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

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 9 09:45:46 CDT 2011

" 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 
but we cannot learn.
PraNAms to all

Frankly I do not know the exact quote where Shankara said this in his bhaashyaas, other than the fact that Swami Paramarthanandaji has mentioned about it many times in his class, attributing quote to Shankara. May be scholars can give a reference to this statement.

Next, we have many mails claiming X or Y has realized and he is not from sampradaaya, that is he is sampradaaya teacher There are two aspects here. First, there are exceptions to the rule, and second we do not make rule out of exceptions. 

I think there is a bigger problem that is to be understood - No one can evaluate if some X or Y has realized to provide some certification that  this one is a realized soul and the other is not. There is no litmus tests for realization. There are many bhagavans in India, some self-proclaimed and some proclaimed by their disciples. The sthitaprajna laksaNas provided in the scriptures are for self-evaluation and not for evaluating others. No realized master declares that he is realized since listeners cannot evaluate if he is or not. Such a declaration is also useless. Even if one declares, it becomes listener’s faith in the statement to accept or reject. We are back to square one. Even to ask such a question whether one is realized or not is a mute one - since the answer cannot be evaluated.

Who is a qualified advaita guru - I would say a guru is the one who directs the disciples to the scriptures as authority than to himself. 

If one can learn the scriptures from him, he is the appropriate guru for him, since one cannot evaluate if he is brahma nishTa or not. The best approach is to assume that my teacher is realized - and in that way I have a faith in the teaching - shraddhaavan labhate jnaanam. Whether the teacher is realized in truth or not is immeterial, the disciple can realize with that faith. Hence it is said only by the grace of God one is lead to an appropriate teacher. The best thing is to listen to the sat sangh and if it helps that is great; other wise leave that place. Others may get benefit. Ultimately one discovers that He is my guru when he feels in his heart that he has gained a lot from the teaching. No guru declares that I am your guru. 

There are many mails saying that there are many unqualified qurus around. In question and answers session, many many years ago, one American Lady asked Swami Chinmayanandaji - Why India sends all sorts of gurus to this country? Many of these gurus are bogus, and some have streams of cadelacs collected by them, some young boy-guru who had many followers ended up marrying his own secretary and his mother denounced him saying that he is not a guru anymore, some claim giving realization by special touch, etc. Swamiji answered to her: If I go to supermarket I cannot ask why the manager is selling all sorts of things which I do not need and which in fact are more damaging to health. He, as a manager, has to cater to the needs of many with varying desires. It is your duty to pick up the right ones you need using your discrimination. In case you pick up the wrong one, either you return it if it is in USA, or suffer with it if it is in India. However, by this
 wrong pick-up you got the right teaching and now you are better educated to pick up the right one, next time. That education was needed at that time so that your intellect is now able to use the discriminative power properly in your next selection. In that sense every guru is the right guru for those disciples, since he had learned his lesson in the process of his evolution, in terms of how to use his intellect properly. Sometime this learning process can take one life-time or two; but that is evoluation. We have a sloka in Bhajagovindam: jatilo muDii luncita keShaH, kaashyaambara bahukRit veShaH - hence false sanyaasiis and gurus are not a recent phenomenon.

Hari Om!

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