It often makes me sad how jangli Hindus have become today – how vaanar-mansik or monkey-minded they are, from the once highly evolved, intellectual and spiritual culture we had, over one that simply parades itself as such, but is really just a facade.
I have seen Hindus that have gone full-circle Buddhisto-Jain liberal and try to defend Islam, despite that their own yogic traditions were invented in dhanurveda (martial arts) by Sri Parshuram in very ancient times to not embrace the enemy, but totally annihilate any trace of threats they caused to dharma – something which history repeated when the great yogi Gorakshanatha decided to train his Gurkha warriors to go forth into Sindh, Iran and the Middle-East to fight Muslims and Islam in the 8th – 12th Centuries to protect India and native faiths (Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism) from the destructive threat Islam posed then (hundreds of years ago!) – lest the society resting on true ahimsa becomes vunerable and compromised. I am sorry to say, but most Hindus today are more Jains than anything – as even the Buddhist monks as Bodhidharma generated system to defend themselves, even in unarmed combat – what to speak of these newly-inspired “peace-Hindus” who have smoked too much weed, only read parts of our acharyas and selections of Wiki-quotes they desire and really, have no real scholarship in real “Vedic” fields (despite misappropriating the term to make themselves sound more educated), in either traditional Hindu learning nor western academic circles, nor real study of the shastras, darshanas and upavedas in detail, and nor have our modern Gurus!
In ancient times, pratyaksha (direct-perception) had many levels intermingled with moha-bhavas (delusional states) and interplay of the three gunas, viz. sattvas, rajas, tamas, even for advanced yogis and even the higher Devas or celestial beings! As a result, what was seen even by yogis through yogic drishti or perception was to be matched by the other three pramanas or testimonies of anumana (inference), upamana (comparison) and shabda (verbal testimony, i.e. shruti or revealed texts and bhashyas or commentaries as also aithihya or historical proofs).
Today however, people take the rajasic or materialistic Gurus’ word for things in this Kali-Yuga – despite the clear warnings of such in the texts! One who displays siddhis or even mystic powers today mesmerises the masses and bewilders them, but is actually a cheap trick for the mediocre yogi, which is also an admixture of sattvas or desire to do good and spread good teachings and dharma, but somewhat like a Raja or king also, possessing some materialistic side (as with their ashrams, mandirs etc.) or rajo-guna, which even the Devas or celestials possess. Siddha classes (lesser Rishis or ordinary yogis) were not seen in ancient India, as even today as being of great value – yet today, even those who can lie, cheat and deceive are placed on a pedestal! If today’s Hindus even had half an education in their system, they’d learn that even Ayurveda classifies these types of beings and personalities and notes their weaknesses, despite their seemingly good sides! Many yogis historically – even Hiranyakashipu, Mahabali, Ravana and others, performed tapas and had supernatural abilities along with some Vedic knowledge – but did so for pure vanity; for some, even the power to attract people, become an Emperor or take over the three dimensions (earth, astral-sphere and the celestial sphere) – what to speak of today’s Gurus who did tapas for simply a few million followers and a lavish life! Can people not see through this?
The issue here and origin of this is due to pramana-less faiths such as Islam and Christianity, based on [blind] faith that have dominated India for the past 1200-600 years strongly (Islam), with Christianity in the past 200 years influencing the mainstream Hindu thought. It started to replace the logical system of pramanas in India with Guru hearsay, not backed up by shastras or even traditional learning and instead allowed Gurus to plagiarise and even invent things as facts and history they read from mainstream books (not traditional) – absolving them of the true Yogic and traditional need to have direct insight into shastras and actual systems over the “I’ve seen it in meditation – so don’t question me” technique used by so many today, reminiscent of Christianity’s “The Holy Spirit speaks through me” hyperbole!
As Hindus, we shouldn’t accept this and question instead. True Gurus had knowledge of the Vedas, which is a fact and were historians that saw beyond the nonsensical and childish “Siddha“ stories of today, which basically allow you to invent anything not traditional, or create a fusion due to your ignorance of shastra and tradition (which true pratyaksha would match and one has insight into shastra, as Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda shared as also Sri Ramana Maharishi and Ganapati Muni shared and as Gurus that really liberated India and worked on the Vedas and spoke against the Aryan Invasion Theory as Maharishi Dayananda and Sri Aurobindo also realised) – simply to make a name for one’s self and as a result, take advantage of the ignorance of the masses!
It then becomes much harder to teach real traditional values and truths of the shastras and traditions to people – much like how American Ayurveda has presented itself as the “real and true traditional Ayurveda” and brainwashed people by slandering systems in India – much like the entire Christian world which did likewise and misappropriated the Jewish book and figures, slandered the Jews and presented themselves as the true authorities on the Abrahamic tradition that they were neither genetically, culturally, nor linguistically a part of!
Blind belief in cult-personalities or Gurudom indoctrination is one of the greatest threats to the Hindu psyche.
Some may have noted that I have been critical to some of my teachers, regarding Vedic sciences, especially Ayurveda. I want to point out that while I respect the wisdom I have gained, one in Sanatana Dharma, one is not naively bound to follow the word of a Guru, let alone teacher, mentor etc. if their words are untrue or against tradition. Kularnava Tantra (XIV.26) states about testing the Guru and also that if the Guru does not possess knowledge correctly, one may leave the Guru without stain (XIII.130-132).
We must remember that Sri Matsyendranatha, the Guru of Gorakshanatha himself fell and became bewitched by his own Shakti, at which his shishya, Gorakshanatha had to rescue him from. The interplay between the two, often seen as facets of the same personality also demonstrates the fallibility of a human Guru. Vishwamitra Maharishi’s powers were so great that he could generate entire galaxies and planets with his mind and gave us the Gayatri mantra. Still, he desired to become a Brahmarishi greater than Vasishtha, his elder rival! Now, today’s Gurus are nowhere near Vishwamitra’s stage and yet we revere them as infallible, forgetting these older and greater examples!
Ravana himself was a Guru of sorts – a great Brahmin, respected kavi (poet), vaidya, jyotishi, vedacharya, pujari and yogi way beyond even the comprehension of today’s greatest Kali–Yugi Gurus, but he himself fell due to pride for Sita Devi. What lesson does this reveal to us about Gurus in Kali–Yuga that the shastras warn against, constantly (mithyagurus)?
We should also remember that Shukracharya left his Guru, Angirasa Rishi due to his favourtism towards his son, Brihaspati. He then left and studied under Gautama Rishi. Rishi Yajnavalkya likewise left his Guru, Vaishampayana and never again took a human Guru, but learnt from the Sun-God Surya himself. Vishwamitra Rishi as a King also despised Vasishtha Rishi and through severe tapas (austerities) became a Brahmarishi himself and still had disagreements with Vasishtha. So, there are many examples of very famous and advanced Rishis leaving their advanced Gurus and having points of disagreement with them, which have come down in tradition.
Some Rishis such as Durvasa and Bhrigu cursed even the Devas themselves due to their actions – what to speak of mere modern teachers (or those who portray themselves as such to the masses!). While many westerners do not like these words, they are part of our traditions in Sanatana Dharma and with a deeper knowledge of karma than the New Age “love and light” culture – which is often hypocritical anyway, for many of these teachers and Gurus were former hippies and have taken drugs like LSD and Marijuana – which sane people would not. So much for their sattvas coming out!
My differences also derive from my familial Guru, Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati and his teachings, as also my Mother, my first Guru and inspiration in Vedic traditions who often warned me against these human teachers as well and their deviations from the Vedic traditions. Maharishi Dayananda himself actually had many acharyas or teachers, but he was often at odds with them, while respecting what he had learnt from them and in true Vedic fashion, investigated their words based on the four Pramanas (viz. Direct perception or Pratyaksha; Inference or Anumana; Comparison or Upamana and Shabda or Textual and Historical evidences) and eventually confided in and found his true Guru, Swami Virajananda Saraswati. Naive Westerners however don’t test the words of their Gurus in such a manner. A true Teacher and Guru is one who allows their words to be substantiated by shastras and aitihya (tradition), not simple conjecture without any basis or comparative traditional references or examples to back them up. Such “New Age” Gurus come from India and the West and receive initiation as “Brahmins” in a pseudo-manner, as simply a title through which they seek to attain a great audience and manipulate the masses into “their” way of thinking, not traditional Vedic views – the majority of which they (a) are unaware of and (b) have no studied at all. Most are actually unaware of historical, spiritual and other terms and interpretations commonly known to most Indians or local traditions.
There are some reliable western teachers however, who spent a great deal of time in India and Asia learning local languages, traditions and teachings beyond the western conjected scholarship or the superficial “I learnt it from my Guru who came to America” models or those who did a few courses and who stick to traditional Bharatiya chronologies and histories and teachings in deeper manners as per traditions:
-Swami Sivaya Subramuniyaswami of the Saiva Siddhanta Movement in Hawaii
-Swami Satyananda Saraswati of Shree Maa Ashram, CA
-Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)
-Micheal Cremo (Drutakarma Dasa)
-Richard L. Thompson (Sadaputa Dasa)
Great traditional teachers in India include the great Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Swami Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati of the Arya Samaj, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Yogeshwaranand Saraswati, Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda and several others whose works should be studied by all Aryas and Bharatiyas.
I would reject any other teachers in the West who are caught between a model of seeing themselves as a “Western saviour” or “Western scholar” of Hinduism on one hand and a traditional Hindu or Brahmin on the other, as their teachings are often way out with regards to tradition, superficial and New Age at best. Their knowledge is incomplete and their cannot compete with the above on the world-stage as representing true Sanatana Dharma and Vedic Sciences in their organic manner or fashions.
-Ved Kovid, Durgadas