By Lynn (Gurupremananda) Cattafi
All ancient yogic texts speak of the importance of a good Guru. In our modern times, experts in many different fields are called gurus. Yet the ancient yogic texts speak of a spiritual Guru. While there are many spiritual Gurus out there, a truly qualified, living spiritual master is a rare and precious find. Allow me to share with you the qualities of my Guru.
She is a Satguru, the most masterful and rare kind of spiritual Guru. She is a blessing beyond compare. Ancient teachings from the Advaya Taraka Upanishad explain:
aacaarya-lak.saṇam aacaaryo veda-sa.mpanno vi.s.nu-bhakto vimatsarah
yogaj~no yog-ani.s.tha”sca sadaa yog-aatmaka.h “suci.h. (14)
guru-bhakti-samaayukta.h puru.sj~no vi”se.sata.h
eva.m lak.sa.na-sa.mpanno guru-rityabhidhiiyate. (15)
A qualified Guru is knowledgeable in the Vedas, a devotee of God, free from jealousy, an expert in yoga, does yoga practices, is always in a pure yogic state. He is devoted to his own Guru and is a knower of the Self. Only one with these qualifications may properly serve as Guru.
These ancient verses from the Advaya Taraka Upanishad are around 2,000 years old. Yet they describe our own Gurudevi perfectly. In the same way, they describe her own Guru and his own Guru. These Upanishadic descriptions hold true for the spiritual masters in an unbroken lineage of thousands of years.
These verses describe a “qualified Guru” as one who is knowledgeable in the Vedas, the ancient texts. Gurudevi always amazes me with her depth of ancient knowledge. She has a deep experiential understanding of yoga’s ancient mystical teachings. She lives them. She brilliantly brings yoga’s teachings to life for us in a modern way. Thus, we can live them as well.
The verses also describe a qualified Guru as one who is “a devotee of God.” When I met Gurudevi, I had an experience of my own Divinity and the Divinity of all. It took me years to understand that my experience was propelled by Gurudevi’s own inner state. She is truly a devotee of God. Yet just being a devotee of God does not make one a Guru. It was Gurudevi’s pure yogic state, being established in the knowing of her own Self. Her own Divine Essence propelled me into the experience of my own Divine Essence.
A qualified Guru must also be devoted to their own Guru. Gurudevi models her devotion to her Guru, so beautifully. She shows me every day how to live in the world in gratitude and in service. She lives to serve her Guru, honoring and serving him with every breath. Why? Because he gave her the ultimate gift, the knowing of her own Self. Every day, she gives us the same gift.
But the notable and sublime qualities of Gurudevi transcend the words of these ancient verses. Yes, she is everything these verses describe. True, she propelled me into the experience of my own Self. However, I was not ready to live in that pure yogic state all the time. I needed, and still need, her guidance. To attain and maintain the pure yogic state of Self-realization, her continuing example is essential. Being in relationship with her — a living Guru — is crucial. She provides a constant, living example of yoga’s highest attainment.
She leaves no stone unturned in rooting out the things that block me from my Self. With just a word, Gurudevi can dispel my feelings of jealousy, anger, sadness, anxiety, and smallness. She burns up my feelings of “not good enough” with a simple loving glance. In her presence, my mind gets peaceful and quiet. I remember who I am. In her presence, I remember my own Self. Thank you Gurudevi, again and again.