Monday, 18 September 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Sister Christine : 67

THE GURU

In America he preached only Advaita. He seldom spoke of his Guru. Few suspected the tremendous influence upon his life of the simple Brahmin of Dakshineswar. Even to those who were most sympathetic, he approached the subject with shyness. But of the profundity of the relation there could be no doubt. Through it, there came to us our first glimpses of the meaning of 'guru'. To this he added all that the scriptures have said, together with the tradition built up by the holy men of India throughout the ages. Passing through the crucible of his mind, his loyalty and devotion carried a most profound meaning. It did more than that. It created in us a similar feeling and attitude, and brought to birth a similar relation between us and our guru. It set a lofty standard.

How new these ideas were at that time! The first great idea was that the guru must be a knower of Brahman. This is the most important qualification, for only the knower of Brahman has the power to transmit spirituality. The transmission of spirituality from guru to disciple was a startling and fascinating idea to the Protestant type of mind in the West. Spirituality can be transmitted! This, then, explains the doctrine of Apostolic Succession. This is why the Church of Rome still believes that the spiritual power of Peter has been transmitted from Pope to Pope. Be that as it may, today in India it is believed, nay, known with certainty, that the guru can transmit his spirituality to a disciple.