MIDWAY : Keepers of light

The full-moon day in the month of Ashadh is celebrated as Guru Purnima. On this auspicious day, the Guru is worshiped. The disciples come to Guru and offer thanks for his love and guidance. This day is also known as Vyas Purnima and is commemorated in memory of Ved Vyas, who is believed to have written many Hindu scriptures.

The Sanskrit root “Gu” means darkness or ignorance. “Ru” denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore one who removes the darkness of ignorance is a Guru. In the Vedic

age, the rishis (potential Gurus) lived in hermitages in the forests or mountainside where there used to be firewood in abundance. The disciples used to visit the Guru with

firewood for sacrificial fire.

A Guru was believed to be a burning flame, radiating eternal light of knowledge and warmth of love. The flame burns all vices that come in its vicinity, including all negative propensities. If the disciple is dry firewood, free of ego, he would readily catch fire and be consecrated. On the other hand, the student full of ego, like a wet wood, would only make smoke.

If Guru is Samadhi, the disciple is Sadhana. By Sadhana the Guru converts his disciple into a Guru, so, in the long run, there remains no difference between the Guru and disciple and they become one in principle.

On the sacred and auspicious day of Guru Purnima, we should all resolve to give up vice and submit to the teacher, obey him and carry out his instructions. Only the ignorant think that it is beneath one’s dignity and against freedom to submit to a Guru’s command. Though some may raise the question of Guru’s role in spiritual transformation, there is no denying the important role he plays in each person’s life.

But we can be our own Gurus only if we are sincere, are fully aware of our shortcomings and have a clear direction in life. Whenever we find ourselves mired in the problems of this materialistic world, we can get guidance from within — if we have trained ourselves to be our own Gurus.

At the same time, we should never forget that it takes considerable effort to learn to take control of our own lives. It is when we cannot rely on ourselves that we must turn to our Gurus for true knowledge.