Search for the ultimate Guru .. . from 'reel' life to real life
Nowadays, the word guru is used in almost every field. For instance, we might have read about a management guru, heard about an acting guru and I am sure, have met people who say, "Yes, I too have a guru." In this huge sea of gurus, the word is used in the proper sense only by sane people to address a spiritual teacher or guide.
A teacher is essential in every field. Our mother taught us to talk, our father taught us how to walk, and our school teachers educated us in a variety of subjects. Life is a continuous journey of learning and on this path we learn from various teachers. We accept what they teach us. But when it comes to spirituality, people tend to become their own guru: They say: '1 think God is an energy;' '1 think 1 am God;' 1 think – just do whatever you want to and you will reach God.' A popular western philosopher even went to the extent of saying that God is dead.
One day I was with my cousin when I came across the movie 'Guru'. My cousin is a hybrid devotee. That means devotion flows from his heart when he enters a temple and passion flows when he enters a theatre. That day passion was at its peak. He was trying to persuade me to join him in watching the latest Bollywood release 'Guru'. "Trust me, it's a great movie," he preached. He went on to tell me about the hero, a small time villager who moves to the city and one day becomes a big shot in the corporate world. A rags-to riches tale of someone who started with pennies and went on to rule his empire of factories. "It's inspiring, it's thrilling, and it's something we should follow," said my cousin. He was fully converted.
But not me. "Listen," I tried to convince him, "I am a Hare Krsna devotee and we are supposed to abstain from this illusory world of movies." I told him that the material world is temporary, and we change our bodies and get into new roles just like an actor keeps changing his role, his parents, and his name in every movie. I didn't see any logic in seeing these temporary roles of temporary actors of this temporary world.
"I have a better option," I told him, "Today is the last day of the Jagannatha festival at Juhu ISKCON. You can see the movie tomorrow, but Jagannatha's mercy has to be sought today. Let's go there. We will hear spiritual discourse, kirtana, dance, have fun and relish delicious prasadam. It will also entertain you." Somehow my cousin agreed.
As we entered the festival, His Holiness Gopal Krsna Goswami Maharaja was glorifying Srila Prabhupada. He spoke how Srila Prabhupada started this ISKCON movement with just 40 rupees and built 108 temples in 13 years. Maharaja described how Srila Prabhupada would say, 'I started this movement with just forty rupees and today we are spending rupees 40 lakhs per day on welfare activities.' Many businessmen were amazed by this extraordinary feat of Srila Prabhupada and would ask him how he achieved this. Srila Prabhupada would say, 'I just went to the USA, stood below a tree and chanted Hare Krsna, and Krsna sent everything for me.' " Gopal Krsna Goswami Maharaja went on to describe how building 108 temples, each worth millions of rupees, is not possible for a corporate guru to achieve. So Srila Prabhupada is the Guru of all Gurus. My cousin was thrilled to hear the amazmg story of Srila Prabhupada's life. He understood that what Srila Prabhupada has achieved is divine and happens rarely in a millennium. It happens by the empowerment of Lord Krsna who makes His favourite devotee His divine instrument.
My cousin's plan to watch the movie Guru was uprooted after hearing about the real guru. Now after hearing about Srila Prabhupada he exclaimed, "It's inspiring, it's thrilling, it's something we should follow!
Yugavatara Dasa is an Associate Professor of Anatomy in KEM Hospital, Mumbai where he lives with his family. He is a regular contributor to the Marathi edition of Back to Godhead.