A Question on the article “the nature of the True Guru’:
“If the Guru is Gyana then, does it mean that being with the Guru physically is not important?
As the say: “There are two sides to every coin”.
In fact, there are two sides to everything.
Usually we tend to look at one side only and we get confused as it may not make complete sense. Same can be true in this case also.
As Guru Nanak said:
“Nanak meru sareer ka, ik Rath ik Rathvaahu
Jug Jug pher vataayieh Giani bujheh taahi” (page 470)
“Nanak says that the physical existence or body has a chariot and a charioteer. They keep changing; age after age, only a Gyani or wise understands it.”
Just like everyone has a body, the chariot and soul, the charioteer, the Guru is also consisted of two parts; Shabad or Gyana is the charioteer and his body is the chariot.
Just as a car and driver, both are needed. Driver needs a vehicle and a vehicle needs a driver. We cannot do with one without the other.
Undoubtedly the Shabad or Gyana is the true Guru but it cannot be delivered or understood without the body.
Transaction of Gyana is a process between the consciousnesses, not the bodies. It is received by one consciousness from another higher consciousness. Therefore, neither Guru nor the disciple is a body.
“Sahbad Guru, Surti Dhuni Chaila” (Guru Nanak, Page 943)
“Shabad or Gyana is the Guru, and its contemplation (by the consciousness) is the disciple.”
Though, neither Guru nor the disciple is body, but they both have to be in the physical form to complete the process.
I remember an incidence that happened many years ago. After taking Gyana, Sayed Mazahar Hussain, a learned scholar from Bhopal, came to visit Baba Gurubachan Singh ji in Delhi. During their conversation over a cup of tea, Mr. Hussain asked, “Baba ji. I have taken the Gyana. I understood it and have truly accepted it in my heart. It re-confirms my faith in Formless God as taught in Islam. But according to our religious traditions, it is hard for me to accept any human being as Guru or a godly being as most other people here do. I like your mission’s philosophy and I want to be part of it but accepting you or any other human being as my savior or mentor contradicts my religious beliefs. What should I do?”
Baba ji pointed his finger towards the cups of tea placed on the table in front of them and asked “Are you going to drink the tea or the cup? As you can see, we are actually offering you the tea but how can it be served without a cup or a vessel? And you are only going to drink the tea, but to be able to drink it; you need to use the cup. Similarly, what you need is the Gyana, and I (Guru) am just a vessel. So you see, there is no conflict since what you have received is the Gyana, the God-knowledge through a vessel, not the vessel itself.”
But to achieve the goal, both, the chariot and the charioteer, driver and the vehicle, tea and the cup, are needed together.
Now, one may ask: since what we really want is ‘what is in it’, why do we need to respect the vessel?
My most revered and highest mentor, Bhapa Ram Chand ji of Kapurthala often narrated this analogy: an elderly lady in a village used to pay utmost attention to an old small wooden box in her home. She was always worried about its security and took great care of it. People wondered why she was so attached to that small wooden box that seemingly did not have much value at all.
The reason was that she had kept her gold and diamond jewelry in that box. That simple ordinary box also became very important and valuable for her because of what was in it.
As Shri Guru Ramdas ji said:
“Kanchan Kaaya kot gadh, vich Hari Hari sidhaa”
“In the body, the fort of gold, the Lord Hari resides himself”
Though the Guru may not look any different than any ordinary person, but in the eyes of a disciple, that body also becomes very important, valuable and respectable through which the Gyana is revealed.
To be in the company of one’s spiritual master plays an important role to progress in spirituality. Being with the Guru physically can elevate the level of our consciousness. But at the same time, we must remember to connect, not with just Guru’s body, but also with the ‘Real Guru’. Not taking him as a celebrity, a popular leader or a person of power, but as the spiritual guide. It’s very easy to get distracted and lose the real purpose during the celebrations and joyful festivities. But remember:
Don’t forget to ‘drink the tea while holding and admiring the cup’.