Philosophy

God or Guru

Why Guru?

Saint Kabir beautifully sings these few lines which when translated mean, “Guru and God both are standing in front of me, and I am confused as to who to bow to first. Praise be to thee, O guru for leading me, and pointing in the God’s direction!”

God and Guru are not in a contest as far as supremacy between them is concerned. We devotees of God and disciples of Guru are confused about their role and supremacy. The conflict stems from our own fear and dual state of mind. Swami Vivekananda treated his guru Ramakrishna as God and never looked elsewhere. His guru, Ramakrishna, showed him the path that leads to enlightenment and merger with God. To achieve or realize God one has to approach a Guru, because a Guru is the gateway to God. Saint Kabir himself was a realized soul at the tender age of 12, yet he needed the guidance and blessings of Guru Ramdas to finally merge with God. It is not who is superior or more important than the other, the simple truth is one leads to the other. You have to seek a Guru if you are earnestly seeking God; both go hand in hand and cannot be ignored. Even God had to be born as human to attain salvation. How can God merge with god? He has to come down to earth, live the life of a human being, aspire for god, thirst for god, seek God and search for a guru who will lead the way! So the road to God is definitely through a Guru alone.

Do we need a Guru?

Many people read a lot of philosophy and religious texts and think they know everything, and they can thus approach God directly, rather they do not need the guru as a middleman! It is like learning to swim reading the swimming manual, without the guidance of a coach. If we wish to do a PhD on any subject is it possible to accomplish the feat without a teacher? Or is it possible even with a teacher who is educated only till the degree level? If the teacher is trained only till nursery levels then how can he/she possibly guide you to the finish line? And which ‘Do -it –Yourself’ manual can really take you the finish line either? Think about this carefully and answer for yourself. You may think of yourself as independent, learned, wise etc, hence not needing a guru, but your individual progress in any direction will be hampered. Like for any qualification on any path you need a teacher and an able guide, similarly to qualify and attain your spiritual goals you need an able guru.

To conclude, God is the goal, guru is the guide to the goal and the path we choose or the guru we choose is left to our better judgment and discernment. The bond with one does not preclude the need the other; it takes our hand, extends itself to lead us to the other.

Giving-Can we?

My experience with giving

We always read and are taught that the more you give, the more you get. Or whatever you give comes back to you multiplied and many others in the same vein. Even I have grown up reading all this, yet when I see a beggar I try to decide how much he/ she will need! If I do not have change I put a ten rupee note and pick out 5-7 rupee coins from the beggars bowl! It did not bother me much earlier. I used to think, ‘What the heck! They surely do not need Rs.10/-! Rs.2 is more than enough, and so on.’ The look on the beggars face was indescribable. I never made eye contact though, simply picked my change and hurried away. Very recently, I read this article:

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the famous ghazal singer, was known to give, give and give. He returned home to Pakistan, preferring to spend the last days of his life in his homeland. But his Indian Bhajans and songs in praise of Indian Gods was met with opposition; forcing him to return to Bombay, India. He came back a penniless man with no income or wealth. So, his aficionados, the lovers of his music, collected Rs. 20000/- (In those days it was decent amount) and gave it to the maestro.

That very evening, after the concert; somebody came up to Ghulam Ali Saab and started weeping, saying he had no money, not even for food. This great human being pulled out the entire sum of Rs. 20000/- from his pockets and simply gave it all to the weeping person! He retained not a single coin even.

I felt so ashamed, I had nowhere to hide. The whole picking the change from the beggars bowl and the stricken look on the beggars face was right in front of my eyes. I died a thousand deaths in that one moment of realization. I am so self –centered! What a sop to my conscious I gave deciding how much the beggar needed! Who Am I to decide?

My spiritual Guru writes, ’what we receive is to be distributed. Even distributing has its own law which says,”Unless everybody receives, you cannot give to one in particular, except when it is your family.’ Even in a family we do give only one person followed with the instruction of “share it with all “or “distribute equally amongst all present.” When we sow seeds and water our fields, we do not water a particular seed. We water the whole field and which seed grows bears fruit is not in our hands. It is not for us to pre judge the seed and say, ’yes, this will bear fruit, so I will water only this seed!’

Similarly when we have fish in the tank to feed, we do not feed one fish! We feed all of them; you cannot isolate one and say this one’s hunger is more than the other! But when it comes to giving we become very judgmental and stingy too. We will give as much as we want, to who so ever deserves according to us! Why?

Bade Ghulam Ali khan had nothing when he returned to Bombay. He received from others and the very same evening he parted with the entire amount without hesitation. He gave, simply gave away what he had. Whether he had anything for himself was never on his mind and whether the person asking deserved, needed that much also never crossed this magnanimous man’s mind.

He gave, truly gave away!

parents were kids too

parents were kids!

This picture has the mother too. Pick who is who! Very funnily we forget the day we don the parents garb that we were children once!.As a counselor, specializing in adolescent counseling, “how to tame my wild child ” is the most popular query. And almost nine out of ten parents say, “we were never like this! we used to obey, behave, never question our parents…look at this generation! I did everything exactly the way my parents taught me! In fact, I gave them freedom and raised them in a very unorthodox way! Look at what I got myself into today ” They lament endlessly and I feel very bad interrupting and snapping them out of their self-piteous dream.

careful ,it may snap

I will quote my favorite author again, Khalil Gibran says”Your children The Affordable Care Act does address the growing cost of health care, it’s true focus is on reforming and expanding health individual insurance . are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life”s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday . You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

Shows us the mirror very blatantly, yes? We want our children to become what we could not, our unfulfilled dreams and aspirations are unconsciously pushed under their nose. Some lucky parents are blessed with a progeny which willingly steps into the parents shoes. But many seek different goals and want to walk the path less trodden. It is wiser if the parents learn to adapt to the changing times. what may have been the best during our youth will surely be obsolete today. We must guide them and show them the alternatives available; leaving the decision making to them. The more you stretch the string of the bow the sooner it is likely to snap, rendering it useless altogether. Likewise, when the coercion becomes unbearable, the child snaps and rebels. The misbehaving starts and the parents agitation starts too.

This generation parents have become needlessly competitive. The acceptance levels run low and comparison is the biggest vice. The children are finding it burdensome to live up to their expectations and many are succumbing to the pressure .