om swastik belpatra

Chittvainam samshayam yogam atishtottistha bharata !
Slash all your doubts, armed with Yoga, Stand and fight!

This is a brief essay on the pitfalls of choosing a Guru for a person (gyan pipasu) with little experience of India. The primary problem is with the expectations of disciples if they do not usually understand much about pan-Indian values and culture, and therefore have a difficult time making informed judgments about Gurus and their behavior.

In order to understand how best to choose a Guru in the Indian tradition, it is best to look at how it is done in India where people have been doing it for a long time. Let us discuss the expectations of Indian disciples.

Indians expect the Guru to be very far along the spiritual path, and it is assumed that only a very few unique souls can be true Gurus. They examine any prospective Guru very carefully before they even consider becoming a disciple. e.g. Vivekananda, who went to see many saints and learned persons before accepting the discplehood of Ramakrishna Paramhans.

The criteria for choosing a Guru are complex but a few qualities that are respected are celibacy, lack of interest in money, ability to sit in meditation for hours (and even days) without any movement or disturbance. This criterion is especially important for yogic Gurus such as those who are in a Shankaracharya lineage such as Paramahamsa Yogananda.

One of basic thing to remember is the peace and satisfaction showered merely by view (Darshan) of SadGuru is the formost criteria.

Other less important elements are how the Guru spends his or her time. Some bhakti or devotional Gurus will spend long periods of time in puja or ritual worship of a deity (an empowered statue on an altar). Others will do homa (or fire) sacrifices in the typical Vedic fashion which last for hours. Others will sit for long periods and tell religious stories from Indian classical literature (or local village myths) describing the adventures of the gods Krishna and Radha, or Ram and Sita but they are preachers only whereas an actual SadGuru delivers His wordly duties at the same time is always enjoying the nector of "Akhand Samadhi" and connected Spiritually with the desciples. It doesn't matter what he do for his own bread and butter.

Gurus can show they are serious about enlightenment or devotion if they seem to have no other interests but to perform religious ritual, and talk and sing about deities or religious ideas and stories. Such commitment is impressive to many Indian disciples. The Gurus in the Who do not practice them that often and focus more on meditation. It is therefore more difficult to judge a Guru's religious commitment based on the amount of external religious ritual he or she performs. Here the Western disciple is at a disadvantage since he or she cannot use this ritual behavior as an indicator of the commitment of the prospective Guru.

The lineage of the Guru is also given great importance. Is he or she initiated and by whom? Is the Guru's Guru known and respected? Is there evidence that the Guru was actually given initiation by the person he claims to have initiated him? Westerners should ask questions about lineage and understand the Guru's background before accepting any Guru as do most Indians.

In that subtle moment in which the artist catches a breathtaking scene he completely merges with it and it is due to this blending of his personality with Nature that the result produced on canvas turns out to be so spectacular.

This oneness in fact is the secret of creativity, and the greatest of all creators, the Lord, the Guru could manifest such a wonderful world for the very reason that He is present in each particle of Nature. Yet man fails to perceive Him, for he has lost the artistic touch, the art of Meditation and the power of Sadhana. Today his search remains directed outside while the real treasure is inside.

No wonder Yogis sit with closed eyes exploring the inner realm. And when they discover IT a blissful radiance pours forth from their forms. For the uninitiated it might well seem a waste of time to sit thus idly, yet once a sincere aspirant is steered gently onto the path of Sadhana he all of a sudden has a taste of Divine Nectar which prompts him to seek deeper so as to reach the source.

This stage however is crucial, for the first encounter is so pleasant that one may be tempted to neglect one's material needs and duties and devote all time to Meditation. This would invariably lead to failure on the material front and then frustration. Final result is that one either left impoverished or one blindly rushes into the race for wealth and power leaving one’s spiritual quest unfulfilled. This only creates disillusionment and the individual in his ignorance shifts all blame onto the Guru.

The Master however knows that only through perfect balance can the Supreme Goal be achieved. Hence like Lord Buddha he suggests the Majhim Nikaay or the path of golden mean. An ascetic might well spend all his time in meditation, but for a family man the Guru prescribes a special schedule in which a few precious minutes are daily devoted to Sadhana.

A very wrong belief prevalent among the householder disciples is that the ascetic disciples of Gurudev can meet him or have his glimpse through Siddhis whenever they like. The fact is that they are strictly bound by Gurudev’s orders and can see him only when he wishes to - sometimes after years at a stretch.

Yet their devotion in the Master never waivers, for they have had wonderful experiences which leave them in an uninterrupted state of spiritual ecstasy. In such a state they are able to concentrate better in Sadhanas and progress much faster.

Entering such a state means identifying the Supreme Element - Guru - which can be done only when one’s subtle vision is activated. This journey from the gross to the subtle plane is known as the Guru Tatva Sadhana, Even when the Guru is present in physical form his aim is to unite the disciple with his own soul through the medium of which the latter could form a link with the Supreme. And once a disciple attains oneness with the Para-Brahma form of Gurudev he can then have a glimpse of any God, Goddess or deity.

As he enters this wondrous state doubts vanish. Each moment then he has feeling of proximity to his Guru even though the Master may not be physically present. His activated divine vision ever visualises the form of the Master and such is the joy that he fearlessly and calmly goes on with his duties in the outer world. Sorrows, tensions, passion can prey on his peace only till he has not entered this state, but once he does they are simply fended off by the power of the Supreme Guru Element.

Undoubtedly it is the best Sadhana of all Ages, for through it one can directly interact with Gurudev wherever he might be - in Siddhashram, in the Himalayas or on a far flung planet of the universe. Thus one could seek His help and advice directly, and smoothly sail over all problems and difficulties in life. As Gurudev always said, "This is a transition period we are going through and one can emerge victorious only through the power of spiritualism." To enable Sadhaks to overcome this very crucial period we present this wonderful Sadhana.

This seven day ritual can be started on a Thursday. It can also be commenced from Guru Poornima.

Early morning in Brahm Muhurat - 4 am to 6 am - have a bath, wear white clothes and sit on a white mat facing East.

Cover a wooden plank with a white cloth.

Make a mound of rice grains and on it place the Paarad Guru Yantra.

Light a ghee lamp.

Place a picture of revered Gurudev Paramhans Swami Nikhileshwaranand inront of yourself.

Next fixing the gaze on the Yantra chant the following Mantra continuously for half an hour.

Om Mam Aatma-praann Chintya Jaagraya Darshaya Gum Sfotaya Phat

Fully concentrate your mind in the recital.

Repeat for 7 days.

Take care to do the recital at the same hour daily. Chant one round each of Guru Mantra before and after Sadhana daily with a Nikhileshwaranand Chaitanya rosary.

This shall double the effect of the ritual.

After Sadhana place the Yantra in your worship place at home. Without doubt there shall be amazing experiences and one definitely has Darshan of Gurudev if one is fully devoted. But take care not to reveal your experiences to one and sundry.