5 Aug 2015

Gurupurnima - the Love of God Manifested

"In the Hindu tradition the Guru, the spiritual teacher, is very important. Like in all traditions, everywhere in the world, without knowledge one doesn't reach anywhere. When you want to learn science you have to go to a science teacher. But the spiritual science, the science of the soul, the science of God, is given by the Guru. And it is the Grace of God that brings you in the company of devotees firstly, and in the company of the Master."
- Sri Swami Vishwananda

On the day of the full moon, July 31st, bhaktas all over the world celebrated Gurupurnima - the day of the Spiritual Master. This event at Shree Peetha Nilaya is one of the largest and dearest events. Some of the countries had spent an entire year preparing for this day!

Gurupurnima is also called "Vyasa Purnima", to celebrate the famous sage who compiled the Vedas and wrote most of the key Hindu scriptures, including the Shreemad Bhagavatam (which Swamiji will give a discourse on later this month!).

At Shree Peetha Nilaya, the prayers started in the morning at 6AM, with a paduka abishekam to Sri Swami Vishwananda, by the Swamis of Bhakti Marga. This was followed by an abishekam to Mahavatar Babaji and Sri Ramanujaacharya by the Rishis.

Sri Swami Vishwananda arrived, and performed an abishekam to his private murtis, including Giridhariji and Thakurji.

During Guruji's abishekam to his deities, groups of devotees from countries all over the world began singing bhajans. This carried on throughout the day, creating a "bhajan mala" of 108 songs.

Guruji distributing blessed water and perfume to devotees after the abishekam.

In the evening, Guruji spoke about the role of the Master in one's life, and also about the greatness of other devotees being part of a united community:

"The Masters tell people to follow the heart and to do everything with love. But for that, the mind, which is always running towards the outside, has to be transformed.

How do you transform the mind? Does it run towards God? Is this mind always constantly focusing on the Divine Names? No! This is all due to the human mindset, programmed since birth.

Until you realise and attain the Lord's Feet, the Grace of the Lord, the mind is always running towards the outside reality. But when you are in the company of devotees who share the same goal, it helps you to purify the mind, it helps you to advance, it helps you to transform yourself.

In essence you are Divine, you are the Light of the Lord. However, this essence of the Divine shines only when your mind is cleansed. And this happens in the presence of the Master.

That's what the word Guru stands for, isn't it? Guru stands for the remover of ignorance; ignorance which the mind has created. Because while the mind is dwelling on the outside, it creates a certain reality, which seems real. But how long does it last? That's just a short-time happiness.

Everything comes and will go. The only reality which ever exists is the Atma; it is this eternal relationship which the Atma has with God that you have to realise. However, this doesn't happen when you dwell in the outside, it happens only when you dwell in the inside, when you dwell in the love that you have in your heart.

Like it is said in the Gita, “My devotee's life is my Life. I am the life of My devotee.” This is the link which everybody has with God, with the Master.

The Guru doesn't come for himself. He comes to elevate the mind, to transform it. The Guru removes that ignorance of the outside and shows you the inside reality."

Mahavatar Babaji - Sri Swami Vishwananda's guru, and Bhakti Marga's Paramguru

The children had prepared a small program as well! All gathered around Swamiji, sang a Guru bhajan ("Guru Mata Pita, Guru Bandhu Sakha"), and at the end they offered him little paper handicrafted hearts which they had prepared for him.

"Guruji was very pleased...He gave them lots of sweets and allowed them to kiss his feet...it was very touching because we practiced days before this Guru bhajan, and right in the morning of Gurupurnima He tweeted the translation of this song:"

- Ambika, Bhakti Kids coordinator

In the evening section of the Gurupurnima prayers, all devotees were able to participate in an abishekam to Guruji's Lotus Feet directly by offering water and rose petals to him. To each person, he was handing out prasad.

Guruji making impressions with his Lotus Feet

Guruji spoke with all of us about the role of a Guru in one's life:

"Here, I am dressed like a Christmas tree! This is only what you can see externally, just to make your eyes happy. But this is not the reality. The reality lies deeper within.

Looking with the physical eyes, of course you will get deluded. Delusion is Maya. What are you looking at? This is the question which you have to ask. In the same way, the world that you see outside is deluding you.

You work the whole year to go for a three-week holiday to relax yourself. You are relaxed only for three weeks and after three weeks what happens? You are again stressed? No, this is not the reality.

The reality is inside you. If you are centred in the Divine, you are ever relaxed. When you are in the Love of God, you don't need to wait for one year to go on holiday.

Like Bhagavan Krishna said, all that is given to you here in this world, including the physical body, it will always stay here.

But if you shine the love which you have inside of you, you will make a change in people, you will make a change in yourself, you will be transformed from human to Divine. And this is your true essence, but you have to take that step."

After the puja, Swamini Kishori presented a beautiful and elaborate wood murti to Guruji on behalf of Bhakti Marga Switzerland. The murti was of Lord Krishna revealing His Vishwaroop - His "universal form" - to Arjuna during the telling of the Bhagavad Gita. Guruji had seen this murti during a pilgrimage in India earlier this year, and Swamini Kishori and devotees in Switzerland worked together to find a way to give it to Guruji.

Guruji also explained to us about the importance the day of Gurupurnima, as well as of devotees themselves"

"It is through the devotee that the Grace of the Guru shines – this is the Grace of association. It is through the devotee that this Grace is brought to the world.

You are all sitting here, on this great day of Vyasa Purnima or Gurupurnima, which is actually a great blessing: whatever punya you do on this day, you receive 1000 times more; your bank balance in heaven increases 1000 times more than on a normal day.

And all of you gathered together in the same spirit, the same love, brings this love into the world! Bring this love to the world! As your life has changed, let God work through you and change others also."

"Just want to say that I love you all! Like last year I said – do you remember we were telling the story of how Narayana is in the bhakta's heart and the heart of the bhakta is with Narayana' s heart.

The same: how you carry me in your heart, I carry you also in my heart. This is our relationship. And this relationship is not only from now.

It's not a coincidence that we are all sitting here. It's a long-term relationship, not bound by life and death, but which is beyond that. And all this today is just a reminder of that relationship that we have.

Jai Gurudev everybody!"

Guruji sang a few bhajans and left the tent throwing flowers and garlands as prasad from Thakurji to the people. He then went up with everyone to the front entrance of the ashram for a fire-lit dinner under the beautiful summer night sky.

The whole day was full of bhakti for Guruji, in so many forms - bhajans, dakshina, seva, and worship. He is the path, the guide, and the goal, all at once. Jai Gurudev!