Our culture is enriched with the presence of several spiritual masters and saints who have had their own ways and methods to guide us towards the same eternal truth. Thus, as seekers we have several paths to begin our journey of transformation. However, given such diversity, Sri Guru says that we should only follow the path given by our living Master. Why is this important? Sri Guru explains this through a story:
In a small village, there once lived a man who’d perform religious rituals with great passion. One day, a famous sage came to stay in the village. Being a follower of Advaita Vedanta, the Non-dual nature of God, the sage believed that God and soul are one, that everything is in God and God is in everything. During the four months he stayed in the village, this man went to attend the sage’s discourse and was quite persuaded with what he was teaching. When it was time for the sage to leave the village, the man implored him to give some mantra (chants) for his spiritual progress. Seeing the sincerity in his eyes, the sage gave him the mantra of SoHum meaning ‘I am That’, ‘I and God are the same’. Delighted, the man religiously recited “SoHum, SoHum…” for the following eight months.
After eight months, another group of sages arrived in the village. Unlike the previous sage, these were ardent believers of Dvaita, or Duality. They propounded that God and soul are separate, that soul can never attain the purest nature of God but can become His Das, that is, a humble servant. Intrigued by their philosophy, this man began to attend their discourse as well. Eventually, he grew to believe what they preached – how could I ever become God when there are so many vices within me! Like this, four months passed and the group of sages decided to depart. As they were leaving, the man approached them and recounted how he’d been following the Advaita philosophy and practicing the chant of SoHum. But now that his mind was inclined towards duality, he was confused as to what he should do. So the sages asked him to make a small change to the chant of SoHum by adding a prefix ‘Da’. Agreeing to their opinion, the man now adopted the mantra of DasoHum – ‘I am the servant of God’. He recited it every day for eight months, although he wasn’t as happy as he was with the first Mantra.
Eight months passed and another group of sages came to the village, who believed in ‘Oneness of God’. And just like before, the man got influenced by their teachings. Abandoning the notion of servitude of God, he now embraced the belief that everyone is their own master, as all are God. So when he sought the sages’ counsel, they made another addition to his existing mantra. Now it became Sada SoHum – ‘forever I am that eternal God’. As usual, he practiced this mantra every day. But as it turned out, the believers of Dvaita philosophy returned to the village after eight months. And thus, driven by his wavering nature, the man’s dwindling belief in non-duality of God again flipped to Duality. Before leaving, the Dvaita sages again made an addition to his mantra, now turning it into Das-DasoHum, which implied that ‘Along with God, I am also a servant of Guru and all of God’s creations.’
Just imagine his mental state after receiving four different Mantras one after another! But, by the grace of God, he came to his senses and realized how his mindless thirst to accumulate dry knowledge from multiple sources did nothing but mislead him. And thus, he returned to the first Mantra he received, giving up the other three.
Migrating from one avenue of knowledge to another is like stepping on multiple boats at once – we are bound to drown in confusion and reach nowhere.
The underlying moral of this story is simple: By jumping from one avenue to another, we might gather large caches of knowledge. But instead of liberating us, it will bind us into severe conflicts and lead us even further away from our real purpose – the experience of Self. The One path illuminated by a Guru embodies timeless wisdom that is reinforced by deep spiritual experiences. It is absolute in nature and adequate in its power to transform. Once we learn to embrace this path, the urge to seek other avenues will soon fade away.
— Derived from Bhagavad Gita Satsang #68 by Sri Guru
Bliss of Wisdom is a blog for seekers who are in search of their real self. It is published by Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Delhi – a spiritual revolutionary movement founded by Sri Guru. She is a spiritual Master who has transformed innumerable lives through her logical explanations and effective meditation techniques. To know more, visit srmdelhi.org.