Sadhana for Week 42

Speech Level: Guru-Paduka Stotram

Chant Guru Paduka Stotram & 108 names of Gurudev offering flowers to the Paduka.


Faith and devotion to the Guru are necessary to ease the student’s path and level down the slopes en route his pilgrimage.


The true devotee is advised to surrender at the feet of the Lord through prayer so that the nobler and the diviner in him, which is lying dormant now, may come to manifest.


Peacefully live in cheerful joy at His Feet in devoted surrender.

That is spirituality at its best.



Swamini Nishthananda had reservations about doing a pada pooja, worship of the Guru’s feet. She had not performed a single one for Poojya Gurudev for the past ten years.

During the last year of Poojya Gurudev’s life she was sitting in satsang with Him in His kutiya during a camp. Poojya Gurudev said to tell the people in charge of video shooting and those in charge of the kitchen that the lecture will start at 6.00 pm instead of 6.30 pm. One of the devotees asked if this is to be followed from tomorrow.

Poojya Gurudev replied, “No. Now! Then he added in Sanskrit, “Any auspicious resolve must be carried out immediately.”

Upon hearing the Sanskrit phrase Swamini Nishthananda was convinced she must perform a pada pooja to actualize a thought she had been harbouring in her mind for a while now. She knew it would be very unlikely that a vacant slot for biksha would be available (a pada pooja was generally followed by a bhiksha) but she still asked the organizers. To her pleasant surprise the very next day was an empty slot. She immediately confirmed and made arrangements for the same.

Her friend announced this to the entire gathering. Poojya Gurudev asked, “Why did she do a puja ten years ago?” Swamini Nishtananda corrected and said, “Gurudev, I’ve never done one. I am doing a pada puja for the very first time now!”

“Yes,” said, Poojya Gurudev, “ten years ago she was a most extroverted young girl (she had been 58 then)!”

At the Pada Puja Poojya Gurudev was was in very deep meditation. The whole atmosphere was charged with high spiritual vibrations.

In retrospect, Swamini Nishthananda recalls, “He knew I was blocking myself from a great experience, that of worshipping His Holy Feet, because of false notions. He made the thought come up in me that I must perform the puja. He made me bow down so that he could bless me. There never would have been another opportunity. He made the “most extroverted” part of me bend. Such was His Compassion. He gave without reservations, without counting the fitness of the person. Like sunlight and rain, He showered His grace on all.”


Why worship the Guru’s Padukas? What are its benefits?

Once a devotee asked Poojya Gurudev the significance of paduka pooja. This is what he said:

Just as a Shiva-linga represents Shiva and a shaligram represents Vishu; in the same way, the feet of the teacher represent to the students, not the feet, but the underlying concept. What we are invoking is Brahman, the Lord. But we cannot go directly to Him. We want a symbol. At this time, there is no symbol more sacred than the feet of a teacher/Padukas of the teacher.

When we worship the Padukas of our Guru, we worship the Supreme Truth or Self-Knowledge. This Truth is in our own hearts as Consciousness, which is All-Pervasive, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient Reality, which we also call as Ishwara. Even though we are yet to realize the Truth, by worshipping the Padukas we pray that we may wake up and awaken others.

Listen to the audio of Swami Chinmayananda on why worship the padukas - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNIrNTeDkSw

Why should we touch the feet of the Master or elders? Watch a youtube video of Swami Chinmayananda - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utWmfN8oGw0

1.    Symbol of Truth or Self Knowledge

One Paduka represents the Truth or Self-Knowledge in which the Master / Guru is established, which lies dormant in our hearts and to which we have to awaken. The other Paduka is the symbol of awakening other people. Just as a lit candle, lights up other candles, the Master too has realized the Truth and His life is spent in awakening others.

I worship the two Feet of the Guru, endowed with the effulgence of Siva and Sakti, marked by the white and red colors – Feet that denote the Supreme and are beyond the reach of speech, mind and the senses.

-       Guru Gita, 1.90

2.    Padukas & Humility

To attain Self- Knowledge, humility is required. In the 13th chapter on the Bhagavat Geeta, Sri Krishna says:

Amaanitvam Adambhitva2m Ahimsa Kshantihi Aarjavam

Amaanitvam means humility. Worship of the Padukas represents humility. When we touch the feet of elders or the Guru, or when we worship the Padukas, we bow down the highest part of our body (head) towards the lowest part (feet).

The head is the ego and so by worshipping the Padukas we surrender. When a person becomes humble the person becomes very open, is ready to receive knowledge, does not have pre-conceived notions, is not arrogant about money, power, pleasure, body, beauty, fame; none of these. Such a person comes to know the Truth, is ready to do what it takes to know the Truth.

In this way, the Padukas show the goal as well as the path, which is through humility. When we worship the Padukas everyday, we surrender the ego. Every time we say Namaha, Namaha, Nanaha with each name of the Sadguru, we surrender because namaha means na mama or not mine.

The shoes of a Vedantic Master should always be kept shining, then when the student prostrates, what will he see there? Himself! By prostrating what goes out of us is our ego! -       Swami Chinmayananada

3.    Padukas and Gratitude

When a puja is done, it is an expression of gratitude. We are grateful to the Lord that we have so many blessings in our lives. When gratitude comes into our life, our life becomes more fulfilled. Without gratitude, even if we have everything, life still looks empty and we keep complaining, cribbing and victimizing ourselves. With gratitude, even if we have nothing there is completeness.

The fact that a Satguru has come into our lives is a sign of the Grace of the Lord in our lives, as is the fact that we are able to study, understand and share that knowledge with others. When we do the puja we express that gratitude.

It is the Uncaused and Infinite Compassion of the Satgurus, which makes them leave the quiet moments of Nirvikapla Samadhi, a life of seclusion and solitude and come to live amidst us and guide us to the Truth patiently. No matter what we do for such Masters, it is always less because everyone in the world makes a finite into a better finite entity. A Master makes the finite discover Infinity within. 

Whenever a child or anyone played the role of Swami Tapovanam, Adi Shankara or Sri Krishna, Poojya Gurudev would touch their feet because they are instrumental in invoking the bhaav of surrender in Poojya Gurudev and so he would express His Gratitude.

4.    Padukas & Hard Hittings

The world pampers our individuality and encourages us to think more and more about this individuality. It is only at the feet of the master that we realize, “I am not this.” All the pride just goes away. The master delivers this message with love and understanding, but it also hits hard.

5.    Padukas – Protection, Destruction, Realization

In the etymological meaning of the word Paduka, “Pa” means paati, to protect. The Grace of the Guru always protects the disciple, whether the disciple knows and acknowledges it or not. The moment one comes under the umbrella of a Satguru, of a Master who has known the Truth, the grace of that Master always protects us. It is not that the Grace doesn’t protect other people. Poojya Gurudev said that grace is like sunlight. Sunlight is always available. But when I surrender, I open the window and allow the light to come in. Others keep their windows closed and complain that it is dark.

For a spiritual student, Grace is very important because there are lots of weaknesses that we have, which we cannot overcome by our effort. We may try very hard – anger, lust, jealousy, passion, insecurity, the very sense of identification with the body – all these are very difficult to overcome. Merely by self-effort it is not possible. Grace is necessary to overcome these. The more a student invokes the Grace, the more the Grace protects the student. Not just the student, but also his family, the people around, the whole environment gets purified. 

Not only do the Padukas protect, but the Guru-Padukas promise that they will establish the seeker in the kingdom of Dispassion and Detachment. Poojya Gurudev advised the Seekers about Tapovanji Maharaj – “Keep Him in your heart and let him purify you. His Grace is sure and unfailing.”

“Du” means Dunoti, it burns away. When the worship of the padukas is done regularly as one’s sadhana, the devotion that grows in one’s heart will burn away all the negative tendencies and limitations. In the fire of Self Knowledge, all the ignorance is burnt away and karmas of many lives also gets destroyed.

Kaa” means Kaashate – to shine. A person shines in one’s own true glory when all the negativities are gone. The Self within reveals itself and one gets established in one’s true nature. The Guru Paduka Stotram says that the Padukas establish a person in the state of Samadhi – the Self.

Read a blog on the Glory of Gurupadukas  - Sandals’ Splendour - http://notesnmusings.blogspot.in/2015/08/sandals-splendor.html


Why chant Guru Paduka Stotram?

Guru Paduka Stotram is a very powerful chant that glorifies the ‘sandals of the Guru’, which are symbolically represented as ‘the boat to help cross the endless ocean of life.’ This chant will enable those who listen, to become receptive to the Guru’s Grace.


Why chant 108 names of Poojya Gurudev?

It is said in the Bhagavatam in Kali Yug just by saying the name of the Lord one can cross the ocean of Samara. The Guru is none other than the Lord in another form.

Naman means 'Salutations'. 'Chinmaya', the name of Poojya Gurudev, means the intelligent, sentient principle, underlying the entire Creation.

When we bow down and do Naman we offer our reverence, our identification with the altar of worship. We show our respect to knowledge and to the one who has it and gives it freely. When we thus worship the Guru, our purity and sanctity increases.

In the early 80’s, there was a yajna at Lucknow by Pujya Gurudev. All the devotees wished to perform a ‘Paduka Puja’ of Pujya Gurudev and wanted a Namavali for this purpose. There was no ready one. It was then that a namavali in the Sanskrit alphabetical order was prepared by Poojya Guruji Swami Tejomayannadaji and Swami Shantanandaji. The names revolve around different facets of Gurudev’s striking personality. Some names are pointers to his Absolute Nature. For example,

Om Avyayaya Namah : Salutations to the Imperishable One.
Om Achintyaya Namah : Salutations to the Incomprehensible One.
Om Antahsakshine Namah : Salutations to the Witness of the inner thoughts.

Some other names reveal the human side of this great sage, e. g:

Om Prasannatmane Namah : Salutations to the One who is ever cheerful.
Om Madhursvabhavaya Namah : Salutations to the One who has a sweet disposition.
Om Suhrude Namah : Salutations to the One who is the well – wisher of all.

There are still some other names that throw light on his work and accomplishments like,

Om Geeta Jnana Yajna Pracharakaya Namah: Salutations to the apostle of Geeta Jnana Yajna.
Om Granthakrute Namah : Salutations to the One who has authored spiritual books.
Om Dharmasansthapakaya Namah : Salutations to the One who re – established Dharma.

Again, a name like Bhaarata – Gauravaaya Namah shows how he was a glory to our country.

The most moving name is Sarva – Hita – Chintakaaya Namah, which means ‘one who wishes well to all (and works hard for the welfare of all)’. He truly served all – children and adults, Indians and foreigners, the learned and the illiterate. He nourished all those he met, with his wisdom and compassion. He taught the message of service. He wanted us to know the great message and spread it also.

Talks on Guru Paduka Stotram can be heard at - https://youtu.be/GcXlZxNU6EM

A Presentation on Gurupaduka stotram can be seen at - http://www.swatmananda.com/#!e-books/c3dw


How to?

1.    Every morning after a bath at your altar, light the lamp in front of the picture of Poojya Gurudev.

2.    Place the padukas of Poojya Gurudev in front of you. If you do not have the actual padukas worn by Him use any padukas and keep them specifically for doing the paduka pooja.

3.    Observe the picture carefully for a minute or two. 

4.    Sit still and breathe deeply 5 times so that body is relaxed and mind is quiet. 

5.    Close your eyes. Visualize a circle of white light in the space between the two eye brows or in the heart.  Invoke the form of the Satguru/Lord. 

6.    Mentally bow down and touch the padukas with devotion in your heart as if you are touching His feet.  

7.    Chant the Guru Paduka Stotram.  If you have not memorized it, chant seeing a book/printout or listen to the audio of Guru Paduka Stotram here - http://www.pravachanam.com/content/04-gurupaduka-stotram-swami-brahmananda

8.    Sit quietly for a minute.

9.    Chant 108 names of Poojya Gurudev offering flowers to the Paduka. While chanting the name take a flower, touch it to your heart and then when the name has been chanted offer the flowers to the padukas in front of you. Offer it after chanting every name. Thus you will be offering the flowers 108 times. If flowers are not available, then imagine the flowers are in your hand and continue to offer as above. The flowers are not important, your bhaav is.

10. Listen to the 108 names here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qBY0NPD3MQ

11. Pray for the Grace of Poojya Gurudev to be always with you.  

12. Sit quietly for a minute or more.

13. Prostrate to the Padukas.

14. Pray for the well being of everyone.

15. Rub your palms, place them on the face and gently open your eyes.


Beginners and Advanced:


Do are advised above.

Advanced seeker:

1.    Do as advised above.

2.    In trying times when one is overwhelmed and doesn’t know what to do or when there is a temptation or negative vibrations, etc, remember the Guru at such a time. With your entire being in complete surrender and sincerity call out His name and one will get the answer to the problem or the strength to overcome and ward off the temptation. Individually if one tries to fight against one’s weakness, our mind is so weak and fickle that it will fail. But if one remembers and calls out to the Guru in surrender, with His Grace, one will be protected.

3.    When one is confused and doesn’t know if the action one will be taking is right or not then yourself ask one simple question: “When I do this action, can I look at my Guru in the eyes? Will I be ashamed of myself if I do this and go in front of my Guru?” If the answer is yes, one has to stop and not pursue that action.

4.    Find out the meaning of each of His 108 names. Reflect on the meaning behind 5 names daily. When we understand, and reflect daily on the values that Poojya Gurudev lived, we are able to identify with them. Slowly over a period of time we are able to imbibe them easily and they become our character.

Blessed are we that we were found by a Satguru like Poojya Gurudev and taken under His wings. Many lives of Punya must have fructified for this to happen. We pray that may our devotion to his Lotus Feet ever increase in our hearts and lead us to the “Chinmaya” within.

Wherever you want me,

Just close your eyes

And look into your heart,

And I will be there.

-       Swami Chinmayananada