Inspiration - RKT Newsletter

June 2023

Welcome to the June 2023 issue!

Welcome to the June 2023 issue!


आचार्यं मां विजानीयान्नावमन्येत कर्हिचित् ।
न मर्त्यबुद्ध्यासूयेत सर्वदेवमयो गुरु: ॥

ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruḥ

                 (Shreemad Bhagavatam Puran 11.17.27)

Shree Krishna proclaims, “Know the Guru to be Myself. Never harbor unfavorable thoughts about Him. Do not use your material mind to comprehend the Guru’s Divine actions, for all forms of God dwell within Him.”

From the Editor's Desk

“One of the most magnanimous graces of God is when He brings the soul in contact with a true Guru,” says Swami Mukundananda while delineating how the Guru reveals spiritual knowledge in the heart of the disciple. The arrival of the spring and the Guru is similar. While nature bursts forth to bloom with the coming of spring, our soul awakens and blossoms with the advent of the Guru into our lives.

Our Vedic scriptures acclaim the importance of the Guru. Even the all-knowing Supreme Lord, whether He descended as Shree Krishna or Shree Ram, followed the instructions of the Guru. This leela (pastime) of the Lord is to enlighten us with the knowledge that the Guru, a God-realized saint and a personification of love and compassion for all souls, dispels the darkness of ignorance, and guides us towards divine love and bliss.

On the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima, we entreat our Guru’s divine grace, guidance, and protection so we can serve him better!

Bhakti Ras
Graces of Guru

While some of us are aware of the ultimate goal of human life, some are oblivious to it. However, everyone under the sun seeks happiness and peace. God is the source of that happiness, nay He is happiness Himself. Saints and scriptures repeatedly proclaim that God is Anand Sindhu – an ocean of bliss. As fragmental parts of His divine energy, we naturally desire His bliss. However, only a true Guru can position us on the path to that pure bliss. How so? It’s because a true Guru is seated on the platform of God-realization, as his heart is permeated with that divine love and bliss.

Guru Dispels Ignorance

While God accepts only the pure-hearted souls, the all-merciful Guru embraces the sinful and fallen souls! For instance, when Vibhishan approached Shree Ram with noble ambitions in his heart, seeking the Lord’s refuge, Sugriva warned Shree Ram not to trust Vibhishan. “He is Ravan’s brother, My Lord, so we should imprison him and detain him, as he has come to spy on us,” advised Sugriva. The omniscient Lord Ram, aware of Vibhishan’s pure intent, bestowed mercy upon him, and accepted him as his friend. He declared:

निर्मल मन जन सो मोहि पावा। मोहि कपट छल छिद्र न भावा।।

Nirmal mana jana so mohi paavaa, mohi kapata chila chidra na bhava

“That person alone who has a pure heart attains Me; I have an aversion for duplicity, wiles, and falsehood.”

The heart here does not refer to the physical organ; it refers to the inner apparatus of our mind and intellect. We cannot achieve happiness or peace by merely reading books or through intellectual exercises. It requires purification of the heart, which we can achieve only when we are fortunate enough to have the guidance of the Guru.

Just like an earthly father endeavors raising a child in this material realm, the God-illumined Guru strives to guide the soul on its inward journey. While imparting divine knowledge, the Guru helps the soul to do sadhana and surrender to God. This ensues a pure heart, and that’s when God graces the soul. As Jagaadguru Shree Kripalu ji Maharaj pointed out in one of his kirtans:

गुरु पतितन सों कर प्यार, हरि निर्मल जन को यार ।
यह अंतर सुजन विचार, गुरु महिमा अपरम्पार ॥

Guru patitan so kar pyaar, hari nirmal jan ko yaar
Yah antar sujan vichaar, guru mahimaa aparampaar

“The Guru loves destitute souls; God loves the pure-hearted ones. O noble ones, think about this difference. The Guru’s glory knows no limits.”

The Vedic scriptures, which are the manifestation of the eternal knowledge of God, have been passed on for ages from master to disciple. These scriptural injunctions and spiritual principles can only be understood through the Guru, as the Guru is an enlightened saint who has practically realized their wisdom. Hence, the Ramayan states:

गुरु बिनु भव निधि तरइ न कोई। जौं बिरंचि संकर सम होई।

guru binu bhava nidhi tarai na koī, jauṅ biranchi sankara sama hoī

“Not even the most elevated of spiritual aspirants can cross over the material ocean without the grace of the Guru.”

Spiritual seekers who are in tune with their Guru, understand the spiritual truths, cross this ocean of material existence unscathed, and find true happiness in God.

Guru Ignites Love for God and Takes Us Closer to Him

A true Guru comes into our lives by the grace of God. After that, it’s by the Guru’s grace that our lives are purified and transformed. As a devoted servant of God, the Guru is constantly engaged in His service, and therefore is dear to God. Unless we do devotional service as per the Guru’s instructions, we cannot hoist ourselves to a God-consciousness state or resuscitate our relationship with God. Shree Krishna Himself admits that He is pleased by the one who serves His true devotee:

मद्भक्तानां च ये भक्तास् ते मे भक्ततमा मताः ॥

ye me bhaktajanāḥ pārtha na me bhaktāś ca te janāḥ |
madbhaktānāṃ ca ye bhaktās te me bhaktatamā matāḥ ||
(Adi Puran)

Shree Krishna says, “Arjun, those who consider themselves as My direct devotees are indeed not My devotees. The one who is a devotee of my devotee, a servant of my servant, is verily My devotee.”

Guru seva and Guru bhakti amasses unparalleled merit. Our scriptures affirm that there is no path equivalent to the path of devotion, and there is no human comparable to the Guru. The Guru is supreme and indeed all the forms of God manifest through Him. Many disciples such as Aruni, Padmapad, King Janak, Prahalad, etc., are evidences of the Guru’s grace is the grace of God. Deepak was one such blessed disciple, who lived in Angira’s ashram serving sage Vedadharma.

Deepak was a sincere aspirant. He was the most brilliant of all the disciples and had ananya guru bhakti (i.e., exclusive devotion) toward his Guru. Sage Vedadharma recognized Deepak’s guru bhakti and resolved to shower his grace upon him.

The sage one day turned himself into a leper, assembled all the disciples, and said, “I can cure this disease by my spiritual powers; however, I do not wish to do so. I want to spend the rest of my life in Kashi, atoning for my bad karma. While I do my penance in Kashi, I need someone to attend on me, administering medicines on time and dressing my wounds.”

While all the disciples were repulsed by their guru’s appearance and the offensive smell emitting from his body, Deepak stepped forward and said, “Gurudev, I will accompany you to Kashi. Please grant me the boon of serving you.”

Once they reached Kashi, the disease worsened, and the symptoms became severe. Besides, Vedadharma intentionally began to reproach Deepak for no reason. Yet, Deepak continued serving his Guru patiently and compassionately. Pleased by Deepak’s unwavering devotion and steadfast love for his guru, Lord Shiv appeared at the doorstep of Vedadharma’s humble dwelling one day, and began to call out zealously, “Deepak, Deepak!”

Deepak stepped out, and prostrating to the Lord he pleaded, “O Lord of the worlds, my Gurudev is resting. Could you please speak softly?”

Immensely delighted with this reply, Lord Shiv offered Deepak a boon. Politely refusing the boon, Deepak said, “I am grateful for your darshan, but I cannot ask for a boon without my Gurudev’s approval. You please wait here until my Gurudev wakes up.”

Captivated by Deepak’s response, Lord Shiv approached Lord Vishnu and described Deepak’s commendable guru bhakti. Lord Vishnu too appeared at his doorstep to test Deepak’s guru bhakti.

Overwhelmed with joy at the sight of Lord Vishnu, Deepak prostrated before him reverentially, but rejected Lord Vishnu’s boon too, when it was offered.

When Vedadharma finally woke up, he asked Deepak about who was conversing with him. Deepak explained in detail the visits of Lord Shiv and Lord Vishnu and their offer of boons. Prostrating to his guru, Deepak stated, “Gurudev, you are my Shiv. You are my Vishnu. I consider whatever boon you grant me as the biggest blessing.”

At that very instance, Guru Vedadharma dropped his diseased and crippled body and exclaimed compassionately, “My son, your faith in your Guru and the service your rendered is exemplary. That is why you were blessed with the darshan of Lord Shiv and Lord Vishnu.”

This shows how generously the Guru showers his grace upon a disciple who entirely and firmly believes in him. We may or may not be able to serve our Guru to the extent that the exceptional disciples like Deepak. However, we can sincerely try to utilize every God-given resource – tana, mana, dhana – to serve the Guru to the best of our abilities. Factually, it is out of mercy that the Guru bestows upon us the privilege to serve, thereby helping us to gradually advance toward the lotus feet of the Lord.

Bal-Mukund: Playground for Vedic Wisdom
From Guru to God

It is through the grace of a spiritual teacher (i.e., the Guru) that one develops the potential to meet God. Such was the experience of Shabri. She was a queen in her past life, but her wealth and material existence turned out to be a barrier in her devotion. She prayed to God for grace so that in her next life she would be able to engage in devotion without distractions.

As it turned out, in her next life she was born in a family of tribals. On the day of her wedding, her father sacrificed many birds and animals for the wedding feast. Feeling disgusted and responsible for the loss of innocent lives, she left home and started living near a spiritual hermitage. She quietly served the sages by picking thorns from the path where they walked bare feet. Nobody knew about this until she was spotted by them one day upon their return from a bath in a nearby lake. A few sages felt she was impure and that her service had made them impure, for which they had to bathe to purify themselves. The lake turned red when they stepped in it to bathe. They blamed her for it.

Matang Rishi, who had the correct knowledge of the situation, reminded them that the cause of this occurrence was their sins toward a pure soul like her. He asked Shabri to stay with him in the hermitage where she served him. When Matang Rishi was preparing to leave his body, Shabri asked him what she should do in his absence. He told her that God would be descending on earth and that he would come to meet her. She did not need to go anywhere. To help her recognize God, he told her that the first man to arrive at the hermitage would be God.

She lived there patiently following her Guru’s instructions. Every day she would prepare for God’s arrival by cleaning and decorating the walkway. She would contemplate on how she would serve God when He arrived. She never expressed disappointment if God didn’t come. Instead, she kept her faith strong that God would come.

The day arrived 40 years later. She saw two princes and bowed at Lord Ram’s feet. Shabri lost her senses. She took the wild berries she had collected, tasted them first and offered them to Lord Ram. God enjoyed the berries mentioning that he hadn’t tasted such sweet fruit elsewhere. Following this, other sages arrived and requested God to put his feet in the lake to change the red color. Lord Ram told them that nothing would happen unless a pure devotee stepped into the lake. He asked Shabri to put her feet in the lake. As soon as she did, the color changed. After this incident, Shabri expressed her wish to Shree Ram. It was to leave her body in Hid divine presence. Shree Ram granted her wish.

Practical wisdom:
  • God enjoyed the berries Shabri offered even though she had tasted them first. God only perceived her love and devotion, not the ritual or tradition.
  • Shabri surrendered to Matang Rishi, served him and followed his instructions. God came to meet her. Such is the grace of God and Guru.
  • Shabri waited for 40 years to meet God. Patience and perseverance attract the grace of God.
Holistic Health Titbits
How does the Guru give blessings for our health?

Swami Mukundananda often speaks of the doctrine of the three bodies –gross, subtle and causal. Upon death, the gross body is left behind but the subtle and causal bodies accompany the soul through endless lifetimes. Therefore, some people falsely believe that the subtle and causal bodies need to be nurtured but not the gross body. This fallacy is in direct contrast to the desire of God and Guru. The gross body is the physical vehicle for engaging in sadhana, satsang and seva – the tools to purify the subtle and causal bodies for the happiness of the soul.

How do we implement the Guru’s blessings?

In order to receive blessings from the Guru, we must use what has been given to us. God has already bestowed the three graces upon us – the human form, a hunger for God, and a divine Guru to enable us to meet the goal. The Guru showers us with knowledge, shows us the path to devotion, and teaches us how to practice it. This knowledge assists in purifying the mind, but also requires purification of the body. This can be achieved by choosing a sattvic diet and a regular exercise regimen of asanas, pranayam, and meditation. Swamiji has blessed his devotees with numerous books, lectures and demonstrations in this regard. Here are some steps drawn from a variety of sources available to us:

  1. Diet: We must follow a vegetarian diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, whole grains and dairy with minimal hot spices and sugar.
  2. Exercise: We must incorporate 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Swamiji has graciously given us a complete yogic system which includes cardio, strength training, flexibility and balancing, pranayam and meditation. It is available virtually and in person daily at Prem Yoga, as well as special events like the Dallas Yoga Fest.
  3. Roop Dhyan Meditation: We can engage in Swamiji’s guided Roop Dhyan meditation daily through a variety of online classes, YouTube videos, and Sunday Satsang.

If we do not implement this wisdom, we only have ourselves to blame. The body will suffer from ailments and disease, hindering the ability to do physical tasks in service of the Guru. If we do put this knowledge into practice, then we will elevate ourselves toward the goal of God-realization and continue to receive an abundance of grace to maintain our physical health.

Reflection Questions for Discussion


Bhakti Ras
  • How does a Guru help us on the path of spirituality, and is it possible for us make spiritual progress without a Guru?
  • Bal-Mukund
  • Why did Shabri taste the wild berries before offering them to God, and why did God eat them?
  • Holistic Health Titbits
  • What is your daily routine in regard to diet, exercise and care for the physical body? What can you add or change to improve this routine?




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