The Guru helps in Exorcising the Ghost of Ignorance

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks
The day is Vyasa Poornami, and it is also celebrated throughout India as Guru Poornima. The importance of the day has been explained now by the lawyer from Repalle in Telugu, by Vineetha Ramachandra Rao in Kannada, and by the Editor of Sanatana Sarathi in English. Well, I shall also speak now. Whatever My language, I speak not to inform but more to heal. I administer medicine for your minds, not food for your brains — or, rather, it is both. Like honey, it is both food and drug.

There is nothing specially related to Sage Vyasa that makes this day attached to his name. He was not born on this day, nor did he ‘leave’ on this day; it is just dedicated to his memory and to the worship of all Gurus. For Vyasa is the the first and the source of all spiritual teachers. He recognised and declared the Truth in a variety of ways and helped to open the inner eye of humanity. He described in beautiful, simple, clear terms the glory of the Lord and of the means of attaining Him. He saw that unless the mind is negated or destroyed, the Lord will not be manifest. He prescribed the paths by which this could be done. So he is the world teacher (Lokaguru), the greatest teacher (Paramaguru).

He collected the hymns, collated them, and put them into the four Vedas; he assembled the later Vedic literature and composed the Brahma Sutras (Aphorisms on Supreme Reality) to expound the philosophy that was inherent in it. He wrote the Mahabharata, which includes the universal specific, the Bhagavad Gita. Then, when he was sunk in sadness, in spite of all this knowledge and scholarship and teaching, Narada advised him to sing the glory of the personalised aspect of Godhead, to waken the emotions and guide them Godward through devotion. That gave him and the world great joy and peace, for Vyasa then wrote the Bhagavata.

Discover that happiness is an inner gift

Now, whether it is Vyasa or the Guru whom you honour today, the more important thing is the full moon (Poornami) that happens today — that is the one thing certain about it; the rest of the story is conjecture.

The Guru is needed when you have the Guri (‘goal’ or ‘aim’ in Telugu). If you do not have that urge, what can the teacher do? Strewing seeds on sand or rock is a sheer waste of precious stuff. Inner prompting to see the light must send the aspirant to the teacher or must draw the teacher to wherever the aspirant is. You must inquire and discriminate: Do objects grant happiness? Is anyone happy? How can one be happy through the multiplication of desire and the frantic effort to feed the raging fire? At last, you will, by your own experience, discover that happiness is an inner gift, a spiritual treasure that can be won by equanimity.
The moon is the presiding deity of the mind; it must shine cool and comforting, eternally, in fullness, in the inner firmament of the heart (Hridayakasha). The external material moon waxes and wanes, but the mind should be trained to stand up against modifications and moods. The internal moon has no marks on it; it is ever full, it is always full moon for the victorious spiritual aspirant.

People are possessed by the ghost of ignorance

The mind spins a cocoon for the individual soul to be imprisoned in. Karma, which is the activity of ignorance (Maya), encloses the individual in its grip. It is the husk that makes the paddy seed grow and yield more paddy plants and more grains of paddy. Remove the husk, and there is no more sprouting. The husk, karma, makes the individual soul sprout and undergo the pleasure and pain produced by the impressions unconsciously left on the mind by past good or bad actions (Vasanas) and perform purificatory rites and sacred ceremonies. You reward and punish yourself as the result of your own activities; you are here because you wished to come here; you gravitate to the level to which your deeds drag or lift you. You make your own future by your thoughts and desires and deeds.

Ignorance (Maya) is like the ghost of a tribal woman, which once possessed a great pandit in a Himalayan hermitage. The unfortunate pandit sang and danced like any tribal damsel; he swore and cursed in the Paisachi (ghost) dialect, and everyone in the hermitage became ashamed of his company. At last, when the ghost was exorcised and the pandit was freed, he became his original self. He remembered nothing of his pranks and blabberings.

Humanity is similarly possessed by the ghost of ignorance (Maya). The ghost must be driven out. The mode of exorcism of this ghost is taught by the Guru or the Gita. Do not despair; it can be driven out. Confidence adds the required courage and strength. Do not doubt or give vent to despair. It must happen whether you welcome it or not, whether you strive for it or not — that is your reason for taking birth, the goal you have to reach. You have not come to be a tool in the hands of a ghost.

The ant moves steadily and slowly toward its goal, climbing over everything that comes in its way. Let yours be the same path of the ant. Follow the path of remembrance of the name, steadily, climbing over all obstacles like sloth, pride, haste, doubt, etc.

The Guru can help you only to a certain extent, but be grateful to him for that little. He is like a skilled gardener, who tends the plants and waters them intelligently; cutting the tree into proper shape, applying the correct manure to supplement the soil and keep it free from drought and pests. Give the Guru the gratitude for all this service, but reserve seeking refuge for protection for the Lord. Do not offer the Guru more than his due. Do not also change your allegiance.

Do spiritual practices in an unbroken, disciplined way

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
worshipping Mother Kali
You cannot sell your house to someone, later mortgage it to another, and rent it out to a third party after some further interval. Sri Ramakrishna had to cut asunder even the form of Kali when it came across his path toward the realisation of the formless aspect of God. Do not do spiritual practice off and on; do it in an unbroken, disciplined way. Otherwise, it will be like watering a plant for some time and leaving it to go dry before you start again.

The centre point between the eyebrows on which you are asked to concentrate is not the point where your eyebrows meet in the centre of your forehead; it is a point in your inner awareness, the heart (Hridaya). Like the celestial damsels that were sent by Indra to break the penance of sages, you will be getting nine varieties of music during meditation, but you should not be elated by that and suspend your meditation.

Guru Poornami here is distinct from the festival in other places. Between you and Me, it is not the relationship between teacher and disciple that prevails, or that of the guide and the pilgrim. The external Guru should not be equated with the innermost soul in all the hearts (Sarvantaryaami). Even Garuda cannot reach the goal if it does not spread its wings and leap into the sky. So, make a move, put a step forward. That is the immediate task. Your resolve on this day should be to start with a sincere desire to succeed. Light will be shed by the grace of the Lord. The Lord has come to help you.


Source: Divine Discourse on July 17, 1962 during the Guru Poornima Celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam

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