Faith

The merciful guru

Spiritual truths are subtle and beyond rational reach. Therefore the Lord takes the responsibility to reveal them time and again to deserving disciples and the spiritual tradition is thus kept alive. Adi Sankara embodies the qualities of a merciful Guru who is keen to lead mankind to the path of liberation through his life and teachings. This acharya reiterates that renunciation is the hallmark of realisation and tries to inculcate the values of Vairagya and Viveka in his teachings, said Goda Sri Venkateswara Sastrigal in a lecture. While living in this world, one has to realise that this is only a temporary state and not get attached to its attractions and temptations.

The terms Paramahamsa and Parivraja are used with reference to realised souls who have dissociated themselves from worldly pulls. Hamsa means a swan, and this bird is believed to be gifted with the peculiar power of separating milk from water. It is represented in poetic conventions as symbolic of one who is able to discriminate and identify the true values in life. But a Paramahamsa is one who rises above the desire for external objects like a swan that is not desirous of either the milk or water it has separated. Parivraja refers to total giving up. There is no thought of what happens to one’s possessions.

Adi Sankara teaches that only the knowledge of the Atma and of the permanent bliss of realisation can motivate one to seek the path of renunciation. Contemplation on the Atma helps to dissociate oneself from worldly activities and cut the bonds of worldliness. A wise man, who approaches a high-souled teacher steeped in Brahman and becomes absorbed in the truth taught by him, can learn to discriminate between the ephemeral and the eternal.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 5:28:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/the-merciful-guru/article6564452.ece

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