Guru Gita – Part 3 of 4

Concerning the Importance of Guru, Discipleship, Practices and Actions

From another version.

Know for certain that the conscious Self and the Guru are truly one. For this reason, one who is wise will seek one’s Guru.

Because of the darkness of the mind, the secret knowledge of Truth is concealed, but by Her light and the Guru’s word, the Mother of all comes to be revealed.

O Parvati, because I love you I will make this known: Everyone’s misfortunes and errors can be washed away by serving the Guru’s feet with love. By this practice, one becomes one with God.

All sacred waters bestow no greater reward than this, so sprinkle the water of the Guru’s feet upon your head with your mind attached to the Guru’s feet.

The mire of impurities will be washed away and the knowledge of Truth will shine through. With the water of the Guru’s feet, one crosses the ocean of ignorance.

Ignorance and attachment can be overcome, the round of births and deaths ended, and wisdom gained, by drinking the water of the Guru’s feet.

Drink that water of holiness, eat the remains of the Guru’s plate, meditate on the Guru’s form, and repeat the Guru’s mantra.

Kashi [Varanasi] is where the Guru dwells, and Ganga [the Ganges river] flows at the Guru’s feet. The Guru is God, the Lord and protector of the universe.

All the holy rivers, holy trees, sacred and holy places, are all contained in the Guru’s feet. I bow down to that beautiful form of the Guru.

Meditate on the Guru’s form, always think of the Guru’s name, fulfill the Guru’s wishes and needs, and always think of Guru.

The Guru’s knowledge awakes in one on whom the Guru has bestowed grace, so keep the Guru in your heart.

Let go of thinking of your life as your own, along with thoughts of fame, status or money. Nothing should be in your mind but the thought of the Guru’s name.

For one who loves Guru with one-pointed devotion, Godhood comes with ease. This is the highest goal, so one should strive to feel worthy of the Guru’s love.

The Guru’s wisdom cannot be learned, even from gods of the higher lokas [worlds], but the Guru’s knowledge awakes in one who serves the Guru with pure love.

“Gu” is darkness, “Ru” is light. The Guru, whose light of knowledge dispels the dark, is God without a doubt.

“Gu” is unceasing change, all that appears to the eyes [all the senses][the Relative Realm]. “Ru” is God in which all is contained and yet remains ever the same [Parabrahman, the Absolute].

Even gods yearn to tarry at the Guru’s feet, their highest goal. Angels in heaven called gandharvas, worship the Guru’s feet with love.

The wise say that nothing compares to the Truth-Guru, so one should offer as gifts, everything the Guru could need or use.

Devotees should delight their Guru with their gifts, but more than this, one should offer one’s life.

Serve the Guru with all your heart, in speech and in action, and before the Guru stretch out upon the ground. Give all your love to the Truth-Guru.

One must release wife or husband and give all to the Truth-Guru—senses, body, and breath—with all your soul.

Bones and blood and flesh will turn to ashes one day, so without delay, surrender to the Truth-Guru.

The tree of samsara* sinks below, along with souls who cling to it, but all are saved by the Guru’s grace. To that Truth Guru, I surrender.

* Samsara – the cycles of birth, death and suffering.

The Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. About this there is no doubt. God and Guru in fact are one. I surrender to that Guru.

Guru is the cause of the universe, the bridge to cross over change, and the source from which all knowledge comes. To Shiva the Guru I bow.

Ignorance blinds the eyes, but the Guru makes us to see again. With the Guru’s wisdom we are set free. Salutations I offer the Guru:

Salutations [prananams] to Guru:

You are my mother and father, my brother and sister, my wealth in this world of change. You are my God, my very Self. Salutations I offer You.

Because You are all this world appears to be, just as sun is the cause of light, all our joy is because of You. Salutations I offer You.

The mind can perceive this world, but You, the mind can never perceive. You are the witness behind all minds. Salutations I offer You.

By Your wisdom the Truth is known: the world and the Self are no longer two. The form of Truth is itself the Truth. Salutations I offer You.

♦ ♦ ♦

And on it goes, but I had to quit somewhere.

Regarding number 29:

“One must release wife or husband and give all to the Truth-Guru…”

Please keep in mind that these ancient mystical teachings are written in “final form”. In other words, they represent an ultimate ideal. In this shloka, this ideal might be better expressed to the Western mind as having a spouse’s genuine support of one’s spiritual endeavors or, even better, being on the path together. If you need to ease your heart, remember the source of this text: a conversation between Shiva (Parvati’s husband) and Parvati (Shiva’s wife), and review number 9…

“Know for certain that the conscious Self and the Guru are truly one…”

There are deeper meanings to this shloka of course, but I think this will do for now. Just keep looking for deeper teachings in what I’m sending you, what they mean and how they might apply to you in your current phase of sadhana. And remember, progress means change, so your understanding will change (increase) with time and practice.

Durga Ma


Mystical Mini Bit — Guru Gita

Synopsis of Guru Gita-Part 2, vs 20-25 

Shiva is Guru, Guru is God. Also, there is no difference between Guru and Self. All spiritual practices are a waste without understanding this truth about Guru. For this reason, it is emphasized that anyone seeking God/Truth, should find a Guru. This is a fact that is stated in all oral teachings, regardless of the teaching lineage. The written teachings, techniques, belief systems and religions that exist in the world, only create confusion and conflict among all people.

Read the Mystical Tidbit from which this synopsis is derived, here.

♦ ♦ ♦


A teacher who knows union with God through experience, and how to get you there.

The real You, the divine, non-physical individual that you really are without all the packaging.

The transforming aspect of God is known as Shiva. As an individual who has mastered the highest yoga, Shiva is known as “the king of yogis.” It is in this sense that Shiva is mentioned here.

Oral Teachings
In this case, the word is smriti (the ri is a vowel). The Smritis are memorized oral teachings that were passed down through teaching lineages in verse and meter in order to preserve them and assure their authenticity.

Guru Gita – Part 2 of 4

 The Nature and Importance of Guru, Continued  

Text in [brackets] are my own insertions or comments.

Shiva’s response to Parvati’s surprise at seeing him bowing down to someone else, and to her questions (see Guru Gita – Part 1):

O Devi (Goddess), You are my own Self in the form of another. No one has put this question of Yours to me before. It will benefit the whole world, so I will explain.

Only to one who is supremely devoted to God and has the same equal devotion to Guru will the truths explained, clearly reveal themselves.

He who is Guru is Shiva, so declare the scriptures. That Shiva is Guru is a fact that is stated in all the Smritis. Making a distinction between these two, is the greatest of errors.

The Guru is Brahman (God) and no other than Brahman Itself, O Parvati. I declare to you that this is Truth. Listen to what I am saying and believe me, for this Truth is not know to anyone else in all the three worlds.

22 – 23
The Vedas, Puranas, etc., the science of mantra, yantra, etc., and the various doctrines and separate creeds [i.e., religions] that exist in the world, only serve to confuse everyone.

Japa, austerities, observances, pilgrimage, sacrifice, charity, etc., are all a waste without understanding this truth about Guru (Guru Tattva).

O Parvati, I declare to You, with all the emphasis at my command, that there is no difference between Guru and Atman (Self). Therefore, all effort should be made by seekers, the learned in scriptures, and men of wisdom, for the attainment of a Guru.


The attainment of a qualified Guru is the only means to the attainment of Jnana [the wisdom of direct experience]. Therefore, there is no difference between the Guru and Atma Jnana [Self-knowledge]. — Swami Narayana

Hidden ignorance [hiding one’s ignorance from oneself], the absence of knowledge of Self, the illusion of the world and the body, are all caused by ignorance itself [ajana, the opposite of jana, wisdom]. The one by whose grace one attains direct experience is known by the name, “Guru.”

I prostrate to that Guru whose two lotus-like feet help the removal of all miseries stemming from the pairs of opposites, and who saves one from rounds of births and deaths.

I will now tell you how the embodied soul, having become free of impurities, becomes Brahman (God): It is by the Service of the Guru’s feet. I say this because of my special interest in You.


Service of the Guru includes physical service, learning and teaching and all acts which please the Guru, and particularly by spreading the teachings of the Guru among eager and qualified aspirants.

An ideal disciple finds no difference between God and Guru. Worship of Guru is worship of God. Worship of God is worship of Guru. Those who find any difference cannot have real devotion to God and Guru.

— Swami Narayananda

♦  ♦  ♦

NOTE: Please take special notice of the connections made between God and Guru and Self.

Guru Gita – Part 1 of 4

 Concerning the Nature and Importance of Guru

About the Guru Gita
The Song (Gita) of the Teacher (Guru)

  • The Guru Gita explains the guru-disciple relationship as the real sadhana of Shaivism.
  • It presents what is considered to be the greatest sadhana because it is fundamental to all forms of sadhana, and because it is a stand-alone sadhana as well (for some people, this is their only practice).
  • The universality of the Guru Gita: It is from the Vedas, from which a large portion is lost, Vedanta, Kashmiri Shaivism, and Tantra.
  • It addresses three subjects: (1) It extolls the greatness and nature of Guru, (2) gives the spiritual practices of the disciple that cultivate and constitute devotion to Guru, and (3) gives the benefits of singing the Guru Gita daily.

You will be getting this AMW in parts. As it is a very long text, I am extracting portions from different versions.


I have begun this series of entries with verse 9 in order to get straight to the point, and added very few commentaries. I have taken some from an edition that I like for the brevity and conciseness of the comments (Swami Narayananda), and I have added some of my own.

The Guru Gita

9 – 10
Seated on a tiger skin surrounded by saints, on one occasion when Shiva was expounding teachings on Truth, Parvati (Shiva’s consort, or “significant other”), with her face full of devotion, and seeing Shiva bowing down to someone with great reverence, was surprised to see this and said to Shiva:

You are the Guru of all the world. You are Supreme. You teach the knowledge of the Supreme. Gods, demons and people worship you with great devotion.

Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and others are constantly bowing down to You. So who is it that You could possibly bow down to? Is there anyone superior to You to whom You should prostrate yourself? Are you not the one Supreme Being, the sole abode and refuge of all prostrations?

Noticing this action of Yours, I am struck with wonder. I am unable to understand this. Please enlighten me.

You are the knower of all the Dharmas. Please tell me of the glory of Guru that is the best for all Vratas.*

* Vratas: Students, householders, forest dwellers, renunciates, women, Brahmins (God-people), Kshatriyas (rulers, barons, warriors), Vaishyas (artisans, craftspersons, businesspersons), Sudras (service providers).

What is the best way for an individual soul to attain the supreme state of Godhood? I bow down to You. I worship Your holy feet. Kindly explain this to me.

Commentary, Durga Ma:

The worship of the feet of the Guru is called Guru Padapuja. It is considered an act of humility and receptivity on the part of the student. It is said that the entire universe is but one foot of God, and if you worship the feet of Guru, you worship the feet of God and all of humanity. The significance of this is shows up in various verses of the Guru Gita text.

Being thus repeatedly addressed by Parvati, Maheshvara (Shiva), the great God of gods, spoke these words, His heart overflowing with abundant joy:

Commentary, Swami Narayananda:

Teachers (gurus) derive the maximum joy and happiness when eager seekers ask pertinent questions. The heart of the Guru always seeks for sincere students. This is the reason for their joy. It is but natural that one gets joy when he gets what he wants. A thirsty man is satisfied with water, the hungry man with food. But teachers are satisfied when they get suitable and deserving students to whom they can unburden their knowledge. Without a deserving student the teacher feels the burden of his knowledge, and considers his efforts fruitful when the students eagerly question and eagerly practice the teachings.

Mahadeva (Shiva) said:  O Devi (Goddess), this is the Secret of all secrets. This is not to be revealed to anyone. I have never divulged this to anyone thus far, but I will tell you because of your great devotion to me.

Commentary, Durga Ma and Swami Narayananda:

Great truths are not revealed to everyone at large. Only to qualified disciples will the guru reveal such secrets out of overflowing love. Disciples serve their teachers who, in turn, reveal these secrets. Never to anyone who is not a such a devoted disciple, are such secrets revealed. At this point, the text has shown us some of the characteristics of such a disciple.

There are some secrets which may be revealed to select persons but there are certain secrets which can only be revealed to the dearest person, the qualified disciple and loyal devotee. One such secret is the secret that Shiva is going to reveal to Parvati. As long as teachers do not get such exceptionally qualified aspirants they do not divulge these teachings. They remain hidden, always as secrets only.

♦ ♦ ♦

In the next installment of the Guru Gita, we will hear Shiva’s response to Parvati.

Durga Ma

Guru Gita – Part 4 of 4

Concerning Discipleship, Practices, Actions and Benefits, and the Characteristics of a Liberated Person

From another version with a few footnotes.

Great Goddess, listen to the way of meditation on the Guru, which grants all joys, always brings all happiness, and gives worldly fulfillment as well as liberation:

I remember
venerable Guru as Parabrahman*, I speak about venerable Guru as Parabrahman, I bow to venerable Guru as Parabrahman, I revere venerable Guru as Parabrahman.

*The Absolute, God’s superior nature as opposed to God’s inferior, or secondary, nature, mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita.

I bow to the Truth-Guru, blissful God, bestower of the highest joy, the Absolute in the form of knowledge beyond duality, all-pervasive like the sky, the object of “Thou art That” and others. One, eternal, pure, unchanging witness of all thought*, beyond all modifications, and free of the three gunas**.

* Thought, meditation, reflection.
** Qualities of nature: sattva (smooth-flowing), rajas (passionate or intense activity), tamas (very slow moving or fixed).

I bow to the Guru as Brahman*, eternal and pure, beyond perception, without manifest form, and without impurity, eternal Truth, consciousness and bliss.

* God. God’s secondary, or relative nature. Brahman – “growth, expansion, evolution.”

One should meditate on the divine form of the Guru seated on the throne situated in the lotus in the center of the heart, shining like the crescent moon, holding the book of knowledge and bestowing the desired boon . . .


Who is clad in white garments, anointed with white paste and flowers, with the appearance of pearl, joyous, with two eyes and a gentle smile, treasure house of abundant grace, with divine Shakti on the left.

I bow always to venerable Guru, who is cheerful, who is bliss, who exudes bliss, whose nature is knowledge, who has awareness of the Self, who is the Lord of Yogis*, adorable, and who is the remedy for the disease of worldly existence.

* Shiva

I bow to that Guru in whom five natural, fundamental actions are constantly revealed: creating, sustaining, transforming, retaining, and the bestowing of boons.

Alternate translation of the five actions: creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment, and bestowal of grace.

In the morning, recite the divine name while thinking of the two-eyed, two-armed, peaceful Guru in the white lotus in the head, fearless and endowed with boons [grace].

There is nothing greater than the Guru. [This is repeated four times.] This is according to the teaching of Shiva [“Highest of Yogis”]. [This is repeated four times.]

This is also indeed Shiva. [This is repeated four times.] This is according to my teaching. [This is repeated four times.]

If the Guru is meditated upon in this way, knowledge arises by itself. Having done so, one feels/experiences thus: “I am liberated by the grace of the Truth-Guru.”

Even so, one should purify the mind by following the path shown by the Guru, so that whatever transient things that have been ascribed to the Self, may all be released.

By this, the essential nature of everything may be known. Knowledge is said to be of the mind. One should consider that knowledge is identical with the object of knowledge. There is no other way.

Great Goddess, once having heard all of this, one who speaks ill of the Guru falls into the most dreadful state as long as there is a sun and a moon*.

* So long as sun and moon—prana and apana—have not cancelled each other out as such, through union, yoga.

As long as there is a body, and even to the end of a kalpa,* one should never forsake the Guru, even if he behaves in a manner beyond one’s understanding.

* Kalpa – A time period, i.e., the period of a yuga, an age.

Before the Guru, wise disciples do not speak in any way that suggests doership on their part, nor do they not speak the truth.

Having spoken rudely before the Guru in this manner, or having arguments or confrontations with the Guru, one would be born as a brahmarakshasa* in a region of a waterless wilderness.

* Brahmarakshasa – One born with the tendency to be ruled by desires of the body, such as thirst, literally and figuratively; hence the metaphor a waterless wilderness.

Parvati, the Guru protects one if he is cursed by sages, snake demons, or even gods, and also from the fear of the time of death.

The gods, sages and others also, are surely powerless against the enmity of the Guru, by which they are soon destroyed. About this there is no doubt.

Goddess, the word “Guru,” composed of the two letters*, “gu” and “ru” is the greatest mantra which, according to their meaning as taught by ancient scriptures, Guru is actually the highest state.

* In Sanskrit, a letter is a syllable.

Indeed, only those who serve the Guru are true sannyasis [renunciants], whether they know the Vedas and Smritis or not. Other devotees are merely wearing the right clothes [uniform, i.e., traditional white or colors worn by aspirants of different ashramas].

Just as one lamp lights another, the Guru may impart knowledge that all is Brahman [God], imperceptible, eternal, highest, without form, and without the three qualities of nature [the three gunas mentioned above: ragas, tamas, sattvas].

By the path of the Guru, knowledge of one’s joyous Self arises spontaneously. By the gift of the Guru’s grace It is perceived directly.

I bow to this highest being whose own form is this world, from God to a blade of grass, and everything animate and inanimate.

I always bow to the Guru, who is the bliss of consciousness of Truth, who transcends all differences, is eternal, perfect, without form and without gunas, and who is established in the Self.

The Guru, who is higher than the highest, always bestows bliss, seated in the center of the space of the heart like a pure crystal, should be meditated upon.

Just as an image of a crystal may be seen in a mirror, bliss is reflected in the Self as consciousness. So, “I am That” indeed.

Listen as I speak of the feeling which arises as one meditates on the tiny person in the heart in the form of consciousness.

One should know that which is beyond perception and understanding, without name, form and sound. Parvati, that is God’s own nature.

Just as there is fragrance in flowers and camphor and other things by their own nature, and as heat and cold are what they are by their own nature, so also is God eternal by Its own nature.

Once aware that one’s Self is like That [God], one may dwell anywhere [or be everywhere, all-pervasive]. One’s meditation on the Guru becomes like that of a larva becoming a bee.

Practicing meditation on the Guru in that manner, one becomes one with God. There is no doubt that one is liberated as to pinda, pada and rupa.

Venerable Parvati said:

Mahadeva, what is pinda? What is pada? What is rupa and what is rupatita? Shankara [Shiva], please explain.

Venerable Mahadeva [Shiva] said:

Pinda is kundalini-shakti, pada is hamsa*, rupa is bindu,° and rupatita is that which is beyond rupa.

* Hamsa – The sound of the outgoing and ingoing breath. Esoterically, apana and prana, moon and sun, cool and warm, etc.

° Bindu – Seed. The seed, or potentiality, of manifestation, i.e., rupa, form or outward appearance(s).

With liberation* of pinda, liberation of pada and liberation of rupa, there is rupatita, liberation beyond form.

* In shaktipat kundalini yoga, sahaja yoga, Surrender Meditation, the liberation of pinda, pada and rupa would refer to releasing one’s control over them to God, thus making one free, liberated, at least in meditation, and ultimately, fully and finally liberated. When rupa is tita, one is free of outward appearances in every sense of the word. Tita means ‘gone beyond’; rupa-tita then, means gone beyond, or surpassed, form and outward appearances.

Oneself becoming one with everything, the highest Truth is perceived. This is  the Highest and nothing else. So all this is not anywhere [this world is not located any where].

Having perceived this by the grace of Guru, one can remain solitary, tranquil, desireless and unattached.

Whether one attains this completely or not, and whether attainment is great or small, there is delight indeed, for without desire, there is contentment.

Thus, the all-knowing state is that in which the embodied one is one with everything, so say the wise. Ever blissful and tranquil, one rejoices everywhere.

Wherever one lives, that place becomes an abode of merit. O Goddess, I have described to you, the characteristics of a liberated person.

♦ ♦ ♦

There you have it — the last of the four parts of Guru Gita installments. This one is a little long, but I didn’t get anything up last week, so I hope I’ve made up for that. I was upside down and going round and round. I believe I’m coming up for a landing soon and should be able to check out recent comments and make replies soon.

Love you all,
Durga Ma