Darshan Goes Both Ways

Reading from Gurudeva's upadesha on darshan, Bodhinatha delves into Gurudeva's special insights on the spiritual darshan of the guru. The concept of darshan goes beyond the devotee's seeing of the guru; it also embraces the guru's seeing of the devotee. Through this visual interaction the devotee sees the guru and draws forth his blessings as the guru sees the devotee and witnesses his divine place in the universe.

Unedited Transcript:

Good Morning, everyone!

Reflecting on the picture of Gurudeva over there and it looks to me this morning, like he is thinking about the future. Something that we can all do more of. We usually suffer from lack of planning in our lives, adequate planning in different departments of our lives. Gurudeva was a master at encouraging others to step beyond our comfortable limit of planning, be it a month, a year, 5 years and go further and come up with positive plans for all aspects of our life and go about manifesting them in systematic ways.

We are giving thought to our next issue of 'Hinduism Today'. It happens every three months. One possibility is doing a center section on the Kularnava Tantra which, of course, is about the Guru.

I was struck in reading yesterday's lesson in preparing for this talk, on Gurudeva's upadesa on darshan, which I thought might make a nice sidebar in the center section article. It is so insightful and we will see once we get halfway through, there is a very interesting twist to it going way beyond just the idea of darshan, the sight of the Deity, which is the usual, simple interpretation of it.

I will read from it.

"Little is known of the guru's grace or the power of darshana in Western culture. Darshana (more popularly darshan) is a Sanskrit word meaning 'vision, seeing or perception'. But in its mystical usage, it is more than that. Darshan is also the feeling of the emotions of a holy person, the intellect, the spiritual qualities that he has attained and, most importantly, the shakti, the power that has changed him and is there constantly to change others. Darshan encompasses the entirety of the being of a person of spiritual attainment. In India, everyone is involved in darshan. Some at a temple have darshan of the Deity. Others at an ashram have darshan of their swami or on the street enjoy darshan of a sadhu. And, most everyone experiences durdarshan. That's the word for television in India, meaning 'seeing from afar'. Even this seeing, through movies, news and various programs of mystery, tragedy, humor, the fine arts and culture, can affect our emotions, intellect, pulling us down or lifting us up in consciousness. Seeing is such a powerful dimension of life, and it affects us in so many ways, inside and out. Darshan, in the true meaning of this mystical, complex and most esoteric word, conveys all of this."

Now the twist, are you ready?

"The concept of darshan goes beyond the devotee's seeing of the guru. It also embraces the guru's seeing of the devotee."

I will read that again.

"The concept of darshan goes beyond the devotee's seeing of the guru. It also embraces the guru's seeing of the devotee."

So, it is two directions. The guru seeing the devotee is also a part of this mystical experience of darshana.

"Hindus consider that when you are in the presence of the guru that his seeing of you, and therefore knowing of you and your karmas, is another grace. So, darshan is a two-edged sword, a two-way street. It is a process of seeing and being seen. The devotee is seeing and in that instant drawing forth the blessings of the satguru, the swami or the sadhu. In turn, he is seeing the devotee and his divine place in the universe. Both happen within the moment, and that moment, like a vision, grows stronger as the years go by, not like imagination, which fades away. It is an ever-growing spiritual experience."

This next one is nice.

"The sense of separation is transcended, so there is a oneness between seer and seen. This is monistic theism, this is Advaita Ishvaravada. Each is seeing the other and momentarily being the other."

Isn't that beautiful? The whole side of it, that you normally don't hear about, Gurudeva's special insights into darshana that it is two-sided.

"Darshan embodies shakti. Darshan embodies shanti. Darshan embodies vidya, perceiving on all levels of consciousness for all inhabitants of the world. It is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual perception. Hindus believe that the darshan from a guru who has realized the Self can clear the subconscious mind of a devotee in minutes, alleviating all reactions to past actions and alter his perspective from an outer to an inner one. Darshan is the emanating rays from the depth of an enlightened soul's being. These rays pervade the room in which he is, penetrating the aura of the devotees and enlivening the kundalini, the white, fiery, vapor-like substance that is actually the heat of the physical body in its natural state.

In the Orient, whenever the cloud of despair covers the soul of a devotee, the darshan of a guru is sought. Whenever it becomes difficult to meditate, his grace is hoped for to lift the veil of delusion and release awareness from the darker areas of mind to soar within. Consciously merge into the inner being of yourself, and you will know your guru when you find him."

Isn't that beautiful? So, anyway I am submitting it to the HT editorial staff to see if it would make a good sidebar on the Guru's darshana.