04.34 – Tap HIS grace by Humbleness, Inquisitiveness and Service-mindedness
The coach is often the most important shaper of an athlete’s success; the systematic and sympathetic guidance of a coach is indispensable for an aspiring athlete.
When we start practicing spiritual life, we become spiritual athletes. Like material athletes, we too need a coach. The spiritual coach, known usually as the guru, is all the more essential on the spiritual path because the journey is mostly internal and the terrain not easily perceivable. The guru, the Bhagavad-gita (4.34) states, is the seer of truth (tattva-darshi); due to having made the journey and linked with Krishna’s supreme vision, the guru can clearly show us what we can barely see.
To ensure that the guru becomes an effective channel of Krishna’s vision, we need to center our relationship with him on this Gita verse’s three-point guideline. This guideline can be represented by the acronym HIS (Humbleness, Inquisitiveness, Service-mindedness):
- Humbleness (pranipatena): As we can’t discern the internal landscape, we need indispensably an attitude of humbleness: “I don’t know the way; you do. Please be my guide”.
- Inquisitiveness (pariprashnena): This injunction of the Gita indicates that it calls not for blind faith in the name of humbleness, but for a development of our capacity for spiritual perception. By this perception, we start seeing for ourselves what the guru is seeing.
- Service-mindedness (sevaya): The destination of our spiritual journey is the realization that loving service to Krishna is our only source of lasting fulfillment. We progress towards that realization by serving Krishna as per the guru’s instructions.
Thus, HIS grace works in three progressive steps: humbleness enables the guru to show us the way, inquisitiveness enables us to start seeing the way ourselves and service-mindedness enables us to move along the way.