Janam janam ko mein das tumharo
Karuna kar ab paar murare
Two lines from a bhajan I like. Loose translation: Lifetime upon lifetime I served you, please have compassion on me and help me cross this ocean. This is the only version I found on youtube of this song, the first time I heard it was at the ashram, just vocal without any musical instruments and slower beat, I didn’t know the meaning but I liked it instantly.
Anantha samsara samudhra thara
Naukayithabyam guru bhakthithabyam
Vairagya samrajyadha poojanabhyam
Namo nama sri guru padukabhyam
First sloka of Guru Paduka Stotram. Loose translation: Crossing of the endless ocean of samsara can be done with guru paduka as the boat, which gives devotion to guru, whose devotion provides dispassion, unattachment. Salutations to that guru paduka. Paduka means sandals, and the whole stotram is about salutation to the sandals of guru. Youtube here.
What’s with all this ocean crossing thing?
Life is like a big ocean, and we’re in the middle without a clue where land is. There is a general direction based on the sun, moon, and stars, yet we’re unsure which direction is leading to the shore. If we can try to move towards one direction consistently, we may find the shore one day. But it may take a long time, like the lyric above – lifetime upon lifetime.
If we’re consistent and sincere in our efforts, and open ourselves up to divine grace, the universe will arrange us to meet with someone who’s “been there done that”. He can guide us cross the ocean. He already crossed the ocean and landed on the shore, so he knows the way. Out of compassion he came back to the ocean to help us clueless souls to cross. Sometimes he’s called Guru. Sometimes he’s called the Saviour. Sometimes he’s called the Awakened One, the Buddha.
How do we know if we met this special being? How can we identify him? In my experience we just know. It’s beyond logic, beyond the intellectual mind. Can’t really be explained with words. It’s like being in love, the heart just knows. Like how the five ascetics that deserted Buddha just knew when they met him again:
Then, when they met the Buddha again in the Deer Park in Varanasi, the five thought at first, ‘We know what he’s like. Let’s just not bother about him.’ But as he came near, they all felt that there was something special about him. They stood up to make a place for him to sit down and he delivered his sermon on the Four Noble Truths. From http://www.buddhanet.net/
Image of sky, sea & boat from http://www.forwallpaper.com