Twelve Gates Foundation President Offers Brief Remarks at the Guru Festival
On October 4, 2022, Dr. Frank Kaufmann, President of the Twelve Gates Foundation, offered brief remarks at the Guru Festival.
The Guru Festival, 4th Annual Celebration and Birthday Satsang, celebrated Guru Dileepji’s birthday. Guru Dileepji is the Global Chairman of the World Yoga Community, and NGO Affiliated with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Watch the video here:
Guruji: Now I’d like to invite Frank Kaufmann.
Frank Kaufmann: Thank you very much, Guruji. Happy Birthday.
We’re glad you were born. We offer praise and gratitude to your mother and father. To your mother for carrying you and bringing you into the world, and for your lineage, both your genetic lineage and your spiritual lineage that has brought you here to the world in an important time, a time of great need.
So this is your birthday. We wish you happy birthday and this is Guru Festival Dday, iin honor of the reality of what the guru is in the world, in history, and for us. I have just a word or two, if I may. On this occasion, I want to look at the idea of guru, and what the guru is What I want to reflect on is not a comment to anyone in the room, but rather a reflection on the seriousness of our time. The reality of guru is fading out of this world because we’ve entered into an information age and people mistake information for knowledge, and mistake knowledge for wisdom. With this the meaning of guru also is sliding down into all kinds of various thoughts. For some, the word guru is simply a welcome sound because Indian names are hard to remember and hard to pronounce. So we can say Guru Ji and that solves it for us. It’s kind of a great word. It’s like a first name or a nickname, but it’s honored and honorific at the same time, so that helps us there too. That’s hardly what a guru is, something to help us with names we can’t remember or pronounce. The problem with the dissolution or fading from contemporary reality, the reality of what the guru is, is because a guru is the beginning of properly guiding all human relations. We are tied together and we need to know how to be tied together. The first way we know how to do that properly is in the guru-disciple relationship. Everyone now is charting their own way. They have Google, they have Wikipedia. They think “If I want to read the words of a guru, I’ll just go find some. I’ll go read some. I’ll invent my own way. And this will be my spirituality.” This reality may be some part of our destiny. But the most important part of life is lost if we ever come to believe that our phone can replace our Guru.
Here are two thoughts on what is a guru? Here’s a poem of dedication from Airatmaninrav:
Yes Dada! I realize I am nothing but I live in ignorance.
I need Thy grace.
I need God’s Grace to be liberated from this ignorance.
Without you my Guru, what would I be?
Continue to lead me,
my dear Master to the one reality.
Continue to guide me.
Continue to bless me.
I need you. I can’t do without you.
I Love you.
Who is living in a relationship like that? Who dares in this day and age to describe themselves as nothing but ignorance. Until we can do that, we don’t even know that we need a guru. We think all we need is our phones.
Sri Chinmoy wrote this,
Guru and Disciple
What is a Guru?
A Guru is he who devours
The ignorance-sea of his disciple.
What is a disciple?
A disciple is he who swims
In the wisdom-sea of his Guru.
What is a Guru?
A Guru is he who finds himself
In the soul of his disciple.
What is a disciple?
A disciple is he who loses himself
In the heart of his Guru
I wanted to ponder this in addition to the joys we’re sharing. Knowing you is a joy, and birthdays are a joy. But what is also needed now is people with the courage to be gurus. It takes courage. It’s being lost and people willing to stand there in other than artificial ways are declining. Also people with the willingness to know myself as ignorance and to be in desperate need of someone into whose hands I put myself are declining. “I need you. You guide me. I love you.”
This relationship is the cornerstone of how we do everything in the world. So I’m glad that you have called your birthday Guru Festival Day. I pray that the reality of guru will reenter into this world that is breaking down into individuals charting their own self designed spiritual path. Part of this okay. But we cannot live without our guru.
Thank you very much for a chance to offer some thoughts and to wish you a happy birthday on this day Guruji.
Guruji: Thank you, Dr. Frank Kaufmann. You brought the meaning. Because I thought I’ll talk about the guru, then I said no, let people talk, that is better. Because when I explain that it will become a preaching, this became like a sharing, it was collective. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, wonderful.
Frank Kaufmann: Thank you, Guruji.