“Gurus… are the agents of God, expressions of his mercy, for mankind.” -Acharya Sai Master in ‘Sai Baba of Shirdi and His Teachings’
Acharya Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaja or Sai Master as I shall refer to him henceforth, emphashised strongly the need to contact a Guru.
There are times in everyone’s life where the continuous turbulence of our mind and thoughts brought about by joy and sorrow, longing and despair, possessing and losing, birth and death suddenly irks us and we wonder, is all of life just one feeling after another, without any stability and security? And then we look around ourselves and find that everyone is going around busily in circles with one day flowing into the next like automated toys without any respite and no hope of permanent joy in their lives. Is there no end? Does everybody on earth live such a hopeless life? If we but stop and ponder sincerely, long enough many thousands of such questions would arise
We only need to truly open our eyes wide enough and look a little further, we find that there are a few lucky souls who may appear to have nothing at all materialistically, but still have everything that each of us have secretly craved for- something that we have kept unacknowledged even from our own private selves- those magical and elusive feelings of everlasting peace and contentment!
They are the mystics, mahatmas, saints or sages of this world. The one’s who are truly happy because they have transcended these dualities of joy and sorrow, they are the liberated ones, the self-realized souls! When our interest is truly kindled by their attitudes, we begin to wonder about their lives and process of transformation to have reached such a state. Fortunately our scriptures the Bhagavatham, the Puranas, the Ramayana and Mahabharata are full of such personagesor Gurus with the details of their lives given at length. Descriptions are there of many more who have faithfully trodden the path given by these great ones and attained salvation. However, one is always more strongly drawn towards living people with whom we might discuss our doubts, fears and get a better clarity and focus on our objective and the path forward.
But this is the risky part because presently there is an overabundance of self-styled, fake people who popularize themselves as Gurus to lead unsuspecting people into pseudo-spiritual traps. In this regard, fortunately there is a tried and tested method that has proved invaluable to many spiritual seekers- the daily reading of ‘Sri Guru Charitra’. Originally written by Sri Gangadhar Saraswathi in Marathi language about the first two incarnations of Lord Dattatreya, it was only in the nineteenth century that it was translated into Sanskrit. Sri Vasudevanand Saraswati, Sri Rangavadhuta Maharaj of Nareshwar to name a few, blossomed into renowned saints after diligent study and contemplation of this sacred book. Mention of this holy book is also made in Sri Sai Baba’s biography wherein Kushabhav was asked to read this book 108 times by Sai Baba and was greatly benefitted.
The greatness of this sacred text lies in the fact that it impresses our hearts with the quatlities of a truly realized Guru. It also reveals to us the seemingly intangible benefits that a Guru bestows on his disciples while at the same time teaching us the appropriate attitude and behavior of a sincere disciple.
It is a real boon that because of the tireless efforts of Pujyasri Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja, this invaluable scripture was translated into several regional languages of India and made available to us common folk. The greatness of this book is more meaningfully revealed in Sri Gulavani Maharaj’s words, “It cannot be obtained by giving even a core rupees. How can you price them? The cost can be repaid only be reading it and attaining liberation.”
“The Sri Guru Charitra helps us to recognize the Real Master when we encounter one”, says Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja.