Tribute to My Guru


by Rohit Kapoor 


The Mahabharata story tells us that Krishna  and his beloved pupil Arjuna were great friends all their lives. They had plenty of time to talk about atma jnana – self-realization.

On the other hand it seems to be very improbable that right in the middle of a battle, two people, who were the kingpins in the battle, found not only the time, but the psychological climate to discuss philosophy.

When Krishna  placed the chariot between the two armies and pointed out to Arjuna the people with whom he had to fight, Arjuna collapsed. Having collapsed, he was not prepared to admit “I am not capable of standing. I am trembling, I am nervous.”

Arjuna,the student, was a learned person – and it is highly impossible to teach a learned person. He said: “Krisha – I should not fight these people. I am not weak, I know the truth, I know what is righteous and what is not righteous; if we kill all these men here there will be an overpopulation of women….All these moral laws on which the society is based will crumble and we who are responsible for this will all go to hell.”

There was not a single flaw in that argument because it is based on cultural patterns, tradition and righteousness as it is taught in the religious schools – not on the battlefield.

Arjuna’s problem was that he knew what was right and what was wrong. Is that a problem?

If you know what is right and what is wrong, why do you not do what is right and avoid what is wrong? Because the doer of the action is far removed from the knower of right and wrong. The doer of right and wrong is burdened with the memory of what is right and wrong. He is burdened with knowledge. Instead of knowledge – of truth becoming flesh – the knowledge has remained unassimilated and it prevents him from functioning in the here and now.

There is a funny story: a fox and a cat met in the wilds.

They were discussing methods of escaping when attacked. The cat said: “Climb the tree.” The fox said: “You are stupid. I know a hundred methods. I can chase the hunter, I can throw mud in his eyes, I can run away, I can howl.” As the fox was saying all this, a hunter came. The cat quickly went up the tree but the fox was trying to figure out what to do.

You can guess that he did not come to a conclusion; he did not have to because his conclusion came immediately! When all this knowledge is stored up as memory, it paralyses the doer of the deed.


If you understand the spirit of the first chapter of Gita and the philosophy in the first few verses of the second chapter till the verse in which Arjuna says:

“I am confused. I am your disciple. I surrender myself to you. Teach me what is good”.

If you can grasp this sentence alone , then you have understood the entire Bhagavad Gita.

For grasping this , read on :

He did not say: “I have handed everything over to the guru.” The guru is not a porter who carries your luggage! You cannot hand everything over to him.

You must try your best, you must use all your faculties –mental, physical, intellectual,moral and spiritual – God gave them to you in order that you may use them and then go to him only when you are in serious trouble. If they prove inadequate then return to the source, the guru, for more.

Who and what is a guru?

A guru can be a person or an impersonal experience of reality.

Guru is one (or that) which dispels the darkness of your ignorance. If this does not happen, there is no guru.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna did not appoint Krisha as his guru.  Rather he said , what is most important expression in Gita ,  “Sisyas te ’ham’ – I am your disciple. Actually Arjuna appointed himself as the disciple to Krishna . This is real  SURRENDER (Inner Volition of the highest GURU within – Buddha, within  ) .

Be aware – even Krishna did not appoint Arjuna as his disciple . Because , Krishna is the embodiment of divinity , which itself is embodiment of   surrender as the highest virtue .

Thus Krishna simply accepted , self appointment of Arjuna as his disciple out of mutual love between a devotee and the divine.

How beautiful !! That’s why it is said , “Only when the Disciple is ready , the Guru will manifest”

  • You have no right to appoint someone as your guru, but you can, by looking within yourself and examining, investigating yourself, find out if you are a good disciple or not.

  • Likewise the Guru has no right to select – reject or  appoint a disciple but surrender to the discipleship offered to him by a devout disciple.

That’s what Krishna did , when he yielded – SURRENDERED ( Like a mother yields to her offspring) to the discipleship of Arjuna.

People often use the word ‘surrender’ without understanding its real meaning . It is easy to surrender when you have tried your utmost to deal with a problem, and you see no way out of it. Then surrender is natural –what else are you going to do?

Then you perforce become a disciple, then you will joyously listen to what the other person says. Therefore complete volitional surrender is the real discipleship – this surrender itself is your guru.

To illustrate, here is the story of Ekalaya  finding his GURU :

Just Like Ekalaya appointed himself to be the disciple of Guru Dronacharya , even when Dronacharya rejected him for his discipleship request to favour his favorite disciple Arjuna. Yet , in-spite of Guru Dronacharya’s rejection , Eklaya made a statute of Dronacharya and devotedly worshiping & meditating on Guru’s teachings became much better archer then Arjuna .

So you find the guru , if only you have found within you the true discipleship .

Even if the chosen Guru does not impart you the knowledge , the cosmic guru – Krishna Consciousness will flow the teachings as blessings in the worthy disciple.

However , If this spirit of discipleship is absent, any teaching is futile as it doesn’t bear fruits .

Ironic part – In Gita – Guru Dronacharya selected Arjuna – appointing him as his favorite disciple. Yet Arjuna fought against Dronacharya in the real war . On the other hand Arjuna actually chose Krishna as his real GURU  by offering  his discipleship to  his dear friend Krishna , and gained him as his GURU.

It is a beautiful formula upon which one can meditate and manifest GURU of  choice.


Spiritual Ego

This is just me, Anandi. Writing to you from the top of a mountain. A silently alive paradise that sits suspended in the ether — between the dramatic waves of the Pacific and the gentle giants that are the Redwoods.

I am going to share the dialogue that has been running through my head from the night, early morning into now. Im doing this to help hang onto the things that are arising for contemplation and with the hope that it may somehow be beneficial for you in some way.

Just a recollection of my stream of consciousness … no edits. sorry.

One of the most valuable things I have learned from being with Durga Ma is about ‘identification’ and beginning to understand the spiritual ego. It’s not anything specific she has said, but the way that she has interacted with me on a ‘human’ and personal level.

I had created an idea in my mind unknowingly about what spirituality looked like and how it would behave and present itself. This came after awakening experiences in the wake of phenomenon, and was strengthened by the way others around me were presenting themselves in the spiritual community. None of them were masters.

What I have come to learn and what has had the most profound outward effect for me is the roundedness and down to earth regularity of Durga Ma. I wouldn’t necessarily know that she was a master if I didn’t know. This is really important, I don’t know if it was so important in days gone by.

What I see increasingly in the world is people trying to transcend their humanness. This is like “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” as Ma says… I think transcending the humanness becomes the “danger zone” where the spiritual ego can really take shape and the difficulty on recognizing it and moving beyond it comes from the fact that the mind has used, and will continue to use, the aspects of spirituality (teachings, experience, etc.) in an effort to establish a pure logic (all or nothing) type of state.

What is more, I think that if the mind has a memory of an awakening it can use this to further make the mind’s alibi watertight. Stuck in transcendence. This is a doozy…. really getting stuck in a deeper state of separation in some ways because now the mind has not only gone into transcendence but is constantly working to stay there outside of the body and physical existence and can use the information gathered ‘spiritually’ to keep it there. It is a trap without the guidance of a master, or a stroke of absolute Grace.

I see a LOT of people doing this now. Most of the ‘spiritual’ people I know.

I’m wondering now if what is often needed is just normal, ‘non-spiritual’ company — in other words, real spiritual people, actual yogis, real people — not the people who are riding around in inflated spiritual egos. It’s easier to become relaxed and trusting when we talk about normal everyday things, our experiences, our lives and where we came from. We don’t have to work at conversation to maintain what we think is spirituality and how it should be talked about and communicated…the only real substance (energetic alignment so to speak) comes from the way we actually relate with each other.

The longer I stay with Durga Ma, the more I get out of it. I want to absorb as much as I possibly can, although the speed at which it occurs when I get to be physically present is such that I find myself experiencing a sensation of near explosion. My head literally goes through periods of feeling like its going to explode. I don’t care, because there is this part of me that just doesn’t care and wants to go on ahead regardless.

I want to be here or near Durga Ma wherever she is, but even in the days of being here I feel myself taking off and abandoning my life responsibilities. I use the word ‘abandon’ because of a control aspect…a subtle piece that I can’t exactly identify other than that it is not a completely conscious choice to surrender. It’s what my heart wants, but it’s like there is a piece that is missing and first I have to reclaim it to surrender it. Sounds ironic but its the only way I can manage to say it.

Particularly with Sam at this age (3), Im not boasting but I’m the sanest person he knows, and I’m his mother. I feel it is my duty to keep him close, and my responsibility to do my best to stay with him until I either just can’t anymore or until he’s gotten enough independence for himself to choose otherwise.

This path is sometimes difficult with a family. Not impossible.

Om Shanti, Namaste,

Swami Kripalu Recognizes His Guru

The village people took the holy statue from the farmer’s field, placed it in a chariot and brought into the town. They established it in a very small temple, and people came from all around. But again, as an effect of time, after two or three years the village became quiet again.

People did feel that this was a most unusual statue, but they did not know what to do about it. It was as if this pilgrimage place had lost its power again. Where there was such a divine image, there was complete darkness, as if God were waiting for someone.

One day I was invited to that town to give a discourse. I never used to go anywhere for a whole day. I don’t know why, but I said yes to that lecture. Upon arriving there, I was told that this was another Kashi [the highest spiritual center]. The flow of the Sanatana Dharama was emanating from there. I was surprised to find out this was another Kashi, but the most surprising thing was that my birth place was only ten miles from there. Here was a tirtha so cose to my birthplace and I didn’t know anything about it. So I told them that I would go with them for darshan.

With me were four of five leaders of the village. They told me the history as they pointed to all the historical places. The leaders were very intelligent, and what was worth showing they showed me last! Finally they took me to the temple where the statue that had been discovered was established. I entered the temple and looked at the image of the great sage and was so surprised—in front of a linga was the statue of my own guru! I was familiar with every part of his form.

Looking back, when I was first at this feet, I was only nineteen years old. He had lots of love for me and I loved him very much. Whenever I was disappointed in some way he used to hug me and convey enormous love for me. But all that time, his body was the body of an old swami. At that time, I could not imagine that someone’s soul could enter another body.

Later in my life, I was in the area of the Himalaya Mountains in Rishikesha. There are many yogis who live there. I was a new swami dressed in a swami dress. One day I went to a faraway place on top of a hill to cut a special branch from a tree. As I started cutting the branch, I saw an individual walking down the hill. He had only a cloth around his waist. I didn’t pay any attention to him because there are many saints in that land. As I was cutting the branch, I heard a voice whisper from behind saying, “swami”. It was the voice of my guru whom I had first met when I was nineteen.

I was confused because only my guru used to address me by the name of Swami. But when I turned around, I saw that this was not that old swami body. This body that I saw near Rishikesha was just like the body of the statue: the Divine Body of my guru. There is such power in that body that it can take any form or even enter into a dead body [the swami whose body Lakulisha has used had just died].

This inidividual who was saying “swami” looked only eighteen years old.  It was winter time but he was only wearing a cloth from the waist, the rest of his body was bare. My body was covered with lots of woolen clothes. When I looked at him, he smiled, his eyes twinkling. I knew then that this was indeed my gurudeva. I forgot to bow down and ran over to him and hugged him. He stroked his hand over my head and my body. I just kept on weeping. Then I remembered that I had forgotten to bow down at his feet. “Gurudeva, please excuse me”, I said, and bowed down at his feet.    

Once I had asked him, “Gurudev, how does the Divine Body look?”, and he told me that sometime I would see it. Now I asked, “Gurudev, it this the Divine Body?” He said, “Yes, this is the Divine Body.” I asked him how many years old it was. He answered, “My son, you will have to find out for yourself.” Then I asked, “How will I be able to find it out?” I had not even imagined that I would be so fortunate to ever see a Divine Body.

Giver of Grace
Stories of the Lineage

Jaya Bhagavan (victory to God),
Durga Ma

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Kripalu Talks About His Guru, Lakulisha

In the woods and naturally beautiful places of ancient India, yoga has been studied and practiced in great depth. Due to this deep study and practice of yoga, the great yogis, such as Lakulish, have been able to keep their bodies in their original condition. This kind of body is called the Divine Body. It is unchanging and immortal.

Swami Kripalu

Scritpures of India say that one is a complete yogi ony after going beyond birth and death. The yogis have always been interested in prolonging the time between birth and death, not because they are attracted to the body, but because they wish to fulfill their desire to know the soul to the highest possible extent. Death and disease interfere with the fulfillment of that desire.

Unless the body can stay long enough, it takes many lifetimes for the yogi to know the deep secrets of the soul and find the highest Truth. A yogi’s life energy must become and remain steady in order for him to become established in samadhi. When this life energy then reaches into the top chakra (thousand petaled chakra), at such time the yogi enters samadhi and is very much like a child in the mother’s womb. This is the type of thinking and searching for Truth that intensely prevailed in ancient India.

There are many who ask, “If there are so many yogis in India, why it it so poor?”

It should not be forgotten that at one time India was one of the most prosperous countries inthe world. However, the rise and fall in fortunes that occurs in worldly life happens equally to all countries. So India is now going through one of these stages and is currently in decline. It is possible that America might experience the kind of prosperity which was experienced earlier in India. Spiritual science can best properly spread in a prosperous country.

I have an American disciple, Yogeshwar Muni. He plans now to build a large temple named, Bhagavan Brahmeshvara (God, Master of Creation, Shiva), and he hopes to establish the statue of Lord Lakulisha in that temple. In this scientific country it is very necessary for this statue to be available so that secrets of it can be found. Then someone from America will become a true complete yogi and will look at that statue with tears rolling from their eyes, saying, “This is Truth”.

This is the country of science, and I have complete faith that this will definitely happen here. What is America? India is one room in the house, America is another room in the same house. The whole world is one big residence, one big family.

Jaya Bhagavan (victory to God),
Durga Ma

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A Question on Discipleship

From time to time I will get an email question from someone I don’t know that I would share with you. This is such a one:

What does it mean to be a disciple, what is expected of a disciple, and how many disciples do you have? — Namaste, Paul

Dear Paul,

A disciple is someone who is devoted and committed to sadhana and to the sadhana teacher. Because disciples have union with Truth, God, and liberation as their first, or only, priority in life, and because the sadhana teacher provides the means of reaching this end, disciples have an investment in the teacher: they want to keep that person alive, well, and able to continue with their own sadhana so that the disciples themselves are not left in the lurch at some unfamiliar turn in the road. So they support the teacher through service and through providing practical necessities. Such a teacher is not going to be working for a living, but does full time sadhana and works for his or her students and disciples.

One exception to this is the paramguru. This teacher is someone who has completed his or her spiritual journey as a seeker, is already fully liberated and constantly in communion with the Divine, has cheated death and is in possession of the eight superhuman powers. Being beyond the influences of cause and effect, such a one has no need of support of any kind. A paramguru is difficult to find and, frankly, most of us are not likely to find ourselves in the presence of one.

I think this answers the first two parts of your question. If you would like to know more about this relationship, look for a text called the Guru Gita. It is probably online somewhere. There are a few entries from the Guru Gita on my blog site, Mystical Tidbits. The links at the bottom of this email will take you to them.

As to the last part of your question, the answer is, None. If I should come to have students who consider me and the sadhana I teach in this light and fulfill these “expectations,” I would consider them disciples.

Durga Ma

An article on discipleship:

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

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