Spirituality and Laughter!

guru purnima

Spirituality is not a serious business, after all. A preacher who is able to pepper his discourses with humour and anecdotes is placed well to deliver the message effectively. Guru Gopal Gaur, Guru Sarvapriyananda, Sukhabodhananda etc have set a new trend in delivering their lessons through laughter
On this day of Guru Purnima, I am reminded of an incident that happened with the Adi Guru Shankarachary, also referred to as ‘Jagadguru.’

Once, when Adi Shankaracharya was passing through a dense forest, it is believed that an elephant came charging at him. To save himself, Shankara too started running. Seeing this from a distance, a disciple burst into laughter and started mocking the Guru. ‘Why are you running, Guru ji; according to you, the elephant is an illusion’, questioned the shishya. The disciple was alluding to Shankara’s famous precept, ‘Brahmn satyam, jagat mithya’ — The Supreme being is the only truth; the world is merely an illusion. Not to be outdone, Shankara replied in an equally jocular manner, ‘Mam palayanopi mithya!’ — My escaping, too, is an illusion!

On a serious note, between Guru and God, who is higher, is an oft-repeated question.

Guru aur Govind dono khade, kisko laagu paay,
Balihari Gurudevaki jinhe Govind diyo bataay.
(The Guru and Govind, both are present before me, whom should I bow down first? Glory to the Guru since he showed me Govind.)

Alexander the Great was once questioned, “Who, in your view is higher, your father or your teacher?” To this, he replied, “My teacher, because, while my father brought me from heaven to earth, it is my teacher who would take me from earth to heaven.”

But, getting back to the subject of lessons through laughter, I am reminded of St. Thomas More’s prayer for good humor:

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.




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