'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…
It was interesting that last Saturday's ('Story-day') post was extremely popular; nothing beats hearing from the Master's mouth! All we achaaryas who have trained at the Guru's feet can certainly pass on the message as clearly and as entertainingly as we may, but the difference between us and Him is that we are still, to all intents and purposes, students. Until the attainment of the ultimate spiritual practice in the full flight of meditation, every single one of us nothing more than a seeker, regardless of how advanced that seeking may be.
Until that moment of Absolute Realisation, it is all case of seeking.
When we then listen to one who has reached that pinnacle, even if the words used be the same as in every day life, somehow, in some deep and shiny part of our being, we know we are listening to Essential Truth. It happens at such a subtle level, that quite often, we can miss what is happening. If we have our inner defences up, we are still affected by the words of the Master and, do what we may, it starts to rattle our inner walls and we are forced to think about what has been said, to properly hold up the item for investigation, perhaps even to rethink our stance. To hold on to an idea beyond its use-by date is folly indeed.
It can be shaky ground, this finding that there really is such a thing as 'a Master'! For those of us who have strong intellect and consider ourselves good at thinking processes and possibly have pride in the arguments we put forward ourselves and keen to hold onto our pet theories, to find that there is in intellect so towering, so clear and unshakeable, whose logic is undeniable, will have one of two effects; we will set our standard and refuse to budge, or we will lower our challenge and yield to the possibility of truly learning more.
In the first case, we not only disrespect the Master, but ourselves. The Master, due to His nature, is not at all bothered, though may be saddened on our behalf for the loss of our potential. By holding onto an argument so fiercely that it brooks no possibility of extending and blossoming to something even greater we are disrespecting ourselves even more.
In the second case, even if that Master does not end up as our final Guru, we have opened ourselves fully to all possibilities and thanks to the grace showered from His words, we become like the flower awaiting the bee for pollination. In this condition, our Satguru (true teacher) will find us. It will happen as naturally as that.
Be clear; we are not talking charismatic cultism, individualised doctrines or total scam artists. There are indeed many false gurus in the world, East, West, North and South. They prey on the needy, the greedy and weedy. Even in Vedanta there are to be found a few who would bend it to their own ends. However, to be fair, the nature of the philosophy is such that this is less the case than amongst those who would follow the path of mysticism (Tantra), or the physical (Ashtanga) or who would propitiate the ritualistic aspects of faith as a basis for control and abuse thereof. Sadly, due to such as these, there are many who become disillusioned or strongly outspoken against the guru system and/or religion in general. False gurus/priests must be taken out of the system, that is not denied.
This is why parampara is so very important. Know the lineage of the Guru. Understand that the errors of any student who would teach under the auspices of such a lineage are only the student's and never the Master's. Know that the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta stands as strong now as at the time of its inception and that it demands of all who undertake its study that they not simply take the words of the teacher as their only means of approaching it, but that such seekers research for themselves, question, debate and apply its principles, thus continually proving the theory. This is what has held Vedanta in place for centuries. It presents its principles and points as parameters of an experiment in life. Applied correctly, it is discovered by each successive generation to be a True and Purposeful philosophy which helps us to engineer life and overcome many of the common faults and hurdles which torment Mankind. Our human condition has ever been thus. The wise will rise and grasp this life raft and never let go.