[Advaita-l] Re: Re: Love molecule

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 5 22:17:48 CST 2005

>Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya,
>   We should not downgrade the modern gurus too. Even Shri Ramakrishna  
>Paramhamsa said that a time will come very soon when people would  
>understand Vedanta in a single day. It is because of the modern outlook  
>that the people as well as the new age gurus are having. Not all  
>traditionally trained gurus are enlightened. gurus.
>   Regards
>   Sunil Bhattacharjya

Please note that this is why I said "most new-age gurus" in my post, and I 
think Amuthan also chose his words carefully when he said "traditionally 
trained vidvAn" (not jnAnI). No one is claiming that being traditionally 
trained is a guarantee of being enlightened, but I do claim that it is very 
critical to really understanding advaita vedAnta, if you are interested in 
genuine advaita vedAnta. Not everybody is a Ramana Maharshi who did not need 
rigrous traditional grounding and who discovered and later explicitly stated 
that his experience was in tune with traditional vedAnta. Not all that calls 
itself advaita vedAnta nowadays is necessarily advaita vedAnta. Tradition 
has its advantages in keeping away the dilletante and it has evolved its own 
sysem of checks and balances. You will notice that traditional advaitins 
also respect Ramana Maharshi, even though he was never formally part of the 
tradition. On the other hand, the fact that Ramana stands outside the 
tradition leads to a situation where half of the new age self-proclaimed 
advaitins claim some direct or once-removed link to Ramana Maharshi, 
precisely because they know that there is no strong traditional 
representative to confront them about their claim to fame in this regard.

I agree with Sanjay, that many modern new-age gurus should simply stop 
claiming to be gurus. It is a misuse of the Indian tradition(s). And I also 
think that most tradition-minded Indians are intuitively sceptical of the 
accomplishments of even traditional sannyAsins and they evaluate the 
traditional gurus all the time, whereas the typical European/American who is 
interested in spirituality and the typical modern educated Indian exhibit a 
high degree of naivete when it comes to self-proclaimed new age gurus. It 
often leads to very cultish behavior and all its associated problems.

My rule of thumb in whom to watch out for today and avoid, whether new-age 
or with some link to tradition: one who is highly articulate and consciously 
uses it to advantage for self-promotion, one who has an active and public 
media presence with a public relations factory (glossy magazines, flashy 
websites and followers among the rich and famous), one who is constantly on 
world tours, one who organizes "retreats" in expensive and exotic locales, 
with exorbitant fees, one who claims to have been enlightened by a mere look 
or touch from someone else, one who got initiation in some mantra and/or a 
new initiate name directly from God/Goddess in a dream, and finally if s/he 
is from India, one who is on a "mission to the West" (too many wannabe 
Vivekananda-s out there) or else, one who does not care about the West but 
is involved head over heels in Indian politics.

These are signs that activate my antennae and I daresay others may or may 
not agree with them. Also of course, someone who satisifies one or more or 
even all of the above criteria may still be the genuine article, but I would 
look for other signs that prove the genuineness. The probability is high 
that s/he is either a deliberate con-artist or someone who had a brief 
moment of epiphany but subsequently got caught up in a mAyAjAla of their own 


Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today - it's FREE! 

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list