like the essence of the Mahaavaakyas like Tatvamasi, unique, eternal, pure, steady, witness to all intellect, beyond the intellect and who is without the three qualities Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.” (87)

Let us welcome Sri Swamiji by standing and giving a big round of applause.  Jai Guru Datta. Jai Guru Hanuman

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