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Re: neo-Sadhus

From: Pradeep (
Date: Tue Jul 03 2001 - 22:40:40 PDT

I convey my thanks and regards to all who responded to my mail with a 
lot of interest, with quotations etc. My understanding of the replies 
might be constrained by my interpretations, not in the original 
content. But let me add to what I interpreted. 

To identify a Guru is very difficult. One has to look for traits that 
are mentioned by our great acharyas and vedic texts/scriptures in the 
person whom we try to accept as Guru. The Guru parampara (lineage) is 
a good starting point because the acharyas tend to stick to the 
original doctrine(sampradaayam) established by Sri Ramanuja and 
Alwars and Sri Vedanta Desikan. 

Though this is not the summary itself, this is something that I have 
abstracted from the reponses received. 

Now, many a time, some families have some really testing times where 
a book of Dharma Shastram or Sampradaayam cannot serve as a reference 
to take the right decision. In such times, some persons might feel it 
is best to consult the Guru to take the right decision. It is true 
that when one does Saranaagathi, one should view both Sukam and 
Dhukkam equally and think its all part of the life and Narayanan 
would take care. That is the true lakshanam of the Vaishnava. 

But considering the reality, even a great emperor like Dasaratha was 
confounded when Vishwamitra asked him to send Rama and Lakshmana to 
the forest to guard his Yagnas and fight the ogres. He took the 
advice of Vasishta at that point before agreeing. This was just an 

There have been many instances where in testing times, a Guru has 
provided one with the right decision/view point/clarity/path. 
Infact in olden days, most kings had a Kula-Guru whom they consulted 
in exceptionally testing times leave alone other times. 

So my question now comes down to this. Does appearing in lineage of 
Acharyas elevate one to the state of a Jnaani. Though the post merits 
them respect and the duties that they dispense are in accord with the 
sampradaaya, they still make decisions and suggestions with their 
mind. It is true however that they are very elevated persons 
otherwise. There was a consensus in the responses that Guru was 
neither a post, nor a profession but a state. 
"guru sakshaath param bramham..tasmai sree gurave namah"

It is my opinion that Guru is equal to God. They both act in the same 
way and one's decision is not different from the other and one's 
suggestion cannot be different from the other. Infact when one does a 
great Aparaadham(heinous sin), even God would not protect him, only 
the Guru can protect him and plead to God to save him. 

When we are full of defects, we dont see God. But we can still see 
the Guru. It is the Guru that instills Bhakti in our hearts and makes 
it tender and offers it like a flower at the feet of God. 

The Acharya lineage is a process of selection and I am not aware of 
the process. Can the process certify that it only selects the true 
Jnaani as the Guru. If not, the Guru who is selected next also 
becomes only a spritual aspirant and only a guide with slightly 
superior qualities than the rest. But he is not complete. 

I am a bit confused here. Can someone throw light on this ? I am 
having a problem trying to comprehend as to how one could take the 
advice of a person not fully realised as the ultimate advice in such 
testing times that confounds many a family. There are very complex 
situations for many a person. Sometimes people go to a Guru and 
present problems that would make a common man sleepless for days 

In such situations, they take the advice of the Guru and act 
accordingly. But can this opinion be the ultimate as he too would 
have the raga-dweshas, gunas etc. 

Similarly some might be spiritually bent. They may like to do some 
spiritual sadhanas. The Guru is responsible for giving the right 
mantra for Japam...for some this might be "Rama", for some this could 
be "Om Namo Narayana", for some the Dwadasaakshari that Narada gave 
to Dhruva. Based on the past karmas, their current samskaraas and 
their ability the aspirants have to be guided. For some even a 5 
minute of Japam would be impossible, they would be able to 
Kaingaryams like taking care of flowers, prasaada viniyogam etc. etc. 
for hours together...but the Guru is the best judge once again. Each 
is a maargam in itself. 

For the real need of the Guru is not to solve Laukeekam issues, but 
to make the persons attain to the highest state. And each person is 
unique and depends solely on the Guru at all stages. Is this guidance 
possible by someone who himself has not attained ?

This mail is not intended to disrespect anyone or any sentiments, it 
is just to request clarification and a request to educate me. 

-- Pradeep 

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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