Gurus - Lead Kindly Light
by Chitra Jha
A Teacher at HeartSirshree has systematised spiritual inquiry. excerpts from an interview
Are you happy with the way TGF has grown? What are your future plans?
I am and was happy, and the
It’s not often that you come across a spiritual organisation that has ISO 9001:2000 certification. Or that claims to have found the missing link in spiritual inquiry. Intrigued? Rightly so, for this relatively new organisation is attracting thousands of aspirants and is growing at a spanking rate.
Founded by former university professor, Tejguru Sirshree Tejparkhi, and headquartered at the city of Pune, Tej Gyan Foundation (TGF) has recently opened a 25-acre ashram outside Pune. It has issued more than 80 books, audio-cassettes and other tools in English, Hindi and Marathi; and has centres in every city in Maharashtra including Mumbai, as well as in Delhi, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Raipur and Chennai. TGF operates centres in Malaysia, United States and Australia too. It conducts various spiritual and self-development programmes through a strong team of experienced trainers and over 5000 volunteers. Its flagship programme is called Maha Aasmani Retreat and is conducted by Sirshree himself.
Sirshree’s spiritual quest began about 30 years ago, leading him to various schools of thoughts and teachings, each of which left him dissatisfied, feeling that a link was missing. Eventually his quest consumed his time entirely, and he relinquished his college teaching job. He undertook a long period of contemplation on the mystery of life until his search ended with enlightenment on August 15, 1997.
He realised that lack of understanding was the missing link in all paths leading to truth. What he means by that as far as it is possible to tell is that most truths are compressed and ambiguous, an inevitable offshoot of their paradoxical nature. For instance, he says, that most wisdom traditions or teachers either say that one is nothing or one is everything. However, the complete truth or tejgyan (the missing link) to use his terminology, is “You are nothing, with the possibility of becoming everything.”
In the same vein he goes on to expand on many traditional assertions, such as the statement: “The purpose of spiritual quest is self-realisation....to experience the Self / God.” He reworks it thus: “Self-realisation is just the beginning. A true master will not just give you a glimpse. Self-stabilisation...being permanently in yourself is what a true master will give you. Again self-stabilisation is not the end. It is then that the true purpose for which your body came to this earth is justified. Self-expression begins and then there is no end.”
To impart complete understanding, therefore, is his mission along with facilitating the creation of a highly evolved society.
He says, “All paths that lead to truth begin differently, but end in the same way, with understanding. Understanding is the whole thing. This understanding is complete in itself. Listening to this understanding is enough.”
The ‘tej’ way
To distinguish the understanding he has to offer from those that others do, he affixes the term ‘tej’, bright. According to him it signifies beyond duality. For example, there is happiness, and there is unhappiness. Tej happiness (tejanand) is bliss beyond happiness and unhappiness. Similarly, there is ignorance, and there is knowledge. Tej knowledge (tejgyan) is the wisdom beyond both ignorance and knowledge. The name of the foundation, Tej Gyan, originates from this ‘knowlerience’ (a new word coined by Sirshree to speak of both the highest knowledge and its experience).
Sirshree’s disciples lovingly named him Tejparkhi – a living maestro, whose clarity and commitment is shared through the work of TGF.
In keeping with his commitment to give complete understanding, he created a ‘System for Wisdom’ in 1998. Answers are graded according to the seeker’s level. For instance, at Level 1, the answer to the question “Is it essential to achieve success in life?” is “Yes! Attaining success is essential.” This is in order to inspire the seeker to go beyond laziness. At the next level the answer is, “Success is only a beginning. It is merely the means and not the end. Achieve success and start building on it. Success is only the foundation. The palace is yet to be realised on this foundation. Treat success as a beginning and not the destination.” At the third level comes the answer, “Success is converting every negativity and every thought into the thought of Truth.” At the fourth level, the answer is, “Be quiet. Sit in peace. Success for you lies in remaining in silence.”
Clearly Sirshree has used his years as a college professor to create a curriculum for different classes in enlightenment. A novel and refreshing scheme that may well put an end to the confusion seekers flay around in, until they perceive the truth.
Understanding is all
Sirshree lays emphasis on listening as the sole effortless effort needed in understanding the truth. And understanding, in his scheme of things, is all. He says, “By listening, one understands. The moment one understands, actions automatically begin. In fact, listening, understanding, and action occur at the same time. With understanding there is a change in action. With change in action, we are liberated from the bondage of karma.”
His summation of the truth is short and succinct, consisting of five points.
• Only God exists. Ascertain, investigate, verify, whether you exist or not.
• Everything is just a game of beliefs. Understanding is the whole thing.
• The purpose of life on earth is to make the mind unshakable, pure, and loving.
• There is a reason to be always happy. It is possible to be always happy.
• Guru, God, Grace, and you are one.
Last month, I went to TGF’s MaNaN Ashram outside Pune, designed to be its headquarters; it is spread over 25 acres of land, amidst the pristine beauty of nature. There were over a thousand seekers, 80 per cent of who were in their 20s or early 30s. The diversity was mind-boggling. Peasants, software engineers, 70-year-old women and hip teenagers, were all listening to Sirshree under the same roof, and connecting with each other and the guru, through a common thread of understanding and experiencing the truth. Sirshree likes to use simple stories, jokes, and anecdotes to impart the highest knowledge making the quest downright enjoyable. I spoke to a few tejsevaks (volunteers), and satyacharyas (teachers of truth) and here is what they say.
Dr Sunita Sabnani is the editor of English books for TGF. She says, “Since childhood I had felt that this world was hopeless and life was meaningless. After completing my medical studies, I went through a long period of depression. I felt a vacuum inside me as well as turmoil regarding what to do with my career and my life. That is when I was exposed to TGF and Sirshree. Gradually, Sirshree’s simple but highest wisdom permeated my life. I started believing that everything is going to be fine with this world and my life. I have started smiling and laughing again. I have understood who I am actually and what the meaning of life is. My life has become a celebration of self-expression. I have settled down to doing what I love the most, writing.” Pramod works for an IT company. He says, “Ever since I came in touch with Sirshree, I have found answers to all my questions. My level of consciousness has grown. Now my life is full of everything – money, fulfilling relations, knowledge, great experiences, and above all, a broad outlook on life. Tejgyan has given me knowledge, not just of this world, but the world beyond death as well. I have overcome the fear of death, and have a crystal-clear understanding about the mysteries of life.”
Girish Wadhwani works for an orphanage along with his wife. He has been associated with TGF for the past 10 years. He says, “When I attended TGF’s family retreat, my relationship with my family was at an all-time low, and I even contemplated suicide. Today, I love the very same people I used to hate. I have found answers to the questions: “Who am I?”,“What is the purpose of my life?” Not just my external world, but my inner world has also changed. I live in bliss, day in and day out.”
Corporate trainer Nitin Ahir speaks with an unusual calm, “I blew up at small things, such as traffic snarls, erratic mobile network, computer breakdown, garbage dumps across the city, potholed roads, and power cuts. Life was full of stressful moments. There was no stability, only struggle.
I felt that there was no hope. At that time, Sirshree came to my rescue.
He made me realise that stability could not be found in an unstable world. Stability does not come when the world is stable. It comes when the mind is stable.”
People belonging to different faiths come to TGF and get a clear understanding about their own religion. Maulaso Nadaf, an Islamic teacher, said, “I was born in a Muslim family, yet it was in TGF that I understood what Kabir’s love and wisdom was all about.”
Police officer Sonkade Babusha, has a practical approach. He said, “If eight hours are spent catching a thief, the entire ire is vented upon him once he is caught. From now on, I will choose the right response in the face of such provocation. I will respond while remaining in the present moment. This is the understanding I have received from TGF.”
The ‘shift’ was evident everywhere, in people’s thoughts, words, and actions. It seemed as though the highly evolved society Sirshree aspires to create already exists right there in the MaNaN ashram.
is the source, from which, the polarities of happiness and unhappiness emanate
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