“Om namah śivāya gurave
śri guru gītā
The Guru Gita is part of the Skanda Purana, assigned to Sage Vyasa, and this is the answer given by Lord Shiva to the request made by Parvati to initiate her within the Guru-Tattva Knowledge and also to the question “By Which path can an embodied soul Become One with Brahman? “.
If this scripture, Sri Guru Gītā attracted the attention of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, then it should be important to all of us who follow the path of Kriya Yoga. Sri Lahiri Mahasaya weaves brief commentaries – verse by verse – of this work that shows the connection to the Guru as the highest form of sadhana (spiritual practice).
Although the work allows different levels of interpretation, none of these interpretations consider the Guru as only a man or woman (Jiva-Tattva). The Guru is always a Principle (tattva), transcendental in nature.
The human figure of Guru is more like a bridge to achieve this Tattva than Tattva itself. The Guru in human form is one Tattva-server, one that lends to the Guru-Tattva his form of flesh and bones, his wisdom and his spiritual bhavas to the designs of Guru-Tattva. When a person accepts a Guru, a connection is established with the guru-tattva, mediated by human master.
bhavedanantasya śivasya chintanam,
Svadeśikasyaiva ca nāmakīrtanam
bhavedanantasya śivasya kīrtanam.
(To contemplate the form of one’s own Guru is to contemplate infinite Shiva. To sing the glory of the Guru’s name is to sing the glory of infinite Shiva)
The connection to the Guru-Tattva is a powerful instrument for spiritual advancement and constitutes in itself a sadhana. Siva appropriates the spiritual form (svarupa) of the human master to establish a connection with the disciple who is then flooded with bliss and blessings.
It is said that the actions of the prāṇāyāma, yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ, and pratyāhāra start on their own when meditating upon the Guru. Once the Yogi starts meditation upon the Guru, he forgets all about the sensory pleasures. Then there is no need to control the senses and the mind to achieve the stage of the pratyāhāra. The kuṇḍalinī also awakens on her own and becomes ready for further yogic processes. All the Kriyās occur on their own by the meditation upon the Guru, and the Yogi attains the Samadhi without great efforts.
” Gurumūrtim smarennityam
gurunāma sadā japet,
(Always remember the Guru’s form. Constantly repeat the Guru’s name. Always follow the Guru’s commands. Think of nothing other than the Guru.)
sulabham paramam padam,
(The supreme state is easily attained by those who think of nothing else but Me. Therefore, strive to the utmost to worship the Guru.)
The Guru-Tattva can take many, many forms and manifests itself in gradations that range from the “school teacher” to “Prof. Dr.”, whatever ashrama in which the guru is situated (either grhasta or sannyasi). It is an exaggeration in the claim that only the brahma-vid – one that fully has identified with Brahman – and that is at the same time, a Sannyasi – one that occupies 24 hours to study and meditate on the Atman – is the only true guru.
There are great masters who are dedicated only to the Bhagavad-Anubhava (a mystical experience with personal God). They may also be in the service of Guru-Tattva.
We have seen many kriyavans afflicted by disappointments with human masters, and kriyavans afflicted by the search for a genuine guru, in flesh and bones, when the Guru-Tattva or Siva can be served by any human master – whether embodied or disembodied – to establish a connection to the disciple.
In any case, the Guru-Tattva is more important than the human figure of the master itself. When a human master fulfills its purpose in the spiritual life of the disciple, and is no longer qualified to push forward the disciple, the Guru-Tattva then leads the disciple to a more advanced human master. The connection to the Guru-Tattva is not lost when changing master, or when the master dies physically.
Sri Lahiri Mahasaya endorses this point of view from the Guru Gita that the Guru-Tattva can use one’s spiritual practice (sadhana) as a connecting tool with the disciple. In this sense, the Guru is considered as not different than the Atman awareness (Gurur buddhyâtama nânyat satyam satyam in samshayah). And this means that the Guru-Tattva – through the disciple’s own efforts to become aware of the Atman – gradually guiding the disciple to deeper levels of the Self (the Atman).
The great Truth that the Guru-Tattva hopes to convey is “Tat Tvam Asi” – You’re That! However, this knowledge is not transmitted only through words but mainly through a subtle communication, silent, that can lead the disciple to True Experience, which is the experience of Oneself with Brahman. It is in this background – the silent communication – where is situated this connection to the Guru-Tattva.
This should not be confused with what people call “Internal Guru”, that is imagined as if there were someone else – tiny – within the person. There doesn’t exist two “Self”. The Knowledge of the Only-ness (kevala) is itself a form of Guru-Tattva, as stated by Sri Lahiri Mahasaya and Shastras.
One can speculate that the emphasis of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya in this type of connection to the Guru Tattva is because he himself never having had a real connection with a human master [Some veteran disciples come to declare that the so famous Babaji is nothing more than a representation of Guru Tattva, and the Lahiri’s master never existed as a living entity, of flesh and blood] This does not matter, the fact is that the Guru Tattva was present in the life of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, and must be present in the life of all of us, his disciples and followers.
In his comments of the Guru Gita, Sri Lahiri Mahasaya shows that Kriya Yoga begins with the simple concentration of the mind on the point between the eyebrows or Kutastha. This is the time to establish the connection to the Guru-Tattva, through deep meditation on the Guru.
Then the kriya-pranayama comes, which is itself the service at the feet of Guru (Guru-seva). At this point, the thoughts become so appeased that only the Witness-Consciousness remains.
Then the following is meditation on pure “I AM”. Kriya Yoga must culminate in the effort to achieve the True Experience (One-Self with Brahman). When the effort ceases, then there is dhyana. This is the state of Stillness or Paravastha, which can be with or without kevala kumbhaka (spontaneous breath holding).
Then, when the heart is flooded with peace and bliss, then there is samadhi. The Kriya Yoga, therefore, must flow into the ocean of Self Knowledge.
Is not Lahiri Mahasaya a Brahma-vid, or a Jnani? Is not currently the Guru-Tattva making use of his image, form, words and yogic techniques to guide and direct people around the world to the Self Knowledge path?
The fact that a human Master as Lahiri Mahasaya have reached the knowledge of the Only-ness (kevala), in which no feeling of “two” remains, does not make him a being amorphous and impersonal. Although disembodied, and always immersed in the consciousness of “I am Brahman”, the Gurus remain as human persons, without loss of personality, identity or individuality, and this is exactly what makes the connection with them a rich experience and full of transcendental mellows.
Peace, Joy and Blessings!
Author: Yogi Professor Ramdas Prabhuji, Disciple of Shri Maheshwari Prasad Dubeyji in Shri Panchanan Lineage of Lahiri Mahasaya Kriya Yoga.