Gurukrupayoga (Path of Guru’s Grace)

Sadhana or Spiritual practice alone can give us the strength to face sorrows in life bravely and to experience everlasting Bliss. Spiritual practice means daily efforts made to realise God. It is very difficult to undertake spiritual practice on our own and realise God without the grace of the Guru. Spiritual practice undertaken for attaining the blessings of the Guru and for continuing His grace is called Gurukrupayoga (Path of Guru’s grace).

Gurukrupayoga

A. Meaning

The word krupa has been derived from the root krup which means to be compassionate. Krupa means compassion, initiation or a blessing. Thus Gurukrupayoga is the path in which by means of the Guru’s grace the jiva (embodied soul) is united with Shiv (Absolute Being).

B. Importance of the Path of Guru’s grace

In this path a seeker learns how to acquire the Guru’s grace at the earliest, bypassing all other paths instead of wasting several years fol­lowing various paths of spiritual practice. Consequently it is only natural that one makes rapid spiritual progress by following this path.

Spiritual practice according to Gurukrupayoga

Spiritual practice according to Gurukrupayoga has two aspects – vyashti sadhana (individual spiritual practice) and samashti sadhana (spiritual practice for spiritual upliftment of society).

Vyashti sadhana consists of Ashtang sadhana namely

1) Namasmaran (Chanting God’s Name)

2) Satsang (Company of the God principle)

3) Satseva (Service of the Absolute Truth)

4) Tyag (Sacrifice)

5) Priti (Spiritual love)

6) Personality defects removal

7) Ego removal

8) Awakening of bhav (spiritual emotion)

Samashti sadhana consists of

1) Spread of Spirituality

2) Protecting the Nation and awakening Dharma

Vyashti sadhana

1. Namasmaran (Chanting God’s Name)

Chanting refers to the continuous remembrance of God’s Name. God chooses each individual to be born in that particular family (kula) whose Kuladevata (Family Deity) he needs to worship so as to make spiritual progress. Worship of the Kuladevata alleviates the intensity of the destiny which accompanies each one till the last breath. Due to these two main reasons, instead of any other spiritual practice, we should worship the Kuladevata in order to be blessed by a Guru. Worship of the Kuladevata includes mainly chanting its name along with other practices like puja (ritualistic worship), stotras (chant verses), parayans (recitations from holy books), darshan (visiting its temple).

Chanting the Kuladevata’s name is the foundation of all the spiritual practices incorporated in Gurukrupayoga. As we does chanting, gradually one’s spiritual level reaches 40%. Then chanting occurs automatically off and on and one is also able to perceive a little in the subtle dimension. Also due to chanting one forgets about other things and begins to experience Bliss from time to time.

A. Worship of Sri Datta

Unlike the bygone days, nowadays since rites like shraddha, paksha etc. for departed souls are not performed by most people nearly 30% of people are troubled by ancestors’ unsatisfied souls. That is why there are obstacles both in worldly life as well as in one’s spiritual practice. Since we can never know whether we could be included in those 30% or whether we will be troubled by ancestors in the future, we should chant ‘Sri Gurudev Datta‘ daily for 1 to 6 hours depending on the severity of the problems. (JAPA  LINK )

2. Satsang (Company of the God principle)

Satsang is being in the company of the God principle.

Due to the cumulative sattva component of all the seekers at a satsang, each one who attends it is benefitted by it, that is the raja and tama attitudes in each one gradually begin to reduce. It is much easier to obtain the experience of Bliss by attending a satsang rather than increasing one’s own sattva component by only chanting. Hence a seeker diligently attends satsangs more often.

When attending a satsang we can ask questions about the science of Spirituality and clear any doubts that we might have so that spiritual practice occurs wholeheartedly.

In a satsang we get to listen to others’ spiritual experiences and to narrate our own. This gives us the motivation to persevere on this path, as faith develops.

At a subtle level, we get the benefit of Chaitanya (Divine consciousness). The higher sattva component at the satsang helps to facilitate our spiritual practice.

Due to spiritual pollution in the form of rajasik and tamasik elements in the environment around, it becomes difficult for us to even think about God and spiritual practice. We could enter a satsang in the worst physical or mental state, however during the satsang we feel rejuvenated and enthusiastic to perform spiritual practice. Another benefit of remaining in satsang is that closeness starts developing with other seekers.

Satsang is also being in the company of Saints, reading holy texts, talking to other seekers about Sat etc.

When in the company of Saints or evolved persons, the amount of frequencies of Bliss emanating from them is greater hence a seeker experiences more Bliss.

3. Satseva (Service of the Absolute Truth)

After one starts chanting the Name of God and attending satsang one realises how spiritual practice has positively influenced one’s life and made it happier, irrespective of the situation that one is in. At this point in one’s spiritual journey, one undertakes satseva (service of the Absolute Truth).

The best satseva is to assist in spreading this knowledge. This can be done in a number of ways. For example, telling other people about what we have learnt and experienced so that they too can benefit from the positive changes it can bring into their lives. Satseva can be performed in several ways. ‘We should offer to God with devotion, whatever we can do best’. For example organising a satsang, distributing pamphlets giving information about the satsang, pasting posters and putting up banners, giving information by personally contacting people, by tidying the venue of the satsang, spreading out mats or arranging chairs for the audience etc. At a later stage we can ourselves study the matter and conduct satsangs. We have seekers who spread Spirituality by giving lectures free of charge, to awaken people to the science of Spirituality. They do not earn any money for this – then what is the benefit for them? They gain an inner feeling of Bliss, which no amount of money or worldly success can give. Some are not comfortable giving lectures, so they write articles for newspapers or use their computer skills to assist in website related work. This website is also an example of satseva. Some serve God through art by designing the beautiful covers of the spiritual books. Some seekers assist other seekers going to conduct lectures by paying for their travel expenses. One simple devoted lady seeker, had none of the above skills to offer but she was a good cook. She would pack lunch for seekers who had to go out of town to deliver these lectures. Our attitude should be one of service with humility and not of ego that one is giving so much.

The mission of Gurus and Saints is to inculcate a liking for Dharma and spiritual practice among the people; to inspire them to practise Spirituality and to spread Spirituality. If one performs this task according to one’s potential then the Guru feels, ‘He is mine’. Such a thought in the Guru’s mind itself is the heralding of Gurukrupa (Guru’s grace).

Once a Guru handed over some grains of wheat to two of His disciples and told them, ‘Preserve these grains carefully until I return’. On His return after a year, the Guru approached the first disciple and asked him, ‘Have you preserved the wheat carefully?’ Replying in the affirmative the disciple brought forth the container with the wheat grains and showed it to the Guru saying, ‘The wheat you had given me is just as it was’. Then the Guru approached the second disciple and asked him the same question. The disciple then took the Guru to a nearby field. The Guru was overjoyed seeing a field flourishing with the wheat crop everywhere. In the same way, we should spread the Name and spiritual knowledge imparted to us by the Guru, to others.

Service of the non-truth (asat), for instance the service of patients is mostly done under the influence of emotions considering Maya (Great Illusion) to be the truth. Also, the ego that ‘I am doing this service’ is present in such an attitude. As a result, as spiritual practice it is not of much use. As against this, to overcome the ego, one serves the Absolute Truth with bhav (spiritual emotion). Besides with service of the non-truth, a ‘give and take account’ is generated.

4. Tyag (Sacrifice)

Once a spiritual level of 60% is attained, sacrifice in the real sense commences. Ultimately one needs to give up the attachment to the body, mind and wealth in order to make spiritual progress. Of these, sacrifice of wealth is the easiest as it can be done physically. One can give away one’s wealth totally. However, the body and the mind cannot be sacrificed likewise. Yet one can sacrifice them before giving up wealth. This means that initially one can do service physically and chant God’s Name mentally. Later, only when a seeker progresses upto 70% can he sacrifice wealth to some extent. This is akin to the trapeze artist in a circus. So long as the girl does not let go of the handle-bar of the swing she is clutching, the man hanging upside down on the opposite swing cannot catch her. Similarly, so long as a seeker does not sacrifice everything, God does not take care of him.

Sacrifice does not mean giving away all of one’s belongings. Rather it is getting rid of one’s attachment to them. In the beginning, the Guru makes the disciple sacrifice the objects in his possession. Finally, when the attachment ceases, He showers him with plenty. Since Shivaji Maharaj had no attachment for the kingdom he had offered to Samarth Ramdas Swami, the Swamiji returned it to him.

A. Donation (offering)

Donation should always be of the nature of ‘donation to the deserving’, that is to ‘the one worthy of it’. In this world, there is none more worthy than Saints. Hence, whatever one wishes to donate should be offered only to them. This is possible only for a seeker in the stage of mental worship (upasanakand). The one practising Karmayoga (Path of Action) gives alms to beggars, donations to schools and hospitals under the influence of emotions. One acquires only merits from it. Seekers desirous of Liberation (mumukshu) want neither merits nor sins, since only heaven and not Moksha (Final Liberation) is attainable with merits.

Saints and Gurus are the manifest (physical) forms of the unmanifest God. Hence, any offering made to Saints and the Guru is as good as an offering to God Himself. Thus offering back to God that which is bestowed by Him does not create a give and take account but completes it. As such, the offering made to Saints reduces the sanchit (accumulated account) and increases the ability to withstand the effects of destiny. Moreover, neither is any give and take account thereby created, nor is any merit acquired. Hence, whatever has to be offered should be given only to Saints or for the mission of the Absolute Truth.

5. Priti (Spiritual love for others)

As one attains a spiritual level of 70% one feels spiritual love for others.  Spiritual
love is unconditional, devoid of expectations, whereas worldly love is full of expectations.By doing spiritual practice the percentage of the sattva component in oneself increases and one tends to satisfy the visible and invisible creation in one’s surroundings. Thus, as love becomes expansive one feels spiritual love for others. One is able to see God everywhere and the whole world becomes one loving family – ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ means the entire creation on earth becomes one loving family. In order to achieve this, in the beginning, one has to make efforts to develop prembhav (emotion of love). To achieve this, at first one needs to consciously make efforts to love, which can be possible if one remains in holy company. At first, one feels spiritual love for other seekers attending the satsangs, then for seekers belonging to other sects, still later for non-seekers and finally for all living creatures.

6. Personality defects removal

The personality defects in a person are responsible for unhappiness, whereas his qualities are responsible for happiness and contentment. The qualities or defects seen in an individual stem from the corresponding impressions of qualities or defects in his sub-conscious mind.

The more the personality defects, the more the mistakes in one’s individual and collective spiritual practice and the farther away one is from God. Hence, to avoid this, it is essential to remove personality defects.

While performing any action, when repeatedly same impressions in the sub-conscious mind keep surfacing, they are called as ‘personality’. In short, personality means a person’s nature. Generally, bad impressions/habits are called personality defects and good impressions/habits are called qualities. Due to a certain personality aspect, either that individual or another person suffers as a result of his actions.

Personality defects removal as spiritual practice

The process of removing personality defects from the perspective that they are an impediment in one’s spiritual growth is known as ‘the process of removing personality defects as spiritual practice’. We all know that a drop of oil cannot merge completely in water. This is because the characteristics of both are very different to each other. So also to achieve the pinnacle of spiritual growth that is God-realisation or merging with God, we need to remove all our personality defects. This is because God has no defects.

Even if our spiritual aim is not the highest, that is God-realisation just to avoid ill-effects at physical, psychological, society and spiritual level and be able to lead a fulfilling life we need to remove our personality defects at least to some extent. Some removal of our defects also makes our personality and the environment around us more conducive to our spiritual practice.

7. Ego removal

While undertaking spiritual practice, one has to make wilful efforts to dissolve the ego. One cannot realise God even if one has a low ego. Acts like praying, gratitude, physical service etc. help in reducing the ego.

8.    Efforts to awaken bhav (spiritual emotion)

Intense attraction for God is ‘spiritual emotion for God’. The earlier the development of this spiritual emotion and the longer it remains awakened, the faster can one reach God. Consistent attempts to increase bhav at the level of the mind and intellect will definitely help. Actions like prayers, expression of gratitude, arti, obeisance etc. help in enhancing bhav. As we begin to do spiritual practice we begin to perceive a higher power, that is God working in our lives. As we progress spiritually there is an increase in this awareness of God in our lives and around us. An intense awareness about the existence of God or the Guru in any form when carrying out day-to-day life activities based on this feeling and experiencing life based on this background is referred to as spiritual emotion (bhav) towards God or the Guru.

When one is in a state of spiritual emotion, one’s sub-conscious mind merges with God for that time. The mind and intellect take a back seat and one is able to experience greater communion with God. Hence in this state the person does not have any thoughts or doubts about Spirituality or God.

Bhav is a state experienced in the Bhaktiyoga (Path of Devotion)  and Gurukrupayoga (Path of Guru’s grace ).

Samashti sadhana

1. Spread of Spirituality

In today’s times the importance of vyashti sadhana (individual spiritual practice) is only 30% whereas that of samashti sadhana (spiritual practice for spiritual upliftment of society is 70%.

The raja-tama pollution in the atmosphere is increasing due to the evil tendencies in society. If the sattva component in society increases through spiritual practice there will be an increase in the collective sattvik component and performing spiritual practice will be easier hence the need to spread Spirituality in society.

When a seeker indulges in spiritual practice for the sake of society, his attention gets focussed on the spiritual practice, progress, spiritual experiences etc. of others and he gets freed from ‘I, my spiritual practice, my spiritual progress, my spiritual experiences’. This accelerates his spiritual progress.

The following table gives the amount of the Guru’s grace that a disciple can acquire by performing a particular action. It emphasises the importance of the spread of Spirituality.

The disciple’s action Guru’s grace %
1. Paying a visit (darshan) to the Guru 2
2. Asking questions only on Spirituality 10
3. Performing tasks at the ashram 40
4. Effective *part time spread of Spirituality 70
5. Effective *full time spread of Spirituality 100

* To spread Spirituality effectively one needs to have all the virtues of a disciple. It is not sufficient to preach like a politician or a social reformer.

2. Protecting the Nation and awakening Dharma

Most Hindus not following their own Dharma, anti-Hindus and non-patriots are openly denigrating and defaming the Hindu Dharma, Hindu Deities, Saints, National leaders and Holy texts. The problem of conversion of Hindus to other religions is increasing day by day. Dharma is the life of a Nation and if that itself dies then the Nation and eventually all of us will be destroyed.

Hence protection of the Nation and Hindu Dharma from non-patriots and anti-Hindus is an important part of samashti sadhana; because only if the Nation is safe will we be safe and only if we are safe can we undertake spiritual practice.

Unity of Hindus : All anti-Hindus unite when they have to oppose Hindu Dharma. As against this, unity of Hindus for the cause of the Dharma and the Nation is rare. Only if Hindus unite will the Hindu Dharma and the Nation be protected. Hence uniting Hindus is an important aspect of samashti sadhana.

(Ref: Sanatan’s Publication – ‘Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga)’)

Detailed information on why one should undertake spiritual practice of the family deity is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 9 – Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’.

Detailed information on chanting of The Lord’s Name is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 9 – Path of Chanting The Lord’s Name (Namasankirtanyoga)’.