If Your Guru Cannot Even Save You From Pain and Diseases?

Since 1968, Swami Paramatmananda Puri has lived the life of a renunciate in India, moving there at the age of nineteen to imbibe the spiritual essence of this great and ancient culture. It has been his good fortune to have kept the company of many saints and sages over the years, culminating in his meeting with his Guru, Amma, in 1979.

As one of her senior disciples, he was eventually asked to return to the U.S. to serve as head of the first ashram in the West, the Mata Amritanandamayi Center in California, where he remained in residence from 1990 to 2001. Many residents and visitors to the Center have shared that one of the highlights of the programs has been Swamiji’s talks.

The Guru Paduka Stotram

Sri Sri Ravi Shanker: “The Guru Paduka Stotram is a hymn honoring the presence of a Guru in one’s life. This hymn describes the glories of the lotus feet of the Master and how a seeker’s life transforms with in the presence of the Master.

“Adi Shankaracharya was travelling across the country in search of his Master when he came upon a cave on the banks of River Narmada. He saw the padukas or sandals of Govind Bhagavatpada outside the cave and immediately recognized them as his master’s. Having found the master that he had been searching for, he was filled with abundant joy. Honoring the  paduka  has been a part of Indian tradition as a way of showing respect to the lineage of masters who have preserved the knowledge for us.”


Anantha samsara samudhra thara naukayithabhyam guru bhakthithabhyam,

Vairagya samrajyadha poojanabhyam, namo nama sri guru padukhabyam., 1

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,

Which is a boat, which helps me,cross the endless ocean of life,

Which endows me, with the sense of devotion to my Guru,

And by worship of which, I attain the dominion of renunciation


Kavithva varasini sagarabhyam, dourbhagya davambudha malikabhyam,

Dhoorikrutha namra vipathithabhyam,, namo nama sri guru padukhabyam., 2

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,

Which is the ocean of knowledge, resembling the full moon,

Which is the water, which puts out the fire of misfortunes,

And which removes distresses of those who prostrate before it.


Natha yayo sripatitam samiyu kadachidapyasu daridra varya,

Mookascha vachaspathitham hi thabhyam,namo nama sri guru padukhabyam.3

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,

Which make those who prostrate before it,

Possessors of great wealth, even if they are very poor,,

And which makes even dumb people in to great orators.


Naleeka neekasa pada hrithabhyam, nana vimohadhi nivarikabyam,

Nama janabheeshtathathi pradhabhyam namo nama sri guru padukhabyam., 4

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,

Which attracts us, to lotus like feet of our Guru,

Which cures us, of the unwanted desires,

And which helps fulfill the desires of those who salute.


Nrupali mouleebraja rathna kanthi sariddha raja jjashakanyakabhyam,

Nrupadvadhabhyam nathaloka pankhthe, namo nama sri guru padukhabyam., 5

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,

Which shine like gems on the crown of a king,

Which shine like a maid in the crocodile infested stream,

And which make the devotees attain the status of a king.


Papandhakara arka paramparabhyam, thapathryaheendra khageswarabhyam,

Jadyadhi samsoshana vadaveebhyam namo nama sri guru padukhabyam., 6

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,

Which is like a series of Suns, driving away the dark sins,

Which is like the king of eagles, driving away the cobra of miseries,

And which is like a terrific fire drying away the ocean of ignorance.


Shamadhi shatka pradha vaibhavabhyam,Samadhi dhana vratha deeksithabhyam,

Ramadhavadeegra sthirha bhakthidabhyam, namo nama sri guru padukhabyam.7

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru,

Which endows us, with the glorious six qualities like sham,

Which gives the students ,the ability to go in to eternal trance,

And which helps to get perennial devotion to the feet of Vishnu.


Swarchaparana makhileshtathabhyam, swaha sahayaksha durndarabhyam,

Swanthachad bhava pradha poojanabhyam, namo nama sri guru padukhabyam., 8

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru

Which bestows all desires of the serving disciples,

Who are ever involved in carrying the burden of service

And which helps the aspirants to the state of realization.


Kaamadhi sarpa vraja garudabhyam, viveka vairagya nidhi pradhabhyam,

Bhodha pradhabhyam drutha mokshathabhyam, namo nama sri guru padukhabyam., 9

Translation: Salutations and Salutations to the sandals of my Guru

Which is the Garuda,which drives away the serpent of passion,

Which provides one, with the treasure of wisdom and renunciation,

Which blesses one,with enlightened knowledge,

And blesses the aspirant with speedy salvation.


Questions Concerning Guru Paduka Stotram

Q1: What is the Guru Paduka Stotram?

Sri Sri Ravi Skanker: The Guru Paduka Stotram is a hymn that honours the presence of a Guru in one’s life. This hymn praises the many qualities of a learned master and how a seeker’s life transforms under a master’s guidance.

Q2: What are the benefits of chanting the Guru Paduka Stotram?

Sri Sri Ravi Shanker: Chanting the Guru Paduka Stotram helps one invoke the Guru principle and imbibe the qualities of the learned masters.

Q3: Do I need to know Sanskrit to learn to chant?

Sri Sri Ravi Shanker: No, it is not necessary.

Q4: Who can chant this stotram?

Sri Sri Ravi Shanker: Anybody can chant the Guru Paduka Stotram.

Q5: How often should I chant the Guru Paduka Stotram?

Sri Sri Ravi Shanker: You can chant the stotram along with your morning or evening prayers.

Q6: Do I have to chant the stotram silently or can I chant it out loud?

Sri Sri Ravi Shanker: You can chant it silently or even aloud.




How Guru Helps?

Parable of The Cheating Postmaster

A villager wrote to his son living in a town: “Please send me Rupees 10 every month for my expenses.” The village postmaster saw his opportunity in this and added one 0 to the figure and made it 100. The villager’s son went on sending Rs. 100 every month to his father; and the postmaster coolly pocketed Rs. 90 and gave only Rs. 10 to the father.

The postmaster’s greed grew wilder! He induced the villager to write to his son for more money. The villager wrote, “Please send me Rs. 20 hereafter.” The postmaster added a 0 and made it Rs. 200. His income was doubled thereby.

One day a Postal Inspector paid a surprise visit to the Post Office and found out that the Postmaster was enjoying himself thoroughly. He made enquiries from the local people and suspected mischief.

He asked the old villager: “What are your needs?” He answered: “Rs. 20 a month.” “Why are you sending your father Rs. 200 a month, whereas he needs only Rs. 20?” the Inspector asked the son.

The enquiry revealed the Postmaster’s trick. Promptly he was dismissed and punished severely. The old villager was saved from being robbed of his income.

It is the Prana in the body that needs food to sustain the body. The needs of the Prana are very few. But the tongue coming between the food and the Prana demands very much more! It demands delicious dishes-sweets, Chutnies, Sambar, Rasam and Dosai. The more it is catered to, the greater becomes its craving.

The Guru comes into the life of the man and points out to him that there is some fraud, and that all that he is eating is not really necessary for the sustenance of the Prana. The thief is caught and punished severely by fasting, saltless diet, etc. He is completely over come. The Sadhaka becomes a Jitendriya.

Source: pg. 108-110, Parables of Sivananda

The Glory of Mantra-Diksha

Swami Sivananda: “Initiation into the Divine Name or the solemn Mantra-Diksha is one of the holiest and most significant of the sacred rituals in the spiritual life. To receive the Guru Mantra from a realised Saint and Sat-Guru is the rarest of good fortune and the most precious of the divine blessings that may be bestowed upon the aspirant—the full glory of the Mantra-Diksha, specially when it is done by a realised soul, can hardly be imagined even fractionally by the uninitiated who has not yet proper idea of what that Mantra and Mantra-Diksha really imply. The process of Mantra-Diksha is one of the most ancient in this sacred land and is the grandest jewel in the treasure of our peerless culture.

“Initiation puts you in possession with the direct means of attaining the grandest and the highest thing which can be attained, attaining which you obtain everything, knowing which you know everything, and gaining which nothing more remains to be gained! Initiation leads you to the full knowledge and experience that you are neither the mind nor the body, that you are Satchidananda Atma, full of Light and full of the Highest Bliss. May the Grace of the Satguru, the Visible God, bestow upon you all the highest fruit of Self-Realisation.” (pg. 304, Yoga Samhita by Swami Sivananda)

Swami Muktananda: “The mantra given by the Guru, although seeming to be mere syllables, has the divine potency to awaken the highest yoga in a disciple. It has the power to burn up completely a sadhaka’s accumulated karmas… the mantra is capable of transforming the (sadhaka), of making him worthy of attaining oneness with (God).” (pgs. 59-60, Light on the Path by Swami Muktananda)

Swami Satyananda: “Once you are initiated into a mantra you should continue it throughout your life in order to succeed in the practice. You must have faith in the Mantra which you have received in initiation, and stick to it right up to the very end. Japa Yoga may be a long path but it is sure and certain. (pg. 117, Early Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati) [Swamiji is a direct disciple of Swami Sivananda].

Swami Sri Sivaya Subramaniyam: “Mantra diksha bestows the permission and power for Japa Yoga. Without this initiation, it’s repetition bears lesser fruit,”  (pg. 405, Dancing with Siva)

Scriptures Becomes Alive in the Presence of the Guru

The auspicious Guru Purnima celebrations were held in Amma’s new Chicago Ashram.
The celebrations took place after a long day of darshan, with Swami Amritaswaroopananda leading the worship of the Guru’s feet.

Amma spoke to the devotees about the importance of the Guru disciple relationship. “A disciple with awareness, devotion and self surrender, will continuously receive the Guru’s message and guidance, no matter where they are.  Once we find a true Master, the scriptures are reborn. The Vedas and Upanishads are repeated. When we find such a Master our search ends there. All we need to do is to live in their presence and try to imbibe their sacrifice into our own lives.

“In reality, there is no new message to deliver about spirituality. ‘Everything is God, there is nothing else but God.’ This is the only message. This is the single message in the Upanishads, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and Puranas. When we say that there are 108 Upanishads, we should understand that it is actually, 108 different ways of conveying the same message.

“Amma’s only desire is for Her children to be happy. Happiness is within everyone, but we are not able to experience it. This is because of our likes and dislikes. We are in the grip of our ego and because of this we hold on to our likes and dislikes. In order to break away from the ego, we need the help of a Satguru. Amma’s goal is to give her children this strength and love. If we let go of our likes and dislikes, we will become fit vessels to receive the Guru’s ever flowing grace. We can become freed from our mind and become a blessing to the entire world.

“Today, each of you should take some kind of vow. Sharing with others, taking only what we need, this is spirituality in practice. Every night we should contemplate, “What good did I do today? Did I hurt anyone? Did I get angry with anyone? How can I prevent myself from making this mistake tomorrow?” In case we have done something good, we should think, “How can I do better tomorrow? How can I speak even kinder words tomorrow? Can I help someone? Can I donate 10 minutes of my time to the poor or needy?” When we contemplate like this, our entire life becomes filled with light. When we have light within, no darkness can affect us.

“All your actions and duties should be filled with the sweetness of love. It is that sweetness that transforms ordinary action into Guru Seva, or service to the Guru. Devoid of the sweetness of love, action is mere labor. Action that is performed only for material growth is also mere labor. However, action that is performed to develop love within and attain spiritual growth is Guru Seva. Such actions are worship of the Inner Self. That, indeed, is true devotion. This is the key to open the doors to our True Self. The purpose of this human birth is to know God, or our true Self.

“Each and every living being in nature is part of the Guru’s body. Loving and serving such a Satguru is the path to reach our true Self. It is the key to open the doors to our soul. It is the way, it is the goal, it is the path. May all Amma’s children awaken and rise in this love, may we all become lamps of love shedding light to the whole world. May grace bless us all.”

After the message, prasad was given out to all devotees by Amma herself. Celebrations ended on a high note with Amma singing Bandalo and Hari Narayana for the overjoyed surprise of the devotees.

share your joy:

Swami Sivananda on Guru Purnima

THE FULL moon day in the month of Ashad (July-August) is an extremely auspicious and holy day of Guru Purnima. On this day, sacred to the memory of the great sage, Bhagavan Sri Vyasa, Sannyasins settle at some place to study and discourse on the thrice-blessed Brahma Sutras composed by Maharishi Vyasa, and engage themselves in Vedantic, philosophical investigation.

Sri Vyasa has done unforgettable service to humanity for all times by editing the four Vedas, writing the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. We can only repay the deep debt of gratitude we owe him, by constant study of his works and practice of his teachings imparted for the regeneration of humanity in this iron age. In honour of this divine personage, all spiritual aspirants and devotees perform Vyasa Puja on this day, and disciples worship their spiritual preceptor. Saints, monks and men of God are honoured and entertained with acts of charity by all the householders with deep faith and sincerity. The period Chaturmas (the “four months”) begins from this day; Sannyasins stay at one place during the ensuing four rainy months, engaging in the study of the Brahma Sutras and the practice of meditation.

Mark fully the deep significance of this great day. It heralds the setting in of the eagerly awaited rains. The water drawn up and stored as clouds in the hot summer now manifests in plentiful showers that usher in the advent of fresh life everywhere. Even so, all begin seriously to put into actual practice all the theory and philosophy that have been stored up in them through patient study. Aspirants commence or resolve to intensify with all earnestness, their practical spiritual Sadhana right from this day.

Generate fresh waves of spirituality. Let all that you have read, heard, seen and learnt become transformed, through Sadhana, into a continuous outpouring of universal love, ceaseless loving service, and continuous prayer and worship of the Lord seated in all beings.

Live on milk and fruit on this day and practise rigorous Japa and meditation. Study the Brahma Sutras and do Japa of your Guru Mantra, during the four months following the Guru Purnima. You will be highly benefited.

The day of worship of one’s preceptor, is a day of pure joy to the sincere spiritual aspirant. Thrilled by the expectation of offering his reverent homage to the beloved Guru, aspirants await this occasion with eagerness and devotion. It is the Guru alone that breaks the binding cords of attachment and releases the aspirant from the trammels of earthly existence.

The Srutis say: “To that high-souled aspirant, whose devotion to the Lord is great and whose devotion to his Guru is as great as that to the Lord, the secrets explained herein become illuminated”. Guru is Brahman, the Absolute, or God Himself. He guides and inspires you from the innermost core of your being. He is everywhere.

Have a new angle of vision. Behold the entire universe as the form of the Guru. See the guiding hand, the awakening voice, the illuminating touch of the Guru in every object in this creation. The whole world will now stand transformed before your changed vision. The world as Guru will reveal all the precious secrets of life to you, and bestow wisdom upon you. The supreme Guru, as manifested in visible nature, will teach you the most valuable lessons of life.

Worship daily this Guru of Gurus, the Guru who taught even the Avadhuta Dattatreya. Dattatreya, regarded as God and the Guru of Gurus, considered Nature Herself as His Guru, and learnt a number of lessons from Her twenty-four creatures, and hence he is said to have had twenty-four Gurus. The silent, all-enduring earth with its lofty forbearance, the shady fruit-bearing tree with its willing self-sacrifice, the mighty banyan tree reposing with patience in the tiny seed, the drops of rain whose persistence wears away even the rocks, the planets and the seasons with their orderly punctuality and regularity were all divine Gurus to him. They who will look and listen, will learn.

Become a personification of receptivity. Empty yourself of your petty ego. All the treasures locked up in the bosom of Nature will become yours. You will progress and attain perfection in an amazingly short time. Become pure and unattached as the mountain breeze. As the river flows continuously, steadily and constantly towards its goal, the ocean, so also let your life flow ceaselessly towards the supreme state of absolute Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, by letting all your thoughts, all your words and all your actions be directed only towards the goal.

The moon shines by reflecting the dazzling light of the sun. It is the full moon on the Purnima day that reflects in full splendour the glorious light of the sun. It glorifies the sun. Purify yourself through the fire of selfless service and Sadhana, and like the full moon, reflect the glorious light of the Self. Become the full reflectors of Brahmic splendour, the light of lights. Make this your goal: “I will be a living witness to divinity, the brilliant Sun of suns!”

The Supreme Self alone is real. He is the Soul of all. He is all-in-all. He is the essence of this universe. He is the unity that never admits of a duality under all the varieties and diversities of nature. Thou art this immortal, all-pervading, all-blissful Self. Thou art That! Realise this and be free.

Remember these four important lines of the Brahma Sutras:
1. Athatho brahma jijnasaa—Now, therefore, the enquiry of Brahman.
2. Janmasya yathah—From which proceed the origin, etc.
3. Sastra yonitwat—The scriptures are the means of right knowledge.
4. Tat tu samanvayat—For, That is the main support (of the universe).
Jaya Guru Shiva Guru Hari Guru Ram;
Jagad Guru Param Guru Sat Guru Shyam.

It is through the medium of the preceptor that the individual can raise himself to Cosmic-Consciousness. It is through that medium that the imperfect can become perfect, the finite can become infinite and the mortal can pass into the eternal life of blessedness. The Guru is verily a link between the individual and the Immortal. He is a being who has raised himself from this to That and thus has a free and unhampered access to both realms. He stands, as it were, upon the threshold of immortality, and, bending down, he raises the struggling individuals with his one hand, and with the other, lifts them up into the kingdom of everlasting joy and infinite Truth-Consciousness.

Do you realise now the sacred significance and the supreme importance of the Guru’s role in the evolution of man? It was not without reason that the India of the past carefully tended and kept alive the lamp of Guru-Tattva. It is therefore not without reason that India, year after year, age after age, commemorates anew this ancient concept of the Guru, adores it and pays homage to it again and again, and thereby re-affirms its belief and allegiance to it. For, the true Indian knows that the Guru is the only guarantee for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and death, and experience the Consciousness of the Reality.

Give up the delusive notion that to submit to the preceptor, to obey him and to carry out his instructions, is slavish mentality. Only the ignorant man thinks that it is beneath his dignity and against his freedom to submit to another man’s command. This is a grave blunder. If you reflect carefully, you will see that your individual freedom is in reality an absolute abject slavery to your own ego and vanity. It is the vagary of the sensual mind. He who attains victory over the mind and the ego is the truly free man. He is the hero. It is to attain this victory that a man submits to the higher, spiritualised personality of the Guru. By this submission he vanquishes his lower ego and realises the bliss and freedom of the infinite Consciousness.

 To strengthen and affirm the faith of the wavering man and to guarantee the attitude that is necessary for the fruition of all worship, the ancients have deified the personality of the Guru. To adore the Guru is indeed to adore the Supreme. In this world of mortality, the Guru is verily like an ambassador in an alien court. Just as an ambassador represents fully the nation to which he belongs, even so, the Guru is one who is the representative of the sublime transcendental state which he has attained. Just as to honour the ambassador is to honour the nation that he hails from, even so to worship and to offer adoration to the visible Guru is verily the direct worship and adoration of the Supreme Reality. Even as a distant tree though it cannot be seen is nevertheless known by the fragrance its fully-bloomed flowers waft far and wide, so also, the Guru is the divine flower who disseminates the Atmic aroma of divinity in this world, and thus proclaims the immortal Lord who is invisible to the physical eye. He is the standing witness to the Supreme Self, the counterpart of the Lord on earth, and through worship of him one attains the Self.

Remember and adore Sri Vyasa and the Gurus who are fully established in knowledge of the Self. May their blessings be upon you! May you cut asunder the knot of ignorance and shine as blessed sages shedding peace, joy and light everywhere!

At the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, the Guru Purnima is celebrated every year on a grand scale. Many devotees and aspirants come from all parts of the country.

1. All aspirants awake at Brahmamuhurta, at 4 o’clock. They meditate on the Guru and chant his prayers.

2. Later in the day, the sacred worship of the Guru’s Feet is performed. Of this worship it is said in the Guru Gita:
Dhyaana moolam guror murtih;
Pooja moolam guror padam;
Mantra moolam guror vakyam;
Moksha moolam guror kripa

“The Guru’s form should be meditated upon; the feet of the Guru should be worshipped; his words are to be treated as a sacred Mantra; his Grace ensures final liberation”.

3. Sadhus and Sannyasins are then worshipped and fed at noon.

4. There is continuous Satsang during which discourses are held on the glory of devotion to the Guru in particular, and on spiritual topics in general.

5. Deserving aspirants are initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyas, as this is a highly auspicious occasion.

6. Devout disciples fast and spend the whole day in prayer. They also take fresh resolves for spiritual progress.

Wake up at Brahmamuhurta (at 4 a.m.) on this most holy day. Meditate on the lotus feet of your Guru. Mentally pray to him for his Grace, through which alone you can attain Self-realisation. Do vigorous Japa and meditate in the early morning hours.

After bath, worship the lotus feet of your Guru, or his image or picture with flowers, fruits, incense and camphor.

Fast or take only milk and fruits the whole day.

In the afternoon, sit with other devotees of your Guru and discuss with them the glories and teachings of your Guru.

Alternatively, you may observe the vow of silence and study the books or writings of your Guru, or mentally reflect upon his teachings.

Take fresh resolves on this holy day, to tread the spiritual path in accordance with the precepts of your Guru.
At night, assemble again with other devotees, and sing the Names of the Lord and the glories of your Guru.
The best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, to shine as the very embodiment of his teachings, and to propagate his glory and his message.

Source: pgs. 28-37, Hindu Fasts & Festivals

"Guru and Disciple" By Sri Swami Venkatesananda

It was the end of May, 1924, when Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj reached Rishikesh. His joy knew no bounds. The perennial river Ganga, the majestic hills clad in green forest—they whom Gurudev calls his divine parents, greeted him.

On the night of his arrival at Rishikesh, he slept on the verandah of Charan Das Dharmasala near the Rishikesh Post Office. There were other Sadhus, among them was Swami Visvananda Sarasvati, an aged man of wisdom, ochre-robed, with nothing but a staff and a Kamandalu as his possessions. His face was aglow with the fire of Knowledge. It captivated Sri Gurudev’s heart the moment he had the old Sannyasin’s Darshan early in the morning. Gurudev fell prostrate at his feet. Fondly, the saint—Swami Visvanandaji—raised him and embraced him with all love and affection and said:

“My dear child! I see something on your forehead which tells me that you are a wonderful instrument in the hands of God for conveying His Message to the world. I have been watching you for the past nearly half an hour. Am I right in assuming that you have renounced the world and desire to lead the life of a monk?

“Most Holy Sire! Yes, you are right. Oh, how fortunate I am to have the Darshan of a divine sage! Blessed I am this day; blessed I am indeed. Shower your Grace on this poor humble seeker. For, it is only through thee that I can attain my goal.

“Well said, my child. I should myself feel it the greatest privilege to initiate you into Sannyasa.”

A torrent of tears from his eyes was all that Gurudev could offer in reply. He was ready and Swami Visvananda was eager.

Gurudev’s dispassion was of the highest type. Prosperity did not affect him at all; he saw in it always, the hand of God. He offered everything to God without any reservation. Swami Visvananda Saraswati now gave him the chance to make the final offering of himself to the Lord, in return for the love that had been shown on him.

Gurudev was initiated into the glorious Order of Sannyasa on the 1st June, 1924, by the saintly Swami Visvananda Sarasvati. From that day on he became known as Swami Sivananda Sarasvati.

He who has supreme devotion to God and equal devotion to his Guru, unto him the truths of the Upanishads are revealed.

—Svetasvatara Upanishad

Thus Sri Gurudev proclaimed, by his own conduct, the absolute necessity for a Guru, and for Sannyasa. He says in his ‘Autobiography’:

The spiritual path is beset with many obstacles. The Guru will guide the aspirants safely and remove all sorts of difficulties they have to face. He will inspire the students and give them spiritual powers through his blessings. Guru, Isvara, Truth and Mantra are one. There is no other way of overcoming the vicious worldly Samskaras of the passionate nature of raw, worldly-minded persons than by personal contact with and service to the Guru.”

“There are many egoistic students who say: ‘I do not need a Guru. God is my Guru.’ They change their own robes and live independently. When difficulties confront them, they are bewildered. I do not like the rules and regulations of the scriptures, sages and saints to be violated. When there is a change of heart, there should be a change in the external form also. The glory and the liberty of a Sannyasin can hardly be imagined by the timid and the weak.”

Explaining the glory of the ochre-coloured robe, Gurudev says:

“Wearing the ochre-coloured cloth, the orange robe, is very necessary for one who has a changed mind. Due to the force of Maya or habit, when the senses move among the sense-objects, the moment you look at the coloured cloth that you wear, it will remind you that you are a Sannyasin. It will give you a kick and save you from vicious actions. It has its own glory and advantages. A real Sannyasin only can cut off all connections. His friends and relatives will not trouble him. The robe is of great service when one appears on the platform for preaching. It has its own sanctity in the minds of Hindus. Common people will easily receive the ideas from a Sannyasin. Some hypocrites say: “We have given colouring to our minds. We need not change the clothes.” I do not believe these men. Even the famous Mandana Misra who fought with Sri Sankara, became a Sannyasin. He was known as Suresvaracharya. The great Rishi Yajnavalkya became a Sannyasin. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa removed his hair and became a Sannyasin. He was initiated into the Order of Sannyasa by Swami Totapuri. It is only those who have cravings, passions, attachments, and who are timid, that dread to change the cloth; they bring forth false, ingenious, unsound arguments. It is a pity that even some great persons of the present day, who are treading the spiritual path, have not recognised the glory and importance of changing the robe.”

The great ones act in this wise, not because they need to, but to set an example for others to follow—Lokasangraha, as the Lord says in the Gita. By their own conduct they bring out the imperative necessity of having a Guru to guide one in the acquisition of knowledge. Gurudev has often said: “For learning even the simple art of cooking, you need a teacher. Nothing has been possible for man to achieve without being instructed by one who knows. How much more Herculean would be the task of reaching the Life’s Destination without a guide!”

On the 11th of March, 1949, while instructing some disciples on Guru-Bhakti, Sri Gurudev said: “You should revere the Guru who teaches you the knowledge. Only then will the learning be fruitful.” And he cited his own example in this regard, and said: “See, I had Swami Visvanandaji’s company only for a couple of hours. Yet, daily I remember him in my hymns in the morning. I include Swami Vishnudevanandaji’s name also, as it was he who performed the Viraja Homa for me. It is very necessary; only then will the spark of Mumukshutva burn bright in us.

Incidentally, he also revealed another interesting anecdote of his life in Malaya. He said: “In Malaya, there were several adept Tantriks. It was the time the Spanish Flu took a heavy toll of life in Malaya. I, too, had an attack, but somehow escaped. The Tantrik had several Mantras and Yantras. That was a wonderful Vidya (science). A special unguent is applied on the thumb-nail of the adept of the Mantra; through this unguent, the adept would be able to see and know about distant happenings. He can tell you what is going on in such and such a place in Mysore; or, what a particular person is doing, where he is and so on. I even now remember the Mantra. I had great reverence for the man who taught me the Mantra. I used to prostrate myself before him and entertain him nicely, serve him whenever the occasion arose. Later, I gave up the Tantrik practice as I did not like the idea of subjugating Devatas and getting things done through them.”

Sri Gurudev had dispassion, born of a knowledge of the permanent and the transient, which is the basis for higher knowledge of the Self. In and through the world, Gurudev had acquired a glimpse of this higher knowledge, too. He has trained himself to hear the shrill Inner Voice of God, the Indweller of all hearts. It was thus quite unnecessary for him to seek the aid of Guru, when he could more easily depend on the Prompter within.

Yet he laid his head low at the feet of Swami Visvananda and received the Mahavakyas (great sacred utterances) from his preceptor’s powerful heart.

Gurudev’s Guru-Bhakti is evident from his words quoted above. To him, the preceptor—even the one who taught him fencing and the one that taught him the Tantrik Kriya—was the Lord Himself, come upon this earth to enlighten him. As the Svetasvatara Upanishad says, in the concluding Mantra, the Truths taught in the Upanishads are apparent to one who has supreme devotion to God and equal devotion to the Guru. Truly, indeed! And Gurudev is a good example to illustrate this truth. Gurudev shampooed his preceptor’s legs and thus attracted to himself the current of spiritual knowledge which brought him nearer the Goal. Swami Visvanandaji understood the worth of his divine pupil immediately, and came to the conclusion that he no longer needed his personal help. With tears of love and regard they parted from each other, as Swami Visvanandaji took leave to return to Benares.

Source: http://www.dlshq.org/discourse/jul2008.htm

Guru Paduka Puja by Swami Haridhos Giri

If you have faith in the Guru’s Holy feet, If you have deep feeling for the Guru’s Holy feet, If you imbibe the state of the Guru, Then you don’t have to look for God, God will come looking for you
– Bhakta Tukaram
“The Guru’s Holy feet are worshipped or revered because all the Guru’s Shakti dwells in the Holy feet. If you did research into this, you would find that the vibrations of the inner self constantly flow out through the Holy feet. The nerves that come from the Sahasrara reach right down to the Holy feet. The Holy feet serve as the support for the whole body. This is the reason the Holy feet are given so much importance. More Shakthi flows form the Holy feet than any other part of the body, the glory of the Guru’s Holy feet for the Guru’s sandals is great. Kularnava Tantra says: “Remember the Guru’s sandals, they provide protection against great diseases, great disturbances, great evils, great fears, great calamities, and great sins,”
The feet of Guru is no ordinary feet. Gurupaddangre Paadodakam Ganga. All holy waters, including Mother Ganga, live in the Guru’s Holy feet. This is what you should think in your heart when worshipping the Guru. All holy waters, all Devathei, or angels, and all sacred hills abide in the Guru’s Holy feet. One should have firm Sankalpa (intention, deter­mination) to behold all Gods in guru’s Holy feet. The Trimurthis – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – live in Guru’s Holy feet. These three Divine Forms symbolize the removal of the three qualities of nature that keeps the soul in bondage. The three qualities are tamas (sense of ego), rajas (passion, desire) and sattva (goodness and purity) when these three qualities are removed, then the soul becomes free or sanyaasi. In this state, one renounces desire and becomes like a stone – not senseless, but chinmaya (full of light). So, after Guru Patha Puja, it is to surrender the three qualities to the Divine Trinity. This is the significance of self surrender to the Holy feet.
Guru’s Holy feet.
For the sake of His disciples, the formless Guru takes the form in Padukas. Guru lives in Padukas. A devotee should pray “Oh my Guru, wherever my mind goes, may your form be there. Wherever my head bows in salutation, may your Holy feet be there.” The Guru continuously tests the devotees. It is very dangerous for the devotees to look on the Guru as an ordinary man. The devotee must think that the Guru is higher than Shiva, Vishnu or Brahma. If one thinks that the Guru is the physical form and activities, then it becomes very easy for doubts to infiltrate the citadel of devotion, and after a while, to completely overcome it. Nothing the Guru says or does is ordinary; there is always a higher reason.
Manduka Upanishad says: “The Guru’s Holy feet are like the foundation on which a building stands. The Guru’s Holy feet are the two elements in the mantra So’Ham which means ‘I am that.’ The statement ‘I am that’ (So’Ham) is packed with richness and significant meaning. The two syllables, Ham and Sa, have a number of esoteric meanings. ‘Ham’ is Shiva, the all pervading supreme reality, the absolute Being. He is the Lord or God, the support and the foundation of all things, sentient and insentient. In the form of pure consciousnesses, He permeates all creatures and dwells in them as their own innermost self. The Scriptures call this experience as Purusha, the eternal witness. ‘Sa’ is Shakti, the energy of Shiva. She is the divine Cosmic power that creates and maintains the countless galaxies and worlds. She is the consort of Shiva, the active aspect of the formless, the attribute-less Absolute. She is the joyous divine energy that unfolds the universe, assuming the billions of shapes and forms that we see around. Shiva is the experiencer and Shakti is the experienced – objective universe. She is referred also as Prakriti or the force of nature. She is the energy that powers our mind and that enables us to walk, talk, eat meals, and perform our work.
The Guru Geeta also says that the Guru’s Holy feet have two different luster – one is white and other is red – representing Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is associated with the white color, and Shakti, the divine energy with the red color. In these Holy feet of Guru, Shiva and Shakti live as one and through them the disciple realizes the unity. He sees Shiva and Shakti as red and white lights shining through the Guru’s Holy feet. The Guru’s Holy feet should be worshiped everyday, for by their means one easily realizes the immanent and transcendent aspect of Shiva (form and formlessness aspects). Their luster radiates in the upper spaces of Sahasrara Chakra.
Within this FULL MOON in the sahasrara, we find ‘pots of nectar’ also referred to as ‘nectar of the Moon.’ This pot of the nectar has the shape of a delicate crescent moon and is downward turned. From here the nectar flows down through the Sushumna Nadi. This nectar is more intoxicating than honey could ever be. The sound (inner Nada heard in meditation) will make you taste a divine elixir. It is sweeter than the sweetest. Every drop is worth millions. By taking it you get rid of all sickness. There will be no more suffering, no more want, no more feeling of ‘I and mine.’
The Lalita Sahasrahama says: “Salutations to Her (Shakti) who sends stream of nectar from the transcendent moon in the Sahasrara.” The Shiva Samhita says: ‘The Sahasrara is the thousand petaled lotus in the Brahmananda. In its center is the region of the moon and a triangle which continuously showers nectar. This moon nectar, which grants immortality, flows in continuous stream…”
The Paduka Panchaka also mentions that the Guru’s Holy feet are cool like the nectar of the moon. In other words, just as the moonbeams cool us of after the heat of the day, in the same way devotion to the Holy feet of the Guru extinguishes the fire of sorrow and suffering and gives us peace.
The Paduka Panchaka says: “I adore the two lotus Holy feet of the Guru in my head. The jeweled foot stool on which they rest removes all sin. The Guru’s Holy feet are pinkish-red like young leaves. The toe nails resemble the full moon shining in all its glory. The Guru’s Holy feet are radiant with the beautiful luster of lotuses in a lake of nectar.” When the Guru Gita speaks of the water of the Guru’s Holy feet, it is referring to this lake of nectar. There are number of verses that explore this image.
The Guru Gita says: “the water of the Guru’s Holy feet has the power to dry up the mire of one’s sins, to ignite the light of knowledge, and to take one smoothly across the ocean of this world.”
“To obtain knowledge and detachment, sip the water of Guru’s Holy feet, which destroys ignorance and ends karmas, the cause of rebirth. Muktananda says it is not the water of Guru’s physical Holy feet that will make you immortal; it is only the nectar flowing in the Guru’s abode situated in the Sahasrara that will make you immortal, and that nectar can be received by the grace of the Guru.
In the course of meditation, when the mind becomes stabilized in the Sahasrara, this nectar begins to flow. Only after drinking this nectar can you be said to have drunk the water of the Guru’s Holy feet. It is not the water of the Guru’s physical Holy feet that matters. The true Holy feet of the Guru lie in the sahasrara; it is the nectar flowing from them that gives immortality.
Source: Extracted from the Swami Haridhos Giri Seva Samajam Opening Day Souvenir Booklet (http://gurujinamaji.com/articles-discourses-05.htm)