Religion and Philosophy
In India, old, old stories still are told of a Hindu holy man named Narada who devoted his life to attaining the spiritual liberation of nirvana.
Guru Gobind Singh’s small fort in Anandpur Sahib was besieged by the mighty forces of Emperor Aurangzeb. The emperor, who believed Islam was the only valid, true, and right religion, was forcibly converting Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians. Guru Gobind Singh, however, believed that all humans worshiped in their own unique ways and that all religions, if practiced with love and heart, led to God.
Krishna Das On Chanting The Names Of God
Real gurus don’t intend to teach; they teach just by being. The word guru means “one who dispels the darkness,” which is different from giving light. Giving light means giving someone something that they don’t already have. Gurus remove the layers of darkness and show you what’s already there. They peel away the self-hatred, the guilt, the shame, the fear. A guru is someone who has truly conquered all of that and lives only to help people. There’s no edge, no harshness, only complete love and acceptance — and a kind of cosmic chuckle because you don’t fully understand; not laughing at you, but saying, “Come on! Get with it!”
That you are, my friend, you know well. Your experience every moment reminds you of it. Simply find out who you are, find out what it is in you that does not depend on the changing circumstances of your bodily or mental existence, that kernel of your consciousness which, in the last analysis, cannot be identified with any of the external circumstances in which you find yourself.
“Submit to Mother India,” a veteran traveler advised me before I left New York, and I intended to take her advice to heart. I steeled myself for nothing to go according to plan. I was prepared to get gruesomely ill at some point. I was prepared to let India have its way with me. “You can’t prepare yourself for India,” my well-traveled friend had also said.
It’s morning but still dark out. It’s also raining and cold. I’m walking out of the twenty-four-hour fitness center, on my way to the all-night Waffle House, when a woman hails me from her car. She has just run away from her husband, she says, and needs gas money to get to her mother’s.