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the Qualities of a true Guru

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by ratikala, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    ... @Prayag Das ji recently raised the very poingient question Is Initiation Necessary for Gaudiya Vaishnavas?
    I would like to follow this Question with an exploration of the Qualities of a true Guru , this is a question relevant not only to Gaudiya Vaisnavas but to all Hindus who wish to devote them selves to Bhakti Jnana or Karma Yoga , .....


    let us discuss and therefore discover the qualities of a True Guru so that no genuine aspirant makes the mistake of following the instructions of an ill qualified Guru , ...
     
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  2. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Karma yoga does not have any direction without jnana or bhakti; so I do not know that karma yoga by itself leads anywhere. I am thinking perhaps bhakti and jnana are the only two alternative paths to spiritual progress.

    If we accept this, can a guru teach both bhakti and jnana? Are they not in conflict to one another, the former being a faith in God, and the latter being a faith in truth?
     
  3. Makaranda

    Makaranda Active Member

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    God is truth, so no they are not in conflict. One must have devotion to guru, the teaching, and Ishwara together.Study the 12th chapter of the Gita; karma and jnana yoga are not separate from bhakti.

    I have learned that the true guru should at least be: 1) a shrotriya, meaning well versed in the scriptures and able to communicate their meaning and methodology in a clear way, and 2) brahmanishta, established in Brahman\the knowledge of Brahman.
     
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  4. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Can you elaborate on how this is so/what it means?
     
  5. Makaranda

    Makaranda Active Member

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    Brahman is defined as Satyam in the Upanishads. Satyam means that which is true through all times and states and can never be made untrue. Therefore, the pursuit of truth must ultimately mean the pursuit for that which is unchanging\the basis for all that is relative. That basis is Brahman, which, from the standpoint of this relative world, is called Ishwara, or God if you prefer.

    See also Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 6.23:

    yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau
    tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ


    He who has supreme devotion to God and to the Guru,
    to that great-one is revealed the subject matter (which has been spoken of in the Upanishads)

     
  6. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    I agree with #1. However, on #2, there is no way to make such an identification. None. We can only speculate and choose based on our own preferences.

    To go back to the OP's question, there is no such person as a universally qualified Guru. It is a highly subjective choice. Some people are comfortable with seeing Sathya Sai as Krishna himself, while others cannot. Some saw Prabhupada as a qualified Guru, but others do not. Same with every celebrity Guru we know. It is always based on personal preference and nothing more. What works for one will not work for the other. In that sense, it is no different than picking a favorite player.

    It always goes back to the fundamental fact that there is no way to know if someone is enlightened or not. There is no test possible.
     
  7. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Can Ishwara prove that He/It is true/real? - or do you have to take the word of a guru on that?
     
  8. Makaranda

    Makaranda Active Member

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    Existence of Ishwara is revealed through Shruti, Smriti, and Yukti. Also your question is bizarre.
     
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  9. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Well, I try and see that Hindu religion is not made a mockery of.;)
     
  10. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    but prabhu ji is God not Truth ?

    of course some Gurus belong to more Bhakti orientated traditions others to more Jnana orientated , ...but in practice both do have a bearing upon each other , ...However I just said that so that everyone would feel welcome which ever tradition they belong to , not nececarily meaning that all three should be practiced together .

    but the real question is for those who are conscidering following or taking a Guru , or for those who want to identify and Glorify the Qualities of the Guru or Sat Guru , ....

    what does Guru mean to you ? .....what qualities would you advise another to look for in a Guru ?
     
  11. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    what qualities would you expect to see that would suggest to you that the Guru was in fact situated in Brahman ?
     
  12. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    surely the preference is ones inclanation towards one or other tradition ?

    but given that inclination how can we know that the Guru is fit to take deciples ? ...how do we know that that Guru is qualified to give instruction ?

    surely choosing a guru is a little more serious than choosing which player to back , ...it is like choosing ones university , it is about determining ones spiritual education , .surely we should look very carefully at the credentials and ability of the teachers.

    but surely there are visable qualities ?

    prehaps there are also qualities which inspire us , ...is this important ?
     
  13. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    Truth is of greater value than God.
     
  14. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    what makes you say this ?
     
  15. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    I say it because through truth one finds the ultimate treasure which is God, but without truth God will never assist anyone to find Him as the ultimate reality.
     
  16. shivsomashekhar

    shivsomashekhar Active Member

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    That is my point. We cannot know.

    What works for one will not work for the other. As a GV, you will be well aware of the number of factions and how they cannot agree with each other on the value of other Gurus. At the end of the day, the choice comes down to personal sentiment.

    Then, there are people who are held in high acclaim until they are exposed (Nithyananda, Asaram Bapu, etc.,). But prior to the exposure, they were believed to be genuine by their followers (some may still do, in spite of the evidence) - again, because of the sentiment.

    One of Ramana's devotees wrote a diary. He talked about a time when some visitors were curious - they wanted to know what was special about Ramana? Because he did not seem any different from other people! And this is a very important point. The people we consider as enlightened Gurus are *no different* from others. Which is why, I say there is no way of knowing. In the past, this was solved by attributing miracles to the Guru to show he was different, but it is a lot harder to get away with such claims in modern times.

    Unfortunately, No. Eloquence, depth of knowledge, oratory skills, compassion - every one of these qualities can be found in regular people too. Like I have been saying, there isn't a single quality that is peculiar to enlightened people.

    Yes, that is the only thing that matters. The Guru may be genuine or not - we may never know, but if the student can connect and benefit, then that is all that matters. And that is specific to the individual, we cannot hope to form a standard that works for everyone.
     
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  17. Kirran

    Kirran
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    I am currently in search (and wait :p ) for my satguru. That's the next step for me in my path, I feel, to be taught. I may well be taught by other gurus before I find my satguru. So this thread is immensely useful and relevant, thankyou ratikala, and happy birthday :)
     
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  18. तत्त्वप्रह्व

    तत्त्वप्रह्व स्वभावस्थं निरावेशम्

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    Namaste Ratikala ji,

    I think Makaranda ji gave the one of the most widely accepted qualities of a Guru in śrotriyaṁ brahmaniṣṭham.

    In Śri Madhva's tradition:
    pratimoktalakṣaṇairyāvad yukta ācārya uttamaḥ | sarvavit tapasā yukta ājñāśakti yuto hareḥ ||
    dvātriṁśallakṣaṇairyukto gururuttama ucyate | brahmaiva tādṛśastasya samo nānyoSsti kaścana ||

    One having 32 qualities, a physique that radiates beneficence and is symmetric with each part in proportions as depicted in pratimāśāstra, one who is an Ācārya - practices and guides right practices in others, one who knows everything and engaged in tapas owing to the grace of Hari, is the best Guru. The ideal Guru who possesses all these is none but Brahma alone. We find Gurus of varying competencies and the progress of śiṣyas too varies according to the Guru. On encountering a better Guru it is correct to accept a new Guru. This is evidenced in the Upaniṣads as well - Janaka having received knowledge from six others, reaches Yajñavalkya who imparts higher knowledge and Janaka accepts him as Guru; so does Nārada on encountering Sanaka.

    a) śrotriya is one well versed in the vaidika śāstras
    ऋग्यजुः सामाथर्वांश्च भारतं पञ्चरात्रकम् । मूलरामायणं चैव शास्त्रमित्यभिधीयते । (From Skāndha Pu.)
    The vedas, Bhārata, pancarātra, and mūlarāmāyaṇa are considered as śāstras. And as the purāṇas reflect the pancarātras they are accepted too.
    The qualification for interpreting vedas is as follows:
    त्रिभाषां यो न जानाति रीतीनां शतमेव च । व्यत्यासादीन् सप्तभेदान् वेदाद्यर्थं तथा वदेत् । …
    One fully conversant with three levels of interpretation - samādhi, darśana, guhya bhāṣas, 100 methods, and 7 pedagogies - vyatyāsa, pratilomya, gomūtri, praghasa, ukṣaṇa, sudhura, and sādhu alone would be competent to coherently understand and teach the import of the vedas.

    b) brahmaniṣṭha is one who has had aparokṣa.
    This is discussed in the Brahmasūtra Adh. 3 Pāda 4
    atīta-anāgata jñāni trailokyoddharaṇakṣamaḥ
    There is no idea of jivanmukta in tattvavāda, an aparokṣa jñāni is one who has experienced his antaryāmi rūpa; the significators of such aparokṣa include trikālajñāna, comprehensive understanding of vaidik wisdom without doubts, not perceiving contradictions in veda vākyas, equanimity in the face of greatest of miseries, so on and so forth and is competent to guide sādhakas towards realization... and other petty siddhis of aṇimā+7 etc. However, aparokṣa jñānis too only get glimpses of antaryāmi in samādhi, sadā paśyanti is for muktas alone. Yet, etādṛśopi nācāram śrautam smārtam parityajet, an aparokṣa jñāni too is not supposed to relinquish śrauta and smārta practices. (Brahmasūtra Bhāṣya of Śri Madhva)

    These aparokṣa jñānis will never advertise their competence nor will you ever come across their name in popular media, and when it does they have long shed their mortal coil. Since it is impossible for a sādhaka to identify a Guru, it is suggested that he sincerely pray to his/her iṣṭa devatā or antaryāmi to afford the grace of Guru. When a deserving candidate is ready Nārāyaṇa Himself sends the Guru, and i can tell from my own experience that this is true. The belief is that wherever one's śraddha is, one must remain true to it, and a deserving candidate is automatically directed towards the right path.

    Śri Madhva states that without getting anxious about much else follow this:
    smartavyaḥ satatam viṣṇur vismartavyo na jātu cit | sarve vidhiniṣedhāḥ syur etayoreva kiṁkarāh ||
    Remember Viṣṇu incessantly, forget Him not for a moment, all dos and donts of the śāstras are but the servants of this.

    In alignment with the entire philosophy that is based on Mahātātparya (Great Synthesis), bhakti, jñāna, and mokṣa are conceived thus:
    भक्त्या ज्ञानं ततो भक्तिः ततो दृष्टिस्ततश्च सा । ततो मुक्तिस्ततो भक्तिः सैव स्यात् सुखरूपिणी ॥
    From bhakti arises wisdom which augments bhakti resulting in dṛśṭi (aparokṣa) which establishes true bhakti. This is followed by mukti which enables (parā) bhakti which is the greatest bliss.

    I feel, in the process, you are ending up doing just that :) The dichotomy you are supposing between satya and bhagavān are imaginary, that between bhakti and jñāna is resolved in their being complementary to each other.

    श्रीकृष्णार्पणमस्तु ।
     
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  19. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    The pursuit of truth can only be successfully implemented by the removal of all obstacles to truth.
     
  20. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    jai jai , yes at least these two qualities are nececary , ......but there are many who are well versed in scripture , who can expound most perfectly having learnt to recite and give the accepted veiw as per their Sampradaya's stand point .

    but for one not them selves situated in Brahman how would one know that another is truely well situated , or if he merely repeats the words of one of the previous acaryas ?

    what visable symptoms destinguish the truely surrendered from the pretender ?
     
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