Posted by: Harsha • Aug 15th, 2003
My Dearest and Wonderful Friends:
Thinking of all of you makes me smile with love, wonder, and gratitude.
This Sangha, is a spiritual fellowship and a circle of friendship. Sri Ramana Maharshi and other sages have said that Satsang, company of good friends, purifies the mind and makes it steady on the spiritual path and in devotion to the Lord of the Heart. Satsang facilitates spiritual growth and leads to Self-Realization. Satsang is about acceptance and not rejection. It is not about going away from anything but seeing where we already are, in the Heart. Home is where the Heart is. If we are able to see that it is the same Heart everywhere, then we have seen at once through the eyes of all living beings. The tenderness that vision brings in our live makes us want to embrace everyone we meet and bless the whole cosmos with peace and happiness. The origin of Ahimsa, the philosophy of nonviolence, lies in that Self-Realization, that we are all One Heart.
How does one start and where does one start on this path of beauty and friendship and love? It is really a matter of shifting our perspective and bringing attention to the possibility of knowing who we are and what love is. One starts where one already is, one travels where one already is, and one ends up where one already is. Of course, this need not imply that there is never a journey from any perspective. In the journey of life, faith and trust in God, in Guru, in Teacher, in friends, in Love, can and do play a role. This term “Guru” is much overused now and many people are turned off by it. Nevertheless, I like the term. I used to call my teacher Chitrabhanuji, “Gurudev.”
In the East, we use the term “Guru” quite a bit. We call our teachers Guru and our parents Guru. Sometimes we call our children, spouses, and friends Guru in jest. If we are irritated with someone, we say “Guru-ji, you know everything, you are a great knower, but too bad your own life is so screwed up! Go away and take your advice with you and teach someone else and please leave me alone!”
Although the term “Guru” is ridiculed sometimes, on the spiritual path it is an important notion. Notion of the Guru, the teacher of spiritual wisdom, is important in almost all Eastern traditions. Who is the True Guru? Sri Ramana Maharshi, the Sage of Arunachala, has said that the True Guru is always the Heart. Your Own Heart, where the Lord resides in fullness as limitless consciousness as Sat-Chit-Ananda.
Sometimes we feel that an outer Guru is needed to guide us. The Guru may be Jesus, or Krishna, or Buddha, or Ramana or someone of your choice depending on your religion or spiritual faith. You need not have a social relationship with the Guru. The True Guru is always the Heart, that is one’s own Self, and the light of that Heart is reflected in outer gurus and outer teachers.
Gurudev (my teacher Chitrabhanu-ji) used to say that a real teacher is like an ice cube. She or He cools your consciousness and then disappears leaving no trace. Self-Realization is like that. It leaves no trace of the path, but road maps are drawn anyway. They are not bad, these road maps, so no need to discount them. They may not be perfect, but perfection is not required, because perfection is already inherent in us.
A True Guru is like a bridge. One end of the bridge invites us to use our energy and start walking (that is the method). The other end of the bridge invites one to rest (that is the goal). The last step is not easy and so there is the Guru existing as the bridge inviting us to take it, to take the last step and to see with our own eyes, our true nature. Faith and trust are helpful at some stage. To allow for that faith to flower is Grace. Guru is Grace.
Once the bridge is crossed, the method and the goal merge, and the Guru, the bridge, the teachings, all disappear into the Heart, Pure Being, Pure Consciousness. The ancients called It Sat-Chit-Ananda. Sat means that which is Self-Existence, and Chit means Consciousness which is fully aware of It Self as Self-Knowledge, that being its very Self-Nature. Ananda means that which is Self-Bliss. One monolithic whole described as three from the perspective of the mind, but One simultaneously. Fully empty of all things and yet Fullness It Self. That is the sheer beauty of It!
One can enjoy words and philosophy and still remain indifferent to rigid positions and views. To be easy and natural is the way. What is the easiest thing to do for you? Perhaps it’s just breathing in and breathing out and blessing the whole cosmos with each breath.
My dearest friends, even though prejudice, hatred, violence, and wars are embedded in world history, these have never been able to completely overshadow the enormous capacity many people have demonstrated in every age, to love, to nurture, to heal, to be peacemakers, and to forgive without reservation.
Even when there is darkness all around, if one candle is lit, there is potential for other candles to be lit through it. That is the beauty of the Sangha. Be that Candle. Keep the flame of your love burning, so others can learn to love through you, and the light of wisdom and compassion will guide your way.
Lots of Love
The image was taken by Sumida at Songkran in Thailand, 2002.