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Can the Guru assure you of liberation? || (2020)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
44 reads

* * ਅਉਧ ਘਟੈ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਰੈਣਾਰੇ ॥ ਮਨ ਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿ ਕਾਜ ਸਵਾਰੇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

a-oDh ghatai dinas rainaaray. man gur mil kaaj savaaray. rahaa-o.

The life passes day and night. My mind, meet the Guru so that he sets things right: meet the Guru so that he attaches you to the recitation of the name of God.

~ Guru Granth Sahib 13-15 (Sohila Sahib, Raag Gauri Purvi, Fifth Mehla)

✥ ✥ ✥

* * ਜਾ ਕਉ ਆਏ ਸੋਈ ਬਿਹਾਝਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਰ ਤੇ ਮਨਹਿ ਬਸੇਰਾ ॥

jaa ka-o aa-ay so-ee bihaajhahu har gur tay maneh basayraa.

Make the deal for which you have come to the world. Recite the name of God, and through the Grace of the Guru The Lord will settle in your mind.

~ Guru Granth Sahib 13-17 (Sohila Sahib, Raag Gauri Purvi, Fifth Mehla)

✥ ✥ ✥

Questioner: Your talks and pointings are the best thing that has happened to me. But being an undernourished soul who does not recite His name enough, my mind struggles with greed and fear. Please assure me that you are my Guru and you will take me outside the cycle of birth and death. Somewhere inside I can see that I am still looking for a guarantee, but I can’t help myself. Today is my birthday, and I beg you for this eternal gift.

Acharya Prashant: I am. And what I am is full of love for you. It is a promise that I will keep inviting you always. It is a promise that I will never withdraw or disappear. That should be enough. But going by your question, that is not enough for you. You want an assurance, a guarantee, as you said.

The role of the Guru is to be present. That is his being; that is his definition; that’s who he is, and that’s not merely his role—presence. The Guru is not going away anywhere, rest fully assured. But you are not assured; you want more. And you are saying it is your birthday and you want a birthday gift.

I said the role, the being, the very mandate of the Guru is to just be present. And presence does not mean interference. The Guru’s presence is a passive one; it does not impose itself. But through these words, you have asked for trouble for yourself and for me. You do not merely want a presence, you want a presence that assures you of itself. You want a presence that actively comes and tells you, “I am here.” You do not merely want the father to be in the house; you want him to come to you twice, thrice, four times in the night and check upon you. Therefore, I said you are inviting trouble for yourself and for me.

I am anyway there, but now that you have asked for a gift, I am gifting you my intrusive presence. That is not given to the Guru to do. In some sense, it is a violation of the Guru’s maryādā (limits). The Guru must be there, teach, and stop; otherwise it becomes an interference in the freedom of the other. I have repeatedly said that even God respects the freedom inherent in Prakṛti (physical nature) and jīva (living being). The ego too enjoys a certain freedom that God does not meddle with, and the freedom of the ego lies in being free to choose or reject God.

So, God remains present, but never obtrusive. He lets the ego take its time; He lets the ego choose on its own. He may send messengers, He may create conditions, He may knock, He may show the Light; but He would never decide on your behalf or live your life on your behalf. That’s a choice you have to make—how to live.

But if in love the ego decides to surrender its freedom, then even God has no choice but to accept the offering. God will never take away the little ego’s little freedom forcefully, but the little ego can offer its little freedom as a loving gift in surrender to God, and then that gift is accepted. It is never taken, but it can be accepted.

The assurance that you are talking of is actually a gift that you want to make. You are saying you forever want to remain the student. In asking me to forever be the Guru, you are actually saying that you forever want to remain the student. In committing that you forever want to remain the student, you are actually surrendering your right to not be a student. Do you see that?

Apparently you have written that I am the Guru and I must remain the Guru, and that’s what you are asking for. But it’s not something from me that you ask for; I am anyway and always there. It’s something that you are asking from yourself; you are asking from yourself that you would forever remain a student. And in committing that you would forever remain a student, you are giving up your right to not be a student. You are surrendering the little ego’s little freedom.

I said it gets both of us in trouble, because the ego sometimes, in a moment of light, in a moment of revelation, in a moment of love, does surrender itself, and later on it regrets. It says, “May I have that back, please? You know, I left something with you. Mera kuch saamaan tumhaare paas padaa hai (Some of my belongings are lying with you).” But now that you are giving it, let me be a little greedy. I think I’ll take the opportunity.

But in accepting what you are saying, I said I am violating the Guru’s maryādā and creating trouble for myself, because this would now require a more active relationship. Now I cannot just shine the light; now I will have to enter your room. That’s not really the Guru’s mandate; that is beyond the Guru’s brief.

But love makes strange things happen, so probably this is going to happen. Alright, I don’t want to find you complaining now. You asked for it.

Happy birthday!

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