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Re: neo-Sadhus

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Mon Jul 02 2001 - 20:43:38 PDT

Pradeep,

You bring up some very relevant issues. Part of the
solution is to be vigilant in using your mind at all
times, and to see whether the proposed acharya or guru
is really making sense and is consistent. Often we
find ourselves attracted to people for emotional reasons.
Sometimes these emotions cloud our judgment until
it's too late to discern reality from illusion.

Second, the acharya or guru should exhibit true and
consistent values, as the messages of Sri Madhavakkannan
and Sri Sadagopan Maama have demonstrated. I would like
to build upon their contribution.
 
In my opinion one of the chief means of distinguishing 
a true guru from one who is not is how much they chase
after money, either directly or indirectly.  We find
so many people who are in the position of acharya/guru
these days asking for money every chance they get. They
may cloak this in different ways, but in the end it's
just a request for money. Usually, the money guru's 
followers rationalize that because the omniscient master
simply *must* have some noble purpose in mind, everything
is okay.

In this regard, we may heed Swami Desika's words of seven
centuries ago, which ring remarkably prophetic:

     Alas! Observe the "renunciation" of the kali-yuga sannyasis 
     who bear the saffron robes and holy staff in name only:

        "For bhiksha, and for taking care of my disciples,", they say;
        "Merely for my robes, and for erecting a permanent roof over my
          monastery," they say;
        "To pay for the purchase of books," they say;
        though sannyasis, they are possessed by their desire 
        for money.

Now Swami Desika would be the first to argue that guru-dakshiNa
is of vital importance and that one should give to one's guru
as much as possible; for no payment can be equal the value of
a guru-sishya relationship. But the question is -- does the guru 
himself demand money early and often? If so, watch out.

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
mani
        



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