That’s Life – Guru Purnima

On Sunday next, on the day of the full moon, Hindus all over the world will be celebrating “Guru Purnima” in remembrance of all “Gurus” – spiritual teachers/preceptors – and specially in memory of the first and greatest Guru, Ved Vyasa. Hindus revere the Guru before God himself because it is he who initiates the disciple into the love of God. Guru is composed of two words, “gu” meaning darkness and “ru” meaning light. So, a real guru is one who removes the darkness of ignorance and replaces it by the light of knowledge and wisdom.

A guru must be somebody who is a real model, well-versed in spiritual matters and devoid of all negative qualities like lust, anger and greed and he should also have the necessary skills to light the path of his disciples and show them the way to liberation which should be the ultimate goal of every living being. Like Brahma, the Creator, the Guru creates his disciple’s character; like Vishnu, the Preserver, he protects his good qualities; and like Shiva, the Destroyer, he destroys his bad habits and qualities.

Who was Ved Vyasa? Ved Vyasa, born some 3500 years before Christ; he was the grandson of Vashista and the father of the famous sage, Sukdeva Goswami popularly known as Suka who helped king Parikshit to get his liberation. The author of the Mahabharata that includes the celestial song, the Bhagavad Gita is known as Ved Vyasa because he collected the four Vedas and classified the spiritual knowledge they contained into four different parts viz Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. Ved Vyasa is also the author of the 18 Puranas that contain the stories of great saints and heroes. They are meant to instil spiritual and moral precepts in devotees.

A disciple who wants to win the grace of his guru must have complete faith in him and should acquire positive qualities like love, truth and righteousness. One cannot learn anything without a teacher. Whatever subject you want to study be it Art, Science, Music, Dance, Yoga, etc., you need a good teacher who can guide you and teach you the right skills for mastering those subjects.

Guru Purnima is a day on which we should revere our teachers and thank them for their guidance and the knowledge imparted to us. The Guru, like the sculptor who with his chisel and hammer turns a rough, worthless stone into something of beauty, moulds the character of his students so that it blossoms and spreads its fragrance all round. However a Guru has got to be tough at times. He may be compared to the dhobi who beats the dirty cloth on a rough surface to remove its dirt while ensuring that it does not get torn in the process.

Lights (Artee) are waved before the Guru and devotional songs sung in his praise. It’s only in the Hindu culture that a special day is set apart to honour the Guru. Hindus also consider as Guru anyone or anything that teaches them something beautiful, something that can be beneficial to society. Our parents are our first gurus but the tree that give shades ad provides fruits to others, the river whose water is used to quench thirst and water our garden, the laborious ant, the busy bee, the sun that never fails to rise everyday and provides us warmth are all teachers in their own ways.

Sai Baba whom many consider as their Guru has chosen the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima to hold a World Youth Conference and over 5000 young men and women from over hundred countries that include USA and Latin America, Canada, Europe, Africa, Australia, Japan, China, etc., are at this moment at Prashanti Nilayam, his ashram in Puttaparthi, to participate in this conference. Swami refers to the youth as lions and He believes that the young have the power to change the world. That is why he showers great love on them and has opened many institutions — primary, secondary and tertiary — to impart to them the right type of education that will help shape their character. Mauritius has sent a 100-strong delegation to India to participate in this conference.

I would like to conclude this article with a very interesting story told by Sai Baba that has been sent to me by a friend from Souillac, Adiraj Pentiah. Once upon at time there was a hermit living in a forest. He had some disciples who were always quarrelling among themselves. Wishing to teach them how to live like friends and to love one another, he found no better way than to leave his hermitage for some time. Before leaving, he called all the disciples and told them that he would be absent for some time doing penance. He further told them that during his absence it would be their duty to look after the hermitage.

His meditation over, the hermit returned to a warm welcome by the disciples who wanted to know whether he had seen God. He answered in the positive and also told them that though God had blessed the ashram he was not at all pleased with the behaviour of the disciples. “However,” he told the group, “God has promised to come and stay with us for some time but he will be in disguise and will, each day, take the form of a different disciple so that each one gets the chance of representing him. He also informed me that he would be here some time before my arrival.”

Though they would not recognise him, the disciples were extremely glad to hear this piece of news and decided to be wary at all times and to practise their spiritual disciplines with greater fervour. One day, a disciple found that another one had taken his usual place. He was about to start a quarrel as was his habit but then controlled himself because he entertained some doubts about the true identity of his friend. “It may be that it is God in that disguise. I can’t ask him to move.” So saying, he went and sat silently at another place.

Thus, each time a disciple felt like quarrelling with another one, he thought that instead of his mate it could be God in disguise. So after some time all quarrelling stopped and the hermitage became a calm and peaceful place. This story teaches us that being children of the same God there is a spark of the divine in each of us. Once this truth is realised we will start loving and respecting everybody and will have no problem living in peace with all the citizens of the world.



Indian Religious Figures Finding Foothold In County

By Soumitro Sen
12:01 a.m. PT Jul 28, 2007

When Elyse Warner first heard of the spiritual teacher known as Amma in 2000, she wasn’t into visiting such people.

But a few weeks later, Warner stood in line to get her first audience with the 53-year-old Hindu holy woman in Amma’s ashram in San Ramon, Calif. Seven years later, Warner recalls how she wept without knowing why.

“It was the most powerful experience I’ve felt,” Warner, 54, said. “It felt like the presence of a divinity.”

The transformative power of eastern religions has drawn a significant following in western Nevada County, where one devotee attributes the spirituality of area residents to the gold lacing the ground.

Saintly people of 20th century India, in particular, draw many devotees from the region and around the world, including Amma, Sathya Sai Baba, Anandamayi Ma, Swami Yogananda and Swami Sivananda.

Two of them have ashrams in Nevada County. Ananda Village was established by Swami Yogananda’s disciple on the San Juan Ridge. The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm was founded by Swami Sivananda’s followers off McCourtney Road, south of Grass Valley.

“A lot of young people come here to find answers,” said Swami Sitaramananda, senior teacher at Sivananda ashram. “They take shelter from the worries and anxieties of life and recharge their (spiritual) batteries. They come in search of alternatives to what society provides.”

Devotees feel change in their lives

Amma means “mother,” the name fondly given by devotees to Mata Amritanandamayi. Today, Warner is an ardent follower, and hosts gatherings of local devotees at her home once a month.

“I believe Amma is an avatar — divinity in a human body,” Warner said. “When I am around her, I experience moments of real peace and joy that I can’t say I’ve felt very much before.”

The Sivananda ashram has 20 permanent residents, Sitaramananda said. More visitors come for retreats, she added.

Jon Anderson, 57, of Grass Valley, follows the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba. He attributes the spiritual bent among Nevada County residents to “the high vibration caused by the gold underground” in the area.

Anderson first visited Sathya Sai Baba in his ashram in India in 1992. He said the 80-year-old guru’s teachings bring love to his life and teach human values.

“Baba is an incarnation of God,” Anderson said. “This is a time that’s special because an avatar has come to heal mankind.”

No amount of criticism can shake his faith in Baba, Anderson said. Warner, like Anderson, feels her life has taken a new direction after meeting her spiritual teacher.

“I feel like a different person,” Warner said. “I feel I have found my path in life and my purpose in life. My close friends see the change in me. It feels like coming home.”


US State Dept Removes All Indirect References To Sathya Sai Baba From Their Website

Through an unremitting e-bombing campaign, Anti-Sai Activists were able to con the US State Department into issuing an indirect warning against Sathya Sai Baba on their Official Department website (which never mentioned Sathya Sai Baba by name). Ex-Devotees even boasted on accomplishing the warning on their own websites.

As of July 17th 2007, the US State Department REMOVED all indirect references to Sathya Sai Baba from their Official website (Reference). Just as ex-devotees were able to con Unesco with their propaganda, they were able to do the same with the US State Department. Needless to say, Unesco later expressed regret and removed their press release from their website. The same now holds true with the US State Department.

The truth is finally prevailing and the gutter tactics and smear campaigns waged by Ex-Devotees are finally reaching the ears of high ranking individuals and relevant organizations all around the world.