“The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as the cloud pours water on the forest fire to extinguish it, so the spiritual master extinguishes the blazing fire of material existence. I offer my respectful obeisance unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master.” ……… Śrī Gurvaṣṭakam, Verse 1
The invocation was composed by Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura, who appeared in the middle of the seventeenth century, is a great spiritual master in the Krishna consciousness chain of gurus and disciples. He says, “One who, with great care and alteration, loudly recites this beautiful prayer to the spiritual master during the Brahma-muhurta obtains direct service to Krishna, the Lord of Brindavan, at the time of his death.”
What is the meaning of this saying? As many of you may know the ‘Brahma-muhurta’ is the auspicious time, about two hours before sun rise, when there is a harmonious balance of energies both in the biosphere and in the hormonal energies in the body and it is deemed to be the best time for meditation and pranayama (controlled breathing).
The spiritual master does not refer to any third person but to our own true inner nature, beyond all the Viritis (modifications) that alter our Divine nature. We may be taught by the best of Gurus but if there is no self involvement all external knowledge would be a waste.
As Meister Eckhart, the great German Christian mystic says “A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”
The invocation is the eradication of these coverings. This is the benediction that we receive from the very same Divine consciousness with which we are trying to merge. We can call it by any name Divine consciousness, Krishna consciousness or Christ consciousness etc,
In Matsya Purana, it states that Vishnu disappeared, and for a hundred years there was a terrible drought on earth. These hundred years signifies the life of a person in this world and Vishnu being the symbolism of the Divine Consciousness, his disappearance denotes the material nature in which we live with total absence of spiritual aspiration. The drought led to famine and people died of starvation, symbolizing spiritual death. Meanwhile, the sun blazed in fury and burnt up the entire world. This is the true representation of how we experience the blazing heat of ever-present vacuum in happiness when we live to derive happiness form creatures and created material entities. The Purana then goes on to explain the gathering of seven clouds which extinguishes through rain the total material nature. (in this paragraph, the words in italics are from the Purana)
The rain that extinguishes the forest fire is the Vidya or knowledge of our true nature by which we are saved.
This is the reason Krishna says:
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes, and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” …………… Bhagavad-Gita 7:19
As the sun starts it journey every dawn, this prayer contemplated for its deep meaning and recited within our heart, may begin our day’s journey with a desire to move closer to the higher consciousness to which we are always called.
Love to you all