Guru and Recognition

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I was at a Guru Purnima function in Boone, North Carolina at the Art of Living Ashram, in 2016. Sri Sri Ravishankar spoke about the tradition of Gurus and the role of Guru in every person’s life. He explained the the special Sanskrit word Pratyabhijna. This word loosely translates as the heart of recognition. Sri Sri also spoke about the four roles of a Guru. Wisdom dawns when one is with a Guru. Sri Sri tweeted the following while he was speaking to the audience.  

The four benefits of having a Guru: wisdom, progress, achievement, and liberation in life. #HappyGuruPurnima You can’t escape having a guru or being a guru. You learn what to do from some and what not do from others. In the same way, you teach others what to do or what not to do.By default everyone is a Guru and everyone is a student!  

Sri Sri explained that everyone needs a Guru to “recognize” the progress one has made in one’s life. What impressed me was the way he explained the Sanskrit word  Pratyabhijnya as referring to the ability to recognize. The Sanskrit verb root “gnya” refers to knowing. The prefix Prati refers to “once again”. The prefix Abhi refers to “towards” or “in the direction of”. Pratyabhijna is the ability to recognize facts as they stand. Wisdom is the ability to recognize reality.  Anyone can come out of a difficult situation but only when they recognizes the fact of being stuck. Similarly anyone’s achievements remain small until one recognizes their hidden skills. Usually they regain their self confidence when someone else reminds them of their latent skills.    

Guru and Recognition
Guru and Recognition

Scientists say that a Human being is unique. In summary, a human being creatures has the ability to self recognize. Others do not. Ancient traditions attributed the ability to recognize to the Guru Principle in creation. They acknowledged another realm which is beyond the standard operational realm of the human mind. For example, a small child learns first from a mother. Therefore, the influence from the realm beyond comes through the mother, initially. Subsequently, a child learns skills from others such as their school teacher and sport coach. The teacher and the coach play the role of a Guru to a maturing human being. Consequently, the influence from the realm beyond continues to an extent when someone grows further. These influences lead a teenager towards Pratyabhijna.

However, they must not stop here. They must continue to seek this influence from the realm beyond. For this, they must acknowledge the need for a personal Guru. In the eastern traditions, the natural progression leads everyone to a personal Guru, sooner or later. This is the only way to reach the state of Pratyabhijna. The full moon in the month of July is the day of gratitude for the guidance from the realm beyond, for the Guru principle. Therefore Guru Purnima, the special full moon day in July is connected to Pratyabhijna. What is the heart of this power?

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