By: Swami Rama
This day, Guru Purnima, is the greatest day in my life. Let me tell you something about this day, Guru Purnima. Purnima means full moon. On this day Buddha was enlightened. That’s why this day is considered to be a great day.
First, the word “guru.” What does it mean? What is the status of guru in daily life? Is it necessary for one to have a guru?
The word “guru,” means “one who dispels the darkness of ignorance of the student.” So he, who guides you, is called guru. Actually, the word guru is a tattwa. It’s a stream of knowledge. Guru means knowledge, means enlightenment, so that you become aware of your goal of life. Once you become aware of the goal of life, sooner or later you’ll be there. Learn to enjoy life here, and at the same time remember the Lord within.
Where do you search for such a man, such a person? The tradition says, you don’t have to run here and there for doing that. Simply you should have a flame of love within yourself, a burning desire to search. Don’t stop seeking. The day you have stopped seeking, you have closed the door of learning. It’s not necessary for you to have a college education for searching and seeking the Absolute Truth. It’s good if you are educated, are successful in the world, communicating well with others, being intellectual. But that is not enough, it does not satisfy.
And it is said that when the student is prepared, the teacher appears. Teacher comes. What should your relationship be with the teacher? The teacher teaches you in many ways. That which is good for you, you should take. That which is helpful for you, you should accept. That which is not, leave it there.
We forget the true aim of our life and get involved, “this is mine, this is not mine.” Have everything. Don’t deny yourself. But don’t forget the ultimate Reality, your goal. Then, whatever you have, you’ll enjoy those things. You’ll make them as means. So teacher says, “You should know how to live in the world. Learn to enjoy the world. World is not enjoyed by cowards. Vira bhogya vasundhara.” The world is enjoyed only by one who is brave, who can face life. Life is not a bed of roses. And if you think it is a bed of roses, remember roses have thorns, too. A good competent teacher prepares his student, keeps that fire alive, makes him aware that the aim of life should not be forgotten. Enjoy all the things of the world, make them means. Nothing is an end in itself, not wealth, not beauty, not name and fame, not even learning. The true goal is that peace and happiness which is everlasting. Teacher leads you and introduces you to the path of light which is inward. That light is higher than sun, moon, and stars. That light is mingled with consciousness. It is not a dumb light. It’s not the light of the bulb. It’s not the light of the sun, moon, or stars. It is the light of inner intelligence and brilliance. And where is it? Is it outside you? No. It’s within you. He leads you on the path of contemplation, meditation and prayer. The knowledge that flows through the guru does not belong to him. But he is only a transmitter and receiver. That someone who has become receiver and transmitter is also called guru. But actually, guru, highest of all truths, is within you, from where the source of brilliance and intelligence flows on various degrees and grades. This outer guru, a competent teacher guides you through his scriptural knowledge and experience and makes you aware of the guru within you. He helps you, and always forgives you, no matter what you do.
Best student is he who takes from the teacher—not he who gives. The scripture also tells you, what you should give to your teacher. You give dry twigs—a bundle of dry twigs to your teacher. That’s the symbol that “I have nothing to give you. You don’t need anything for yourself. I know I cannot do anything for you. These dry twigs represent my karmas. There are some samskaras which are very hard on me, trouble me, torture me. Will you please burn them?” Has he got power to do this? Yes. But it’s not his power. He uses the power of the tradition to help the student. It’s not his power.
I have all my prayers for you. I love you very much. You can never imagine how much I can love you. Your love is scattered—wife, children, this and that. You are all my children. I love you more than you can love your children. You can test me. I am not seducing you; I’m just trying to tell you the truth. I’ve been trying my best to give the quality of love I received from my master, but I don’t have that capacity. He took care of me from the age of three, bringing me up with so much love but would not even accept a glass of water or even a flower from me. If you love me, I value that more than if you give me something. If you are working with yourself, I think you love me more. Start working spiritually with yourself.
According to our tradition, it’s a promise by the great masters, that if you are on the path, the obstacles therein will be removed and you’ll get strength. Persistently follow your path of light. It’s not a religion. It’s a spiritual path, inward path. Don’t be afraid. I never teach any religion. People should follow their own religion. What I teach is a philosophy of life, learning to understand yourself, learning to have control over your mind and its modifications, learning to be aware of the truth. And from within I am free that I am not obliging you by imparting the knowledge which is given to me by the great sages. This is not mine. I am only an instrument.
So this day, Guru Purnima is a full moon day. Full moon is a symbol of complete enlightenment. This day we celebrate to remind ourselves that the aim of life is to attain spirituality. All the things, all the means we have in the world, they should be applied to attain that. This is my message to you. I want to pray for you, and I’ll pray for you, and I love you.
God bless you. Peace, peace, peace.
By Swami Rama
For centuries the saints who wander the depth and breadth of India have made it their custom to stay in one place throughout the rainy season. During this period, which lasts about four months, they intensify their own practices, organize group practices, and sometimes offer an in-depth study—particularly open to the public—of a scripture or a particular aspect of spiritual practice. This special period is known as chatur masa or chatur masyam. It begins on the day of the full moon in the month of ashadha, which corresponds roughly to the month of July in the Western calendar. This day is called guru purnima and is dedicated to the guru lineage.
Many Western spiritual centers celebrate guru purnima at the full moon in July. The following address, give by Sri Swami Rama on the occasion of guru purnima ten years ago, reminds us of the true meaning of this special day.
In all spiritual traditions this day is considered to be very holy. For on this day students become aware that life is not to be lived only in the external world—that there is something higher, deeper, than what they have been doing. They become aware of their internal states. But to find this something you need a guide. Then it becomes easy. Your guide shares his experiences, which have been imparted by his guide. There is a long chain of sages and traditions, and they impart knowledge to their students lovingly and selflessly.
For me, today is a great day. When this day comes I remember the way I was looked after by my master. He was so loving. When I see darkness everywhere, in all relationships in the world, from one corner gleams light. I call it the light of the guru. If you find a real guru, he can give you his help. He can sacrifice his whole life for you if that time comes. He will pray for you. He never wants his students to suffer.
But remember that suffering comes from within, and if you cry for help, you are helped. Many times help comes from the invisible world, and you don’t see it. Yet you get help when no one can help you and you say, “God help me!” If you have a guru or a teacher, and he is very sincere, and if he is in touch with the tradition, then anyone from that tradition can appear and help, provided you are on the path. It is said, “When you are ready, the guru appears;” it is never said, “If you are not ready, the guru appears.” When you have a burning desire to attain enlightenment, definitely you get guidance.
You are never lonely on the path of spirituality. That which makes you lonely is the world and its external relationships. On the path of spirituality you are all alone, which means all-in-one, but you are not lonely. And as you attain the heights a time comes when you are totally alone—because all peaks are lonely. But that is not the sort of loneliness you find in the world. This loneliness is fulfilling. You don’t feel alone. You feel one with the Absolute Reality.
You can do this. Not by worrying, not by taxing your mind, not by physical exercises, but just by purifying your heart and mind. The easiest and surest way is that of self-surrender. You don’t surrender yourself to any external force. No. You surrender your ego to the Atman within you. And then a fount of knowledge flows. Then you come in touch with that happiness which is self-existent and unending, from eternity to eternity.
So this day reminds students that mere living in the external world is not fulfilling. The purpose of living should also be attained. You have to do certain duties—that’s a must. But all duties should lead you to awareness, “God exists in me. I am a shrine of the Lord. Why am I afraid? From where does this fear come?” If you remember that you are a shrine of the Lord, you will never be afraid. When you get fears, it means you have forgotten. God provides, providing you have that confidence.
You develop the confidence slowly. But remember—God is merciful, but at the same time he is a cruel fire. You have to understand both aspects. You have to accept life as it is, and enjoy. Don’t postpone enjoyments for tomorrow. Enjoy today—right now! Smile. Smile and understand, “The Lord is within me. Why am I worrying?” This way, make your life easy.
This day reminds us that we have come to this earth to become complete, to attain perfection. And you can do it. Use all your might, all human effort. This is called the ascending force. Then you come in touch with the descending force, which is the grace of God. The moment you have done your work, you’ll find grace. So do your job skillfully. Surrender all the fruits to Him. Before going to bed, say “O Lord, anything good I have done, I surrender to you. Help me, guide me.” This way awareness develops. You become constantly aware of the Reality within you.
So today is a day when I, when everyone, remembers his teacher, his teachings, and becomes aware of the Reality within. This day makes you aware that you have to tread the path faithfully, loyally, and honestly so that you can complete your journey happily. It is called guru purnima day.
Guru Purnima 1988
Swami Rama’s Address to The Meditation Center by phone on Guru Purnima, July 29th, 1988
I pray to the Divinity in you.
This day, the day of Guru Purnima is considered to be the holiest day for the students of life; for those that have been treading the path of light; for those aspiring to attain enlightenment in this lifetime. They remember this day and celebrate it by becoming aware the purpose of life is to attain enlightenment; the state of mind, internal state that makes one free from all pains and miseries.
So as you celebrate other days like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, this is a little bit different, it is very auspicious. The student mentally, religiously follows the spiritual teaching imparted by the Tradition. For the Tradition is considered to be highest. It is a Tradition that follows truth that leads one to the highest peak of wisdom.
So you know in our Tradition there have been many, many sages. If you find any obstacles on the path there will be help. Always you will be guided by the spiritual beings; those who watch your progress. I want you to faithfully tread the path of light and life by doing your duties selflessly, lovingly and skillfully in the external world and punctually meditate.
I want you to faithfully tread the path of light and life by doing your duties selflessly, lovingly and skillfully in the external world, and punctually meditate. Meditation is one method that helps you fathom the internal states, those levels of life that are not normally understood by the human being. And in meditation you should be patient with yourself. You should gradually go ahead. Nothing is lost inside; everything is lost outside.
It is not an external method; it is an internal method. It is a journey within you. When you go from your gross self to your subtlest self of life, when you know yourself, you can relate well to the world.
Do not ever miss your meditation. Meditation is helpful in understanding yourself and knowing yourself. And the same meditation in action in daily life. While doing your duty in meditation, you remain aware of the Reality all the time.
This day is a day of determination. When you determine you do your sankalpa, you decide that I will devote my time and energy toward enlightenment and that I will attain enlightenment in this lifetime. Determination is one of the greatest powers, gifts, given to the human being by Providence. That sankalpa shakti should not be broken, should not be scattered. The more your mind becomes more one-pointed and inwards, the more you will find yourself. Sankalpa shakti, determination must be developed.
Be punctual. Learn to sit in meditation and do it systematically. See that your body is in a state of steadiness and is not uncomfortable either. Learn not to move in meditation. Learn to acquire, learn to have physical stillness first. Then make your breath serene without any noise, without any jerks, without any pause, and then you will find your mind becoming calmer. And whenever thoughts rush from the unconscious mind, learn to let-go. This sort of introspection will lead you to a deeper state.
A day will come when you can go beyond the mire of delusion created by your mind, and you will have control. Meditation, contemplation and prayer should go hand-in-hand. I pray to the mighty Lord to help you. I pray that you all will be happy and enjoy, and let the flower of your life bloom so you can serve one another and help others. Enjoy all the time. Be Happy! Learn to be happy.
What you do as human effort, let me tell you something: If you learn to do human effort sincerely, then that ascended power suddenly comes in touch with the descending power that is called kripa, blessings, as grace of God, grace of the Highest, grace of the Absolute One.
So human effort is sadhana that needs the grace of God. When you are doing your sadhana, you are bound to receive the grace from Providence, from the Highest Level.
May God bless you. I love you. I will continue praying for you. That is my wish for Guru Purnima Day.
I revere this day for I also have a guru. The spiritual path cannot be tread without kripa, guru’s graces. But if you want to have guru’s grace, you would have to have your own grace. You should make sincere efforts, and then the grace of God will come. Let you be graced today, the day which reminds you that you have to follow the path of enlightenment, loving all and excluding none. That is the way to the Divine.
Peace, Peace, Peace,
and may God Bless you.