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Attainments and Qualifications of the Guru

Trividham Pramanam – Guru’s Proof and Testimony
a) Anubhava – Direct Perception of Reality
b) Yukti – Inference and reason
c) Shruti – Authority of the Scriptures
Trividyacharya – Adept of the ancient ashrama
a) Vidya-snataka – master of a spiritual science
b) Vrata-snataka – master of a spiritual discipline
c) Vidya-vrat-snataka – master of science and discipline
Apta – Preceptor possessing the three noble qualities
a) Tattva Darshana – Realization of Reality
b) Karunya – Motivation to remove suffering
c) Karana Patava – Strength and Expertise
Triyogacharya – Master of the three rare yogas
a) Buddhi Yoga – Perfection of mind and intellect
b) Asparsha Yoga – Master of witness consciousness
c) Nirudyoga – Constant union with Brahman
Acharyachatushtaya – Holder of the four qualifications
a) Akamahata – Devoid of personal desires
b) Shotriya – Knows the essence of the scriptures
c) Avrijina – Leads a pure and stainless life
d) Brahmavittama – Is a knower of Brahman
Purnayogi – The consummate luminary
a) Avyavahara – Free of worldly concerns and desires
b) Prapti-prapya – Fully satisfied in the Self
c) Nirdvandva – Beyond gunas and dualities

The Guru, rightly seen, is God in human form. Obversely, the Guru, wrongly beheld, or mistakenly evaluated, is an open doorway to the land of lost souls. Swami Vivekananda informs us, “Too much faith in personality has a tendency to produce weakness and idolatry, but intense love for the Guru makes rapid growth possible.” Thakur Sri Ramakrishna adds His salutary advice as well, declaring the age-old allurements of pleasure, power and profit to be the culprits: “People with a little occult power gain such things as name and fame. Many of them want to follow the profession of guru, gain people’s recognition, and make disciples and devotees. These beings turn the profession of teacher into that of a prostitute. It is the selling of oneself for the trifle of money, honor and creature comforts.” This is a huge problem in the world today. Thousands flock to such beings and their organizations, all the while imagining them to be spiritually oriented when they are not much more than a sideshow for demonstrating occult powers and a marketplace for the selling of religious wares.

The true blessings of spiritual life, then, must not be overlooked or allowed to become tarnished in any way. One of the ills of organized, formalized religion in the West is that the guru/disciple relationship has never received the strong footing it deserves. Instead, the church has taken its place. This absence in spiritual life of the one-on-one communion of teacher and student, the presence of which is seen in every other aspect of our society, has robbed us of divine potential, stifled our souls, and rendered religion helpless to save or inform us. As a result, our sense of reverence and worship has been distorted by being obtusely mixed with and directed towards politics, business and sports. We falsely worship the powerful, the successful and the musclebound, forgetting God. Thus, Swami Vivekananda states, “The mind takes up various objects, runs into all sorts of things. That is the lower state. There is a higher state, when it takes up one subject, and excludes all others, of which samadhi is the result.” With all this in mind, relevant to both the spiritual and terrestrial realms, he also stated, “Every system that weakens the mind, makes one superstitious, makes one mope, makes one desire all sorts of wild impossibilities, mysteries and superstitions, I do not like, because its effect is dangerous. Such systems never bring any good; such things create morbidity in the mind, make it weak, so weak that in the course of time it will be almost impossible to receive truth or live up to it.”

Guruyoga introduces the sincere and aspiring mind to authentic spirituality. Wherever beings congregate, it will ever be a subject of contemplation. And related topics will be legion — Brahman, Ishvara, sadhana, maya, etc. The knowers of Brahman will talk about nondual Reality, the devotees will focus on Ishvara. Aspirants will discuss sadhana, and the worldly will talk about their suffering. But all must and will be exposed to that which duly and deftly transforms human nature into an image of pure Spirit — the touch of the master’s hand.

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