Our creation is that guru (Brahma-the force of creation); the duration of our lives is that guru (Vishnu-the force of preservation); our trials, tribulations, illnesses, calamities and the death of the body is that guru (devo Maheshwara-the force of destruction or transformation). There is a guru nearby (Guru Sakshat) and a guru that is beyond the beyond (param Brahma). I make my offering (tasmai) to the beautiful (shri) remover of my darkness, my ignorance; (Guru) it is to you I bow and lay down my life (namah).
If this mantra is about learning to see the guru in everyone and everything, it is also about gratitude. You might say that gratitude is the mirror image of guru.
Find a comfortable seat for meditation. Gently close your eyes, and bring your awareness to your breath.
Guru Brahma. I am grateful for my creation. For all those who have contributed to my creation, and to make me who I am today. I send gratitude to my parents, and my mentors. Their wisdom is my wisdom. I recognize that my creation can be traced back far beyond my parents. I am grateful for the teachers who have laid the path we now follow, and for all those whose hands and words have made the world that made me.
Guru Vishnu. I am grateful for all those who support me in this life. I see that their love and devotion allows me to be here now, and sustains my life and practice. I recognize the guru in my family, my friends, my coworkers, and all those with whom I interact in my daily life. I feel gratitude for those that love me, and for those I love. I am also grateful for those with whom my relationships are more difficult — those that create in me feelings of anger, dislike, or frustration. These too are my teachers, and I humbly bow to them. I am also grateful to Mother Earth that sustains me.
Guru devo Maheshwara. Shiva. I am grateful to the sources of suffering in my life. My fears, my pain, and my transformations are my teachers. I am grateful for the loss of loved ones, as it deepens my love for them. I am grateful for the failings of the body, as they teach me humility and grace. Most of all, I am grateful for that greatest of transformations, the inevitable death of this body. Knowledge of this ultimate change is a reminder of the preciousness of this life, and a reminder of the ever changing nature of everything, and the oneness of being.
I bow to the guru, the remover of darkness.