This article is from the book Walk in This Light.
‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’ together mean ‘the remover of darkness’–the remover of darkness and the giver of light. It means that through his life, teachings and personal example he fulfils the ancient prayer Tamaso ma Jyotir Gamaya. (Lead us from the darkness to the light.) Now, are you earnestly, enthusiastically and determinedly trying to fulfil in your own life what you are praying for in that prayer? That is a crucial question.
Radiant children of Light! Beloved and blessed Sadhakas upon the spiritual path, sincerely aspiring to lead the spiritual life of servicefulness, worshipfulness, meditativeness and God-awareness. To you all assembled together here, please ponder in whose presence you live and move. You live in the presence of Gurudev, one who is known as a Guru, and your ancient scriptures bring out the implication of this term ‘Guru.’
‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’ together mean ‘the remover of darkness’–the remover of darkness and the giver of light. It means that through his life, teachings and personal example he fulfils the ancient prayer Tamaso ma Jyotir Gamaya (Lead us from the darkness to the light). Now, are you earnestly, enthusiastically and determinedly trying to fulfil in your own life what you are praying for in that prayer? That is a crucial question. You may pray to God for light and for the illumination of your inner being, but at the same time you may live in such a way that in many small details you are shutting out the light–both the light coming from without as well as the light within, so that it has no opportunity to shine and illumine your interior.
There is this prayer towards the end of the Isa Upanishad: “Radiant, shining light in the heavens, please remove this covering that hides You so that we may behold Your shining face.” But then, we also have to try to remove the covering from our vision. If we in our personal life and in our relationships with others are not continuously removing from our own eyes anything that hides the vision, then even if God should give us Darshan today–He stands there right in front of us in all His glorious splendour–we will not be able to behold Him, because we have our eyes open only to behold other things. We are not open to see the subtle reality that is hidden within the outer names and forms.
If you pray day-after-day, “Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms,” but you behold only the gross outer name and form, then how can you behold Him Who is in all names and forms? If you ask for Him to reveal Himself through names and forms, you also have to try in every moment and in every step of your life to continuously keep on this process of seeing through the names and forms and affirming the Reality within. You have to do this process of taking away from your inner vision, your heart and mind this narrow view of, “This is a being, this is a thing, this is an object that is to be enjoyed through the Indriyas.” Like that, if you see only the objects of enjoyment and only persons with certain specific relationships with you, then how can your consciousness rise above this mundane consciousness of this earth plane?
If a great one such as Tulsidas realised something, in what way are you the gainer? He is the gainer, as he beheld through his earnest efforts. He has enriched himself, he has blessed himself, but if we continue to only see the names and forms, in what way do we stand to gain? We gain nothing. Therefore, if we can strive diligently to keep our eyes and inner awareness open and to keep ourselves open only to the Reality, and we close our eyes to the apparent passing appearances, then day-after-day our relationship with all things around us will change. We will be ultimately enabled to live in this life and yet maintain a state of God-awareness and spiritual-consciousness. We maintain a state of being in this world but not of this world.
We are not related to things in the way that a common man of ignorance is related to things. For him, the world is a field for enjoyment, filled with objects of sense experience. However, to the Sadhaka there is lessening attraction for the world, because he knows that all names and forms are merely temporary and perishable appearances, and he is ever intent only upon beholding the Reality. He ever strives to live in the light of the wisdom and the vision given by the remover of darkness and the bringer of Light, which the Guru is and which all the scriptures are. The scriptures exist in order to remove darkness and bring the Light of a new vision into our eyes–both the physical eyes as well as the inner psychological vision–where we are ever intent upon beholding the Reality that is hidden and not the appearance that covers and hides It.
We want to see the indwelling Reality in all beings. We are intent upon seeing that all-pervading Presence and not being satisfied by remaining confined to this little narrow vision of name and form: “This is an object of enjoyment, this is a person from whom I can gain an advantage,” and so on. Like that, people are regarded as the source of advantage and gain or of being of use to us or of being pleasing to us in some way.
All this can be transcended only if we are ever making effort in all our movements to continuously remove the covering of names and forms. Just as the ancient seeker prayed to the Lord in the Isa Upanishad, we continuously engage ourselves as part of our Sadhana to behold Bhagavan and not the name and form. We behold the Purusha and not the outer Prakriti covering and hiding the Purusha. As part of our Sadhana, we are ever doing Vichara to see the Nitya hidden in the Anitya. If we are constantly engaged in doing that, then our prayer, “Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms,” will be backed by our own life and action. When our prayers and actions become mutually complementary and supplementary–supporting and furthering each other–then life will flower into divinity.
Here and now we can enjoy the divine vision and experience, the divine peace and joy. We can be rooted in the Divine Light which is the quintessential Sadhana; we live in the awareness of the Divine that pervades all things. So, prayer should be backed by Purushartha to make the prayer one’s own experience. Both should go hand-in-hand. Prayer without Purushartha becomes empty. Purushartha without prayer becomes fruitless and futile. Both are necessary. A motor is necessary, but petrol is also necessary; a motor without petrol will be of no use, and petrol alone without a motor will be of no use. When both of them coordinate together, we have power and movement. Prayer is the life of the inner spiritual structure, and Sadhana is the outer mechanism of the spiritual life, and both coordinate together in oneness.
Therefore, let us sincere aspirants, earnest Yogis and Sadhakas all try to realise this central truth and integrate our life into a mutually complementary process–the inner and outer supporting and supplementing each other. This is the way to peace and joy. This is the way to true blessedness. Hari Om.