[Advaita-l] the qualification to be an advaita guru

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 7 22:49:36 CDT 2011

> It is possible for anyone to speak vedanta if he has the interest, reads and
> discusses. If one s genuine in terms of not having selfish desires, then he
> will attract admiration and dedication from others because these are rare
> qualities. Also, one who is not awayed by desires tends to be equanimous and
> hence blissful. In the presence of such a person, others also become
> peaceful. If one has unshakeable faith in the words of his guru, then his
> words carry strong conviction. This inspires others to listen to him. But
> all of the above can be attributed to neurology. Many people accept another
> person as a guru because they are convinced about the guru's mystic powers.
> However, even if the mystic power is genuine it does not mean that the
> concerned person has advaita siddhi. We hear about legends of mystic powers
> across traditions.

True of some, but it seems to me that the fashion nowadays is not about attaining
inner peace in another's presence but more about whether what the other person
says resonates in some way with one's own nebulous and half-formed notions.

The problem with seekers seeking a guru is that they ultimately sit in judgement
over the person whom they call a guru, without realizing that they do so. Many
people would like to grant guru status to a wide variety of people. I am amazed
at the plethora of people who have the smarts to get marketed right, appear on
cable television shows, get interviewed by or give out pronouncements to the
media on every little issue, etc. All of them are seen as gurus by their targeted
audience. However, the same members of the audience also seem to have no
compunctions in dragging down the said "guru" and talking of their faults. 
> Apart from the intellectual profundity, one thing that attracts me in
> advaita is the qualification of a guru. In his commentary to BG 7.2, Sankara
> says, "Thus, he who knows Me in reality becomes *omniscient*. This is the
> idea". This is brilliant because if I dont know anything in the empirical or
> transcendental realm, I will have fear of unknown. Madhsudana exposits, on
> this verse "Everything is known when One is known (Mu1.1.3 & Br. 2.4.5)".
> This is a pretty bold statement because if this is possible, then an advaita
> guru, *if willing*, can solve problems beyond current human knowledge. For
> example, he will be able to give solution for P vs. NP problem. One may say
> that it is not the case because one will know the essence of all things
> which is sat cit ananda brahman but not really become trikalajna or sarvajna
> as no object caused by upadhi exists. But in his commentary to BG 6.15,

The issue is more than "if willing". To expect one who has advaita siddhi to be
able to "solve" every little problem of mankind is to bark up the wrong tree. Why
do you need a jnAnI for these things? Go to the advanced engineers, scientists,
researchers and other kinds of thought leaders.

To expand a little more - to dwell on the P vs. NP problem in computer science,
or to send a space mission to Venus or Jupiter, or to solve the fast approaching
energy crisis caused by the world's over-dependence on fossil fuels, to cure AIDS
- each one of these requires an antaHkaraNa to take on the vRtti-s required to get
into the details of these issues and to get identified with the bAhya-oriented nature
of their solutions while at the same time remaining aloof as the witness. It may
perhaps be possible, but perhaps not desirable, either for the one who has attained
advaita siddhi or for those who expect it out of him. The desires of men are infinite
and it is not the jnAnI's job to be a kAmadhenu for the vast jana-saMsad of ajnAnIs.

Curing AIDS may be a worthy cause, but would you want to tell the thousands of
scientists working on the problem to first get advaita siddhi and become sarvajna-s, 
so that a cure will manifest itself in their minds?!!
Perhaps there is NO solution to the P vs. NP problem, perhaps the human desire to
go to outer space is not sustainable for economic, social and political reasons, even
if technically possible, perhaps the solution to the energy crisis is to change human
society's expectations of unbridled pravRtti and to encourage everyone to think a
bit more about nivRtti. These are not "solutions" as such to the problems faced by
the ajnAnI, but perhaps the jnAnI's only job is not to solve every such little problem
but to teach the ajnAnI that these are all self-created problems. Omniscience may
well lie in realizing and conveying that some problems have no happy solutions,
rather than in solving the nitty-gritties of every single "problem" in the universe.

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