Gurupurnima is sacred for many reasons: this day, the seeker who suffers from identification with the false objective world is initiated into the reality of the `unseen motivator' within him; this day, those who have no urge to tread the spiritual path are inspired to seek the bliss which that path will confer; this day, aspirants are helped to achieve the consciousness of the One, which is known by many Names and through many Forms, in various languages and lands. With the rise of the sun, the world is bathed in light and heat. So too, with the oncoming of Gurupurnima the human heart is bathed in peace and security. Gurupurnima is not just one day in the year, marked out in the Calendar. It is all days when the Mind of Man (whose presiding Deity is the Moon) becomes full of pleasant coolness, fully illumined with the light from the Sun, (Intelligence, Discrimination).
The contemplation of death is the very foundation of Spiritual discipline. Without it, man is certain to fall into falsehood, pursuing the objects of sense pleasure, and trying to accumulate material, worldly riches. Death is no ominous calamity; it is a step into the auspicious brightness beyond. It is inescapable; it cannot be bribed away, adjourned by certificates of good conduct, or testimonials from the great. Once born, death is the inevitable end. But, it is possible to escape birth and thereby, escape death. For, birth is the consequence of karma. Do karma which breeds no consequence, no after effects which have to be lived through and you need not be born again. Engage an activity, as duty; or engage in activity, as 'offering of worship to God' then, such activity will breed no after effects.
This problem of escaping death, achieving immortality, Amritattwam, is the very core of inquiry. When Yagnavalkya proposed to go into the forest for asceticism, and divide his riches between his two wives, Maitreyi, wanted to know from him, before accepting her share, whether riches will help her to realise the Truth and get release from Death. Nachiketas asked the same boon from the God of Death. Prahlada taught the same point of view to his playmates. Buddha was prompted by the sight of a corpse to solve the mystery of Death. The true Guru is the one who makes one aware of the seriousness and urgency of this problem.
When acts are done as offering to God, one will not be elated at success or disheartened by failure, for, He prompts, He helps, He grants joy or grief as He wills, as He cares. The doer will have no attachment to the fruit of the deed; so, he will not be bound to its consequence; it will leave no trace on his personality which will shape him beyond death. But, there are people who assert that there is no God at all. Now, the very currency of the word God, is proof enough for those who can think, that there must be God. A word originates to represent an object that exists, or an idea that arises. Tree, cow, bird, forest these exist and so, those words are current. Every word indicates the existence of something. A non existent thing will not have a word to denote. It may be said that words like skyflower, harehorn, barren-mother denote non existent things; but, they are not words; they are compounds we have the sky and we have the flower. It is the compound, the double word, the combination of sky and flower that does not exist. So too the rest.
A word expresses experience; experience is the result of craving; craving comes out of desire; desire arises as a result of the impact of nature on the senses; nature is the illusion that covers the One and displays it as the Many; illusion or Maya is God's artfulness, His Leela, `Mama Maya' ('My Maya', He says, in the Gita!). This truth is expounded by the true Guru to the disciple who is earnest and efficient. This is a gem of wisdom that has to be treasured in the heart, and carefully guarded, against the viles of the six inner thieves, lust anger greed passion pride and hate.
There are two types of jungle where the beast, man, can roam; he has to make the choice. There is the Vedic jungle, where calm and quiet prevail, where leonine majesty in the form of realised souls resides, where in the silence that filters into the heart, the mysteries of birth, death and liberation become clarified. There is the other non Vedic jungle, where wildness is rampant and each lives on the other. There you have teachers who are even more engrossed in worldly tangles and whose eye is more on your purse than your mind or heart, your fortune more than your fate.
"Gu means darkness and ru means light. Guru scatters darkness through light; he imparts wisdom which roots out ignorance. Render unto him as much homage as he deserves, but, not more. You repeat the sloka
Guru brahma gurur vishnu,
Guru devo maheswarah
Tasmai sri gurave namah
which is usually interpreted as indicating that the Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara and that he is the visible Parabrahma. But, it is capable of a nobler interpretation: Brahma is the Guru, Vishnu is the Guru, Maheswara is the Guru; really Parabrahma is the Guru. Do not seek human Gurus, however great their reputation. They are not gu (gunatheetha beyond the Gunas, they are bound by the qualities they have developed) and ru (beyond Form, they are still in need of Form, so that they may conceive of Reality). Themselves limited, how can they communicate to you the Unlimited? Pray to the God within you, the Maheswara, the Vishnu, the Brahma, or Parabrahma Principle to reveal Itself. Accept that, as the Guru and you will be illumined.
It is sheer waste of money to burden the pictures and idols in your shrines and altars with plenty of garlands and to use costly utensils and offerings in order to show off devotion. This is mere deception, and it demeans Divinity, which requires only a pure heart, for showering Grace. Do not posit distance between you and Me by these attitudes of Guru Disciple or God-Devotee. Fundamentally, I am neither Guru nor God. I am you; you are I. That is the Truth, There is no difference or distinction; that which appears so is delusion. You are waves; I am the Ocean. The Name and the Form are separate; but, the taste is the same, the Jivatma sans the Upadhi is Paramatma, Itself. If you achieve inner content, I am content; for, I am you.
When the Guru is himself struggling in the dark, how can he lead others on? When he is himself a beggar, in search of moneyed men, how can he be free and strict as a teacher? When moha predominates, moksha is a will o' the wisp. You may eat a tiny grain of sugar like an ant and be contented with the gain; but, you must grow into an elephant that will eat with relish a whole bundle of sugar cane! The Gayatri mantra is a prayer for the, progressive upsurge of intelligence so that Truth may be grasped by the seeker. Subordinate the mind to the pure Intelligence, which is but a reflection of the God within. Then, you have the Guru of Gurus, as Guide.