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Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Guru Purnima - Guru worship

Radhapada - Wed, 24 Jul 2002 19:01:01 +0530
Today is Guru Purnima and I would like to take the opportunity to briefly share my observations with the readers about Guru worship. Having come from a background of non-traditional Gaudiya Vaisnavism, I was quite impressed by the way a disciple honors ones Guru on this day and in general in the traditional method. First of all, today is the day that Sri Guru gets worshipped in Vyasa Puja, unlike the various birthday parties I have attended previously of institutional Gurus. The Guru is worshipped simply, but with love with prasadi items that were first offered to Bhagavan and then through the pranali line, or disciplic succession starting from the first of the parivar. In that way the Guru is receiving prasadi from his Guru. The Guru will not except an item that was offered to him directly without it first having been enjoyed by God. A Guru will only eat prasadi food that was offered to God and to the successions of spiritual masters. I have not seen elaborate ceremonies in Radha Kunda of the Guru's feet being bathed in a succession of fruit juices, garlands of flowers and figs, milk, yogurt, ghee, ect. as I have witnessed in my times in the insitution. On this day in Vraja dhama everywhere it is packed with people. Oceans of people come from all over to do Govardhana parikrama, visit temples and honor saints.
adiyen - Thu, 25 Jul 2002 11:42:37 +0530
Thank you Radhapada. What an enlightening little essay. I was part of the same institution. Funny but I used to think that Guru Purnima was for 'Mayavadis', ie those who think that their Guru is God cent-percent, rather than servant of God. But now I realise the reverse is true: it is the institutional gurus who are being worshipped as gods, just as you describe.
Thanks for that, I have a new appreciation of this traditional Hindu festival and its importance for Bhakti.
anuraag - Fri, 26 Jul 2002 00:15:12 +0530

Guru ko kije bandagi,
koti koti paranam ;
Kit na jane bhring ko,
guru karle ap saman.

Offer salutations and obeisance's to Guru millions of times; Just as a wasp takes a worm into its nest and another wasp emerges, just so Guru makes the ordinary disciple as himself.


One has to offer obeisances to the Guru who takes the disciple on the path to God, and helps him in every way even though the disciple does not know it. The Guru imparts wisdom to him and makes him as knowledgeable as himself.

timir gaya ravi dekhate,
kumati gayi guru gyan;
sumati gayi ati lobhate ,
bhakti gayi abhiman.

Darkness disappears when the sun arises and ignorance goes away by the Guru's wisdom; Good intellect is lost because of greed, and devotion is lost because of EGO.

Commentary :

Just as sunrise removes darkness from the world, knowledge given by the Guru removes ignorance from the heart of a desciple. Similarly, greed abolishes wisdom, and the EGO becomes an obstacle to devotion and God realization.

Hari kirpa tab janiye,
de manav awatar;
Guru kirpa tab janiye,
mukta kare sansar.

Know that it is the grace of God which gave you human birth; But it is the grace of the Guru which liberates you from the cycle of birth and death.

Commentary :

In this human life you can attain salvation; therefore thank God that you got a human life. But you are still a victim of rebirth, therefore thank the Guru whose grace frees you from the cycle of birth and death. This is the greatness of the guru.

guru dhobi sis kapada,
sabun sirjanhar;
surati sila par dhoiye,
nikase jyoti apar.

Guru is like a washerman and disciple is like cloth; God Himself is the soap; O Guru! Please wash my thought-waves on the stone of meditation, then unlimited light will appear.

Commentary :

When the Guru gives the gift of God's name to the disciple and the disciple recites it, his heart is cleansed. Thus, with the help and guidance of the Guru, the disciple reaches the destination which is God realization.

Guru bin gyan na upaje,
guru bin mile na moksh;
guru bin lakhe na satyako,
guru bin mite na dosh.

Without the Guru no one obtains spiritual knowledge or achives salvation; Without the Guru no one can see Truth or have his doubts removed.

Commentary :

Importance of the Guru is mentioned in this 'sakhi'. To achieve the higher stages on the spiritual path, and to succeed in the world, one needs guidance of the Guru all the time to overcome obstacles on the spiritual path.

guru bichara kya kare,
sikkhahi mahi chuk;
bhawe tyon parbodhiye,
bans bajaye phunk.

What can the poor Guru do if the disciple has faults; He gives
knowledge but it becomes useless, just as a broken flute does not produce music.

Commentary :

The disciple must have faith, courage, and patience on the path of God. He must try to accept discriminative spiritual knowledge from the Guru and keep it in his mind. If he does not, the Guru cannot be blamed, because the Guru can only guide, but the disciple has to walk himself.

ek shabda guru dev ka,
taka anant bichar;
thake muni jan pandita,
veda na pawe par.

The one word of Sat Guru gives limitless meanings; Munis and pandits became exhausted trying to find its meaning. Vedas cannot fathom its depth.

Commentary :

The word of God given by Sat Guru is unfathomable. Only a humble devotee can get it. Munis and pandits, full of ego of their knowledge, cannot find it. Even the Vedas mention very little about it.

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