Gurushakti in the Ramakrishna Order
The Vedanta Kesari|July 2021
Sri Sri Guru Purnima! It is the auspicious day when the guru – the teacher is adored and worshipped by his disciples. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the lunar month of Ashadha (roughly corresponding to July). The scriptures say, “Acharyadevo Bhava”, thereby exhorting us to regard the teacher as the veritable form of the Lord. And especially the spiritual teacher, by long tradition, is treated as ‘God in person!’ Guru Purnima is celebrated in temples, ashramas, and religious congregations all over India.
SWAMI VEDANISHTHANANDA

All the centres of the Ramakrishna Order observe this sacred day with great festivity. Thousands of initiated devotees eagerly look forward to this day when they can worship their guru, the one who blessed them by imparting them the Ishta Mantra Diksha. In the Ramakrishna Order the Diksha Gurus are the Sangha Guru, who is the President and spiritual head of the Ramakrishna Order, the Vice-presidents living in different branch centres in India, and some senior resident swamis of the Order’s centres in foreign countries. On Guru Purnima day thousands of devotees gather at Belur Math and at the centres where the Vice-presidents live, to offer their guru-pranams. Even those devotees whose guru is no longer in mortal form, come to offer their pranams to the present Sangha Guru.

An important aspect of Guru Purnima in the Ramakrishna Order is that while the devotees offer their respects to their guru, the special Guru Puja is offered only to Sri Ramakrishna, the Lord worshipped in the temple! This may appear a little confusing to some new devotees who see Sri Ramakrishna as their Ishta Devata and the swami who gave them the Mantra Dikasha as their guru. This tradition of the Ramakrishna Order has its roots in the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna himself.

Gurushakti

Sri Ramakrishna says, “Sat-chit-ananda is the only Guru!” In this sense, the guru is actually the manifestation of the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient Spirit which is of the nature of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute! In other words, the guru is not a person, but a power, a Shakti.

While it is true that it is the Shakti which is manifesting in and through every being in this world, the guru is a special medium of manifestation. This is understood by a conversation between Sri Ramakrishna and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great educationist and reformist. Their interaction on 5 August 1882 is recorded thus in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:

Sri Ramakrishna: Just see how picturesque this universe is! How many things there are! The sun, moon, and stars; and how many varieties of living beings! – big and small, good and bad, strong and weak – some endowed with more power, some with less.

Vidyasagar: Has he endowed some with more power and others with less?

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