Guru Purnima – Honouring the Teacher
Guru Purnima is an opportunity to honour and celebrate all spiritual teachers. At the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga this is especially a time to honour Babaji and the many gifts and blessings he has given through his teachings, spiritual practices, and the inspiring example of his own life.
We have many teachers throughout our lives, beginning with our parents, and then our teachers in school. Some may have been inspiring, others not, but through them we learn about what life in the world is like. A spiritual teacher, on the other hand, teaches not about the world but about ourselves, and guides us in seeking the truth.
A spiritual teacher directs us to ask questions, such as: Why am I here? What is my purpose? Who am I?
The aim of life is to live in peace. A teacher is not much of a guide except to show the right path for attaining peace, and to point out that another path goes in the wrong direction. In both cases you have to walk by yourself.
If you have faith in a person who is on the spiritual path, whose life is a model for you, whose teachings are acceptable to you, whom you can trust, and for whom you feel devotion, that person is your spiritual teacher.
The teacher’s role is to point in the direction of finding peace, truth, God. The student’s job is to walk the path.
The understanding of love, God, or nothingness can’t be taught by words, correspondence, or by reading books, just as sweetness can’t be described. A teacher or guru can only point toward a tree and say, “Look there is a bird sitting on a branch.” The guru’s duty is finished and the student’s duty begins. He or she tries to see the bird, moves his head up, down, sideways, and sometimes asks, “Where is the bird?” The teacher again points a finger and says, “Look straight along my finger.” The student finally sees the bird. The act of seeing is within, and one only needs to use his or her vision in the right manner.
The most important thing is the perfection of aim. When you are determined to attain God, then all your work will start channeling toward God. Your garden will be God’s garden, your hiking will be for God, your family will be God’s family. The ego of me and mine will disappear. Whether you work for your family or for society does not make any difference because it is all God’s work.
Devotion to a teacher is to respect and love that teacher. Attachment gets so dense that a person doesn’t feel the difference between God and Guru. And truly they are not different.
All answers are inside us and we have to realize them by ourselves. When one realizes that knowledge can be attained through one’s own sadhana, one’s own Self becomes the guru. Everything becomes clear step by step.
Please join us in celebrating Guru Purnima
Guru Purnima Schedule
Tuesday, July 16 in the Pond Dome
- 9:00 – Welcome and invocation to Ganesh, the remover of obstacles on our spiritual path.
- 9:15 – 11 repetitions of the Hanuman Chalisa
- 10:45 – Guru Purnima Yajna (prayers, yajna with mantra, offerings)
- 1:30 – community meal
All quotes in italics are from writings by Baba Hari Dass