The Guru and the Koan

Guruji – Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D. – has a booklet on how to choose a Guru.  If you can’t find it at Ananda Ashram’s store: – you can always call the ashram and buy a copy.  It’s a good one.

  • The key takeaway?  If you want a living Guru, you must first awaken the Guru within.  Without the inner Guru, there is no outer Guru.
  • Guruji writes this to caution us around the wild fanfare around Gurus.  Much like rock stars, a fan is awestruck by the force around such a being, but if there is nothing else but awe — well, the being may simply be someone to admire.  A Guru is not just someone you admire, a Guru is someone you learn from.  And in Yoga, a Guru is someone you not only learn from and admire, She or He is someone who helps you awaken and transform into Your very Self.

It’s struck me again and again that a Guru rarely teaches literally.  And what I mean is that whenever a Guru says something to you, they are usually giving you a few million lessons in a few words.  As a trained disciple, I understand that I must follow what the Guru tells me to do, but my practices have shown me to NEVER be attached to an outcome.  Why?  Because the outcome a Guru has for you is usually better than anything you can ever imagine, wish or desire for.  And that the teaching is never very obvious while it is happening, but is as lucid as your very own hands in hindsight.

When people ask me to translate what a teacher is saying – I usually say, “I would be careful about interpreting it too literally.  Gurus often teach in Koans.”

What is a koan?

One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate,

the Buddha called to him,

“Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?”
Manjusri replied,

“I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?”

  • I bow to the infinite lessons of all of my Gurus and most recently, Amma Sri Karunamayi
  • She heals with a few words, a few glances and deep sadhana
  • Gurus can change the course of your history and your being in one glance
  • A student must simply be at attention
  • And always in LOVE
  • Attention.  Attention.  Here and Now.



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