Guru Tattva I: The Glories of Guru Bhakti

August 27th, 2004

August 27, 2004
Sri Vrindavana dhama
Guru Tattva I: The Glories of Guru Bhakti
Sadhu-sanga is the single most important component for spiritual advancement on the path of bhakti. It has three components: the sadhu, our relationship with him, and our own receptivity. All are important, but in many ways our receptiveness is the most essential, for unless we open our hearts with faith, how will we benefit from sadhu-sanga?
I am thus going to discuss the subject of discipleship found in Sri Bhakti-sandarbha in the section where guru-tattva is analyzed. I will do this by commenting on two main verses quoted by Sri Jiva beginning with a very famous text from the Svetasvatara Upanishad:

“Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed.”

Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.23

“Implicit faith” refers to guru bhakti, devotion to the spiritual master. Why does guru bhakti help reveal the import of the sastra? It's because bhakti is the humble position of giving oneself to God and His devotees with love and it takes saranagata, or surrender. Bhakti thus naturally entails ridding oneself of the false ego, the consciousness that separates us from the Absolute Reality. As the ultimate aim of all scriptural studies is the eradication of false ego, one who has embraced guru bhakti, the position of humble servant, has intuitively understood the import of all scriptures. It's simple. When one understands the essence of a thesis, one has naturally understood the relevance of its parts. In other words, a humble soul, who has given himself to God through the Lord's devotees, upon hearing the sastra naturally, understands its intended import, others will not.
How many times have we witnessed prideful souls independent of guru miss even the most fundamental devotional precepts of humility and service, even when they are expert in intellectualizing and quoting sastra?
Guru bhakti, the mood of humble servant, thus acts like a password to the domain of sastra. Without it, we have no access to it.

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