We have so much more to learn from those around us than from books. Scriptures are being taught in the ashrams and everyone is learning scriptures. But the essence of the scriptures is in its practical aspect. We learn the practical aspect of the scriptures when we deal with other people.
We need to develop the awareness that each situation we face in life is a test given by our Master. We are very eager to remember what we have learnt and apply it in our test. While dealing with others, were we able to maintain our composure? Otherwise, what is the difference between us and a tape recorder, or a book? We read a book and repeat what we have read. We hear a recording and repeat what we have heard. If we write the word honey on paper and lick it, we will not taste the sweetness of honey. We may tell everyone that we are honey, but we do not demonstrate any qualities of honey.
A disciple should have the attitude of a servant. At the same time, a disciple must not only be a servant. The disciple’s duty is to perform the tasks given to him or her by the Guru and use discernment to complete these duties in the most effective way.
Just as the burning rays of the sun reflect off the moon and reach the earth as the moon’s cooling rays, the intense penance for realizing God fills our heart with joy when it becomes service to the Master. As a result of our over-familiarity with the physical aspect of the Guru, we often forget the Master’s divinity. Gurupurnima helps us remember this divinity. We always remember the Master’s physical body. But, in reality, all living beings are the Guru’s body. The disciple’s liberation lies in loving and serving both these forms of the Guru. Liberation does not mean renouncing everything, going to some cave and sitting there like a statue. Instead, it is in finding the bliss of forgetting our self and becoming immersed in serving the Master. Serving the Guru is the greatest fulfillment of all, supreme gratitude and Liberation.
Just as there is no difference between the Ocean and its waves, and gold and ornaments made of gold, there is no difference between the Creator, God, and the created, the world. Essentially, they are one and the same – pure consciousness. God is not someone who sits on a golden throne in the sky. God is the consciousness dwelling within all beings. The sun does not need candlelight. The ultimate state is that in which we are able to see all beings as one, loving and serving them selflessly. We need to reach this state. It is difficult in the beginning. After grass grows to a certain height, it bends back down to the ground so that the seeds on it can go into the soil and grow into a new plant. Even if you straighten it upwards, it will eventually bend down again. This is a symbol of humility. When we develop this humility, everything becomes sadhana or spiritual practice. Very few people are lucky enough to get this attitude. It does not mean that we should not try. We must try.