Guruh Brahma Guruh Vishnu Guruh Devo Maheshwarah, Guru Sakshat Parabrahmah Tasmai Shri Guruve namah.
This is the sanskrit shlok on the foundation of which the business of the “modern gurus” is conducted. This year I saw this shlok being circulated on whatsapp on 5th sept celebrated as (school/college) Teacher’s day.
The commonly circulated translation is “The Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv. The Guru is the All observing Parabrahma. And thus I bow down to that Guru”. So our School teachers and modern age gurus chant this and elevate themselves to the levels of Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and the Parabrahma. Such ego! It is unbelievable.
What does ‘Guru’ mean in Sanskrit? ‘venerable, extended, heavy, serious, difficult, high, valuable, momentous, dense, attract’ etc, basically the ‘energy which attracts’. Remember this is a sanskrit word used in the context of spiritual studies, so intention and layers and layers of meanings.
A school/college teacher is more properly an “adhyapak” in sanskrit. A school or college teacher should not be called a guru, it is an insult to the real Guru. Second these modern age “spiritual gurus” who are only interested in establishing “centers”, businesses, brand names and products. They cannot live without AC, wear really expensive clothes, use expensive vehicles and just talk. Use complicated words to baffle and awe their followers. This is just bad karma that they are creating for themselves. It is is the greatest act against the conscience to purposely deceive an aspirant who has a genuine interest in spirituality.
So who is the Guru? He is the Satguru. The one who shows you, brings you, attracts you to the Sat/Eternal Truth. And the real Sat is your own Self. That which you have been searching for so long is Yourself. And thus the only force who can bring you to yourself is …. Your Own Self.
Next this shlok, remember Sanskrit, layers of meanings, So this shlok more properly means this, “Brahmadev is the Guru, Vishnu is the Guru, Maheshwar is the Guru, the ‘witness to all’ Parabrahma is the Guru. And thus I bow down to such Guru.” Brahmadev, Vishnu, Maheshwar and the Parabrahma are the energies which bring you to the Truth/Sat, bring you to Yourself. Thus it makes sense.
The difference between these 2 meanings is like heaven and earth.
And my personal belief is that I really do not need someone in a physical body to be my Guru. I believe that there is a higher self within me. I am a tiny bit of the Parabrahma myself and this tiny bit is my conscience/Antaratma. If I let my conscience be my Guru, it will take me to Myself. But living in this world of so many external influences, pushes and pulls, I have stopped hearing the voice of my conscience. So how do I hear Myself again? Only when I cut off these external voices and sit still.
Real Guru-s are quite rare in this world as only a Jivan mukt can be properly referred to as a Guru. These souls have experienced and transcended the Game of creation and have realised the Ultimate. They have achieved Moksh.
So to begin with, do start your spiritual practice, and practice sitting still. Your conscience will speak to you again and a day will come when you will start following your conscience. That is the power of Sat, your own.
Now listen to this Guru stotra by Uma Mohanwhich defines in even more details what a Guru actually is! I have written out the meaning of this Guru Stotra in a full-fledged post here.