[Advaita-l] How does one come under the grace of a Guru?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jan 28 05:46:44 CST 2016

How does one 'get' a Guru and know that he is the 'āpta'?

Says the Sarva-vedanta-siddhAnta-sAra-sangraha:

जन्मानेकशतै:  सदादरयुजा भक्त्या समाराधितो

भक्तैर्वैदिकलक्षणेन विधिना सन्तुष्ट ईश: स्वयम् ।

साक्षात् श्रीगुरुरूपमेत्य कृपया द्रूग्गोचरस्सन् प्रभु:

तत्त्वं साधु विशोध्य तारयति तान् संसारदु:खार्णवात् ॥ (225)

[The Lord, being pleased with the constant and unflinching devotion and
worship in the prescribed manner, extending over many lives on the part of
the seeker, manifests Himself, in His infinite mercy in the human form of
the Guru, thereby becoming accessible to the shishya for shushrUshA and
vichara which culminate in his crossing over the perilous ocean of samsara.]

When such a thing happens, the aspirant is left in no doubt that he has
obtained a true guide. Ishwara does this anugraha in several ways. It can
happen through sat sanga, that is, the aspirant coming to the company of an
exalted person through a friend.  It can also be that the 'āpta' is a
non-human entity.  For example, in the case of Sri Ramana it was in the
form of Lord Arunachala.

Ultimately one has to conclude that owing to one's punya of the previous
lives one gets  to be associated with a great soul.  Durlabham
trayamevaitat daivānugraha- hetukam. manushyatvam, mumukshutvam,
mahāpuruṣasamśrayaḥ of the Vivekachudamani sums up the topic. If
daivānugraha has to be there, the antecedent karma, punya karma, has to be
there.  Says Bhagavatpada in the Mundaka 3.1.2 bhashyam: *कदाचिदनेकजन्मसु
शुद्धधर्मसंचितनिमित्ततः* केनचित्परमकारुणिकेन दर्शितयोगमार्गः
समाहितात्मा सन् जुष्टं सेवितमनेकैर्योगमार्गैः कर्मिभिश्च यदा यस्मिन्काले
पश्यति ध्यायमानः

Here we see the Acharya clearly stating the kārya-kāraṇa bhāva:  the
effect, kāryam, of obtaining the grace and guidance of a Mahātma is
dependent on the cause, kāraṇam: one's puṇya sanchaya over several lives.
When this happens there will be no doubt to that aspirant that he has come
under the grace of the 'apta'.

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