Why Do We Need A Guru?

In this sensitive, first-person account Chetana Kadle tells us how the Guru’s Divine Presence helps us to progress spiritually while travelling on the multi-faceted path of seva                           ( December 2016 )

“Why do we need a Guru?”

This simple yet poignant question, asked by the young boy sitting in front of me, brought forth a spontaneous and equally simple answer from my heart. I said, “Since we cannot approach God directly, we have been fortunate to be enveloped in the reassuring Godly presence of our Guru, who can be approached with all our queries; Someone who can be with us in times of happiness and also infuse us with strength in times of misery.”

As Parama Pujya Sadyojat Swamiji has said in one of the Ashirvachan-s, there is a latent treasure-house of good qualities and talents within each one of us, just waiting to be explored. It is only the Guru-Shakti which helps a sadhaka to discover his or her true potential and to hone it to perfection. While I do not claim to have excelled in my various ventures, I can definitely say with conviction that the scattered threads of interest I had in various fields were woven together by the joyful and firm belief that this seva is being offered at the Lotus Feet of the Guru.

Our family had always been participating in Math activities earlier but not to a great extent.The year 2007 opened a new chapter in our lives, when we went to Karla and met our Mathadhipati- Parama Pujya Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji personally for the very first time. Gradually, my husband Praveen became involved in the administration of our Beloved Shri Chitrapur Math.Then, in the year 2008, I participated in the Guru Jyoti Pada Yatra. The stupendous energy levels which I witnessed in all the participants was unbelievable. I had not experienced anything like this before! I could clearly see that it was Swamiji Himself who was the galvanising force behind it all. What an experience! It made me proud to be a Chitrapur Saraswat, proud to be an Amchi! I saw both the young and old alike striving to surpass themselves!

Sketching and painting have been my passion since childhood. I presented two oil paintings of Pujya Swamiji during Swamiji’s camp at Santacruz colony, Mumbai in February 2008. These portraits were appreciated by all. Later, Parama Pujya Swamiji asked me to do a painting of Devi Bhuvaneshwari for Shri Chitrapur Math, Shirali. Though it came as a surprise, I started painting tentatively with a heartfelt prayer. By Divine Grace, I managed to complete the task set before me and received Swamiji’s Blessings.

I also contributed to the Adi Shankaracharya Shadowgraphy project conceptualised by Deepa Murdeshwar of Sholapur. It was a truly satisfying experience involving a lot of team work and research. While working on this project, we received Guidance from Swamiji whenever we faced any problem or doubt. This made me realise that no task is too small or insignificant. Every single thing that we undertake to do deserves the same amount of deep thought and analysis. I also realised that when you have the Blessings of the Guru and inspiration from the Divine, all the hurdles can be overcome successfully.

My attempts at learning Sanskrit through the lessons prepared by the Girvanapratishtha department of our Math, opened a new dimension for me. I had joined the classes with the intention of understanding the various shloka-s which we often recite. After I had completed the requisite courses, I was encouraged to take up teaching which served to reinforce the knowledge I had gained. The classes, which impart the basics of the language in a very interactive manner, helped me to enjoy the richness of this beautiful, ancient language.

Then came the Parijna series of books for children. A profound message from one of Swamiji’s
Ashivachan-s is conveyed in a very simple way through stories and poems for little children. What a beautiful idea! When this project was first discussed with me, my initial reaction was slight nervousness. since this was an entirely new field. But faith in the Guru- Shakti gets all wheels to move in the right direction! Soon, the project was underway and help came from the right people at the correct junctures. The first two books were released on March 1
st, 2014. Since then 10 more books have been published, including four transcreated in Sanskrit !

I feel I have been very fortunate to have been involved in all these Math projects. This has given me an insight into the workings of this great institution