[Advaita-l] Traits of an Ideal Guru and an ideal disciple

Hitanshu hits.subs at gmail.com
Tue Mar 23 02:59:56 CDT 2010

Good move Subrahmanian Ji,

I guess, this topic deserves an attention, but was getting mixed up
with another, not so worthy discussion.


On Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 11:40 AM, V Subrahmanian
<v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः
> In order to put in perspective the qualities of an ideal Guru and an ideal
> siShya, this post, with a specific title, is presented here.
> (The traits of the ideal Guru were presented in a different post under the
> thread titled 'Nityananda'.  This is copied here for being accessed and read
> along with the disciple's qualities in one place.)
> Who is a Guru?
> One crisp answer to this question is provided by Shankaracharya:
> को गुरुः ?  [Who is a Guru?]
> अधिगततत्त्वः, शिष्यहिताय उद्यतः सततम् [He who has Realized the Truth and
> always strives for the supreme welfare of the disciple.] (The opening
> question-answer in His प्रश्नोत्तररत्नमालिका 'A jewelled necklace of
> questions and answers')
> This definition is so crisp and deep in meaning that none can improve upon
> it.
> Sri Mahasannidhanam, HH Sri Vidyatirtha SwamigaL of Sringeri Peetham has
> rendered a benedictory talk, अनुग्रहभाषणम्, on the theme of the Ideal Guru.
> He takes up a verse composed by Sri Vedanta DeshikaH and expounds on it word
> by word for a full hour.  The verse and the meaning, in brief, is:
> सिद्धं सत्संप्रदाये स्थिरधियमनघं श्रोत्रियं ब्रह्मनिष्ठं
> सत्त्वस्थं सत्यवाचं समयनियतया साधुवृत्त्या समेतम् ।
> दम्भासूयादिमुक्तं जितविषयगणं दीर्घबन्धुं दयालुं
> स्खालित्ये शासितारं स्वपरहितपरं देशिकं भूष्णुमीप्सेत् ॥ (न्यासविंशतिः १)
> It is such an elaborate and involved description of an ideal guru that the
> Jagadguru delves into its meaning giving examples for each of the traits.
> Below are enumerated the various traits that Sri Vedanta Deshikar has stated
> there:
> 1. सिद्धं सत्संप्रदाये - He is established in a lofty sampradAya.
> 2. स्थिरधियं - He is endowed with a firm mind.
> 3. अनघं - He is sinless; the tendency to sin are absent in him.
> 4. श्रोत्रियं ब्रह्मनिष्ठं - He is well versed in the ShAstram and is
> established in Brahman, owing to his realization of the Supreme.
> 5. सत्त्वस्थं - His sattva guNa is very strongly developed.
> 6.  सत्यवाचं - He is committed to speaking the truth.
> 7. समयनियतया साधुवृत्त्या समेतम्  - His conduct is dictated by the demands
> of the occasion and the confines of the scripture-prescribed rules and
> regulations.
> 8. दम्भासूयादिमुक्तं - He is free from the common defects of ostentatious
> display, envy, etc.
> 9.  जितविषयगणं - He is a master of his senses; not a slave of the
> sense-organs/objects.
> 10.  दीर्घबन्धुं - He is an all-time friend/relative/support/solace (to
> those who relate to him)
> 11.   दयालुं - He is compassionate
> 12.  स्खालित्ये शासितारं  - When there is a slip, he is quick to correct it.
> Here the 'slip' is with reference to the disciple; going by the qualities
> described above, a slip in his case is ruled out.
> 13. स्वपरहितपरं - He is always intent upon the supreme welfare of himself as
> well as the others (disciples, etc.)
> देशिकं भूष्णुमीप्सेत् - One  aught to (I) reverentially worship such an
> exalted Guru.
> There appears to be a पाठभेदः or an error while rendering the Speech in
> print:
> For the last word भूष्णुमीप्सेत् there is another rendering:
> भूष्णुरीप्सेत्.  It looks like, going by the 'I ....worship' meaning, it has
> to be ...ईप्से.  If it is 'One aught to...', then the existing reading seems
> alright.  Suggestions/corrections are welcome.
> One can see the verse to be a 'total' definition of an Ideal Guru.  All the
> various qualities that some members suggested with regard to a 'good' Guru
> are eminently incorporated in this Master Definition.  One can also
> appreciate that Shankaracharya's crisp definition stands expatiated in this
> verse with great sincerety and imagination.  Our humble Pranams to the Great
> Acharyas.
> [At the end of the discourse, the Acharya asks a question: This verse is
> that of Sri Vedanta Deshika.  Is he not a VishiShTAdvaitin?  And He replies:
> For Me whatever is in accordance with the Shruti is agreeable/acceptable.]
> The Sringeri Acharya has discoursed on the topic of an ideal disciple too,
> taking a verse of Sri Vedanta Deshika:
> Here is a verse on the traits an ideal student pursuing Vedantic enquiry is
> supposed to be endowed with:
> सद्बुद्धिः साधुसेवी समुचितचरितः तत्त्वबोधाभिलाषी
> शुश्रूषुः त्यक्तमानः प्रणिपतनपरः प्रश्नकालप्रतीक्षः ।
> शान्तो दान्तो अनसूयः शरणमुपगतः शास्त्रविश्वासशाली
> शिष्यः प्राप्तः परीक्षां कृतविदभिमतं तत्त्वतः शिक्षणीयः ॥ न्यासविंशतिः ३ ॥
> The meaning, in brief, is as under:
> सद्बुद्धिः - he is a good-natured one
> साधुसेवी - he is engaged in serving exalted persons, mahAtma-s.
> समुचितचरितः - endowed with proper conduct
> तत्त्वबोधाभिलाषी - a burning desire to know the Truth
> शुश्रूषुः - he is intent upon serving the Guru
> त्यक्तमानः - free of egotism
> प्रणिपतनपरः - ever intent upon prostrating before/saluting the Guru
> प्रश्नकालप्रतीक्षः - he is eagerly waiting for the opportune moment to pose
> his questions
> शान्तो दान्तो - is possessed of shama and dama (control of the mind and
> control of the senses)
> अनसूयः - free of envy/hatred
> शरणमुपगतः - has surrendered to / taken refuge under the Guru
> शास्त्रविश्वासशाली - has unshakable faith in the teaching of the Scripture
> शिष्यः प्राप्तः परीक्षां कृतविदभिमतं तत्त्वतः शिक्षणीयः - when such an
> aspirant, having passed the appropriate tests, attains to a Guru, he is to
> be imparted the VidyA that he is seeking.
> These speeches are transcribed in the Tamil book: Mukti Neri முத்தி நெறி
> publshed by Sri Vidyatirtha Foundation, Chennai. Rs.30, containing 16 of His
> speeches with copious quotations and appropriate references in Sanskrit and
> Tamil.
> श्रीसद्गुरुचरणारविन्दार्पणमस्तु
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