The importance of Guru

Value- Truth

Subvalue-Wisdom, Guidance

When Swami Vivekananda first visited Ramakrishna Paramahamsa he asked ‘I have read the Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures several times, I lecture and give discourses on the Gita and Ramayana. Do I still need harbor of a saint; do I still need a guru?’


Ramakrishna didn’t reply to Vivekananda’s question. After a few days Ramakrishna called upon Vivekananda and handed him a parcel to be delivered at a nearby village a few hours away by the sea route. Early morning the boat and sailor would be ready and all he needed to do was to go to the village and deliver the parcel to the designated person.

Vivekananda agreed and decided to start early. He found the boat and the sailor ready to put out to sea. Suddenly, upon sitting in the boat, Vivekananda realized that he didn’t know the road to the village. He inquired of the sailor who had no clue, either. Vivekananda decided to go back to his guru to ask him the shortest way to the village.

Upon this Ramakrishna said, ‘Narendra, this is my reply to the question you asked me when we met the first time: Today, you have the medium (the boat), you have the resource (the sailor), you have the road (the sea), you know what to do (deliver the parcel) and you also know where to go but you don’t know the way. Likewise you have read all the scriptures, and you can conduct wonderful discourses on them. However, to realize the wisdom of scriptures one needs a guru, someone who has already traversed that path so that he can guide you through the journey and encourage you to not give up.’


A teacher or a guru especially who has traversed or experienced life is the one capable of teaching and guiding us. If we find such a Guru we must hold on to Him so that we can face our life in a better and more easier manner.

Bhaja Govindam Story-1- Introduction and Verse 1


Composed by the great saint Sri Adi Shankaracharya, Bhaja Govindam is one of the most lucid yet insightful works of Vedanta.

It was on one of those days when Shankara and his disciples were travelling that they passed through Benaras, a holy city of India. Along the way, Shankara overheard an old pundit, scholar, memorising Panini’s grammar rules. He observed how the pundit memorised the grammar rules but missed the message of what he was studying and this inspired a masterful oration by Shankara that we call the Bhaja Govindam.

Verse 1

Bhajagovindam bhajagovindam
Govindam bhajamuudhamate
Sampraapte sannihite kaale
Nahi nahi rakshati dukrijnkarane

Worship Govinda; Oh foolish mind. The learnings of grammar will not help you in your last moments of life.

Story based on Verse 1

Akbar and the Sufi Saint


A great Sufi fakir once wanted some help from Emperor Akbar. He proceeded to the palace to meet Akbar. When he reached the palace; the king was in his prayer, the fakir waited patiently for the king to finish his prayers. Akbar was praying with raised hands towards the sky and asking God for more wealth and power.

Seeing this; the fakir turned away. Just then Akbar finished his prayer. He stood up and saw the fakir going out of the room. He rushed, fell to his feet and asked the purpose of his visit.

The fakir said, “I came seeking something from you but when I saw you seeking something from the Lord, I wondered what can one beggar give another one. I am a beggar, a fakir; but you are a greater beggar. I just beg for food and mundane things, but you beg for bigger things like wealth and glory. I would rather ask God directly what I need than asking to you.”

Akbar understood and realised how poor and insecure he was; though he was an Emperor



Adi Shankara questions us; what is it that we are begging for? Our begging can also be foolish. He says- fool-mudhamate; because in the very devotion if one cannot discover fulfillment, then the devotion is means to an end. Is our devotion an extension like barter system with the Lord? Adi Shankara wants us to create devotion, void of any expectation. Love directed towards Truth is bhakti. A true devotee knows and has the experience that devotion devoid of foolish desires is security in itself. All external objects do not protect us; only true devotion protects us. Yes, being in this world; one has to accomplish his material needs as well; but along with it true devotion is very important for one to know the difference between need and greed which causes insecurity and unhappiness throughout one’s life as well as at one’s last moments.

Adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda


Parental Pressure

There is a fine line between caring and caring too much. Don’t have unrealistic expectations from your child. All your joy can’t be because of your children; it’s too much burden for them to carry and it’s too disappointing for you when they falter- Sadia Saeed Raval

So true and reminder for all parents. Sharing the link



Act Right, then Claim the Fruit


Value- Peace

Sub value- Patience


A group of monkeys planted a mango garden. They planted the saplings, watered them a few days, and plucked them from off the ground to see how deep the roots had gone! They wanted them to grow fast and yield fruits, but they were unaware of the process by which alone they could get the fruits they craved for.


They wanted to get the results of their act immediately. They didn’t realise that lot of hard work, patience and perseverance is required to get fruits.


Everything has its time to develop and mature at the right time. We must persevere and work patiently instead of getting anxious about the result. Our duty is to do the work with full commitment and the right time we will be rewarded. Patience and perseverance goes a long way in achieving success. So let us act right and then claim the fruit. Cultivate with care and collect the harvest.


The Ant and the Contact Lens

Value- Faith

Sub value- Trust

Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the steep granite cliff; she was standing on a ledge, taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens. ‘Great!’, she thought. ‘Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and now my sight is blurry.’

She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge. But it just wasn’t there.

She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying. She prayed for calm, and she prayed that she may find her contact lens.

When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains.
She Prayed to GOD, ‘Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.’


Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff they met another party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, ‘Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?’

Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it!


The story doesn’t end there. Brenda’s father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, ‘Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I’ll carry it for You.’


It would do all of us some good to say, ‘God, I don’t know why You want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy. But, if You want me to carry it, I will.’

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

GOD is the source of our existence and our Savior. He keeps us functioning each and every day.  Remembering  always; “I can do all things through God which strengthens me” gives one tremendous confidence to us especially in turbulent times.

Winning or losing

Value- Truth, love

Sub value- Awareness, compassion

One day, a young boy came into the monastery and asked the Chief Monk, to give him some work and also food.


The Chief Monk asked him: What have you read? What work can you do? What do you know?

The boy replied: I have not studied in school; I have no proficiency in any work excepting some stray jobs like washing food plates, cleaning up the cottage etc., I do not know anything else.

The Chief Monk asked ,’ Are you sure you do not know anything else?’

The young boy replied, ‘Oh, yes, Sir, now I remember. I can play a decent game of Chess.’

The Chief Monk said: Oh that’s good. Now I shall test you in your game.’
He asked another monk to come with chess board and coins and asked a table to be placed so that the game could start.

Before start of the game, the Chief Monk said,’ Now see, I have a sword on my hand. If any one is defeated, his nose will be severed.’

The boy became nervous. However, without any other way to go, he agreed.

The game started. Initially, the boy made some mistakes in moves. His position on the board became almost hopeless.


He then concentrated completely on the game and improved the position to a winning level.

Then he noticed that the monk, his opponent,  was not nervous but obviously a little disturbed.

The boy then thought,
“I am a useless fellow in life. Nothing will change the world if I lose the game and lose my nose.

But this monk, is well read person, doing meditation and is sure to attain Buddha Hood Why should he lose?’

So the young boy deliberately made a wrong move, so that his opponent  could take advantage and win the game !

The Chief Monk suddenly flashed his sword on the table. All the coins flew into different directions.

He then said, ‘ The game is over. Oh boy! you are IN. You will be with us in the monastery hereafter.’

The boy did not understand.

The Chief Monk explained, ‘I did not ask you to play chess to find out your caliber in the game. But I was looking for two essential qualities that are necessary for Self realization.

One is *Maha Prajna*. The Great Awareness. I found that in you. When you were losing badly, you put your entire concentration and attention on the game turning to your advantage.
This is Maha Prajna.

The second is *Maha Karuna* – The Great Compassion. I found that also in you. When your opponent was about to lose the game, you looked at him with great compassion and deliberately made a wrong mistake so that he could win.

These two qualities are adequate to do sadhana and make the life ‘Meaningful’


Life isn’t about winning or losing there is nothing to win and nothing to lose.We can at best enjoy or suffer our limited time called ‘Life’ but enjoyment or suffering is also only a figment of our imagination.

Going beyond enjoyment, suffering, winning or losing is the path that few choose to walk.



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