In this instalment, we delve into the profound message of the second stanza of Jagadguru's Aarti, "Jayati Jagadguru Guruvar ki." Shree Kripaluji Maharaj consistently emphasised the practice of "roop dhyan," which involves contemplation on the Names, Forms, Attributes, Abodes, and Pastimes of God and Guru. This stanza of the Guru Aarti is a dedicated reminder to divert our wandering minds from the material world and concentrate them on the Guru.
अरे मन मूढ़! छाँडु नारी नर हाथ, गुरु बिनु ब्रह्मा श्यामहूँ न देंगे साथ।
कोमल कृपालु बड़े कृपासिंधु नाथ, पाके इन्हे आज तू अनाथ हो सनाथ।
इन्हीं के आधीन कृपा गिरिधर की, गावो मिलि आरती रसिकवर की॥
Are mana mūḍh! Chhāṇḍu nārī nara hāth, Guru binu Brahmā śyāmahūṁ na deṅge sāth।
Komala kṛpālu baṛe kṛpāsindhu nāth, Pāke inhe āj tū anāth ho sanāth।
Inhīṁ ke ādhīn kṛpā giri dhara kī, Gāvo mili ārti rasikavara kī॥
Translation: Oh, foolish mind! Don't rely on the world. Instead, find refuge in the lotus feet of a Guru. Without his grace, even Sri Krishna can't offer assistance. My Guru is an ocean of grace and endlessly merciful. Under his loving protection, I feel completely secure, and my state of being alone (disconnected from God, my Divine Parents since time immemorial) disappears. Keep in mind that even Shri Krishna shows kindness to those who are favoured by a Guru.
This stanza urges the foolish and wayward mind to detach itself from worldly distractions and attachments. It reminds devotees to seek refuge at the Guru's lotus feet, emphasising that even Lord Krishna Himself will not assist us until we have surrendered to our Guru. Such is the importance of the Guru that even God waits for our surrender to bestow His grace.
The Gentle and Compassionate Komal Kripalu
Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, often referred to as "Komal Kripalu," possesses a heart so gentle and compassionate that He extends His grace to fallen souls on Earth and even to wayward spirits who have not been blessed with human bodies.
A remarkable story illustrates this divine compassion. An evil spirit, a woman, was causing disturbances at Maharajji's satsang. Shree Maharajji identified the spirit and engaged in a conversation with her, disarming her malevolent powers and preventing further mischief. Astonished, the spirit returned to her master spirit and questioned why her powers had failed. The senior spirit responded, "You have challenged Narayan Himself! My powers are powerless in His presence."
Maharajji not only neutralised the spirit's malevolence but also inspired her to go into the jungle and engage in devotion to the Lord. The spirit later returned, declaring that she had started a satsang of fellow spirits in the jungle who now practised devotion every day. Even a directionless and abandoned spirit transformed into a "sanaath" (one with a guide) through the grace of Jagadguru.
The Power of Surrender
This story underscores the significance of surrender. A "jeev," even one who has fallen and is considered undesirable, can find redemption when their intentions are pure. The Guru is the key to this transformation. We may be orphans in the spiritual sense, but by surrendering to such a magnanimous Guru, we can end our pitiable condition.
The Role of Guru in Bhakti
In the realm of devotion (bhakti), Guru plays a pivotal role. To attain the Guru's grace, we must recognise our Guru's greatness and genuinely love Him. When we immerse ourselves in the Guru's divine stories (leelas), our love for Him deepens, and our souls are purified. This preparation sets the stage for the Guru to lead us to God.
In conclusion, as pitiable souls, we have the opportunity to end our suffering and find divine shelter by surrendering to the Guru. Guru is the bridge to God, and practising bhakti under the Guru's guidance is the path to divine realisation. It is a reminder to recognise the Guru's significance and embrace the transformative power of surrender.