Recently in a satsang at the Art Of Living International Ashram in Bangalore, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji said, “Power is poison for the one who uses it for personal gain.” Spiritual guidance is so important for all, but more so for people who are entrusted with power. When one expands his/her awareness and sees life from a broader perspective, dispassion naturally arises and power can be used constructively to serve society.
The Spiritual Guru takes on the great responsibility of guiding the disciple on the path of spiritual progress. The disciple sincerely follows the instructions of the Guru, with the faith that it is for his ultimate spiritual benefit. This beautiful story of the great Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj and his Spiritual Guru Ramdas Swami captures the essence of Guru-Disciple relationship.
One day Shivaji saw Samartha Guru Ramdas begging on the streets with a begging bowl. Shivaji was surprised and could not understand why his beloved Guru should beg when he himself had placed all his resources at the disposal of his Guru. Shivaji then called for his companion Balaji, wrote a small chit and asked him to give it to Guru Ramdas. Balaji took the chit to Guru Ramdas and placed it at his feet. The chit conveyed that Shivaji had made a gift of his whole kingdom to Guru Ramdas and he humbly solicited his Gurudev’s blessing.
The Guru smiled and told Balaji that it was alright.Next morning Guru Ramdas called on Shivaji and asked him what he proposed to do with himself as he had disposed of his kingdom. Shivaji prostrated himself before his Guru and said that he would be very happy and consider himself blessed if he should spend his life in his Gurudev’s service. Then Guru Ramdas said, “Take this begging bowl and let us go on our rounds.” So Ramdas and Shivaji went round Satara begging. The people reverently bowed before the pair and gave them alms.
When the pair returned, Shivaji smiled and asked his Guru, what he was going to do with him after reducing him to a beggar. Guru Ramdas smiled and told Shivaji to rule the kingdom in his Guru’s name, and to think that the kingdom did not belong to him, but treat it as a trust to be ruled justly and well before God. Shivaji promptly placed the sandals of his Guru on the throne, and since then, acted as regent of the kingdom and successfully ruled the kingdom with dispassion, under the orders and guidance of his Guru.
Seva or selfless service is a great opportunity for one’s spiritual growth. The Art of Living has launched “Volunteer For a Better India”. It is a great forum for all of us from different walks of life who care for society, to get together in seva and give back to society under the guidance of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji.