Characteristics of a Guru

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Jul 26 00:53:23 CDT 2000

On Thu, 13 Jul 2000, Bhaskar Y.R. wrote:

> But Prabhuji in my opinion it is true that one can listen to many
> sources of information before really surrendering oneself unto the
> Lotus Feet of a bona fide Spiritual Master. By bona fide, i mean, a
> Spiritual Master Who has been authorized by His own Spiritual Master
> in a disciplic succession.  Otherwise there will be every chance of
> getting misguided by quake masters.

Yes and that is why it is important to be well educated.  Otherwise it is
easy to be fooled by the first sharp character with flowery words who
comes along.

> sampradaya vihina ye mantras te nishphala matah
> "Without accepting the mantra or initiation from a representative of a bona
> fide sampradaya, they have no effect."
> The knowledge has to be obtained from a representative of the Lord. By
> inquiry, surrender and service unto a pure devotee, one can raise
> oneself to the platform  of transcendental loving service unto the
> Lord.  Thats why krishna says in BG:

Shankaracharya also mentions in one place that even a person who knows all
shastras should be considered as a fool if he has no parampara.

> > tad viddhi pranipatena
> > paripreshnena sevaya
> > upadekshyanti te jnanam
> > jnaninas tattva darshinah
> > "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire
> > from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul
> > can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth."

This is the ideal situation and we are fortunate that even today there are
such Masters who walk among us.  But what if the situation is less than
ideal?  In that case one should not think the possibility of knowledge
is futile but instead try and prepare oneself by whatever means are

> >
> > Yes,  a neophyte like me can take knowledge from various
> > sources, but before accepting a person as a Guru, he should check the
> > characteristics of the person against those which are available in the
> > Shastras. Even Srila Prabhupada says that the research for the right path and
> > guru
> > is ok as long as you haven't found one, but after attaining your path,
> > further research is only for sense pleasure.  Am I wrong Prabhuji??  pls.
> > correct me
> >

Looking at the life of Shankaracharya, we see one of his shishyas
Totakacharya accepted him immediately.  But Sureshwaracharya struggled
mightily and it was only after vigorous debate that he was won over to the
Advaita side.  The true Guru will cater to both types.  He will not falter
or be offended if asked questions.  Neither will he refuse his mercy to
those who approach hm with sincerity and a pure heart.

> > Finally, Exalted personalities are not meant to be copied, but to be
> understood
> > and the used as instructing Gurus.

Well a Guru must practice as he preaches or else he is open to the charge
of hypocracy.  If we consider ourselves loyal shishyas of that Guru, we
should try and follow in his footsteps.

The problem comes as you say when peope merely ape a leader without
understanding why he does what he does.

> Also one must learn to distinguish between
> > charismatic leaders and spiritual leaders. That is very important for our own
> > spiritual progress. That is why there is
> > the three fold check of Guru-Sadu-Shastra.  We shoudl not be getting too much
> > influenced by the force of a persuasive speaker.
> >

The Adiguru Dakshinamurti Bhagawan is portrayed as teaching though
silence.  The truth is self-evident to those who are prepared to receive
it.  no flashy showmanship is necessary.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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