The Guru within

On the occasion of Guru Purnima, look within to find all the guidance you need to get through life's toughest challenges.

When life springs unexpected challenges or when the going is rough, when one is at a crossroad and desperately looking for guidance, one yearns for a preceptor or guru — a dispeller of ignorance who can provide guidance and knowledge and point one in the direction one should take.

While some people have a family guru, it must be said that to find the right guru one must be truly blessed. Often one turns to a guru and comes away without fully appreciating the depth of the lessons imparted and the wisdom shared, or contrarily constraints of time and distance render it difficult to turn to the guru during moments of crisis for those who prefer a personal audience. This is why the concept of Guru=God=Self appeals to me.

If we connect with the Divine enshrined in our hearts on a regular basis, the answers to all our questions will often come from within. Several road signs appear, insights are received and coincidences happen which take us towards our goal.

Yet another easily available guru is our scriptures and holy books. The eternal wisdom contained therein, if dipped into regularly and not just when we are in the throes of a crisis, can open our eyes and enlighten us — for they really are the voice of God. There are words of advice for every situation or challenge one might face. As Vaishampayana, a disciple of Ved Vyas, says to Janamajeya, the great-grandson of Arjuna, while reciting the Mahabharata to him — “What is in it (dharma, artha, kama, moksha) may be found elsewhere but what is not in it cannot be found elsewhere.”

Often, wisdom and truth can come out of the mouths of babes — as in the case of Prahalad. If one is willing to listen, one does not have to go too far in search of a guru. Lord Dattatreya in the Bhagavatham spoke about 24 gurus including the elements, animals, insects, birds, babies and maidens from whom he learnt. The earth, he said, teaches tolerance, patience and forgiveness; the sky is infinite and without boundaries and even the cloud cover does not affect it; water quenches thirst and cleanses; fire consumes anything yet is not sullied; the moon waxes and wanes yet remains untouched by the process; the honey bee draws honey from flower to flower without hurting it and snakes seek solitude and remind us that we must retreat periodically into the inner recesses of our heart. All of them impart metaphors for how we should conduct ourselves in life.

While to be able to find one guru to whom one can remain dedicated would be ideal, to have an open mind and the patience to observe closely even our enemies and draw from them what we should or should not do, can translate into valuable lessons for life.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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