“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” – Verse 2.7, Bhagavad G ita
Recently a friend sent a message by Wes Angelozzi echoing the new age philosophy, “Let your own soul be your guru, and your heart you guide.” This message arrived at the time when I was thinking over the verse 2.7 of the Bhagavad Gita. This verse recites a turning point in Arjuna’s life on the battlefield. It’s a point of decision for Arjuna, who sets aside all his ideas and philosophies and makes up his mind to hear from Krishna; take refuge in Him. Wes’s advice, the new age thinking, is aimed at everyone, irrespective of the stage of evolution one is at. I wonder how Arjuna would react to this. Arjuna was a warrior who had the supreme lord driving his chariot. He had fought with Mahadev, Shiva and won. Arjuna could shoot with both hands, and he could shoot in the dark. He could go on without sleeping for weeks. He was a highly learned man of his times. And that Arjuna lost his mind right in the middle of the biggest battle the world has seen in last 5000+ years. He was not inclined to fight this war, so Arjuna presented many reasons to support his feelings. His reasons reveal his compassionate nature, strong logic, the knowledge of scriptures, and his selfishness. Arjuna got down on his knees when his enemy and its entire army were observing him. He confided in Krishna that his logic had failed him, so had his knowledge. Arjuna didn’t know what to do: choose war or peace. Before this point, he did all the talking and Krishna heard him. But now, he pleaded to Krishna to become his guru. Arjuna needed his guru’s advice. He wanted to follow His words. The act of Arjuna’s surrender to Krishna created a fertile atmosphere for Krishna to speak transcendental words. What He spoke is woven in 574 verses, out of 700 verses of the Gita.
Picture this: Obama is down on his knees at the beginning of the war between the US and his enemies. Obama drops his ego on the war field and pleads to the Lord to become his guide, to show him the right path. He makes statements like those of Arjuna (in the verses prior to 2.7). That his mouth is drying up, that his hands are shivering, and that he is unable to think clearly. What will happen? Media will cover this news, just as Sanjaya covered the Gita for Dhritrashtra and Kali yuga. The worldwide media will host talk shows to put him on pedestal to promote peace or to humiliate him and draw off their frustration. A divide will be imminent between communists and religious people on whether there is God or the Lord he surrendered to is fake or real, and whether taking refuge of Him is humility or cowardice. And Hibernating Gods (Mayavadis) will capture some TRPs by adulating people by telling them how people themselves are Gods, albeit covered with illusion (for God sake, tell me how God can be covered with illusion). In the times when Krishna descended, none of these groups existed. Santana Dharma (Eternal Duty) prevailed. Even Dhuryodhna accepted at the time of his death that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But we are not as enlightened as Dhuryodhana. The previous ages were adorned with knowledge and culture; our age has been stripped naked by the mindless freedom and reckless media.
Krishna went back to His abode at the crossroad of Dvarpara yuga and Kali yuga. Now where are the real gurus to take refuge in? The media has highlighted only the fake ones. The fake gurus have made the grapes of guru-disciple relationship sour for us. Amidst all this, Wes comes up with a middle path: let’s become our own gurus. Because Wes hasn’t read the 14th chapter of the Gita so he doesn’t know what he is getting into. Krishna says that no one can escape His material energy unless we take refuge in Him through loving devotional service. We need a bonafide guru who becomes our bridge between Maya and Krishna. Krishna advises in the verse 4.34 to approach Him via a guru who comes from His lineage.
Becoming our own guru is another trap. Another ego trip! Scriptures, the manuals authored by God, teach us that during our human experience, we all are bound to make mistakes and become illusioned. We all have a tendency to cheat, and we are limited by imperfect senses. A retrospective mind can realize this easily.
Krishna guides us, helps us, protects us, maintains us, and when needed destroys us. But one thing that He doesn’t do is interfere with our freewill. As our Chaitya guru (the guru in our hearts who resides in Hridya as Supersoul), Krishna guides us at every step according to our desires. But, through the Gita, Krishna also educates us that for every desire, there is an action, and for every action, a reaction. Krishna doesn’t want us to stop desiring. He suggests the ways to purify our desires. He wants us to find a bonafide guru who can guide us.
Only a liberated soul can usher us through the dark tunnel of Maya. If we were truly liberated, we wouldn’t be trapped here. A genuine guru is free from the defects of Maya because he has transcended the modes of nature. He may be limping or making spelling mistakes, but he’s beyond the influence of the modes. He simply uses the tools of this world to liberate us from the Maya. We come into this world because of our karmic debts, but a genuine guru descends to set us free from those debts.
Krishna spoke the Gita for kaliyuga. That’s why He said find a guru that comes from His tradition. Find a genuine guru, He said.
I’ve been acting as my own guru since many lives. I have relied on my mind and exploited my senses. In the absence of spiritual intelligence, the mind becomes a conniving master, and senses cheating slaves. The spiritual intelligence sprouts under the shelter of a guru.
In this life, I’m here to become a servant. Because the spiritual servanthood gives eternal freedom. But, let’s go over Wes’s statement from the perspective of the scriptures:
“Let your own soul be your guru, …”
The first mantra of the Mundaka Upnishad says, “Two birds living together, each the friend of the other, perch upon the same tree. Of these two, one eats the sweet fruit of the tree, but the other simply looks on without eating.”
The two birds mentioned in this mantra are Jiva soul and Supersoul. We are souls that change bodies. The soul is me. I’m Jiva soul who lives in this current body, which is identified by a name, nationality, etc.
“…and your heart you guide.”
In my heart lives the Supersoul, the Chaitya guru, the Ksirodakshayi Vishnu, who is an expansion of Krishna.
So, Wes, the Supersoul, the Chaitya guru is the guide of the Jiva souls. But to understand and appreciate this guide inside, we need a guru outside. Our intuition is the voice of the Supersoul. How often do we hear this voice? And how often do we understand it clearly enough to be able to apply the information? And, do we apply it correctly? Wes, think about it! A guru is waiting for you somewhere.