THE TRADITION OF “GURU” WORSHIP (PUJA):
Since Vedic times, in the Land of India, teachers are held in high esteem and the reverence is reflected in the following verse. According to my uncle, Capt.R. R. Rao, “there is no Mantra greater than this”:
Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Mahesvarah
Guruh Sakshaat ParaBrahma, tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
After joining Kurnool Medical College in 1965, I started visualizing Lord Sri Krishna as my personal Guru.I had a pocket-size edition of Bhagavad Gita published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.The book includes the verses in Sanskrit with its English translation.That format allowed me to read the verse in its original form and understand its purport through my own efforts.I had a hectic time at the School and was exposed to new information every day.
Over four and half years time, I studied Physics, Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Medical Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Pathology, Forensic Medicine, Ear, Nose & Throat diseases, Ophthalmology, Social & Preventive Medicine, General Medicine, Surgery, and Obstetrics & Gynecology. Simultaneously, I was reading one or more chapters from Gita every day and was slowly incorporating Krishna as my Guru. I was more attracted to His teaching of “Karma Yoga” and I would still consider Him as my Guru even if “Gita” is the only known contribution made by Him.
My other Guru:
Fortunately,I did not spend any time and energy to search and discover the right Guru.The choice was made for me the moment I arrived on this planet.I grew up in a family which followed the “Smartha” tradition established by Adi Shankaracharya. I have the freedom to designate Shiva as my personal Protector. I am free to choose Rama as my Benefactor.I seek favors from Sarasvathi in my pursuit of Pure Knowledge.I make the perilous journey across the ocean with encouragement from Hanuman. Ganesha assures me of success in my personal endeavors. In my struggles and battle of life, Krishna guides me to find the winning strategy. If I have to defend my self, I draw courage from Bhavani. I love to read and memorize the beautiful verses composed by Adi Shankaracharya. I would just quote a verse which my eldest brother,Prof. R. Subba Rao recognizes as a very powerful thought:
Even after learning every thing that is humanly possible,we still need to desire and focus upon the lotus feet of the Master, the giver of Knowledge or the One who dispels ignorance. With the blessings from my other Guru,I describe my attitude about human existence as that of “Individualism.”
Na me mrtyu shanka na mejati bhedaha
Pita naiva me naiva mataa na janmaha
Na bandhur na mitram gurur naiva shisyaha
Chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham
Chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham
I have no fear of death, no caste or creed,
I have no father, no mother, for I was never born,
I am not a relative, nor a friend, nor a teacher nor a student,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva…
My elder brother Pratap stressed about the importance of “Guru Krupa” (Master’s Compassion). My Guru’s Mercy is revealed to me in the fact that I am able to work seven days a week.I can very easily manage to work eighty or more hours per week on account of this Guru-Sishya relationship while I maintain that I am a mere Individual and I am neither a Guru nor a disciple. I do not experience any stress or mental fatigue on account of sixteen hour work schedules. At the same time, I am mentally alert and could indulge in a bit of creative writing every now and then. Apart from this ability to work 365 days each year while I am 59 years old, the following verse shows that they are advantages in having Krishna as personal Guru:
bhagavadh giitaa kijnchidadhiitaa
gangaa jalalava kanikaapiitaa .
sakridapi yena muraari samarchaa
kriyate tasya yamena na charchaa