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Guru Purnima: The Aspiration for Unity
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on Guru Purnima on July 7, 1990)

At this holy moment of sacred Sri Guru Purnima, we invoke the divine presence and abundant blessing of Satgurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj amidst us at this hour here in this country and in this world, for the welfare and benediction of everyone, in every way. We also invoke at this moment Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, whose name goes with this Purnima, as it is designated as Sri Vyasa Purnima. It is especially pertinent at this juncture in the history of the world to place in our own hearts by dedicated invocation the presence of Masters such as Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa who, according to sacred tradition and scriptures, is said to be permanently residing in the northern region of this country, in holy Sri Badrikashrama. Invisible to the mortal eye but visible to the vision of the Atman or the soul, stationed together with Narayana and Nara, who also are said to be eternally present in holy Sri Badrikashrama, these great divinities superintend over all creation for the good and commonweal of humankind as a whole.

When conflicts arise, when tensions supervene in human emotion, when difficulties are rampant and there are very few alternatives for action, it is up to every sincere soul to bring into the deepest recesses of one's heart the glorious presence of these Masters, especially Narayana, Nara and Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, in whose memory this Purnima is called Vyasa Purnima because according to sacred tradition, the great Master is said to have commenced writing his magnum opus, the holy Brahmasutra, on this day.

Well, what is important for spiritual seekers is the spiritual presence of such Masters here – their presence in our feelings, in our thoughts, in our intentions, in our outlook, in our heart, in our soul, and in our own selves, so that in our sincere communion with these Masters we get inundated with their presence. We are bathed, as it were, with the nectar of their glorious blessings. Their invincible power and incomparable compassion, two things which it is difficult to find together in a single person, can be found in Nara-Narayana Samyoga and in Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. Not all the power of the Earth can stand before them, and no one can be so compassionate and mother-like as these people, always ready to be of service to the succour of everyone. This we hear by our study of the sacred scriptures such as the Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana and others.

So here, gathered for a holy purpose in this beautiful surcharged atmosphere of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj's Samadhi Shrine, we collectively not only bring to our memories but place in our hearts as our very succour and power and soul Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj's spiritual presence, and the presence of these eternal Masters, the twin brothers and eternal companions Nara and Narayana, in our own selves. We place in our own hearts Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, and collect our forces of thought, feeling, action and speech, not only for the salvation of our own spirits but for the welfare of humankind in general. This prayer has to be a perpetual routine – a routine not in the sense of something being done regularly at different times of the day, but a continuous process of the general outlook of our feelings themselves.

That is to say, our prayers have to become a mode of our will. A prayer is not necessarily something that we utter or articulate in a shrine or a temple at a particular given moment; it is a general pattern of the very way in which we look at things in the world, and how we have become ourselves. The modification, the transformation, the transvaluation of values of our own personality, a becoming better and a becoming different altogether in ourselves is the essential of prayer.

Nothing equals prayer. We remember the beautiful line of the great poet: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” The world cannot dream of what beautiful blessings can accrue to people by mere prayer, by surrender of personality. But surrender to whom? Surrender not to our egoistic predilections, our personal askings, but to a higher power that superintends over us. There is a higher-than-ourselves in our own selves. We are sometimes sitting, sometimes running, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing, sometimes hopeful, sometimes despondent and dejected. Sometimes we feel that nothing is useful and everything is useless. At other times we feel that everything is fine, that one day or the other good things will dawn. These two voices arise from two sides of our personality, two levels of our existence, I should say, the lower and the higher, the lower mind and the higher mind, the jiva aspect of us which is sunk in the eating of the delicious fruits of sense objects in this birth and the higher voice which also is our own selves. It is not far away or distant from us, even by an inch; it is that which merely looks on, as the scriptures say, which merely is satisfied by existence, by being, by the satisfaction arising out of one's identity with being.

God is happiest. Nobody can be as happy as God is. The bliss of God's existence is not due to contact with anything in this world, not due to possession. God possesses nothing. He is the highest vairagi. One of the great qualities of the Almighty is that apex of vairagya. Aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ, jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva, ṣaṇṇāṁ bhaga itīṅganā  (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47): Bhagavan is one who has got six qualities of bhaga, great glory. And one of the characteristics of a bhaga – that is, one who has the quality of bhaga, Bhagavan – is vairagya. How can God have vairagya? This is also a wonderful thing.

Lord Siva is an example of utter renunciation, an ascetic of the highest order – Yogeshvara, as we call him. God manifests Himself as an ascetic par excellence in the personality of Lord Siva. The idea behind it is that vairagya does not mean renunciation of existing things. Vairagya is the renunciation of the false notion that things exist outside. So if you believe that something exists outside, you will not be able to renounce it. Renouncing the world, renouncing family, renouncing attachment to money, land, property – this kind of renunciation will not be of any avail as long as you believe that they are existing, because it is the existence and your belief in the existence of valued objects outside that will harass your mind and persist like predators again and again. Such difficulties cannot arise in a universal soul because outsideness is not permitted in the inclusiveness of God's existence.

I mentioned a higher soul which is asking for and aspiring for unity with this All-power, for this purpose of the present day's context still lives in the personalities and the incarnations of Nara Narayana and Bhagavan Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. Glory to Sat Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, glory to Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, glory to all the devotees gathered here, glory to all the devotees who have not been able to come here but would have liked to come, glory to all the devotees all over the world, of all religions, of all faiths. May peace prevail throughout the world!