This is Advaita Ishvaravada: When you really take darshan to its depth, you are looking at the Deity or the guru, the Deity or the guru is looking at you, you're actually sensing the Oneness, the One Being that both are in that moment, as when Yogaswami and Gurudeva met in person for the first time.
Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lesson 303.
The Guru Chronicles, Chapter 20.
Good morning everyone.
A recent Merging with Siva lesson talks about concept of darshan. Darshan or darshana, generally when you think of the concept you think of it in the sense of 'I am seeing.' So, darshan of the Deity, I am seeing or looking at the Deity, normally how we take it. But has a deeper meaning that Gurudeva points out in a recent Merging with Siva lesson. So, let's take a look at that.
"The concept of darshan goes beyond the devotee's seeing of the guru. It also embraces the guru's seeing of the devotee. (Aha! It's a coin with two sides here, so:) Hindus consider that when you are in the presence of the guru that his seeing of you, and therefore knowing 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..."
Just a comment on that, it's an important point. Like a vision grows stronger. Sometimes I get asked: I had this experience when I was asleep. You know, kind of an inner experience of a Deity or an insight of something deep. And, I get asked: "Is this my imagination or did it really happen?" And I, this is the quote I use. "If it's really a spiritual experience, a vision or some deep insight, it gets stronger over the years. If it's just your imagination, you may not remember it tomorrow." Have trouble remembering it; it fades away very quickly just like other dreams do. So, if it gets stronger then it really happened. That's one way of knowing that. "...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."
This of course applies to the Deity as well. I know devotees who have shared the experience of sensing the Deity as a being inside the murti during a festival usually, or pilgrimage. And then, some of them have shared the experience that I would, for example: I was looking at Lord Murugan and Lord Murugan was looking at me and we seemed to be the same being. So that's what this is talking about, that when you really take darshan to its depth, you are looking at the Deity or the guru, the Deity or the guru is looking at you and if you go the depth then you're actually sensing the Oneness. The One Being that you both are in that moment.
I read that in the lesson and then I thought of the Guru Chronicle story. So, that's what comes up next here, Guru Chronicle story. Yogaswami and Gurudeva meeting for the, meeting in person for the first time, shall we say. And as you'll recall they stopped first at the Nallur Murugan Temple. So this, that's where the story starts.
"The cart plodded first to Nallur..." (Bullock cart, two bulls that were pulling the cart with three people in it). "The cart plodded first to Nallur Kandaswami Temple. Kumar suggested that they get down there and worship before going to see Swami. It was almost 6 o'clock, he said, and the puja would soon begin. They disembarked, washed mouth, feet and hands, and went inside the temple. In those days, devotees of the temple could worship closer to the sanctum than one can now. The three men stood just outside the sanctum for the ceremony, consumed in the intensity of the darshan.
"It was about 7 PM when they arrived at Yogaswami's hermitage. The sun had set, and a full moon illumined the landscape. The lamps were lit, and the evening had brought devotees to Swami. The atmosphere was electric--charged with the presence of the satguru. About fifteen people were sitting with him. No sooner had the screeching of the cart wheels stopped than Swami's voice from the hut was heard loud and clear, 'Come, come, come. I am waiting for you.'
"As soon as we opened the gate and entered the ashram, Yogaswami asked Gurudeva in a loud voice, 'Did you see me anywhere?'
"Gurudeva replied, 'Yes, at the Nallur Temple,' (Of course, he saw him in his inner body, he wasn't there physically.) then the following conversation took place.
"Yogaswami said: 'You are in me.'
"Gurudeva replied: 'You are in me.'
"Yogaswami next said: 'I am in you.'
"And Gurudeva replied: 'I am in you.'"
Sounds like what we are talking about, right? Darshan being a one person.
"The devotees present were astounded. No one had ever talked in such a way with Yogaswami since the days of Chellappaguru. Usually if he said to a devotee, 'I am in you,' the person would respond humbly, 'Yes, Swami,' or he might begin singing a song that Swami had composed. No one ever responded the way Gurudeva had. He spoke as confidently as Swami himself, and he echoed Swami's very words."
End of story.
Have a wonderful day.