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

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 9 04:56:39 CDT 2011

> PraNAms to all
You had written -

" Shankara says - there are three types of gurus.

1. He is shrotriyaH and brahma nishTaH

2. He is shrotiyaH but not Brahma nishTa

3. He is Brahman nishTa and he does not know how to teach."

The first is the best, the second is the next and third one, we can respect
but we cannot learn.
I have a question here -

 No one will dispute the fact the the first type is the best. ShrutI too
says "sa gurumevAbhigacchet shrotriyam brahmaniShTham"

But, is there any authoritative verse or comment from bhAShyakAra that a
"shrotriyaH but not brahmaniShTha guru" (second type) is better than a
"brahmaniShTha but not shrotriya" (third type). I can appreciate that we can
independently reason whether the second type is better than third type. But
I am curious* if there is any shAstric reference or bhAShya or some other
AcArya who has explicitly talked in that vein comparing type 2 and type 3.
and saying that type 2 is better than type 3,, when it comes to the crunch*

This seems to be an important question. Let me share a personal experience
(which has repeated itself on many occasions) on this issue -

A respected Vedanta teacher pointed out that ( that a shrotriya-only is
better than a brahma-niShTha only) and gave examples of Sri Ramakrishna and,
Ramana Maharshi as belonging to type 3 (brahmaniShTha but not shrotriya).
Several students and devotees of these respected Sages were deeply offended
and became terribly upset because they would have invested their emotions in
these Sages..

I have heard it said that a shrotiya Guru can still teach us and unfold
Vedanta sastra as a pramANa which can destroy avidyA
while a  brahmaniShTha-only is not equipped to teach sAstra; We can take his
blessings but not actually engage in pramANa vicAra with the third type of
Guru. This reasoning has a certain validity but there is one "niggling"

The absence of brahmaniShTha implies that there are serious obstacles like
viparIta-bhAvanas (occasionally kAma, krodha, moha  etc still arise and
overwhelm the type-3 Guru, his jagat-mithyAtva-niscaya is somewhat
unstable). His ahaMkAra is not yet a mature one like that of a brahmaniShTha
who has only a shadow of an ahaMkAra ( badhita-ahaMkAra). This creates
serious problems for his shishyAs. They will see their Guru teaching
shAstra beautifully and as long as they only hear his lecture in the
evenings or weekends and get on with their lives, its fine. But what about
those poor shishyAs who are antevAsins ( who stay all the time with the
Guru), they will be able to see a number of occasions when their type-3 Guru
is so very fallible and prone to the ajnAna-kArya (the effects of ajnAna
like moha etc) !!

So in conclusion, i would suggest that we should respectfully attend the
dias-delivered lectures of the type-2 Guru but have more satsanga and
personal relationship with the type-3 Guru (if we are lucky enough to find
someone like that!!)




> Qualified guru is recognized by a student when he gets qualified as a
> disciple. For such a student, Lord himself will lead the student to a
> qualified guru. Until then all gurus are required for the evaluation of the
> student until he develops the sensitivity enough to recognize his adhyaatma
> guru.
> manushyatvam mumukshutvam mahapurusha samsrayam durlabham - daivaanugraha
> hetukam.
> Shankara says there are three types of gurus.
> 1. Who is shrotriyaH and brahma nishTaH
> 2. He is shrotiyaH but not Brahma nishTa
> 3. He is Brahman nishTa and he does not know how to teach.
> The first is the best, the second is the next and third one, we can respect
> but we cannot learn.
> There is a story from Zen system:
> One student has noted down all the qualification that he thought are needed
> for a perfect guru. He went around in search of a perfect guru and could not
> find one that fulfills all the categories in his list. At last he found one
> who is fit to be the perfect guru for him and he approached him saying that
> he is the only one who fit all the qualifications for being a guru and he
> would like to be his student. The teacher took him to a well and showed him
> a bucket and asked him to fill up the tank nearby by using the bucket. When
> the student looked at the bucket, there was no bottom for the bucket. He
> protested to the teacher - how can one get the water out using the
> bottomless bucket. The teacher laughed and said - don't I know that?
> Obviously you are looking for a perfect teacher but before you do that you
> have to become perfect disciple. First go and become a perfect disciple then
> you will discover an appropriate teacher.
> Let us be concerned about the qualifications of an advaita student.
> Hari Om!
> Sadananda
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