The Guru Gita enlists the different types of Gurus or preceptors. The Karana Guru is close to the disciple’s heart. He leads the student’s mind to the sayings of the Vedas which teach that God and himself are one.
At a higher level is the Parama Guru or the supreme master. He relieves us of being born again into this great disease called existence. He is the greatest Guru who can remove all our doubts like uprooting a tree and who destroys all our fears of birth and death.
To arrive at such a Master happens only after the auspicious deeds of many lifetimes. Having attained such a Guru, the disciple does not come back again into the bondage of change.
In this way, O Parvati, there are many Gurus in this world, says Lord Shiva. Of these numerous Gurus, the most worshipful through all means is the Parama Guru.
Though following the Nishiddha Guru who advices others on destroying lives of enemies through chants and spells can seem exciting, the Guru Gita warns that such a disciple will not get a human body until Brahma Pralaya. Why is the human body necessary? It is only in this form that one can realise the truth of the self that removes us from the whirlpool of change and suffering. Pralaya of an individual happens every day with sleep. It happens once in a lifetime at death. Brahma Pralaya is the dissolution of the whole creation and it happens at the end of two lakh divine years. One year of humans is one day for the divine beings. So 365 human years make one divine year and you can very well calculate what it means to be living without a human body for two lakh times 365 years!
The whole idea of giving such a long calculation is to denote the endlessness of suffering and highlight the importance of doing the right thing quickly to realise the truth.
Having heard the words of Lord Shiva, Parvati gets another doubt as she is distressed over the suffering that people will undergo if they do not conform to the path of truth. Says Parvati, “O Mahadeva, I have something to ask you. Having listened to what I have said now, my mind has become thoroughly disturbed.” She wants to know the fate of those who have approached the Nishiddha Guru who teaches the wrong things, on account of their own delusion, due to fate or ignorance, but have some dispassion out of their own good actions in the past.
This universe at no point of time becomes a hopeless place. There is always an opportunity for the one who wants to change to the better.
Parvati awaits to see what Lord Shiva’s answer will be.