Part 4: Who is the Spiritual Master – The Guru and Traditions
The Guru and Traditions in East
India’s very spiritual foundations rest on the Guru – the God realised Spiritual Master. Right from the Upanishads to the most recent Puranas we can see that for those who want to know the Truth, the various scriptures urge and in most cases command one to seek the guidance of a Guru – one who has realised the Ultimate Truth. In the Bhagavad Gita we see how despite Krishna being the cousin, friend and charioteer of Arjuna, for so many years
Krishna says in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, verse 34:
“One should approach a spiritual Master with submission, extensive enquiry and service. Such realised souls can instruct you, for they have seen the Truth.”
The Srimad Bhagavatham also declares in Canto 7, Chapter 15, Verse 26:
“The guru, who is the light on the path, must be considered the Supreme Lord in person and he who considers him and what he heard from him as being mortal and time-bound, is like an elephant that has bathed [and thereafter takes a dust bath]”
Every branch of Indian spirituality, whether it is Vaishnavism or Shaivism, or any of the Yoga traditions, all of them stress the need to dedicate oneself to a spiritual Master. The saints and Gurus are the very backbone of the spiritual culture. Ideas such as the Divinity of the Self, the notion of God realisation, unity consciousness, different stages of Divine Love all of these would remain as mere ideas were it not for the Guru. It is the Master that gives reality to the statements of scripture. He is the embodiment of what we are seeking, He is the evidence of Truth itself, and He is the one who can awaken it in others.
The Guru within a Spiritual lineage
Tradition has a system in place known as Parampara or disciplic succession. The Guru formally initiates his disciple, who in turn dedicates his life to his master. The disciple is taught and trained. Eventually the wisdom and indeed the actual realisation of the Guru is poured into the disciple. At the appropriate time that same disciple assumes the role of the Guru and passes his realisation to the next qualified disciple. In this way various spiritual lineages or sampradayas have been formed.
A Guru initiated into a sampradaya is seen by tradition to be authorised since he has received the grace that has been passed down from previous masters. He is also seen to be an authority in interpreting scripture and carrying out spiritual practice. Initiation with such a Guru means entry and acceptance of the grace, authority and philosophy of a certain line of Guru-disciplic succession. A Guru that accurately adheres to the principles of tradition provides a steady context for the spiritual seeker to confidently give himself to the path.
Meet the Master Online
Paramahamsa Vishwananda is giving the personal blessings online now, via His new online darshans. This event used to take place around the world in person but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is not possible. Therefore, Paramahamsa Vishwananda is entering the homes of 1000’s of people across the world by His online Darshans taking place via Zoom. Darshan means ‘divine sight’, the experience of seeing and being seen by the Divine. Receiving darshan from a fully realised Spiritual Master who lives in constant union with the Divine is rare, and a special treasure not to be missed. Despite the restrictions, Paramahamsa Vishwananda’s darshans are unique, in that He gives personal eye to eye blessings.
If you would like to attend on online darshan with Paramahamsa Vishwananda, either exclusively with only participants from the UK, Canada, USA and Ireland on 01 July 2020, 5:00pm.