Guru Purnima ~ Fullness of Being
Tribute to our beloved Teacher
“That glory is more hidden than the hidden. But when the look of the Guru falls upon one, one is overwhelmed and that glory becomes the most obvious of obvious things.”
On this auspicious day of Guru Purnima which coincides with a lunar eclipse this year, all teachers of every form and endeavor are celebrated, yet we give particular acknowledgement to and appreciation for the teacher of the Spirit. As students of consciousness, we look towards the one who has full mastery of the Self to guide us to become a knower of reality.
Today we also pay our deepest respect to the tradition which has allowed for this unbroken chain of Self-knowledge to be passed on from heart to heart as that eternal guru principle. May this enacting principle of the guru be one which is enlivened in each of us, but let us not forget to recognize the guru in its outer form, as a physical manifestation of the guru within each of us.
The guru in the flesh is the most potent and powerful of reminders of what it means to embody consciousness and to “divinize matter.” For us, it is the form we give our attention to and have the unique opportunity to establish a relationship with. May this day allow the light of this sacred relationship illumine what lies most deeply within our hearts.
With deepest gratitude and reverence we bow to our beloved Teacher Igor Vamadeva who lights the pathless path for us, and to the eternal lineage of the Siddhas. Within the depth of the heart, we give thanks for the greatest of all blessings—the bestowal of grace, spiritual knowledge and life-transforming teachings. We honor and pay deep respect to Vamadeva’s own beloved Guru His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his Master Brahmananda Saraswati. Fortunately for us, there have always been these rare, extraordinary Masters who transmit the knowledge of the Self, safeguard the process of transformation to the full embodiment of enlightenment, and who act in the role of the highest service to humankind.
“Guru Purnima day is structured in pure knowledge. It comes year after year to bring the awakening of totality of life. It unfolds the full potential of knowledge and brings to fulfillment the master-disciple relationship. It is the master-disciple relationship, and that expresses itself in its totality: Full potential of all possibilities. It is a very special day, it’s a very special day for us.”
– HH Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Having merged with the guru principle, a spiritual Master embodies it completely; the all-pervading, impersonal aspect of the guru principle and the individuality are united in fullness in a living adept. In those beings, the mastery of the Self spills naturally and inevitably into the diversity and complexity of the field of life. This is why Vamadeva guides and encourages us to let this inherent quality of creativity blossom and to bring it into the domain of the marketplace—to become an artist of life. It is through our Teacher’s own example of living as a householder with his beautiful family—as artist, philosopher, lover of tea and crazy wisdom teacher—that we endlessly receive and are inspired by the stream of beauty, wisdom and compassion that flow through him.
May manifold blessings be showered on our Teacher and his sacred work—today and always. May we nurture the gift of the awakened Shakti by assimilating the teachings, and by walking this path of the heart shown by our Guru. May we use this auspicious day today to offer our prayers and gratitude, and to renew our commitment to know the inner truth. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, may we celebrate the blessing and fullness of Grace in our lives.
Om pūrnam adah
pūrnāt pūrnam udacyate.
Pūrnasya pūrnam ādāya
Om. Śāntih śāntih śāntih.
That (Absolute) is Full. This (Relative) is Full. From Fullness comes fullness. By fullness it is sustained and into fullness it is reabsorbed. What remains is fullness. Peace, Peace, Peace
Guru and Personal Aspect of God
by Igor Kufayev
Guru Purnima is the day which is traditionally associated with the worship and remembrance of one’s spiritual preceptor, although obviously Guru Purnima goes beyond just the worshipping of this or that particular individual.
The Guru here is the principle behind all liberations. It’s the principle which conceals and reveals reality as it is. It is that very beautiful relationship which unfolds deep within one’s own Heart, and takes one beyond limitations of any kind. So it seems appropriate to respond to the question of the role of the guru in this whole process. The question comes from someone who would like to have reconfirmation and reaffirmation of the role of the guru and also of the ishta-devata. In this case, ishta-devata, in Sanskrit, stands for the personal aspect of God, or the personal aspect of whatever divine being one chooses to worship or dedicate one’s impulses of attention, awareness, and love towards.
So what is this whole notion of the guru? To me, it seems appropriate to give a very practical example, which is related to any field of life that requires some form of study—some form of craftsmanship—some form of learning process. This may be any type of craft that we learn in life—whatever that craft may be. It relates to academic, intellectual disciplines, and it relates to the arts, such as music, dance, painting, and poetry. In all of these areas, the role of a teacher is simply indispensable. Let’s take music, for example. In the very process of learning, it’s not just about acquiring mastery over a certain instrument. The instrument could be one’s voice, a violin, a sitar, or any other instrument, a wind instrument, a flute. One could think, “okay, I can just get the manual and follow precisely all the given instructions, and with time and practice, I will master this or that instrument.” This is true to a degree, but anyone who has ever dedicated themselves to the proper learning of music knows that it is the role of the teacher that frees one from unnecessary errors that inevitably accompany the learning process. It would be much more difficult, and take much longer, to acquire understanding in terms of musical learning, and to acquire the necessary discrimination during the process, without the direct participation of a preceptor.
Not only that, but there is the risk of amateurishness that often accompanies those who embark on a study of arts all on their own. There are, of course, exceptions of those who were able to attain a complete mastery of a certain art that they dedicated themselves to without any guru. But even then, it is not proper to say that they did not have a guru. Maybe they didn’t have the living being who was instructing them, or initiating them in certain subtleties of that or this craft. However, there was always something that they bounced off of, something that they had been exposed to. For example, in terms of painting, there may have been some images that this disciple went and partook of in direct company, something that he or she copied, studied, and looked at with great attentiveness; and in that process of looking, relating, and studying, one could say that the very role of the guru was hidden.
So, transferring this into the field of spiritual practice—it makes no difference whatsoever. With a spiritual disciple, it’s the same process of learning, like in any field of life. When you learn to draw, there is the necessity of the master who will come and just give you that one simple little suggestion that will move your creativity and your growth to a degree that—alone—would take you much longer. Likewise, with spiritual practice, the same necessity exists. It’s exactly the same because having the guru frees you from unnecessary pitfalls and attempts, where you would still remain an amateurish seeker.
The importance of the role of the guru is also related to the readiness of the aspirant. Because that relationship, when it comes to spiritual practice, and to spiritual integration, is very much in play. Very often, the real understanding or role of the guru comes forth when the seeker himself or herself is fully ripened, so that the process can bear its fruit and reach its climax of mutual enrichment.
Up until that happens, there are always these internal dilemmas, resistances, and dialogues, which prevent one from accepting the fact that one needs some form of guidance, some form of reassurance, some form of confirmation—and not only at the early stages. In fact, at the early stages, very often we can make it with our own devices. It is from the moment when the awakening takes place that the role of the guru becomes much more prominent, because that is when the guru really safeguards the whole process, safeguards the real hidden dangers associated with the awakening process itself. It also safeguards the process from the inflation of a very subtle sense of self-importance—let’s call it just that. One may think that the gross ego association with this very body has been diminished, or has even completely gone. Some call it the death of the ego.
But then, what happens is that a very subtle spiritual sense of individuality comes into play, which is much more subtle, and much more difficult to recognize and keep firmly in check, because it speaks as the very voice of one’s awakened spirituality. This voice clouds clear understanding and clear judgment, because of that very hidden nature of the still limiting aspect. This is when the role of the guru is very important, because the guru can immediately point this out, to the one in whom awakening is already in full force, and say, “yeah, this subtle process is still under way,” and so help to free one from that unnecessary struggle on the subtle level.
The role of the guru is still very important at the initial stages of Self-realization because it is the master—it is the guru—who actually says that you are indeed That. And for that reason, there’s a tradition of great sayings—the Mahavakyas—where the aspirant shares with the master, his or her very own intimate experiences. The master then reconfirms the validity of these experiences which, in turn, are being recognized by the one who is experiencing it as truly one’s own state. So it’s like constant adjustment—very fine adjustment. It’s like truth mirroring each other until it comes to a point when only truth remains.
But that relationship doesn’t even disperse then. From there on, it has a flow of its own. It has beauty of its own. The practical purposes may have outlived themselves, but there’s something else that comes into play. Then that relationship becomes the relationship of Lover and Beloved. It’s a dear friendship. It can take many different forms.
It is very well known that many Great Masters, upon attaining full realization of their Self, continued that subtle relationship with their own gurus. They continued offering their worship, offering their devotion. Why? One might say that the role of the guru was complete, all done, and that so-and-so was now a guru in his or her own right. So what was the purpose of all that ongoing devotion?
This goes beyond words; it cannot be put into language. It is too subtle to convey. Yet, one can see that the relationship still continues. It has just moved to the level where it is so subtle, that one would almost not dare to address it at all, but just to leave it—leave it for one to experience directly, first hand.
So a few words about ishta-devata, because there’s a distinction that needs to be made, between ishta-devata and one’s guru. What’s the main difference? Because they sometimes overlap and superimpose, and one’s ishta-devata could be one’s guru, and one’s guru could be one’s ishta-devata. However, one’s guru is one’s teacher; it’s one’s preceptor. And ishta-devata is that personal aspect of god. It’s that individualized aspect of the Absolute with which one has a direct relationship.
In Indian tradition, it is very beautifully described as saguna: form. Saguna means that which has a form, and ishta-devata has a form. It is easier to worship ishta-devata with a form, rather than the one, like in the case of nirguna, which has no form. Worship of the form is much more immediate, because we are a living embodiment, and we live in a form. So that makes it easier for us to relate to another form, however subtle that form is. The ishta-devata, itself, plays the role of a very fine focal point. It is that focus which allows us to see everything with greater clarity. And there comes a moment when subject and object merge together, known as merging with one’s ishta-devata. When one’s devotion is powerful enough, it literally carries one in subtle waves of awareness towards that object of worship. There comes a moment, eventually, when one’s awareness literally superimposes to such a perfect degree with the object of worship, that it becomes indistinguishable from it. And from that point on, one’s ishta-devata becomes one’s living reality.
There is one thing I want to add. There is a little, but very important, distinction that needs to be made. We live in a time when there are a lot of spiritual teachers—a lot of spiritual preceptors. Not all of them, however, could be named a guru. Now why make that distinction? Why bother? Why even discriminate, or differentiate? After all, everyone fulfills their role; and indeed, every teacher fulfills his or her given role. However, the difference makes all the difference. The spiritual teacher, by and large, is like the teacher in your primary school who gives you the necessary skills, knowledge, and basis upon which you can deepen your understanding and deepen your knowledge, as you go more into that process of acquiring greater and greater understanding—greater and greater degree of embodiment. Some teachers are not far from being therapists, and their role very much borders on therapy. They implement a lot of psychology in their teaching, which has a validity of its own.
However, when we speak of the masters—the gurus—it is the very principle that they embody. It is the direct transmission of that spiritual energy which cannot be apprehended through any intellectual means. So, the real role of the guru goes beyond just giving certain knowledge. It is that very, very subtle process of transmission that we’re talking about here: that transmission which only takes place on the Heart-level.
That does not, of course, undermine the role of the spiritual teacher, or any other teacher, who comes into your life—not at all. It’s just so that one understands the role of the spiritual teacher versus what guru really stands for. And as that very English term master indicates, the guru is the one who has complete mastery of that craft which he or she has come to embody in full measure. So it is the mastery of one’s own self that is the main indicator of a true guru: a total mastery of the Self over the self. It is life lived on that level where the Self knows Itself in all circumstances. It is Unity Consciousness in the full measure of that term.
– Igor Kufayev – Guru Purnima Darshan, “Guru and Personal Aspect of God,” Santanyi, Mallorca
In service, and with deep Love and infinite Gratitude ~
Jai Guru Dev!
Your dedicated students and team members of Flowing Wakefulness
Portrait of Igor Vamadeva, Freiburg, Germany, October 2019
The Gallery of Sages, left to right:
1) Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Joytir Math of Himalayas
2) His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
1 & 2) Igor & Disciples during “Unveiling the Rose” immersion, Gut Saunstorf, Germany, 2017
3) Igor & Disciple during “Aesthetic Rapture – Tantra’s Hidden Path and the Power of Beauty,” Assisi, Italy, 2018
Puja to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Mexico, January 2019
Watch the YouTube clip of the Guru Purnima Darshan here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB6Zjf_cpxM