Please recite, the Shanti Mantra of Katha Upanishad along with me:
auṁ saha nāvavatu | saha nau bhunaktu | saha vīryam karvāvahai |
tejasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai ||
auṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ||
This verse explains the context of Gurukul, listen. This verse explains the context of Gurukul. Gurukul means, the literal meaning of the Gurukul is, Guru’s home. Please understand. In the Hindu tradition family is the nucleus, you demolish any thousands of number of temples. You burn any thousands of numbers of scriptures, as long as the family system is alive, we will stand back. We will come back. Because, Sanatana Hindu Dharma values are transmitted, transferred through the family tradition. The gotra (family lineage)…I wanted to tell this to all you guys, as much as possible please live as large joined families. Either become a Sannyasi, be in the Gurukul, which is large joined family, of Gurukul. Or live as much as possible – it depends on your heart, how many people your heart can accommodate without judging. How many people your heart can take up without judging.
I tell you, wherever you live as a large joined family, large joined families, dharma is alive. Sanatana Hindu Dharma is alive. Because it is the large joined families where this values can again and again be practiced. Where each one of you will be guided, supported, to live this Vedic Sanatana Hindu Dharma values. I have experimented this large-sized joined family communities. Maybe in a few places I failed but, I am not a failure. I know for sure, I’ll again make it happen. I am very clear, I’ll make it happen. I just needed to work on more people and bring more completion. Each one of our Ashram, our Temple, each of our Sangha, I wanted it to be a large joined family. I’ll make this into reality in India first. In Indian villages I will make this into reality. West has gone too much away from the family concept.
Gurukul means Guru’s home. Guru’s family. Becoming part of the Guru’s family, please understand. Even if you want to become a Sannyasi you have to become a part of the Guru’s family who may be a Grihastha. Many great sadhus, monks, monastic members, Sannyasis, studied under Grihastas. My own Guru, when I became a part of my Gurukul, my Guru’s family, he had 14 kids. Please understand; 14 kids. The last one was my age. And I need to put this on record, at that time my Guru was above 80. At least because now only we are discovering his age. Very safely I can come to the conclusion he is above 80. When I joined his Gurukul I was three and a half years, three or three and a half years. Even when I requested him I want to become a Sannyasi, he said, ‘you will become a successful Sannyasi but be part of my family first’. The training I had. The exposure I had. To live with this family, taught me so much to run the sangha now. None of his kids will listen to him, but he had the patience to out up with everyone. None of his kids will listen to him but he had a patience to put up with everyone. That never giving up has come to me from my Guru. I may train, scream, shout, but I will never give up. That is from him. The gift – not compromising or getting diluted, neither breaking. He will never compromise or get diluted in his ideas and standards he sets. And same way will not give up.
I tell you, even if you are going to become great Sadhu, Sannyasi, you need to be in the Gurukul. Even the great Incarnations, Rama, Krishna, all of them studied in Gurukul. When I am talking about Rama and Krishna I just want to tell you guys, one of the best book I have read recently, the Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish. You may be surprised Me mentioning him. Understand. I am not saying he is factual, but he is, he, he can really add juice to the facts. And a real, real, fiction author. I very strongly recommend, promote, his recent book ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’, by Amish. It is based on Rama’s life, of course it’s a fiction, but, you will really enjoy it. I enjoyed. I enjoyed, I strongly recommend and request every one of you to read this book. Buy and read this book. And, I enjoyed it. I also recommend his other books, the Shiva Trilogy. Please understand I am not standing by the facts because there are many things which are not fact he is writing, but the book itself is all about fiction it is not, he is not claiming he is a historian or is presenting the facts as it is. The way he presented you will enjoy, even if it is fiction. Even if it is fiction you will enjoy. I have read I don’t know how many different Rama stories, maybe at least 100 different versions of Rama stories I have read. But this is something unique. And, the way he has portrayed Rama’s Gurukul experience; so beautiful.
When I am talking about Gurukul, I remembered how he is beautifully presenting. Very rare I will stop in the airport bookstores, because whenever I walk in the airport it’s almost like a parade only. I don’t know whether it is this dress or this rudraksha, whole attention from all corners it will be on me. So I will need to walk as quickly as possible and settle down in one corner. So I will never go and enter into any shops. This time I just picked up this book and I really enjoyed it. And I recommend, even for our Gurukul kids, you guys will enjoy it.
Whether incarnations like Rama or Krishna, all great Incarnations, have to go to Gurukul in Vedic tradition. You can’t say, ‘what, I am a great Incarnation why should I go to Gurukul?’ No. Even if you are consciously born, even if you are born with all the experiences and spiritual powers, you need to study the shastras (scriptures) to validate your experience. Especially when you want to reproduce that experience and powers on others. When you want to share, Gurukul is required. Gurukul is an important factor makes Incarnations complete. Otherwise you will never know the authenticity of your experiences. You will never be able to reproduce that same experience on others as a science. Gurukul is compulsory for anybody happens in Vedic tradition. And the context needed for the Gurukul is set in this verse.
Our Gurukuls are not teacher centric, our Gurukuls are education centric, please understand. Our Gurukuls are not teacher centric, our Gurukuls are education centric. Student can develop, invent something which his Guru doesn’t know. He has a freedom. Please understand, only the basic formulas are taught. Basic tools to awaken knowledge is taught. Then student is left free to explore on his own. The kind of a creativity, please understand. Gurukuls are not with the set of rules or frame, they only supported people to explore the highest possible creativity. Gurukuls are not like dams for your inspiration and energy. It is like an embankment for the wild river. Embankment is different, dam is different. With a dam you are damned. It’s embankment, not dam. That is why many of the Advaita Guru’s disciples were Visistadvaitas or Advaitis, or many of the Visistadvaiti Advaiti Guru’s disciples were Advaitis, means what? Only the basic analysis scales were given to you but you are left to feely analyse. You are given spoon not spoon-fed. You are not spoon-fed. You are only given spoon. The freedom, freedom itself shows, otherwise you will be shocked Ramanuja’s Guru was a great Advaiti. Being Advaiti, Ramanuja was even able to think in the language of Visishtādvaita shows the freedom available in the Gurukul. And same way there are many Advaitis studied at the feet of Dvaitis or Visistadvaitis.
Chaitanya is from school of Nyayaka, Nyaya Shastra, logic. But He is the greatest devotee ever happened on the planet earth. I can’t even say greatest devotee ever walked on the planet earth because he never walked, he was always jumping. Greatest devotee ever happened on the planet earth. He is from school of Nayyayiyka, school of logic from Mayapur. Mayapur was the greatest university for the thought trend of Nayyayayika, the thought current of Nayyayayika; logic. The thought current of logic. Nyaya, Vedanta and Vaisishika. Nyaya is one of the shad darshanas, Vaisishika is the furtherance of Nyaya. A person like Chaitanya could be produced from the school of Nyaya seems ‘Anyaya.’
But, Sanatana Hindu Dharma gives only the tools to explore, but it is not putting you any frames, any restrictions, dams. This whole verse, if you read the Shanti Mantra, it is education centric, not teacher centric. Unfortunately, in the modern day, because teachers have not taken the responsibility to be education centric, it has become more teacher centric. This whole verse if you read; “may we both together be protected.” See, teacher is also praying along with the student. Actually, it is because we are education centric, we were able to explore and reach the new new heights of seeking. New, new heights of seeking. That is where even the Ishta Devata concept has come. Guru encourages disciple to travel, discover, reinvent, invent their own paths, their own methodologies. He continues to encourage the disciples to explore on their own. Just being available as a good support, guide. Not being heavy on them. I can say, the uniqueness of our Gurukuls are freedom to explore, create, the constructive freedom they enjoyed. Even in our Gurukul, I initiate them into various powers, and let them explore. See when I had enlightenment at the age of 12, the third eye awakening has happened I was able to see all the 360 degree. I initiated the kids into that power and let them explore. Now they are coming up with too many new, new powers. They are able to download languages, they are doing many more things which I did not do.