A Gnani Purush, also known as the spiritual master or spiritual leader is someone who has the constant awareness of the Atma (Self). He is free of anger, pride, deceit and greed. When we feel tranquility in His presence, then we know that He is the Gnani Purush. His speech is not to be found in any scriptures and yet we are able to experience the results. Such is this spiritual guide. To attain the Gnani Purush ’s grace on the path of spirituality, all that is required is absolute humility.
So come, let’s understand what exactly is the role of the Gnani on the path of spirituality…
Right from the childhood, our Guru, our parents and other people such as relatives teach us religious practices and accordingly we learn to do them. To practice religion, we always have to ‘do’ something. Having to do anything based on physical instruments or through our mind, speech and body is called religion.
Thereafter, by reading scriptures and practicing austerities, one develops and rises to a higher level, which is just like progressing from Grade IV to Grade V in school. However, this does not mean that one has finished Ph.D.; there is a need to advance further, isn’t it? At the same time, without this development, one will not be able to reach Ph.D. either. So, all these stages of development are necessary!
Therefore, the religious leaders teach religion. Finally, many of them, too, say, “If you are keen in seeking the Soul, please go to an Atma Gnani i.e. the enlightened spiritual master.” When asked ‘why so?’, their reply is, “Because I am here to transform one’s immoral conduct into a moral one. However, for the path ahead, you have to contact an Atma Gnani.”
In order to get liberated, we need a ‘liberator’ and that liberator is the Gnani !!! No one has been able to attain Moksha without a liberator.
For any spiritual seeker, it is critical to know the path of liberation. For that, we need the One who can give us this path. The scriptures show us the path. However, thereafter, to actually attain liberation, they say, “Go to a Gnani !” This is because the Self (the Divine Soul) is beyond words, and hence, cannot be described by words. The primary role of the spiritual master, therefore, is to get us on this path!
One whose Soul is awakened is the most important being because only a lit lamp can light other lamps. Suppose there is a lightened candle. To light another candle with this lightened one, physical presence of both is required, isn’t it? This is the reason why a Living Gnani is required!!!
By the grace of the living Gnani, we get real knowledge that ‘John (please insert your name here) is separate and I am a Pure Soul’. With this, the awareness of the Pure Soul starts. It is not a ritual; it is science!
The Soul is always pure! However, due to wrong belief of ‘I am John (please insert your name here)’, we cannot experience the Pure Soul. Here (where there’s Living Gnani), the wrong belief gets fractured and you get the right belief. We get the knowledge of who am I, who is the doer and how to solve problems with equanimity. This knowledge helps us to remain in the awareness of Pure Soul, in right belief and in right understanding.
Until we do not understand ‘Who am I,’ we keep indulging in doing good and doing bad deeds. The way people see us, we too see and identify ourselves in that form. Similarly, we see others the way they are seen and identified by the world. It is because all are aware of their existence but not of their real nature. When the Gnani gives us the awareness of Self, one dwells into one’s real Self. Thereafter, you (the Self) remain in your own nature and the worldly self (John) stays in its nature. They are both separate, and therefore, they function separately. Gnani Purush has many kinds of special spiritual energies and is a great wonder. That’s why this separation is possible.
Once you have conviction about Gnani, you will surely have the conviction of the Self. After you attain the conviction of the Self as well as the awareness of the Self, you cease to be the doer-sufferer while living the worldly life. The worldly activities continue on their own.
Gnani, the enlightened spiritual master, has seen the complete path to final liberation. He has known that path and He has the experience of it. Therefore, He can show us the mistakes obstructing that path; he can show us the difficulties, the obstacles and the dangers along that path. To those who have embarked on the path of liberation, Gnani gives complete knowledge and complete remedy to eradicate those mistakes.
By coming to the satsang (spiritual discourse ceremony) of the Gnani Purush, repeatedly listening to His speech, and by repeatedly understanding His interaction with specific questioners, the seeker develops awareness and gets the strength to identify and visualize his own faults. After that, he gains awareness to weed out the sprouts of faults. By effectively practicing this, the seeker can completely eradicate the tubers of faults.
However, it is important that this process is carried out under the guidance and instructions of the Gnani Purush, our ultimate spiritual teacher. He shows the mistakes in detail and helps to identify the nature of those mistakes after which one starts becoming free from them. This is how the path of ultimate liberation (Moksha Marg) is completed. Nevertheless, to overcome those mistakes, one should completely surrender to Gnani Purush.
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