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Worship of the Guru
by Swami Krishnananda

(Spoken on Guru Purnima, 1974)

Blessed be the holy Sri Vyasa Purnima, holy Sri Guruji. The full moon of the presence of the Guru is what we are adoring at this moment, and are devoted to in our own hearts. This is the day especially devoted to the Lord in the form of Sri Vyasa, who is the Guru of Gurus, the Sakshat Incarnation, an Avatara of Bhagavan Sriman Narayana Himself. Within this great Guru of Gurus, all the Gurus find themselves an abode. They get merged in this Master, Guru Sri Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. This is the occasion to worship the great spiritual Master, Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, our worshipful great Master. This is the occasion when we invoke into ourselves the presence of all the saints and sages of all countries, of all times, into our own hearts. Blessings, therefore, are poured into ourselves by this magnificent spiritual invocation.

The contemplation of the Guru is the art that the disciple has to learn. This art applies to any other form of meditation applicable to anything and everything in the world. Invocation is the placement of the deity in our own being. This is something to be emphasised again and again. The divinity that we are adoring is above us, of course. That is why we worship it. If it is equal to us or parallel with us, we would not worship it. One person does not worship another person. The worship is offered to that being which is superior to one's own self. The superiority consists not in an ordinarily conceived fashion of importance.

Here the technique of yoga comes to our aid. Every form of true worship or adoration is a yoga par excellence. The yoga consists in the placement of a higher value in our own selves so that the higher takes possession of us, and for the time being there is a moment of meditation. We ourselves get transformed into the higher divinity which enters us, takes possession of us, seeps into ourselves, and becomes our Master so that it guides us through our avenues of understanding. This is the vision of a yogi.

We often think that there are many Gurus. The world has seen a multiple number of Masters who have come and gone. Inasmuch as the Guru is one who leads us to eternal existence, the Guru cannot pass away. That which passes away cannot lead us to eternal existence. Only eternity can lead us to eternity where the means and the end are of the same character, as the lower cannot lead us to the higher. It is the element of the higher present in our own selves that picks up the power to raise us to the level of that which we are adoring. Thus, we adore them even if they are no more in this world; we adore them even after they have departed from this world. Do we not keep their portrait, adore them, worship them, remember them and make them our own, though they are not in this world? We are worshiping them in the very spirit in which they were living even when they were visible to our eyes. A dead father is no father. A living father is the father. So who is the father? The living principle is the father. The being that is about to leave this world cannot be identified with the living principle.

We, therefore, have to consider the presence of this living principle in each and every thing in this world, and as the living principle does not die, the Guru also cannot die. We need not shed tears because our Guru is no more. That which is no more is not our Guru. It is that which was present at that time, and is present now, and will be always present, that is our Guru. Remember always, perishable objects cannot bestow upon us imperishable existence. Therefore, our Guru lives in the form of a force that is immanent in all things. If in this way we visualise things, we will find there is nothing in this world which cannot be regarded as our teacher. Everything is implanted with a higher power beyond itself. Everything, anything anywhere, is of that nature. So we can summon the assistance of anything even in this physical world, provided we adore each and every being in this world as our Guru.

Remember the great Master Dattatreya's statement in his description of his Gurus: Everything, all things, living beings and non-living beings, temporal things, spiritual things, these were the Gurus of Master Dattatreya because the Guru is that which is immanently present in all things, in ourselves included. Can we suggest to our own selves a method of bringing into a focus of attention these admonitions of yoga practice, and deeply contemplate the Guru that is present everywhere? They say Narayana is the Adi Guru. From him comes Brahma the creator, who is the next state of the Guru. All that Brahma produced as the first creation becomes the third state of the Guru. According to the tradition into which we have been introduced, Vasishtha was the firstborn of Brahma the creator, so Vasishtha is our Guru. Vasishtha's progeny was a great Master called Shakti. He also is our Guru, and his progeny Parashara is our Guru. Parashara's progeny, Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, is our Guru. Suka is our Guru, Gaurapada is our Guru, Govindapada is our Guru, Sankaracharya is our Guru, Ramanuja is our Guru, Madhvacharya is our Guru. In this way, we bring into focus a fraternity of Masters pervading all places—not dead ones, but living ones. Here they are before us in the manner suggested, regarding them as a transcendent principle, not an outward object. In this manner the Guru is to be adored and worshipped. In this manner one contemplates the great Master. He not only becomes our teacher, he becomes our daily mentor, a guide in our day-to-day existence.

We need not, therefore, be in a state of despair. We are perfectly protected always, day in and day out, from moment to moment, by the leaf of a tree, by the sun that shines, by everything and anything, even by the sky. We are protected always, blessed always from moment to moment. Blessings inundate our existence. We have the grace of Worshipful Guru Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. May he bless us forever.