Why Is the Satguru So Important?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 35


The satguru helps his devotees mover closer to God, deeper into themselves, into the sat, the real,the truth. Turn away from the world/asat--that which is not the truth, to find the truth/sat. Sat has no beginning and no end; it is eternal. The world is relatively real, it exists but is constantly changing. That which is absolutely real exists and is changeless. The satguru is trying to help you find that part of us that doesn't change/sat.

Unedited Transcript:

p> Good morning everyone. Nice to see you all.

This morning we're continuing from our book Path to Siva with Lesson 35.

"Why Is the Satguru So Important

"Anyone hoping to climb Mount Everest would be wise to have a Sherpa by his side, a guide who has been where you want to go. Similarly, as we walk the spiritual path, we should not be without a satguru, an enlightened master who knows Truth and can take us there. The word guru means 'teacher.' Anyone you are studying with may be called a guru, such as a dance guru, music guru or a classroom teacher. A teacher is important in any area of study, because it is difficult for us to see our own weaknesses, but easy for a trained expert. Your mother and father are your first gurus. Many Hindus have a satguru, a teacher of sat, or truth. A satguru is a mature soul who has realized God and is able to lead others along the path. Siva is within each of us, shining out through our eyes. But Siva shines out from the satguru more brightly because he or she is pure and enlightened. Thus, we worship the satguru as Siva Himself. The satguru is devoted full time to religious life, to upholding Saivism and helping his devotees. Just by living and being, he or she brings peace and blessings to the world. A satguru is always a sannyasin, one who is unmarried and has renounced all possessions, personal life, family and friends. A rare initiation from his guru empowered him with the highest spiritual knowledge and authority. This is Siva's revealing grace, anugraha shakti, in action. If your family has a satguru to guide it, you are indeed fortunate. He can wisely advise your parents and keep the family strong, harmonious and spiritually alive. Get to know him. Talk to him and ask questions. He will share his wisdom and help you draw close to God."

Very nice.

Sometime this year we had a satsang and mixture of devotees close and distant from us and one of them asked a, I think it was a challenging question, trying to put me on the spot.

He said:

"You're a satguru. What does that mean?"

So, I thought about it for a second and then I said:

"Well it means I help you find God within you."

He didn't expect that answer. He was thinking more it was a title praising me. But, it's not a title of praise; it's a title of duty. Says: You're a teacher. And what are you teaching? You're teaching someone how to find God within themselves. That's what it is.

And the difference is, you can compare it to a dancer. Someone can be a really great dancer but not a good dance teacher. Can be different skills. Someone can be both. And someone can be a really great dance teacher but not necessarily a great dancer. So the inner attainment doesn't automatically reflect in the outer skill or teaching or helping someone else move toward that same goal.

So the idea of a satguru is, he's helping his devotees move closer and closer or deeper and deeper into themselves. Closer and closer to God or deeper and deeper into themselves, into the "sat."

There is a well known verse about sat and asat. Goes:

Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya Mrityor-Maa Amritam Gamaya Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

Well the most common translation is:

"Lead me from the unreal to the Real." The real being sat and the unreal being asat. But, I don't think it's really a good translation of asat/unreal, cause it's sat with an "a" in front of it. So when you put a letter a in front of something it's usually translated "non." So we go himsa/injury, ahimsa/non-injury, right? Dvaita/dualism; advaita/non-dualism.

So it means: That which is not. Ahimsa: That which is not injury. [Advaita] That which is not dualism. So in this case asat means: That which is not the truth. It's all it means. Unreal has a certain connotation that "not the truth" doesn't have, right? So I think not the truth is better cause we're not trying to say the world is unreal; that's not what the verse means. It means the world, what we normally experience, is not the truth. It's asat. We want to turn away from the world asat, that which isn't the truth, go deeply enough into ourselves to find the truth/sat. That's what it's saying.

There's a charming story from our Paramaguru Yogaswami. He was talking with, in Jaffna. He passed on in 1964. This was probably in the late 50's or early 60's. This story takes place. He's talking to the Canadian ambassador to Sri Lanka who was a mystical person and came a number of times to talk to Yogaswami. In this instance he had his children with him, two young boys. And he told the young boys: "You and I are the same age." So there they are, say they're eight and ten. And there he is about 88 or 90 years old and he's saying: "You and I are the same age." So he's speaking in a very simple way; You and I are the same age. Well how can the boys and Yogaswami be the same age? Because there's something in all three of them that is sat. There's something in all three of them that is the same and it's eternal. So something's eternal it has no age, right? It's always existed. Something can only have an age if it has a beginning and an end. But sat has no beginning and no end therefore it's eternal. And therefore if we look at the sat within us, the sat within the two boys and Yogaswami in this case, it's identical. It's the same age because it's eternal. So very interesting reflection.

Gurudeva liked to describe asat and sat by saying relatively real and absolutely real. Say the world is relatively real, the truth is absolutely real. Relatively real means it exists but is constantly changing. Absolutely real means it exists and it doesn't change; it's changeless. It's the same now as it was yesterday and the day before and the day before and it'll be tomorrow and the next day. Doesn't change. So part of us doesn't change which is sat. But the world is changing.

So the challenge is to go deeply enough, to be detached enough from that which is changing to find that which doesn't change. And that's what the satguru is trying to help you find. Sat: Leading from the unreal to the real.

Thank you very much.

Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Our individual existence, our individual life, should be identified with the immortal body, not with the physical body, not with the emotional body, not with the intellectual body, not with the astral body.
—Gurudeva