Guru Bhakti & Paduka Pooja
The swami would be lost in divine fervour at the mere mention of the name of Acharya Sankara and his own guru. He would himself recite with deep emotion the line of Guru Parampara sloka, whenever the disciples were slow in catching up with it. Swami always used to recall his days with his guru, in a voice choked with reverence, piety and great emotion. Guru Bhakti arises out of the psychic communion existing between the disciple and the guru in the disciple's heart. The guru is the spiritual father. In the words of Swami, "A true disciple has no sadhana to perform. He has only to surrender himself completely to his guru". Nothing could be nobler than the guru's willingness to take over the disciple. The inmates and other disciples of Swami Gnanananda cherish with the very word of "Guru bhakti" as they have been totally made to understand the importance of the same by Swami in very many occasions. Swami believed in the spontaneity of surrender, the totality, the absoluteness of it. Time and again, swami has reiterated that we can attain realisation only through the guidance and blessings of the guru. In the words of Swami, "When the disciple is ready, the guru will automatically appear on the scene. Only those who are not yet worthy, spend their time running after gurus". Guru is verily the Divine in human form. Guru Bhakti would help us to do service with humility, destroy our ego and prove to be a constant source of inner strength. There is nothing in this world which cannot be attained with the "anugraha" or favour of the guru. The relationship between a guru and the disciple has been hailed as something without a parallel, as being entirely on a supra-human plane. The union between the guru and the disciple lefts us to "the plane of original non-duality".

Swami introduced the "Guru Paduka Pooja", a traditional form of worship at the ashram to develop guru bhakti and "seva bhava" in the devotees. To Swami, padukas by themselves were only symbolic representation of the guru within. The swami was always totally absorbed at the time of the worship of Guru padukas. The profound adoration, piety and reverence the Swami used to show during the "Guru Paduka Pooja" was a supreme experience to witness. Swami's involvement in very many aspects of conduct of "Paduka Pooja" from start to end, only displays by precept and practice, how important is was to concentrate, to be totally absorbed in the thought of guru.

"Guru Paduka Pooja" thus occupied the pride of place in Thapovanam and continues so till date. Almost, no day is passed without performance of "pada pooja" by devotees at Thapovanam. One can rejoice it only when one participates with absolute thought of guru in a devotional frame of mind, participating in the hymns being sung in praise of "guru bhakti" and "guru pooja".

Copyright : G.Thapovanam Sri Gnanananda Trust, Gnanananda Thapovanam, Tirukovilur an eParampara design