Nature and Essence of the Guru
Guru Purnima issue: Friday, July 23, 2021
In POS Trinidad, Purnima Tithi Begins - 01:13 AM on Jul 23, 2021 Purnima Tithi Ends - 10:36 PM on Jul 23, 2021
Full moon day during Ashadha month is known as Guru Purnima day. Traditionally this day is reserved for Guru Puja or Guru Worship. On this day disciples offer Puja or pay respect to their Gurus. Guru refers to spiritual guide who enlightens disciples by His knowledge and teachings, or because He is in Oneness with the Supreme like our Sadguru.
Guru Purnima is also known as Vyasa Purnima and this day is commemorated as birth anniversary of Veda Vyasa. Veda Vyasa was the author as well as a character in the Hindu epic war the Mahabharata.
Appaji :Ashadha month (moon full in purvashadha nakshatra) is teeming with activity as all life forms are busy replicating themselves.
Guru Tattva - Part 1
Trinidad was in the mind of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidanaanda Swamiji ( Sri Appaji, as He is now fondly called) the present living Avadoota of Dattatreya since He was a young boy! He came across the Sararipu River or Saptarishi Nadi, along with his grandfather when the latter was reading the Brahmanda Purana. In reply to His grandfather's query about its location,
Swamiji then intuited in His meditation that it was in Trinidad. So in 1976, from New York He came to Trinidad for two days, and bathed near the spot known as 'Four Tunnels' in what was now our Aripo River! The rest, as they say, is history. During the early days, He searched for and reconnected with old souls and visited places which he knew from previous births. As a Muni Raja thousands of years ago, He had promised His subjects to return when they and His former kingdom were in trouble! He helps everyone who seeks refuge in Him and created the Dattatreya Yoga Center on a site where He said that He had had an Ashram before.
Thus, it remains spiritually enhanced with strong vibrations. This Guru Purnima we are humbled by His innumerable blessings over the years and gratefully thank Him for them!
Why worship Sri Appaji on the Guru Purnima in particular?
The greatness of the Sadguru, especially an Avadhoota like Param Pujya Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, is impossible to describe! We can never praise or worship Him
From early visits to Trinidad, our Sadguru introduced us to Pada Puja/ Paduka Puja, worship of the holy Feet of the Sadguru, awakening feelings of devotion like Bharata to Sri Rama within His devotees! “Don’t feel the Datta Padukas are separate from the Datta Murti. They are One!” He revealed His connection to Trinidad and in particular, the greatness of
Aripo Datta Kashi Nath, the holy Teertha/pilgrimage spot cradled in the lush, cool, green, Aripo Heights. By the inspiration of Swami Manasa's talks with devotees here, this sacred Teertha was developed with the sacred Sadguru Padas here also! The latter were then inaugurated by Sri Appaji, Himself. At this sacred Sangam, with its seven mystical underground streams as well, the Saptarishis are ever present to bless ardent devotees. Thus this Teertha was likened by Sri Appaji to the confluence of Rivers Krishna, Bheem and Amaraja in Ganagapur, India, where Lord Dattatreya had resided as Sri Narasimha Saraswati!
Sri Appaji has told also that Purnima means full, and the full moon represents that full, complete bliss that Sadguru’s Grace bestows on the true seeker, made easier to obtain through worship of the Guru on Guru Purnima Day!
Why water is so important? Chandra Mata is best represented by flowing water which gives us health, wealth, our mother, education, happiness. These are a few of the blessings we get when we know how to utilise it in worship. We are reminded that our Sadguru was born in the powerful waters of Brahma Kunda in Mekedatu also.
Sadguru Sampradaya---- the Guru -disciple tradition
In addition, Sri Appaji has explained the greatness of the Sadguru, together with the Guru/Dattatreya Tradition, from since His early visits, for the benefit of devotees, many of whom were not aware of it! As traditional Hindus we were not used to a lot of the South Indian rituals. Our Sadguru introduced us to Sree Chakra- the highest Devi worship, virtually unknown here before, which He performs daily for the benefit of all mankind! Often, He reminded us that the Incarnations of Lord Vishnu are not fables! Lord Dattatreya is the sixth Incarnation. In the early days Sri Appaji predicted to us, “One day in the future, Swamiji’s visits to Port of Spain will also become a ‘fable’!”
Sadguru - Light of Divine Wisdom and Truth
Once you are a seeker of Truth, no matter your caste, class, race, religion , gender, age or nationality, the Light of Datta, which witnesses all thoughts, words and deeds, hidden in the core of every devotee, will bless you by revealing Itself to you, protecting, guiding and blessing you as needed! The Path of Sadguru is one of inclusion, not exclusion. Haven’t we seen this demonstrated often by our Sadguru? His actions often remind us of Sri Rama, who blessed the humble, devoted Shabari in the forest! Indeed, we cannot thank Him enough for shining His Light on us, finding us in this western ‘forest’ of Trinidad, and by extension, on so many other parts of the world! As we know, the Padukas keep moving throughout all the worlds to illumine everyone and everywhere!
Sadguru Datta Sachchidananda--Guru of all the worlds, all sincere seekers
In fact, His Grace which falls on all kinds of seekers from Presidents to paupers, gods to sinners like Nemi whose story He expounds in ‘Sri Guru Gita’, is boundless! For example, Sri Appaji had blessed an unknown young Tobagonian on His first visit to Tobago, asking the youth to take a photo with Him.
Pets, animals or plants, all Nature, oceans, waterfalls and rivers constantly come under His watchful protection! In an early visit here, He made a special night outing to watch the Leatherback turtles, and blessed one which He said had been a devotee whom He had promised to seek out and bless when a turtle.
Sri Dattatreya, as our Sadguru Incarnate, was instructed by Sri Jayalakshmi Mata, His mother and Guru, and by Sages Bharadwaja and Narad Maharishi, to go abroad and seek out His lost souls who were connected to Him in the past and once more uplift them to seekers of Truth and Dharma! By some western philosophers, Dattatreya was thought of as the ‘Silent Watcher’, which forms the focus of our Sadguru’s famous bhajan, “Dattatreya Trimurthi Roopa”, the ‘Guardian of the three worlds’! Sadguru is beyond the Gunas, That Supreme Parabrahman, as the popular mantra which all Hindus learn from childhood here, “Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnuhu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara…”, describes Him, so knowingly or unknowingly, no matter your guru or deity, you are praying to Sri Dattatreya.
Furthermore, the first Navagraha Temple in Trinidad was established at the Dattatreya Yoga Centre in Carapichaima. Kriya Yoga, which was first propagated by Lord Dattatreya, and which was taught here since 1981 by Sri Appaji, is now taught at all His Ashrams here, and is gaining popularity outside also. It includes all forms of Yoga and eventually leads the diligent practicant to Self Realization! By His noble actions, He spearheaded the revitalizing and harmonizing of the existing Hindu traditions here, emphasizing the importance of ‘unity in diversity’, so vital for peace and progress nowadays, in Trinidad and the world. The daily prayer given by Him ‘Shiveti Shoureti’ highlights this so beautifully! The first verse highlights:
"We seek refuge in that only Lord who is worshipped in this Bhaarat with devotion as Shiva, Shauri, Gajanana, Skanda, Devi, Ravi and Vayu," while the last verse states, " We seek refuge in that Supreme Sachchidananda, who is endowed with countless names, who shines resplendent with countless forms and who is exuberant with countless good qualities and powers!"
Sadguru, our living God in human form
Most of all, He touches our hearts, and transforms our minds with His instrument of Divine, Selfless Love and Compassion, so characteristic of Sri Dattatreya, uplifting us in particular with His soulful bhajans and healing music! Opportunities to do ‘selfless seva’ to Him, and by extension to others, especially the needy and downtrodden, especially in these days of Corona virus--- knowing that He is in every atom of Creation--- automatically come when we follow His teachings strictly with obedience, faith, love and sincerity of surrender! It is therefore with utmost heartfelt love, devotion, and gratitude , that we see fit to honour Him, our dearest Sadguru, our Supreme God in human form, on Guru Purnima Day!
On this Guru Purnima Day, we remember every kind of teacher we have had in our lives, especally the Sadguru. He has taught that respects should be paid on this powerful Purnima also to the lineage of the Sadguru, at least in the form of loving, grateful remembrance of the Adi Guru Lord Dattatreya, Sri Krishna, our ParamaGuru Sri Jayalakshmi Mata, Sri Veda Vyasji, Maharishi Agastyaji, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha, Sri Pada Vallabha, Sri Narasimha Saraswati, among others --as well as our own family deity/guru! On this Day we must worship our
Sadguru's Lotus Feet! Sincere worship to the Sadguru is in all traditions in Hinduism! ‘Sri Guru Gita' affirms the Oneness of Guru: ‘Sri Guru Shiva Evasah’. In His words,
“Guru Tattva is the root of the tree of Hinduism. In this tree, Bhagavata, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita, Upanishads and Vedas are all branches. The root is the Guru Tattva. You should acquire Sri Krishna qualities…The greatest achievement is to stop the cycle of births and deaths. Make use of all your energy to this end….Strive for it… Sadguru is the oarsman. Satsangh is the boat and you are the passenger….” Sri Appaji leads us from the ocean of bondage of Samsara/cycle of births and deaths, to the shore of Liberation the state where we completely give up ego, blissfully seeing Him everywhere and knowing that He alone exists. “Simply and strictly follow Him” and “be happy” regardless of what comes our way because of our karma, is the true devotee's watchword!
(Part 2 to follow soon)
Jaya Guru Datta Sri Guru Datta! Om Namo Hanumate Namaha! Shivaya Rudraya Namaha! Om Aim Hreem Shreem Shiva Rama Anagha Dattaya Namaha!