Values: Purity of Your Mind & Purpose of Teacher/Guru (134)


Lesson 134 is Value 6 & 7. Why service to teacher is important for self-knowledge. Keeping outer environment clean and inner mind pure.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 7.


    • Deliberate thoughts, words, actions.
      • Exercise: Pick one. Practice being deliberate for 1 day > 1 week > 1 month. Slow down enough until able to “catch” each thought/word/act consciously.
    • Acceptance of choiceless situations in life. EG: Past.
    • Acceptance is of 2 types:
      • Healthy:
        • Not allowing choiceless situations to overpower you (robbing reasoning).
        • Involves having capacity to WAIT because things take time to work out. EG: Parent gladly accepts toddler’s inadequacies.
      • Unhealthy:
        • What cannot be cured, has to be endured”. However endured with bitterness (anger towards God/world). Ahimsa.
    • Straightforwardness or Agreement between your Thoughts-Words-Actions.
    • Trustworthy, loyal person. “I can depend on you. You’re reliable”.
    • Opposite:
      • I’ll go to bed early and wake up at 6am!”. But misses the mark by hours.
      • Tomorrow I’ll study/learn all day”. But studies 30 min.
      • I’ll come on Tuesday. But doesn’t show up.
      • I’ll be finished in 15 min”. But takes 30 min.
      • Love your dress!”.
      • Of course I'm not mad, why would I be?”
      • Don't worry, everything will be just fine.”

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 7:

Value 6: Ācāryopāsanam: Service to the teacher

  • What is ācāryopāsanam? Worship or reverence towards the teacher. Because you value their specialized skill (matters to you).
    • Worship doesn’t go to person, because ācārya/guru is also limited in knowledge/power. Instead, ācārya represents knowledge of śāstra.  Thus namaskāra to ācārya/guru = namaskāra to śāstra.
  • Why should I worship śāstra?
    • Scriptures are like 6th sense, containing knowledge imperceptible through other instruments. EG:
      1. Every sense organ reveals a FACT. Eyes reveal FACT of color. Ears reveal FACT of sound.
      2. Eyes can’t give knowledge of sound (vice-verse). Hence need appropriate instrument for each reality.
        • EG: It’s impossible to prove nor disprove sound through eyes.
    • So why worship śāstra (expounded by ācārya)? Because śāstra reveals the FACT of self (the presence behind the senses). The knowledge of absolute perceiver BEHIND the relative perceiver.
  • With what ATTITUDE is shastra/guru worshipped? With sraddha (provisional trust until I confirm the FACT myself).
  • Ācāryopāsana also means, “Surrender to Teacher”.
    • In reality “surrender to teacher” is impossible because God alone IS.
    • What’s the only thing one CAN surrender? Ignorance of reality AS-IT-IS. Teacher is a means to removing false-notions.
  • What is an IDEAL teacher-student relationship like?
    • There’s no definitive indicator. EVOLVES just as friends go through different phases. Sometimes closer/farther.
    • However UNTIL a deeper relationship/trust is formed with teacher… full teaching of śāstra is unlikely to take place.
      • Thus if you don’t care WHO your teacher is, it reflects one’s non-committed state of mind.
  • How DO we develop a deeper relationship/trust with teacher (so that full teaching may take place)?
    • Throughout the education, you begin to see the enormity (relevance) of the teaching. For this to take place, must overcome personal defence mechanisms and have patience. EG:
      1. Need to fit past knowledge into present framework.
      2. Overcome childhood distrust issues. EG: If didn’t trust mom/dad (who were like teachers), which is projected onto adulthood teacher. Thus will reject the teaching.
  • Moreover, student is innocently ATTRACTED to teacher which resonates with their PRESENT state of mind. 
    • EG:
      1. Some learners are attracted to depth / detail.
      2. Some learners are magnetized to one-liners / should-shouldn’ts. Useful in beginning. But also risks producing generalization.  EG:
        • Do actions without expecting results.”
        • “Detach from world.”
          • Impossible because:
            • Your existence is intimately dependent on world. We’re social beings.
            • Can’t exercise compassion (needed for maturity) unless participating in world.
        • “It’s matter of “experience”.
          • This one liner becomes confusing unless explained in depth.
          • CORRECTION: Awareness is always available. You’re never NOT experiencing yourself. Seeker is always experiencing the sought.
  • How to know if acharya's (teachers) knowledge is intellectual OR assimilated? 2 indicators…
    1. Śrotriya:
      • Learned in scriptures. Meaning teaches using a methodology.
    2. Brahma-niṣṭhā:
      • His or her knowledge is assimilated knowledge. 
      • Some indicators:
        • Can answer questions.
        • Can expound big ideas in simple manner. EG: Einstein said to a physics query, “This can’t be truth because it sounds too complicated”.
        • Focus is mostly on methodology, and not on one’s greatness/powers/attainments.
        • Who is teacher’s guru?
  • SUMMARY: What is IDEAL ATTITUDE for both student & teacher to keep in mind?
    • I am a carrier of knowledge. Not a producer of knowledge.
    • God is the centre and FIRST in all this. Hence focus of both student and teacher is on Lord throughout.
    • Student needs to listen/learn with an efficient frame of mind:
      1. How can I use this?
      2. Why MUST I use this?
        • Reasons reap results. EG: We forget names because no reason to remember them.
      3. When will I use this?
        • Imagine/think of situation when to apply it.
        • Plan to use it at least 1x TODAY.

Value 7: Śaucam: Inner & Outer Cleanliness or Purity

* Starts at: 44:19

  • 2 Types of Cleanliness…
  • External:
    • Affect motivation/restlessness indirectly.
      • EG:
        • Sudden impulse to clean house. Possibly indicates inner restlessness.
        • Company sends employees to clean beach. Organizes their mind.
        • Smart candidate desires to see office space/wash room before being hired.
    • Physical body.
  • Internal:
    • If mind is silently saying in background, “I’m inadequate”, how will ever accept it’s the WHOLE?
    • What makes mind unclean?
      1. Jealousy, envy, resentment, impatience, comparing self to others to feel better, fear.
        • NOTE: Not talking about situational anger/fear, like anger from seeing innocent person bullied.
      2. Unaddressed past chatter (hard wired habits).
      3. You think of more reasons ___.
    • HOW to clean the mind?
      • STEP 1: Recognize there is dust in mind accumulated over time. Impacts behaviour unconsciously, right NOW.
        • Example of recognizing unhealthy thoughts:
          1. Everyone wants to use me (motivate).
            • OPPOSITE: Some genuinely like/respect you. Want to be friends.
          2. Gandhari blamed Krishna for hear dead sons after war.
            • Krishna replied: “I understand your point of view of mother losing sons. But I’m not entirely to blame. You gave Duryodhana license to sin. Instead of taking responsibility/reflecting what happened, you’re choosing to blame me.”
            • Krishna is being sensitive to another’s pain, while also applying straightforwardness.
          3. “I’m slow”.
      • STEP 2: Deliberately bring opposite thought (Pratipakṣa-bhāvanā).
        1. Involves REFLECTING upon the validity of your story. Hence about changing the attitude towards things. And not so much doing opposite actions (as it doesn’t attack the cause).
          • EG: Arjuna could’ve agreed to fight the war (did opposite to initial reluctance), from attitude of revenge OR protecting society from adharma.
        2. Involves considering the person’s biography BEHIND their words/actions. Some examples…
          1. “If I was exposed to same circumstances, I would likely act the same.”  EG:
            • SCENARIO: Client said, “Nobody is there for me”. Thus she rejected whoever got too close. Most would’ve taken it personally.
              • EXPLANATION: Upon investigation, it was found: In childhood her parents were busy, thus left her with caretakers. She associated, “People I love most are not supposed to be around”. Therefore she pushed friendships/romance away. Then justified with, “I’m self-sufficient, independent woman”.
            • SCENARIO: Rebellious, disrespectful troublemakers.
              • EXPLANATION: Maybe one of parent’s (whom child saw as God authority)… slapped them. In adult life, person fears authority (police), thus rebellious.
          2. They may have been cheated in past, making them inconsiderate towards you.
          3. Other’s issues is not my issues. Refuse to get enmeshed.
            • EG: Someone close to you criticize what you stand for. It’s their lack of knowledge speaking.
          4. Everyone’s program is benign. But gets obscured through circumstance they had NO control over. Comes from confusion.
        3. Involves getting SPECIFIC. What exactly are you condemning?
          1. If condemning yourself (I’m not loved enough), then which PART exactly is being condemned?
            • EG’s of self-condemnation:
              • I should be more/less ___”. (Comparing yourself to mental construct).
              • I can’t remember. I’m not witty enough. I’m not as pretty as I used to be”.
              • “I wasted much time on ineffective spiritual paths”.
              • I don’t fit in HERE”.
            • SPECIFICS:
              • Can’t be limbs, as they’re inert.
              • Can’t be mind, as mind constantly modifies according to whatever thought arises.
              • Can’t be thought, because thought is made up of parts.
              • Can’t be parts, because you’re not the creator of those parts.
              • Can’t be ātmā as it’s merely illumining the mind (like light illumining hall).
              • Can’t be parents because you didn’t select them.
              • Can’t condemn time because it also sustains healthy thoughts.
              • Can’t condemn ignorance, because everyone is under it’s spell. Also keeps you from knowing unnecessary-distracting details.
              • You can only condemn the INDEPENDENT ACTION. Then imagine doing it different next time.
          2. If condemning others (putting them into boxes):
            • If label them “liar”, it’ll impair your clarity.
              • Rather say, “This person is lying about X, because may be influenced by past conclusions. Has some interest to protect. Or is trying to gain unfair advantage”.
            • Consider their background. Collective society. Your conditioned biases.
            • Even Krishna (Lord of Dharma) was hated by many because of other's tendency to generalize. Despite all the criticism, Krishna never said, “How dare you insult the Lord that’s keeping you alive right now!”. Even Lord, while incarnated on Earth, has to play by the rules (Values).
    • REVISION of applying inner-purity:
      • Step 1: Catch and write down the story when it comes. Get clear on consequences of not investigating into it.
      • Step 2: Deliberately apply opposite thought by (a) investigating into the story, and (b) getting specific.

— NEXT SESSION: Value 7 continues. —


    • Value 1: amānitva: Absence of demanding validation/respect.
    • Value 2: adhambhitva: Absence of pretense (making up stories).
    • Value 3: ahiṃsā: Deliberation of thought/word/action.
    • Value 4: kṣānti: Accommodation / Glad Acceptance of WHAT-IS.
    • Value 5: ārjava: Straightforwardness (Alignment of thought/word/action).
    • Value 6: ācāryopāsana: Service to teacher.
    • Value 7: śauca: Inner & Outer Cleanliness or Purity


Keywords: acarya upasanam, acaryopasanam, brahma-nishtha, brahma-nista, brahma-nistha, pratipaksa-bhavana, pratipaksha-bhavana, saucam, shaucam, shradda, shrotriya, sraddha, srotriya


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 13 July, 2021


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