Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can I have more than one Guru? - I


The question many of us have.

Most of the Gurus of the recent past and present would immediately say NO. They would quote some Sanskrit slokas to boost their point of view.

Let us see whether it is necessary or permissable to have more than one Guru.

The lives of saints would act as a guide for us here. Sri Ramakrishna's Tantric Guru was Maa Bhairavi Brahmani. His Advaita Guru was Tota Puri. But he remained basically a Bhaktha of MAA KAALI. Swami Chinmayananda was given sannyasa by Swami Sivananda. But his Guru later was Swami Tapovan Maharaj. This is the case with almost all the Saints and Teachers of Hinduism. Most of the modern day Gurus do not even name a particular Guru because they have learnt from many Gurus.

So it is permissable to have more than one Guru. In fact if one has to progress spiritually one does need the guidance of more than one Guru.

The question then arises is that if one can have many Gurus, why are the modern gurus opposing this and insisting on sticking to one Guru?

The answer is simple. POWER. The modern Gurus exercise control over their followers by insisting on absolute alligence to them. The Godmen/Godwomen also insist on this. What is being created are CULTS and not movements. If a follower takes on another Guru the original Guru would lose control. This theory of a single guru has been applied extensively in the U.S and other countries outside India where our Gurus go to accumulate wealth, fame and power.

This was also used earlier in India for the spread of the Guru movements some of which have even become seperate religions.

The biggest drawback of the single Guru alligence is the ban on original thinking. One is supposed to follow strictly in the footsteps of the guru. No change is allowed. This was not the case in the past. Great men like Adi Sankaracharya and Ramanujacharya did not blindly follow their Gurus. They thought independently and laid the foundation for philosophies which differed from those of their gurus.

We should never blindly follow any one. We should never lose our own thinking. Hinduism encourages original thinking. Many of the gurus and the orthodoxy would like to take away this. Hinduism has suffered because the orthodoxy had no answer to many of our questions. Their only answers are "This is how it has been done for ages" and "This is what our ancestors have done." Fortunately for us great men like Adi Sankaracharya and Ramanujacharya did not believe this.

Coming down to modern day practice, having a single Guru does create problems. The westerner who learns Hinduism from a particular guru does not face any problem. All that he knows of Hinduism is what is taught by a guru. There is no conflict. But in the case of Indian Hindus we come to know Hinduism from childhood. We imbibe the ideas of Hinduism from our parents, family and the environment in which we grow up. When you take on a guru you may find some of his ideas are in conflict with what you already believe. That is why NO Indian can give the absolute alligence that a westerner who is new to Hinduism can give. This is the reason why Westerners are preferred as disciples over Indians by the Indian Gurus teaching in western countries.

I shall post about the advantages of having more than one Guru and whetehr it is absolutley necessary to have mor than one guru.

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