The other day, on Facebook, I posted a snipit from a quote of one of the Sahaj Marg’s masters. By far, the responses I received were disappointingly typical. I was discussing this, just a little, with a friend who commented and whose comment was about the only one that could be taken in the way I feared people would respond as well as the way I’d hoped some might.

His comment was to the effect of, “This goes against what many gurus say.” One implication of something like that being said (and in fact, probably the most common implication) is that if the majority of other gurus disagree, then the teaching in question must probably be incorrect on one or many levels. As if to going with the crowd is invariably a good thing. We seem to be okay with having our own teachers – so long as they’re saying pretty much the same thing.

Frankly, it makes me more than a little sad. People are so…. typical. Like, Kali Yuga typical. And I think even if a person becomes aware of this within himself, and can say to himself that he’s just being egoic and shouldn’t think in a certain way that is obviously flavored by that ego, then there’s a great chance he’ll still act or behave or believe in a manner than is still far too flavored by the ego. We seem to carry certain …. expectations, or something…. and if those aren’t met then it’s no good. It’s like learning something about someone and seeing them differently as a result. Same person before as after, and yet you don’t see them the same. How accepting were you before?

I think more recently this unfortunate truth has been apparent when it comes to gurus. I mean, it’s been true for a long time but has stood out to me a bit more lately.

Certainly there are traits and whatnot that any “true” or “real” guru will possess. And regardless of one’s chosen path in spirituality, one can find valued texts that will spell out as clearly as possible what that devotee should look for when accepting a teacher.

But what if a teacher possess all of the things one seeks in a teacher, and a few things one wouldn’t expect? My guess is that the potential devotee would be far too busy judging the teacher and would be more than willing, on a subconscious level if nothing else, to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. Because that’s what makes people comfortable.

Let me ask you: Say you were examining a guru and you were impressed enough to keep examining. The teachings seemed in line with what you value. All the things you’d expect in a guru were found in this guru. And then he or she lit a cigarette.

Seriously. What if Mata Amrtanandamayi Ma (The Hugging Saint) took a break from hugging devotees to grab a quick smoke? What if Paramahansa Yogananda taught Kriya Yoga and also enjoyed vodka from time to time? What if Swami Prabhupad’s “Hare Krishnas” held their so-called Love Feasts and served fried chicken with the palak paneer?

Game over? What would you do?

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti


4 responses to “WWYD

  1. A good question to think about. I suppose it comes down to keeping in mind what holds to be right for himself and leaving all else to all others and what they hold as right for themselves. Just do you, in other words. Truth is truth and it didnt really come from that individual anyway (Yogananda, Mata, etc) so their smoking or having a cocktail doesnt take away from it. However, as for agreeing with all the guru says, I will say that in Hindu-colored reading I have come across passages saying that if one is to accept a guru one should accept all he says or find another guru. I have read this. It is not something that most say so its probably not true anyroad 😉 – Whereas in talks with a Buddhists I hear that one should take what you find true from any teacher and disregard the rest. Not sure that answers your question but some random thoughts on the subject.


  2. OMG Hinduism is like the definition of pluralism so if there weren’t at least a few gurus contributing some different ideas or perspectives I would be suspicious. Look ay Osho for example! Plenty of people hated him when he was alive and presumably still don’t like him because of the way he presented things, but at the core his work is solid and his disciples and devotees are still going strong. I stayed at an ashram in Rishikesh that was run by Osho’s people and it was lovely.


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