Explain to me a bit about the spiritual tradition of gurus and disciples - 3

From: "jagbir singh" <adishakti_org@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon Jan 23, 2006 7:27 am
Subject: Explain to me a bit about the spiritual tradition of gurus and disciples - 2

—- In adishakti_sahaja_yoga@yahoogroups.com, "jagbir singh"
<adishakti_org@y...> wrote:
>
> Dear All,
>
> i received an email that read:
>
> "Dear Jagbir,
>
> Please could you explain to me a bit about the spiritual tradition
> of gurus and disciples; and how this all works in SY? Do all
> people need gurus for teaching and help; from my own experiences I
> think that they probably do? What I mean is, people really need a
> teacher for guidance along the path, someone very advanced and
> experienced to tell and ask about specific problems and personal
> situations and difficulties, a yoga master. Especially people from
> the Western cultures and from restrictive religious backgrounds
> need help understanding the Eastern concepts of spirituality, and
> need personal guidance at times."
>

From: "jagbir singh" <adishakti_org@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:03 pm
Subject: Re: Explain to me a bit about the spiritual tradition of gurus and disciples - 3

—- In adishakti_sahaja_yoga@yahoogroups.com, "jagbir singh"
<adishakti_org@y...> wrote:
>
> Dear All,
>
> i received an email that read:
>
> "Dear Jagbir,
>
> Please could you explain to me a bit about the spiritual tradition
> of gurus and disciples; and how this all works in SY? Do all
> people need gurus for teaching and help; from my own experiences I
> think that they probably do? What I mean is, people really need a
> teacher for guidance along the path, someone very advanced and
> experienced to tell and ask about specific problems and personal
> situations and difficulties, a yoga master. Especially people from
> the Western cultures and from restrictive religious backgrounds
> need help understanding the Eastern concepts of spirituality, and
> need personal guidance at times."
>

For part 3 i have have taken the great religions of Hinduism,
Buddhism and Sikhism whose defination of guru is summed up by Guru
Nanak: "Let no man in the world live in delusion. Without a Guru
none can cross over to the other shore."

The guru leads his/her disciples to achieve self-realization/second
birth through his/her deep esoteric knowedlge. A genuine guru is
thus of a higher calibre than the priests, pastors, reverends,
bishops, popes, rabbis, clerics, imams, mullahs, shaikhs, swamis,
pandits, brahmins, granthis, gianis, and monks of religious
organizations. A bona fide guru will also help you transcend the
fanaticism and narrow-mindedness that plagues the followers of
religious regimes.

jagbir


Etymology

The word gurú means "teacher" in Sanskrit, as well as in other
languages derived from Sanskrit, such as Hindi, Bengali and
Gujarati. The word is attested from the Rigveda as an adjective
meaning "heavy", its opposite being laghú "light". It derives from
PIE *gwrus, cognate to Greek barus, Latin gravis, both likewise
meaning "heavy".

The word holds a special place in Hinduism, signifying both the
sacred place of knowledge (jnana) and the imparter of knowledge. The
adjective meaning "heavy, weighty" is used in the sense of "heavy
with knowledge" [1], "heavy with spiritual wisdom"[2], "heavy with
spiritual weight" [3], "heavy with the good qualities of scriptures
and realization" [4], "heavy with a wealth of knowledge"[5].

A notable esoteric etymology or interpretation of the term "guru" is
based on a metaphorical interplay between darkness and light, in
which the Guru is seen as the dispeller of darkness[6][7][8] . In
some texts it is described that the syllables gu (&#2327;&#2369;)
and ru (&#2352;&#2370;) stand for darkness and light , respectively
[9].

The syllable gu means shadows
The syllable ru, he who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.
Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5)

A similar interpretation describes the guru as the one that "removes
the darkness of ignorance" is based on the Guru Gita
(literally "song of the spiritual teacher"), a spiritual text
describing a dialogue between Siva and his consort Parvati on the
nature of the guru and the guru/disciple relationship.

Reender Kranenborg a Dutch religious scholar, dismisses the
etymology based on the Upanishads, the Guru gita, the Sikh
scriptures, the writings of Krishnamurti, and other scholar's
opinions such as those of John Grimes, Thomas Murray, and others, by
stating that the etymology of darkness and light has noting to do
with word guru and describes it is as "people's etymology". [10]
In the Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion, the author
makes a distinction between "esoteric etymologies" and "scientific
etymologies" presenting as an example the etymology of "guru", in
which the former is presented as ru ("to push away") and gu
("darkness"), and the latter as "guru" as "heavy".[11]

Another etymology of the word "guru" found in the Guru Gita,
includes gu as "beyond the qualities" and ru as "devoid of form",
stating that "He who bestows that nature which trascend the
qualities is said to be guru". [12]

Guru in Hinduism

The importance of finding a guru who can impart transcendental
knowledge (vidya) is one of the tenets of Hinduism. One of the main
Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita, is a dialogue between God in the
form of Krishna and Arjuna a nobleman. Not only does their dialogue
outlines many of the ideals of Hinduism, but the discussion and
relationship between the two considered to be an expression of the
ideal Guru/disciple relationship. In the Gita itself, Krishna speaks
of the importance of finding a guru to Arjuna:

Acquire the transcendental knowledge from a Self-realized master by
humble reverence, by sincere inquiry, and by service. The wise ones
who have realized the Truth will impart the Knowledge to you.
(Bhagavad Gita, c4 s34)

In the sense mentioned above, guru is used more or less
interchangeably with "satguru" (literally: true teacher) and
satpurusha. Compare also Swami. The disciple of a guru is called a
sishya or chela. Often, a guru lives in an ashram or in a gurukula
(the guru's household) together with his disciples. The lineage of a
guru, spread by worthy disciples who carry on that guru's particular
message, is known as the guru parampara or disciplic succession.
In the traditional sense, the word guru describes a relationship
rather than an absolute and is used as a form of address only by a
disciple addressing his master. Some Hindu denominations like BAPS
Swaminarayan Sanstha hold that a personal relationship with a living
guru, revered as the embodiment of God, is essential in seeking
moksha. The guru is the one who guides his or her disciple to become
jivanmukta, the liberated soul able to achieve salvation in his or
her lifetime through God-realization.

The role of the guru continues in the original sense of the word in
such Hindu traditions as the Vedanta, yoga, tantra and bhakti
schools. Indeed, it is now a standard part of Hinduism (as defined
by the six Vedic streams and the tantric agamic streams) , that a
guru is one's spiritual guide on earth. In some more mystical
traditions, it is believed that the guru could awaken dormant
spiritual knowledge within the pupil, known as shaktipat.

In Hinduism, the guru is considered a respected person with saintly
qualities who enlightens the mind of his or her disciple, an
educator from whom one receives the initiatory mantra, and one who
instructs in rituals and religious ceremonies. The Vishnu Smriti and
Manu Smriti regard the teacher, along with The Mother and the
father, as the most venerable gurus (teachers) of an individual.
Some influential gurus in the Hindu tradition (there have been many)
include Adi Shankaracharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Shri
Ramakrishna. Other gurus whose legacy of continuing the Hindu yogic
tradition grew in the 20th century were men like Shri Ram Chandra,
Shri Aurobindo Ghosh, Shri Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda and
Swami Chinmayananda. See also the list of Hindu gurus.

In Indian culture, someone not having a guru or a teacher (acharya)
was once looked down upon as being an orphan, and as under a sign of
misfortune. The word anatha in Sanskrit means "the one without a
teacher". An acharya is the giver of gyan (knowledge) in the form of
shiksha (instruction). A guru also gives diksha initiation which is
the spiritual awakening of the disciple by the grace of the guru.
Diksha is also considered to be the procedure of bestowing the
divine powers of a guru upon the disciple, through which the
disciple progresses continuously along the path to divinity.
The origin of concept of "guru" can be traced as far back as the
early Upanishads, where the conception of the Divine Teacher on
earth first manifested from its early Brahmin associations.

There is an understanding in some sects that if the devotee were
presented with the guru and God, first he would pay respect to the
guru, since the guru had been instrumental in leading him to God.
Some tradition claim "Guru, God and Self (Self meaning soul, not
personality) are one and the same. In this context, saints and poets
in India, have expressed their views about the relationship between
Guru and God:

● Kabir
Guru and God both appear before me. To whom should I prostrate?
I bow before Guru who introduced God to me.

● Brahmanand
It's my great fortune that I found Satguru, all my doubts are
removed.
I bow before Guru. Guru's glory is greater than God's.

● Brahmanda Purana
Guru is Shiva sans his three eyes,
Vishnu sans his four arms
Brahma sans his four heads.
He is parama Shiva himself in human form

● Adi Shankara, widely considered one of the most important
figures of Indian intellectual history, begins his Gurustotram or
Verses to the Guru with the following Sanskrit Sloka, that is a
widely sung Bhajan:

Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwara
Guru Sakshath Parambrahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha

This means: Guru is creator Brahma; Guru is preserver Vishnu; Guru
is also the destroyer Siva and he is the source of the Absolute. I
offer all my efforts to the Guru.

Guru in Buddhism

The guru's blessing is the last of the four foundations in Vajrayana
Buddhism. In this foundation, the disciple can continue in their
experiential path on the way to the true nature of reality. The
disciple regards the guru as the embodiment of Buddha, or a
Bodhisattva, and he or she shows devotion and great appreciation
toward the guru as such.

In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, the teacher is a valued and
honoured mentor worthy of great respect and is a source of
inspiration on the path to Enlightenment. In the Tibetan tradition,
however, the teacher is viewed as the very root of spiritual
realization and the basis of the entire path. Without the teacher,
it is asserted, there can be no experience or insight. The guru is
to be seen as the Buddha. In Tibetan texts, great emphasis is placed
upon praising the virtues of the guru. Tantric teachings include
generating visualizations of the guru and making offerings praising
the guru. The guru becomes known as the vajra (literally "diamond")
guru, the one who is the source of initiation into the tantric
deity. The disciple is asked to enter into a series of vows and
commitments which ensure the maintenance of the spiritual link ,
with the understanding that to break this link is a serious downfall.
In tantric Buddhism, a guru is essential for initiation, practice
and guidance along the path. The importance of a guru-disciple
relationship is demonstrated by ritual empowerments or initiations
where the student obtains permission to practice a particular tantra.
The Dalai Lama, speaking of the importance of the guru, said: "Rely
on the teachings to evaluate a guru: Do not have blind faith, but
also no blind criticism."

According to the Dalai Lama, the term 'living Buddha' is a
translation of the Chinese word 'ho fu'. In Tibetan, the operative
word is 'lama' which means 'guru'. A guru is someone who is not
necessarily a Buddha but is heavy with knowledge. The term vajra is
also used, meaning 'master'.

The guru plays a very special role in Vajrayana (tantric Buddhism)
as the way itself. The guru is perceived as the "state of
enlightenment". The guru is not an individual who initiates a
person, but the person's own Buddha-nature reflected in the
personality of the guru. In return, the disciple is expected to
shows great devotion to his or her guru, who he or she regards as
one who possesses the qualities of a Bodhisattva.

Guru in Sikhism

The title Guru is extremely fundamental to the religion of the
Sikhs. Indeed, the Sikhs have carried the meaning of the word to an
even greater level of abstraction, while retaining the original
usage, and apply it to an understanding of imparted knowledge
through any medium.

Sikhism comes from the word Sikh, which means a strong and able Guru
disciple. The core beliefs of Sikhism are of belief in one God and
in the teachings of the Ten Gurus, enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib,
the Sikh holy book.

Guru Nanak, the first guru of Sikhism, was opposed to the caste
system prevalent in his time in India and he accepted Hindus,
Muslims and people from other religions as disciples. His followers
referred to him as the Guru (teacher). Before his death he
designated a new Guru to be his successor and to lead the Sikh
community. This procedure was continued, and the tenth and last
Guru, Guru Gobind (AD 1666—1708) initiated the Sikh ceremony in AD
1699.

For Sikhs, the Gurus were not in the Christian sense "Sons of God".
Sikhism says we are all the children of God and by deduction, God is
our mother/father.

Guru Nanak in speaking about God, says:

There is but One God, His name is Truth, He is the Creator, He fears
none, he is without hate, He never dies, He is beyond the cycle of
births and death, He is self illuminated, He is realized by the
kindness of the True Guru. He was True in the beginning, He was True
when the ages commenced and has ever been True, He is also True now.
On the importance of guru, Nanak says: Let no man in the world live
in delusion. Without a Guru none can cross over to the other shore.

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