Faith

The ideal guru

The Mundaka Upanishad describes the ideal guru as one who is a Brahma Jnani who is also well-versed in the scriptures and is by nature tranquil and self-controlled. Such a guru is aware of the needs of students with differing tastes and capabilities and orients his teaching to equip each one of them to overcome the likely hurdles that may arise in the learning process, pointed out Sri R. Rajagopala Sarma in a discourse. The guru impresses on the student the value of the learning practices, sravana, listening, manana, recalling the teaching, and nidhidyasa, continuous introspection of what is taught. He draws from scriptures that anticipate the doubts that can be raised when learning esoteric truths and explain with apt examples to allay the misunderstanding.

For instance, suppose one is trying hard to imbibe the Advaita bhavana. How can one forget the body or not respond to hunger and thirst, one may ask. Is it not clear that the three entities, Brahman, the atma and the jagat are distinct? How can anyone accept the jiva and Brahman as one? It is shown that when a jiva can conjure impossible objects and possibilities in dream state, what is not possible for the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient Brahman? One has to accept that in each state of waking, dream, etc, there are different levels of truth pertaining to that state. Examples such as those of the rope and serpent can clear the doubts.

Still another hurdle remains in the form of inherent avidya vasana that keeps one chained to wrong notions. This can also be dispelled by nidhidyasa, when one engages in deep reflection and meditation on the idea of “Aham Brahmasmi.” Just as cycle balance is gained by sheer practice, this conviction will also get assimilated by constant exposure to Vedanta.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 7:17:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-ideal-guru/article31781746.ece

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