SREE GURU CHARITRA
Guru Madhye Sthitham Vishwam
Vishwa Madhye sthitho Guruhu;
Gurur-Vishwam Nacha Anyosthi
Thasmai Shri Gurave Namh.
The universe has its being within the Guru; the Guru abides within the universe (as its essence); the Guru is the universe; nothing exists besides him. Salutations to such a Guru.
(Shri Guru – Gita)
My contact with the spiritual tradition of Lord Dattatreya was quite fortuitous, a discovery by chance. When I was collecting material for the comprehensive account of Sai Baba of Shirdi, I came across the experience of one Kusa Bhav.
Kusa Bhav served his Guru, Sri Datta Maharaj and learnt occult skills like mysterious transference of material objects. He could produce sweetmeats from “nowhere” by a wave of his hand with the power of the mantra and distribute the same to amazed devotees as prasad. At one stage, he started pestering his guru to teach him black magic with which he could harm his opponents who derided him as a charlatan. The wise guru realized that it was not good for either of them to stay together any longer. He directed his disciple to seek spiritual guidance henceforth from Sai Baba of Shirdi and himself retired to the Himalayas to pursue his own spiritual quest for perfection.
When Kusa Bhav arrived at Shirdi, Sai Baba was wild with rage and would not allow him to enter the mosque. He said that the sweetmeats produced by the former were not ‘created’, as the gullible devotees supposed, but were merely transferred from elsewhere by the power of mantra. Thus, he said, it amounted to theft and cheating. The sweetmeats thus pollute their devout recipients spiritually and would inspire them, in their turn, to hanker after cheap occult powers instead of seeking spiritual Enlightenment which is the only noble of man’s life. Sai Baba insisted that unless the visitor chose to give up his weird practices and leave off the power at the holy river Godavari, he would not allow the latter to come to him. Kusa Bhav vacillated for some time and, after much inner struggle, had to give in. He went to the Godavari, threw away the iron-bangle on his right hand and, taking the holy water in his palms, he vowed to give up all his occult powers as directed by Sai Baba. To his amazement, he discovered that he could no longer produce such material objects by a wave of his hand. Henceforth, Sai Baba allowed him to visit him at the mosque and instructed him to read the Sree Guru Charitra 108 times and visit holy Gangapur now and then. Later, Sai Baba blessed him with the power of obtaining sacred ash by merely thinking about him.
This incident drew my attention to Sree Guru Charitra as a potent means of winning grace of a Perfect Master. Soon I discovered that the Marathi texts which devotees study at Shirdi are those of this holy work. But none of the devotees knew English and I had no occasion to learn its contents for quite some time.
Again, in the course of my study of the life of Sir Sai Baba, I came across incidents which demonstrated the spiritual identity of the great fakir with his equally great contemporary saint, Sree Swami Samarth, more popularly known as Sree Akkalkot Maharaj (1856-1878). Naturally, I was drawn to learn more about the latter and then I came to know that his life was a continuation of that of Sree Nrisimha Saraswathi, the second Avatar of Lord Dattatreya in this age, celebrated in Sree Guru Charitra.
I stumbled upon the subtleties of Dattatreya tradition no less fortuitously. Ever since I visited Shirdi (1963) and studied the marvellous life of Sri Sai Baba, I traveled extensively in search of a Sadguru so that I could dedicate my whole life to his service.
Once I visited Sri Ma Anandamayi at Naimisharanya (Uttar Pradesh) during the Bhagavat Saptah. At one of the daily expositions of the holy text, the revered speaker, Sri Akhandananda Saraswathi remarked that only a living Sadguru could lead his devotee to Self-realization and that a Sadguru who had cast off his body, however great he might be, can only fulfill prayers for one’s material good. He spoke in Hindi which I could only understand but cannot speak and so I could not discuss with him. As Sai Baba was no longer available to me in flesh and blood, I wondered what I could do, but I had no chance to get the clarification.
After a few months, I visited Shirdi on a proposed stay of seven days. I wished to obtain Sai Baba’s guidance and clarification in this matter. On the second day, I was very strongly impelled to visit my old student who was working in Pune. I was quite unusual, as I never visited anyone of my friends or kinsfolk. I had to yield to the impulse and I reached Pune. My friend was away at office. So I left my bag in his house and went out, wishing to spend the time in going round the city till my friend’s return. Quite accidentally, I enquired at a wayside florist whether there was any great saint worth visiting in Pune. The shop-keeper directed me to visit Sree Gulvani Maharaj, a direct disciple of Sree Vasudevananda Saraswathi.
As soon as I reached the muth, the aged saint greeted me saying, “Oh! The child of Sai Baba has come!” I at once realized that I could get a reliable clarification for my problem from him. He heard my question and said, “What that learned speaker said is true of only those who attained Enlightenment through their efforts. But Sai Baba of Shirdi is not such a one. He is the Avatar of Lord Dattatreya. He manifests himself to his worthy devotees even today in his physical form and guides them. You are on the right track. Go ahead.” When I took leave of him, I asked Gulvani Maharaj to give me any books that might help me in my quest. At his call, a devotee gave me a Sanskrit translation of Sree Guru Charitra and a book of Sanskrit verses in praise of Lord Dattatreya. “These are the only copies left with us. You are fortunate in getting them,” said the devotee. At once I realized that Sai Baba had blessed me with three things: the solution of my doubt, a version of Sree Guru Charitra which I could read and for which I was longing; and the darshan and blessings of an eminent saint of the Datta tradition. I was all the happier to learn later that Sree Vasudevananda Saraswathi used to read the Sree Guru Charitra every day and that his, along with his other devotional practices, had won for him the darshan of Lord Dattatreya in a vision and his direct initiation with a mantra. The present work is a free English rendering of this work. I was more fully impressed by the value of the book when I learned that a large number of devotees were divinely directed to resort to Sree Akkalkot Maharaj as their Guru as a result of their devout study of Sree Guru Charitra.
About the Work
Sree Guru Charitra was first written by Sree Gangadhara Saraswathi in Marathi Language. The eminent Marathi scholar L.R.Pangarkar says that the first two incarnations of Lord Dattatreya, Sree Sreepada Sreevallabha and Sree Nrisimha Saraswathi, the two protagonists of the immortal work, had flourished in the 14th and 15th centuries A.D. The original texts recounts in 53 chapters, the life and teachings of the two incarnations in about 7000 verses. In the late nineteenth century, Sree Vasudevananda Saraswathi, a famous saint of the Dattatreya tradition, translated the work in Sanskrit verses of equal number. Later, he was told in a vision by Lord Dattatreya that details pertaining to matters of Hindu religious ritual, have infringed on the proper theme of the work, and was directed to abridge in into 2000 verses. The present translator and the Sanskrit pundit who had assisted him in reading the Sanskrit text were blessed with darshan and blessings of several great saints during and after the study and translation of this Sanskrit work. This is quite in keeping with the subtleties of the Dattatreya tradition. The present English translator is still working hard to gather material about the historical background of the first two Avatars of Lord Dattatreya. He hopes to furnish the same in a more complete form in subsequent editions of the work.
The Purpose of Translation
The present rendering into English is intended to serve a five-fold purpose. Firstly, its study is a very effective means of contacting the deeper perennial springs of spiritual wisdom of all religions through proper attunement of our psyche. For according to the Perennial Philosophy (Sanatana Dharma), the Spirit is the medium, Substratum or the essence, of which the whole universe is a manifestation. This Spirit or Essence is Lord Dattatreya which manifests itself as the great Sadgurus from time to time. When we study their life histories, their acts and teachings, our hearts are attuned to the Essential Spirit of Datta. Secondly, in the form of Sree Nrisimha Saraswathi, Lord Dattatreya has vowed to manifest Himself amidst us in response to our loving call. In the modern age of cultural chaos and confusion of values, it will be of immense help to mankind, if a large number of noble aspirants for spiritual perfection, their own and that of their fellows come together in Spirit in a process of collective self-attunement to the Eternal Spirit of Lord Datta through a widespread study of the work and, together, all of them call upon the Spirit of the perennial Guru to manifest Himself amongst us and guide us along the noble path. Thirdly, as the life of Sai Baba of Shirdi, the latest and the most complete manifestation of Lord Datta, amply demonstrates, Dattatreya is the One Spirit that manifests Itself through all the Enlightened Spiritual teachers of today that belong to various nations and religions. By the widespread study of Sree Guru Charitra, ever larger number of responsive souls amidst us would be able to draw richly upon the grace of all these Masters. Fourthly, a delight study of these works would educate the masses of devout souls to transcend the vicious, narrow barrier of religion and race and pray the Vedic seers,” Let uplifting thoughts come to us from all direction.” Fifthly, these devotees would be sufficiently informed about the hallmarks of true Perfect Masters and would not fall prey to the vile of half-baked, self-seeking charlatans who trade in instant, effortless “techniques” of pseudo-spiritualism.
Philosophical and Metaphysical
Background of SREE GURU CHARITRA
As a backdrop to the marvellous account of the avatars of Lord Dattatreya, Sree Guru Charitra presents a comprehensive resume’ of the whole of ancient Indian philosophy of life. It envisages human life as a search for lasting contentment, peace and bliss and as a struggle for complete unfoldment of its vast spiritual potential. All of Man’s endeavors derive ultimately from this aspiration. Many fail to realize these goals in life owing to lack of proper understanding of Man’s innate nature and his relationship to the rest of all existence of which human life is but one manifestation. Only when man understands the nature of material universe as the manifestation of the One Universal Spirit and accordingly orients his life to it at the three levels of understandings, word, and deed and can he hope to attain his goal. Those who succeeded in accomplishing this task have, out of their spontaneous compassion for suffering humanity, enjoined a way of making all of one’s life a single-minded pursuit of this goal, molding all of one’s natural instinctive drives to contribute to its realization. Thus the proper way of life is viewed as one continuous sacrament and ritual, made-up of a series of such, befitting the various stages of human life. Such a view of life derives from a direct experience of the spiritual process that underlies the nature of all existence from moment to moment, gained by the Enlightened Ones. Ancient Wisdom views the First cause as the Nameless, Formless, Universal consciousness or the Spirit. The fundamental nature of this universal consciousness is to manifest the alternating states of activity and rest. The Pure spirit was called the Parabrahman; its dynamic aspect is called Prakriti. The whole of nature we see around us, from the distant nebulae and galaxies down to the smallest “particles” and “fields” of modern Physics, constitutes Prakriti and its play. At the end of every active phase comes the state of total dissolution of all material existence and the two states are figuratively described as the “sleep and wakefulness” of Brahma, the Creator. In these are involved many sub-phases or cycles of time called “Kalpas”, each bearing its own name. For instance the present one is called the Svetavaraha Kalpa, literally ‘the Kalpa of the White Boar’. Each Kalpa is sub-divided into Manvantaras each having its own universal law-giver or Manu. Each Manvantara is again subdivided into the sequence of four Yugas, of which there is a definition in Sree Guru Charitra.
At every phase of Total Dissolution or Pralaya, all the living creatures and all other aspects of the previous active phase of material existence are said to recede into a dormant state in a subtle form, just as all our feelings, thoughts and knowledge lie dormant in our individual consciousness during deep sleep. When we wake up, all these re-emerge into manifestation. So does it happen with the recommencement of the active phase of the universal Spirit?
Every active phase of the Universal consciousness is said to begin as a stir in the Divine Will (The World, as the Bible puts it) to manifest Himself as the Many. According to Indian Scriptures, the first to be created are spiritual principles called the four Brahma Manasa Putras (the spiritual offspring of Brahma, the Creator) who chose to remain forever as such, i.e., as fully enlightened sages and not get entangled. In the next phase of the active cycle were projected the Prajapatis (lit. The progenitors of material creation and living creatures) and sages like Atri who willingly chose to further the divine plan of creation. Then were projected the various conscious forces in nature described as gods by the Vedas. The rest of the material creation is a product of the collective, harmonious functioning of these conscious principles, described as the Yagna.
The whole of the active phase or Prakriti is characterized by three modes of functioning of the cosmic energy – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas which can be described as Harmony, Activity and Confusion. After the evolution of the material universe, including the earth, with all its flora and fauna, sages like Atri manifested themselves on earth in human forms and propagated knowledge of the fundamental creative processes among mankind. This body of knowledge is the Veda which later came to be classified into four Vedas. The sages also tried to impart all this knowledge to as many as possible through religious philosophy, metaphysics and ritual. The whole process of creation, of which Man is a part, was presented as a spontaneous, joyful, creative process of self-fulfilling activity with no other aim or goal. Man can live in harmony with the rest of creation and with his own self (which is basically a manifestation of the cosmic or universal process) to the extent that he grows in this realization and he can thus transcend all those narrow, selfish concerns which shut out such understanding and which are, in their turn, products of lack of such an understanding.
Guru and Disciple
As such, man with the help of this understanding, has to inform and mould his every thought, word and deed with the urge to realize this wisdom. That is, understanding moulds thought, word and deed. Cultured thoughts, word and deeds actualize his understanding and there by perfect it. Thus, in the form of a chain reaction, man enters the real relentless stream of divine creation towards self harmonization and perfection, freeing himself from the cocoon of petty selfish drives or needs that are projected as natural and legitimate by his limited, clouded view of creation. The latter is a blurred distorted image obtained through the sense medium of his wrong understanding, or more correctly, no-understanding. When one realizes this harmonization with the rest of creation, the basic disharmony with himself implied by his former concept of the discreetness, distinctness of his own self, ‘other’ selves and things is dissolved. And he realizes the unity that is the essence of the seeming diversity of forms. Such a one perceives the misery of others as remnants of disharmony of his own self and strives to resolve it while, from the strength of his own perfection, he knows that there are in fact no others to be saved from misery.
Such a one is called the Guru, the Teacher that can make all our life’s struggle for lasting contentment and bliss, worth the game. Without him, the immense creation and one’s own disharmonious life together seems an ocean of misery of phenomenal existence. With this help, it is an ocean of the bliss of Self-Realization. Anyone who knows or intuits this is bound to love the Guru. His heart’s strength with which he had hitherto loved wealth, his life, wife and all else separately, is now put together in adoration of the Master.
It is on this basis that Sree Guru Charitra may be termed the glorification of the Guru who is the Truth, the Way and the Life, and is worthy of being loved with all the strength of one’s soul and heart, as the Christ puts it. The proper conduct of a true disciple to the Guru, as depicted in the stories in Sree Guru Charitra would seem childish forms of self-enslavement, if this truth is not understood. The details of a disciple’s conduct are not something which can be formally implemented, but they constitute the spontaneous experience of love. The joy of such love consists in acting it out, living it out. It is not the veneration of an individual called the Guru; it is the spontaneous realization of the essence of the Guru; it is wisdom in-action that is the ultimate object of one’s own life’s struggle. In short, only such a one is disciple and, to him, the Guru is all the gods, all the holy places and the rest. What his own life cannot give him, he is sure that the Guru can, and hence the latter is dearer than the former, than his own life. Do not human beings stake their lives for love, wealth and fame etc, which cannot promise as much?
However, it is not everyone that can blossom into such a state of perfection, either of discipleship or Guruhood. They are always a handful, like the most eminent scientists, poets, or national leaders. Guruhood is the fruit of perfection in discipleship, and ideal discipleship is itself a fruit of much preparation and endeavor. To ensure these to the best possible extent for the largest number, the sages have enjoined a scheme of life: The growing boy and girl also in Vedic times-even before his mind is caught up in the web of ‘natural’ impulses born of wrong understanding, is left in the care of a learned man whose understanding was already stabilized enough to strive for the sole object of Self-Realization. This was called upanayana and it was performed between the ages of 7 and 9 years. For about 10 – 12 years, the growing boy leads a life of strict discipline of body, mind and conduct and prepares himself to lead a life as a continuous sacrament, aimed at achieving perfection. Those who gain unusual development among such Brahmacharis (celebates) are permitted to renounce all worldly ties and pursuits immediately and to dedicate themselves wholly to the task of Self-realization in the service of a Sadguru or a Perfect Master. Others are advised to accept their un preparedness for the task realistically and marry girls who too were trained to cooperate with these in leading the ideal domestic life. The so-called arranged marriages are the relics of this tradition. Other forms of marriage, like the one by mutual choice of the partners (Gandharva Vivaha) too were allowed, though the former was preferred.
In Vedic times, so say some Smriti (Law) texts, Upanayana was enjoined for girls too. Owing to the growing demands on domestic life of the girls, this seems to have gone out of use. Subsequently, the girl of 8-10 years was married to a youth so trained and he was to be her Guru, guide, philosopher, friend and lover in one. The ideal of a wife thus came to be a replica of the Guru-disciple relationship as described earlier. We can see the parallelism between the ways of life enjoined on a disciple and on an ideal wife (Pativrata) briefly in Sree Guru Charitra, and more elaborately in the Puranas and Smriti texts. The total love that developed between so perfectly matched pairs was that when the husband died, the wife found life so worthless that she preferred to immolate herself on the funeral pyre of her husband’s body (Sati Sahagamana). The inner feeling of self dedication impels such an act and ensures her the very best of spiritual states after death. Later, this custom degenerated into a mere matter of family pride when, in the modern age, society has come very benignly to prohibit the practice. But even this Sati Sahagamana is said to be inferior to that ideal of love-relationship in which even the very knowledge of the husband’s death led to the spontaneous and instantaneous death of the loving wife too. In its turn, this too was considered inferior to that power of woman’s loving faith which could revive her deceased husband, as depicted in the stories of Savitri and Satyavantha. The implication is that, just an ideal disciple, by the power of his devotion to and faith in the Guru as the divine Trinity in One, won supernatural powers, a Pativrata too can win the same state by similar loving faith in her husband. As the husband was trained by his Guru already in the right way of life, he is considered the lawgiver to his wife who pursues the same goal of life. As her sons too would be similarly trained, she is expected to be under their care, if her husband dies earlier than she i.e., if she cannot opt for Sati Sahagamana. Ultimately, it is God as guru that saves the ideally trained man and God as her husband saves an ideal housewife. Hence, it is specifically stated that a genuine spiritual teacher should initiate a woman only through her husband. This idea is implied when Sree Guru Charitra enjoins a woman to so revere her husband even if, in consequence of her misdeeds in a previous life, she were to obtain a husband who is wicked and cruel in this life. The same is implied when Sree Guru admonishes a seeker that forsook his Guru for being what seemed to him to be cruel and exacting. Besides, Sree Guru says to the said disciple that it is a sin even to see that face of one who forsakes his Guru. For it shows the latter’s unworthiness. So too, a window came to be looked upon as an omen of ill luck in the Indian society; for it was believed that her violation of the sanctity of marriage in some way in her previous life is responsible for her unfortunate condition in the present life. This might in fact be a device to ensure that a young widow takes all precautions to see that her own devotion to her late husband does not waver through free mingling with men and women. The life of a widow is, like that of a sannyasi, total dedication to spiritual endeavor. Only, the latter lives under the care of her sons or brothers, while the former wanders homeless.
Such a plan of life enables man to see through the lure of instinctive drives and to qualify for the guidance of a Sadguru. It takes many lives to perfect it and most of us fall off almost at every turn. The Sadguru perseveres through all of them to draw us again on to the path. This truth has been amply affirmed by even modern saints like Sai Baba of Shirdi and Swami Samarth of Akkalkot, the two latest avatars of Lord Dattatreya.
Sree Guru Charitra affirms the caste system of the Veda. The Veda views the society as an organism which naturally produces groups of individuals with different aptitudes and abilities, so that each group can function like a specialized organ, for the well being of the whole. But, as man is endowed with intelligence, playing his legitimate part in the life of the total system involves deliberate choice and discipline under the guidance of the sages; this ensures further development of the individual’s abilities which is imperative for his spiritual perfection. On the other hand, whenever faith in the system flags, the individuals attach fanciful values to certain occupations and scramble for them. In the ensuing struggle, the earlier identification of their groups with their names of castes plays havoc, as it is now doing in India.
To ensure against such decay, each of the castes was taught its won Dharma, its values and its relation to the Dharma of the others. The Sudra who serves the other three castes and enables them to function effectively is the foot on which the social organism or the Collective Soul stands. And hence devout Hindus bow to the feet of the Lord. Vaisya, the producer and trader of all goods and grain, depends immediately upon the Sudra; so he corresponds to the thighs of the Lord. The Kshatriya who guards law and order within the society and produce it from external aggression is said to have originated from the arms of the Lord. The Brahmin is the guardian of all branches of knowledge and their grand synthesis in the wisdom of the Self (Brahman). He, like the theoretician in the Marxist society, guides the material and the spiritual pursuits of the society in strict harmony and ensures that neither of them encroaches upon the other; the first three ashramas are the bedrock on which the fourth one stands and to which they lead.
Like all organisms, the social system too decays in time, despite all care. The direction of change is from its pristine state in the Krita Yuga to its total decay in the Kali Yuga. All through, the collective life-forces strives it bets to arrest and delay the process of social decay and repeatedly attempts to restore it as far as possible. The Collective Soul of mankind manifests itself as repeatedly the Spiritual Masters, the Gurus, to redefine tradition and to correct the aberrations of dogmatism. So did the Christ for the Jewish law and Mohammed for the Arab law. Thus the Smriti texts enjoin strict adherence to their dictates in general. They specifically state that the instructions of a perfect sage have precedence, when one can find such. So too, regarding the implementation of the law, one is told to follow the practice of the Wise as the model. Yet human nature being a part of the natural phenomenon of decay, we find orthodoxy fanatically adhering to its own forms of inhumanity in the name of sacred law, in spite of what the Gurus and traditional texts teach them. To counter this trend, the sages strengthen the faith and wisdom in the hearts of individuals, that the practice religious rites and rituals like yagnas and Vratas is an essential part of Karma or righteous action, intended to nullify the defects of past misdeeds and ensure proper motivation for right action in the future births.
The assurance of Sree Guru that he would forever abide at Gangapur and go round the village for bhiksha at noon is literally true even today. It is customary for devotees visiting the holy place to go for bhiksha too. On my second visit to the place in 1975, while partaking of it under a tree, I remarked to a south Indian sadhu who sat by me, that Sree Guru’s eternal presence might be a well-meant fabrication. At first, he seemed to doubt whether it would be worth the while to try to enlighten me. Later, his attitude changed. He said, “Listen, I have been visiting this place for a few decades. Once, as I was devoutly reading Sree Guru Charitra at the Sangama, I suddenly felt that I should try or recognize him some day when he comes for bhiksha and seek his blessing. Accordingly, I studied the holy book with ever greater zeal. At the same time, I began to observe every devotee that arrived there on days when visitors were the fewest, so that I can identify any other form in which Sree Guru might turn up for bhiksha. Day by day, my expectation grew up to a high pitch, when at last it was like an ecstasy that gripped my being throughout the day. One night, Sree Guru appeared in my dream like a pious Brahmin and said in stern voice, “Fellow, don’t try to catch me amidst the crowd of the visiting devotees it is my secret and it does not behove you to probe it.” The next minute, I woke up and reflected on the dream. I could vividly remember that despite his form and appearance, I was sure that he was Sree Guru. Evidently, my zealous prayer and trial have evoked a response from him. Having come thus far in my effort, should I relent? I decided to press on till I could achieve my object. Strangely enough, from that day onwards, I never again experienced that sense of his presence which swayed my whole being earlier. I was only quietly happy and assured that I was in sight of my success.
One day, the devotees at Gangapur were unusually fewer and it was my best opportunity to observe and note them individually. At about 7.30 Am., the moment I finished my dip in the river and came on the bank, I had a severe headache and high fever. I was feeling giddy and extremely weak. At once, I lay down under a tree and fell asleep. When I woke at about 3 p.m. I was quite well and hungry. It was long past the hour of bhiksha. Yet as it was vow to live only on bhiksha, I at once proceeded to a few houses and called out for the same. At all the places, I was told that they had nothing left to give me. At one house, when I doggedly pleaded, the master of the house was furious and said, “You seem to have come here only to fill your belly, you worthless sadhu! When you came for the noon-bhiksha, I gave you a roti!” I protested that I did not come for bhiksha that day at all. But a few passers by confirmed the man’s accusation. I had to give in and I quietly walked away, crest-fallen and weak. I knew that something had happened that I should face such a ridiculous situation. That evening, I felt weak and lost all my appetite and slept very early. Again, the same Brahmin appeared in my dream: Amidst laughter, he was telling his companions; how he had fooled me. At last, he said to me, ‘Yesterday, as you were asleep, I went in your form for bhiksha!’ Henceforth, I gave up my foolish attempt. Now I know that Sree Guru is here and is quite responsive.”
The sadhu met me the next day and incidentally told me that a few decades ago, the priests at the muth, on the eve of an important festival, was cleaning the padukas of Sree Guru with water and coconut fiber. The latter contained a small piece of coconut-shell. When the priest rubbed a little hard, there was a scratch on one of the padukas and blood oozed out of it. The priests were all quite scared and tried their best to stop it but in vain. They panicked and sent word to His Holiness, Sree Vasudevananda Saraswathi who was then camping nearby. The holy one rushed to the muth and, when he chanted a few verses glorifying Sree Guru, the bleeding stopped.
“Would the padukas bleed again, if………” I asked. “Perhaps they would if the Lord chooses to bless you with such an experience!” the sadhu replied. Indeed, experiences are personal and cannot be thus argued about. If we have such an experience, would it suffice another? Should we not put our hand to the plough and never turn back?
To Spiritual Aspirants
Identifying and contacting a Sadguru, a Perfect Master, is the crux of the problem of spiritual evolution of man, both collective and individual, especially in the present times, when the mass media and fanfare have made it more of a craze than a serious pursuit. Yet, fortunately for the serious-minded, there is a hope and a clear way: the devout study of Sree Guru Charitra.
The phenomenon is analogous to that of remote control initially, leading to immediate, personal contact: a gadget must be capable of receiving the remote commands; the seeker too has to evolve in himself, some potential which can respond positively to the subtle, all pervasive spiritual field of the Master. The study of Sree Guru Charitra does just this for us.
The study of Sree Guru Charitra focuses our inherently extrovert awareness on that spiritual potential in us, of which Sree Guru is an objective manifestation, an Archetype, a sort of reflector of our awareness on to its original Self. As we persevere deli gently, our awareness gets oriented to his presence every moment of our life. At one stage, the message is strong and unmistakable: the goal, the Perfect Master is sighted. In his perpetual immediate presence, our potential matures and the Seeker and the Sought become One. Till then, Sree Guru Charitra is the Master, this end of this innate tie. And such a one never proclaims him self to the world. For him there is no world apart from his Master, no seeking for disciples and no need of constant reassurance of his credentials to anyone. The path may seem too long for some. But if one is genuinely interested in it, the pleasure of it is the journey; only such a one reaches the goal. For, it is not an outward journey with spatial and temporal implications, but is an inward ripening. The fruit ripens through contact with the tree.
The proper method of studying this text is to begin it on a Thursday and to conduct it as below: Keep a beautiful picture of Sree Dattatreya and or of Sree Guru. Offer a light or a candle, joss sticks, flowers and sandal paste. Invoke HIS presence by chanting the verse in praise of the Guru, i.e., “Gurur Brahma” meaning, “Guru is the creator (Brahma), the preserver (Vishnu) and the annihilator (Maheshwara); Guru is the Absolute Himself. Adorations to such a Guru”. Then offer a few pieces of candy to Him. Then read the book as follows: The first day 7 chapters; second and third days, 4 chapters each; and thereafter 2 chapters per day. On the concluding day, feed three or at least one pious Brahmin, sadhu or a poor man. We must look upon him as the form of Sree Guru. We keep reading like this over and over again. One may read it once in 3 days or even a day, ardently seeking His guidance.
Vijayadasami Acharya E. Bharadwaja 1987