The question may arise: How can our current reality be the remover of ignorance if the reality itself is full of darkness? In our own country and in others, there's so much violence and killing and apathy and neglect. There is fear and hatred and separation. Not a day goes by that we do not hear about some injustice. These situations are our teachers because they remind us never to be complacent, they push us not to be complicit in harming others, and they put the onus upon us to actively choose the side of peace.
Whenever we practice asana, we come face to face with our unconscious reactions and we observe them. We practice to bring the unconscious to the level of consciousness. When the current reality is difficult, how do we react? Are we actively peaceful or unconsciously violent? In a challenging pose, do we consciously relax our facial muscles or are we unconsciously gritting our teeth and furrowing our eyebrows? The practice gives us the space to observe where we may be reacting and acting violently just because "we are used to it".
It starts with asana, with the way we move the body, with the way our thoughts accompany the movements of the body, but it most certainly does not end there. Whenever we interact with another person, is it actively peaceful or is it unconsciously violent? Whenever we sit down to eat, are our food choices actively peaceful or are they unconsciously violent? The livelihood that we choose to sustain us, is this actively peaceful or is this unconsciously violent?
Guru vishnu is a reference to how our current circumstances can help us remove our own darkness and ignorance. It is oftentimes tempting to turn our yoga practice into a safe bubble of self-indulgence, and doing so certainly has its own benefits. But to confine yoga to such a limited practice also limits our own growth. The teaching of guru vishnu reminds us that we are active participants in this world and this world is our teaching. When we look at the world around us, including all of the apathy and suffering and violence, we can use it to remove our own darkness by choosing peace continuously. We choose peace again and again and again, until each layer of darkness is broken down, until nothing else remains but our own light.