Monday, February 07, 2005

Universal Love

If you judge people, you have no time to love them

- Mother Teresa

When we see oneself in all and all in oneself we are ready to selflessly love ourselves and all of God's creation. While this is an absolute truth can this be followed in our daily dealings with all that we come across? Our total education and conditioning is to look externally and be judgemental all the time. This leads to all kinds of expectations and desires. When these desires are unfulfilled or someone does not behave in a manner we percieve as correct we tend to react. The reaction ranges from being merely sad to extreme anger and violence in thought word and deed. While the ability to rise in universal love is seen in the Self realised souls like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa can we too gradually bring about this transformation? I beleive the answer is yes and even if the task is daunting and seemingly unsurmountable it needs to be done. Bit by bit we can tranform ourselves to become non-judgemental at all times and give our love to all of God's creation at all times.
The realisation that we need to make this transformation is the first step in the process of looking within and connecting with the Universe or the Brahmana which is within all of us. Each of us need the tools to look within and for that we need the help of scriptures teachers and the ability to awaken and listen to our conscience. In life and in our relationships we come across three kinds of persons. First, are the masters and Self realised souls for whom we have only reverence and humble respect. We must accept them unconditionally and try and benefit from their wisdom. The second category is of the destitute and poor who need our compassion and care. The third are the persons who try to harm us by their thoughts words and actions. For this category we need to understand that the only way to deal with them initially is by ignoring them and getting out of harms way. Gradually, we need to stop hating and return love for their hatred. This will slowly but surely bring about a change of heart in those who seem to hate us and make them love us. This is not utopian but the law of Love is Universal. This is not the tabloid page three love where one falls in love and falls out of love but a Love in which one only rises and make each of us realise the Self within us. Slowly but surely as we begin this transformation we will be able to see the divinity in all the Creation living and non-living and make us consious of the need to preserve and protect the Earth and its elements and in turn the Universe. "Aham Brahmana" is not a mere sentence to be uttered in moments of solitude but to be lived and experienced by our thoughts words and deeds at all times.
Practically I try to follow the eight fold path to help realise the Self. This is from Eknath Easwaran the author of Bhagwat Gita for daily living.
* Meditate look within.
* Chant a mantra when you tend to lose equanimity.
* Concentrate on the task at hand totally.
* Slow down the pace of your life.
* Control your senses and live a life of moderation.
* Put others before oneself and live for others.
* Read the scriptures.
* Associate with persons who share in the wisdom of scriptural readings (Satsang).
I conclude my thoughts and pray that the Lord gives me the strength to live upto these ideals.
Humbly,
Dr. Vispi H. Jokhi

Guru

GURU

All of us are made in the image of God and pervaded by Him, yet in our daily existence we identify with our name, form and personality as perceived by our senses. The hypnotic spell of the sense objects lull us into a sense of well being and happiness. Very soon we realize that these joys are finite and are almost always followed by sorrows. It is when we face suffering that we suddenly feel the need to seek the help of a power outside us. At such times according to our religious traditions we go to the temples and do the rituals and try to bribe the Gods to fulfill our earthly desires of material objects and gratify our lust for sensual pleasures. We are caught up in the belief that pleasures can be isolated from sorrows and we can happy if all our desires are fulfilled. Our education, upbringing and the equation of happiness with pleasures of the physical body and worldly wealth deludes us into pursuing this path with redoubled vigor. The light of knowledge is within us but is covered by the veil of ignorance. Once we realize that the pleasures of the senses that we chase are the cause of our doom we feel the need for the help of a teacher or guide who can lead us from darkness GU to light RU. In the true Indian tradition the word GURU is so profound that teacher or guide are inadequate terms to describe the meaning of the word. While we equate a teacher with a person who gives us knowledge a Guru goes beyond that and shows the practical application of this knowledge and converts jnana to vignyan.

This brings me the next set of question – Who is a GURU? How can I recognize Him? Can there be a GURU in absentia or an inspirational figure from the past maybe an avatar or an incarnation of God? Do I need one Guru or many to give me the light of knowledge in the many endeavors I undertake in life?

The most complete or holistic GURU is a person who has achieved Self realization and is able to identify him or herself with the permanent universal consciousness at all times. Such a person is defined by the scriptures as Satchitananda i.e. one whose countenance exhibits the eternal radiance of a permanent joy and bliss. Such persons are Seers and are always in a state of equilibrium not agitated by grief or desirous of pleasures. They are always calm and serene and unaffected by the dualities of joy and sorrow, profit and loss or victory and defeat. Such self realized persons are very rare and only my good deeds can lead me to a Guru of this kind and give me the vision to recognize him. In my life a Guru in absentia has been Mahatma Gandhi. The documented life of this great soul and the influence he had on the persons whose life he touched is proof of him being a GURU in his life time. To many of us unfortunate to have not been alive in his era his writings and deeds have been a source of inspiration for many and will continue to inspire future generations. There are many who are convinced that in this violent world we need the serene leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. To answer the last question of multiple Gurus we just need to realize that there is a God within each of us and the light of knowledge is waiting to be uncovered by removing the veil of ignorance. If I am willing to empty myself and remove my selfish desires and reduce my ego to “zero” or “shunya” then all of God’s creation living or non-living can be my GURU. Do we not see in our day to day life numerous such examples? There are innumerable such examples and occasions where we can learn from others and make them our Gurus. From the ants learn the gospel of hard work, the elephants the lesson of gentleness, from children unconditional love, from nature the ability to give selflessly treasures from its bosom. My true and dear family and friends who bear with my ego and arrogance and yet love me unconditionally are all my GURUS.

What should be the relationship between a Guru and his disciple? An automatic feeling of deep respect for the Guru is translated into an intense desire by the disciple to acquire knowledge from the Guru. This does not mean unquestioning acceptance of all that the Guru says, but learning by respectfully arguing and understanding the truth. Even Arjuna in the Gita questioned Krishna on many occasions. A true Guru on the other hand does not hold back His knowledge and gives to the student all he can offer. Even as the light is shone and the darkness dispelled the effort to acquire the Knowledge leading to Moksha or salvation has to be made by the disciple.

Can Moksha or salvation be achieved without a Guru? I do not know the answer to this question. But I feel that all creatures are made in the image of God and Man is His foremost creation. So any man can discover the God within Him and rise to divine heights. The Lord guides Him on the path and leads him to moksha. Man has mind which responds to the senses and an intellect which gives him the discrimination to make a choice in his response and finally a conscience which gives him the power to choose the right from the wrong.

Is a Guru-Shisya relationship one of a commercial transaction in that the teacher gives a product in the form of knowledge which the student consumes? The student pays and the teacher are paid and that is the basis of the relationship. We see this in our institutes of learning based on the Western model. This is an inevitable consequence of the capitalist model based on materialism.

In conclusion, I would like to invite all who read my humble thoughts to add to them and to become my Guru.

Vispi Jokhi