The Guru Pooja

Guru pooja
This post started out on Guru Poornima as an offering to my guru but it got much longer than I planned. And I kept writing for many days. As it happens I am publishing it today on 3rd Sept, Sadhguru’s birthday 🙂

The Guru Pooja was for me an eye opener. I always had the fascination for Sanskrit as do a lot of people across the world. And I always wanted to be able to say at least a few Sanskrit shlokas. However, whenever I say any scripture or anything I want to be reasonably clear about what it means. If you have seen my previous activity posts about finding the meaning of the words – I often consider which words I am using, their meaning, what I am trying to say and so on. The exercise happens quite naturally in my mind. So when it came to the Guru Pooja, definitely I would read and understand the meaning of the bhajan before I started uttering it.

I took the Guru Pooja class at Isha Foundation. In case you are wondering – all the Guru Poojas aren’t the same. You will find a different mix of traditional shlokas at different organizations. So while the essence pretty much remains the same, the exact Guru Pooja is different for each organization. It was good that Isha Foundation provides a sheet of paper where the individual meaning of all the sankrit words in their Guru Pooja is given in English. So I went about perusing it.


I always thought that these Sanskrit scriptures would carry some deep, earth shaking, sky rumbling meanings. That would provide me deep insights into life and so on. And it did, but just not the way I expected.

Basically it praises the Guru. Essentially all Guru Pooja is just that – the most creative, enriching way of praising the Guru.

Yea really all those floral, guttural Sanskrit words that seem so intelligent and loaded with deep insights into life is just adding beautiful and very elaborate adjectives for the Guru.

गुरु चरण कमलेभ्यो नमः

Guru charan kamle bhyo namah

Bowing down to the Lotus Feet of the Guru

The elaborate praises also often tell us about the Guru’s awesome qualities.

त्रिगुण रहित

Tri guna rahit

Free of the Three qualities

and sometimes it tells us what we must always remember,

तत्वमस्या दिलक्ष्यम

Tat tvam asya adi lakshyam

You are our only goal

I have over time realized the significance of this incessant, over the top and consistent praising of the Guru. Or even as is the case with Gods – many of the bhajans are just grand praises heaped upon the God.

Over time I have realized the need to enforce the positive feeling in ourselves about everything around us including the people. I am not able to recall an exact moment that this happened. I think it was many things that just kept highlighting the need to be positive about people and situations around us.

I noticed people cribbing around on Twitter especially Indian folks at the government and I kept questioning – but what is that we as citizens of this country are doing? In no way do we seem to contribute to improving the city. We do whatever we want, going about our lives of personal ambition and then crib about the government. I realized that the only way ahead for the country, for India specifically, would be when the people stop cribbing and actually take onus of so many things around them.

I had earlier also blogged about 5 teachings from a yogic person who lived till the age of 100 years. He also talk about Never complaining or speaking bad about anyone.

Even in this blog I put forth my ideas in the most positive way as possible. Once or twice I may have slipped up but it has always been my intention to share my insights into life in the most positive way as possible, because this positivity is itself one of my insights. More and more I realize that there is a very inclusive way of going about our thoughts, our beliefs – how ever different they my be with other peoples thoughts. We can make people feel more part of our thinking or we could antagonize them by rubbishing their thoughts and creating a My Way v/s Your Way type of situation.

Moreover, I was earlier mentioning the impact of speech on our brain. The words we utter in turn influence our brain. And a sanskrit scripture influences even more. So to walk the spiritual path then definitely the Guru is one of the most important elements. And creating a positive space for that to happen would be a step in the right direction. And so this was my insight from the Guru Pooja. A very simple one, create a positive space for the Guru. Doubts and skepticism aside, just for a bit. The idea is not that the Guru Pooja should create the positive space but rather – it would help maintain it and make it stronger 🙂

And then with the right level of positivity, receptivity and bowing down to the Guru maybe he can do wonders with us 🙂

Then there is the matter of being Fanatical.

From this aspect of remaining constantly in a positive and very compassionate state of mind towards everything in the world especially your Guru (or working towards it) – rises a certain fanaticism. Let’s take the example of the Periyapuranam that is a revered text of Shaivites (I think) – I read through it, and I was very surprised because after a whole gamut of different stories of Shiva’s devotees at the end of each story you always find the-most-awesome-&-benevolent-unsurpassed-lord-of-world-Shiva will be pleased by the devotees devotion and he will come and cause miracles. A lot of those stories are fairly extreme and violent at times. You may have heard about the story where a Shiva devotee gouges out his eye and offers it to the shivling. This is where I see the praising of the Guru or God turns into fairly extreme level. In the Periyapuranam, at the side there are also snide remarks about Vishnu or insults to the Jains in passing. Makes sense considering the time this book was written, was when there was a bit of enmity between all these different paths.

There is a reason I have brought up the Periyapuranam here, because initially I was taken aback by this book especially considering I am Jain and I find blatant insults to us here and there. But over time I understood the significance of a whole bunch of bhajans, scriptures, books and shlokas just praising the Guru or the God – to maintain an enthused, excited, positive frame towards following that one goal even at the expense of sounding rude and insulting to another path.

I realize that there is a need for one-mindedness on any path we take in life.

Once you have taken a Guru – and I don’t mean you sat for their program or heard one discourse or you just got all enamored with some fancy ashram setup because it is all “Cool” now. When the Guru truly happens for you, then without another doubt or hesitation or stop one needs to become receptive to the Guru. So the progress can happen. The rare and invaluable progress that only happens when the Guru who is right for you happens in your life. At that time one needs to be deaf to all criticism and blind to all faults and mute to any wrong utterance that can affect your receptive state of mind.

And this is where there is an increasing clash that starts taking place between the spiritual follower/devotee and the people in the world who may indulge into some form of spirituality or religion, but haven’t really found that one Guru. The devotee is becoming more closed to various suggestions that world throws at him/her and just moving towards the Guru. The people in world start wondering what the crap is going on. They would also have a lot of questions and doubts about the Guru but for the devotee these questions will seem flippant. So there becomes a clash.

When I was at the yoga center for a while, there was a clear clash because some requirements and behaviour is most basic for newbies – it is not understood by the older devotees as they are in some different level of dedication to their sadhana.

This difference in dedication and grit is not just a matter of the spiritual domain. Even generally in life we see that there are certain businessmen & women who work beyond human-like and people around them will be wondering what the crap – how do they manage! Same with sports people or extreme athletes who will push themselves and for the others it is like Whoa, inhuman! But the fact is when a certain situation of intensity or commitment happens then we realize that these traits aren’t in fact inhuman at all. Most of us can pull it off – when the right situations happen.

And yes there will always be some spiritual followers who are themselves misled in their beliefs or will misuse the fanaticism that builds in these places.  But there is a reason when you talk to monks or nuns they sound extreme at times. They are not there evaluating various different paths nor are they doubting the path they are on! They are there one minded, and it is important to create a soace where the positives of that path are being propounded. Cause that creates the right environment for themselves in their mind.

Sometimes this fanaticism leads to slip ups and they do not realize that the person they are speaking to is taking their words wrongly or that the person is already walking another path. As happens with me often – every time I talk to nuns they try to convert me. Only couple of times I found nuns who were happy to see that I was a seeker too even though walking a different path. These were Buddhist and Christian. The Jains always try and convert me – I guess they feel really sad that born Jain I have gone wayward. I even went and read the Periyapuranam which is a Shaivite book! Haw!


Just to keep you intrigued Ramana Maharishi had a mind-boggling experience with Periyapuranam! It was amazing to read from him on that. He has also written a small book on Periyapuranam stories I really enjoyed reading that.

So, this is one long write up on the marvels of creating a positive space for stuff you care about by heaping praises and praises about it – in song or dance or art or however! 🙂

The guru pooja is a lot more than just simple praises though… It has Sanskrit, it has a ritual process associated with it like the lamp and offerings and bowing down. So a power pack!

Thanks lotus-eyed-and-friendly-faced @sadhguruJv for the awesome-and-power-packed-process-for-this-life-and-beyond-the Guru Pooja 🙂

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