Every human being comes to this planet with a sub-conscious, unconscious and conscious mind. As the conscious mind starts becoming more active, learning begins. And the presence of Guru is essential for any learning. The Guru’s presence continues throughout life as learning continues throughout one's life.
What are the benefits of having a Guru in life?
When you consciously acknowledge the Guru, you learn more. You might have experienced, sometimes in life, you feel stuck. At those times, it is the Guru's presence which moves you from getting stuck. Events, situations, concepts can all make one feel stuck. First of all, one doesn't even know that they are stuck. It is the Guru’s presence that makes them realize that they are stuck, and then helps them from being stuck.
There are different types of knowledge that you learn, and whosoever you learn from is part of the Guru. So, mother is our first Guru because the first things you learn in life is from the mother. You learn the alphabets, words, things – this is a cat, this is a dog, this is an apple, this is banana, all this is taught to us. Similarly, various other disciplines that we learn is all part of the Guru. This is first aspect.
Secondly, moving from where we are stuck so as to have the flow in life, towards its ultimate goal is the second benefit of having a Guru.
The third thing is, you have a desire to get something. To get this something also you need guidance; you need someone to give you what you want. That is the third benefit of the Guru; to get what you have not got; to fulfill your desires. But then, there is no end to desires, and sometimes you are not sure of your desires. That is where the Guru comes. The Guru principle will give you that which is good for you and not everything that you want.
The fourth benefit of having the Guru is liberation and freedom; inner freedom.
Knowledge, movement, achievement, and freedom – these are the four aspects that one gains by having a Guru. Guru does not make you remain in an elusive world. He says, "Come on, wake up and look at the ultimate reality of this Universe, i.e., freedom and liberation". These are the four aspects.
Self effort is only in the conscious mind. At the level of the subconscious mind, you cannot put effort, you need someone else or some higher power to influence that. And to make the conscious mind into a super conscious mind, one definitely needs help. And so, nature has provided from millenniums the tradition of Masters. Time and again, the human society has been guided by hand towards the light that one is.
If you see, Guru and Purnima, (Guru signifying rationality and knowledge and Purnima signifying emotions) are completely opposite. They are completely different. Moon is associated with the mind and emotions, that is why when someone goes crazy, they are called a lunatic. The Guru is associated with wisdom, knowledge and rational thinking. Guru Purnima is that strange combination of the rational and the emotional. Guru stands for rationality, logic and wisdom, and the moon stands for emotion. So saying Guru Purnima is actually an oxymoron – it is the fullness of the emptiness or the emptiness of the fullness and life has place for both. And the Guru caters to both. The Guru brings strength to emotions and sharpness to the intellect.
Rational thinking appears to be in opposition to emotional ecstasy, but spiritual wisdom unites them very well. In fact, it brings us to the first point in The Art of Living, that is, Opposite Values Are Complimentary. It makes you realize that you can be sensitive and you can be sensible at the same time. This is the skill in life, this is the art in life. It is easy to be only sensitive, or only sensible. There are some people who are very sensible, but not sensitive, and there are people who are very sensitive and not sensible. That wisdom which brings the balance in life is what the Guru principle is.
Everyone is a student and everyone is a teacher as well. By default, you are all teaching someone something. Whether you want or not, you are a Guru. Whether you acknowledge this or not, you are a Guru; either by showing people what one should do or by showing them what one should not do; inevitably people learn from you. You may not be deliberately trying to teach somebody something, but by the way you live life, someone learns from you.
When you say, "Look at this man, see what he is doing. I don’t want to be like this", that’s it, he has become your Guru, he has taught you how not to be.
Smallness in the human psyche, smallness in human attitude can only be gotten rid of with wisdom and wisdom comes from the Guru, and so the celebration of Guru Purnima. And wisdom does not find its fulfillment unless and until there is gratitude, and there is recognition of the progress in life, recognition of achievement in life and recognition of freedom in life. Wisdom is there, it needs recognition. That is called Pratyabhijna in Sanskrit, which means recognition. The principle which makes internet work was there 100 years ago. But nobody recognized it. They did not know how cell phones could work without wires. Science is a recognition of that which is. Spirituality is also recognition of that which is, and they go together very well. That’s why fulfillment comes in life when you have both – science and spirituality.
'Jnana Vignana Truptatma', contentment comes when the knowledge of 'Who am I' (subjective knowledge) and the knowledge of 'what is this all about' (objective knowledge) come together. And in both realms, the Guru is essential; leading from darkness to light, from the known to the unknown, from the manifest appearance to the unmanifest reality, from the unconscious mind to heightened conscious mind, and from the conscious mind to the super conscious mind – the journey is possible only when there is the Guru’s grace.
As I said, every one of you is playing the role of a Guru in a small way or a big way, in some field or the other. But when it comes to the totality and taking you to the ultimate, then you say 'Jai Gurudev'! That is very sacred and Guru Purnima is one of the sacred moments where you feel the gratitude.
So remember this – emotional fullness and intellectual sharpness!!