It is often we see that people defend the actions of their Gurus, due to the infallibility factor that has been attached to them. The need to see the Guru as “God” and interpolate the western belief of “God” as an infallible omnipresent and omnipotent old man in the sky is nothing short of a juvenile mind-born fetish over waking up to reality and facts. I have explained this more in detail in this article here.
In India existed many systems that believed and still believe in karma, samsara (reincarnation) and moksha (liberation from all lives), that included Adwaita (non-dualistic) Hinduism’s nirgunabhava (state of no qualities), Jainism and Buddhism that were in reality in their highest truth, atheistic – that is, not believing in and going beyond the idea of a personal God, which for all purposes is the limitation of a lesser mind. We also here, need not go on a Vaishnava-style rampage and try to have Adwaita deriving from Buddhism, when the Upanishads of India and even the Rig-Veda reveals the origin of Adwaita thought, ideas of maya (illusion) etc. which Buddhism itself borrowed and worked upon; so also, the idea of a personal deity at the lesser stages of devotion are also seen in the same ancient Vaidika recession also, as well as Tantrika concepts. What isn’t there is the finite God in Heaven or the limitation of a personal formed Deity alone as in Vaishnavism.
The highest Parashiva (supreme Shiva), Nirguna Brahman (attributeless Brahman) etc. was nirakara (formless), nirguna (attributeless), described as both sat (being), chid (consciousness) and ananda (bliss); as prana (life-force), paramatman (the supreme or inner-soul) beyond time, space, the world and all appearances. Any forms, even those of Mahadevas – which we can compare to actual living entities with higher causal embodied existence and greater, yet even finite life-spans, were never beyond the clutch of karma and thus never infallible,as the messages of the texts as the Puranas, the classical historical and mythological texts of India, reveal – many times they themselves had to undergo actions of their transgressions – what to speak of a lowly-embodied creature as a mortal physical humanoid in a much lesser age – even as a ‘Guru’ or pretender?
Somewhere along the line, the Vaishnavas between the 12th and 16th Centuries in India, consorting with and allowing non-Hindu converts from Islamic backgrounds into their faith catalysed a major change in the psyche within Vaishnavism itself, a virus which soon spread to other sects and cults across India – a thought that which Hindu on the face of it, introduced a very Semitic thought of even native systems such as pushti (grace), bhakti (devotion) and even moksha (release from rebirth). They also adopted the Abrahamic trait of cherry-picking verses and taking them out of context and using such to create divisions within older preexisting, more tolerant and integral systems – namely Adwaita traditions and their various yogas as steps or levels. They introduced finite concepts and infallibility of the Guru – much like the western idea of the Papacy and its Divine authority with the Church.
You see, while there are many scandals from across the board of Indian Gurus – and many of these are merely unfounded rants by jealous devotees – within Vaishnava traditions, the highest number and cases are being seen. The reason here is due to the juvenile nature of these people and laying such excessive emphasis on a “human God” or divinity, focusing on the central Deity itself as secondary alone. Even then, the juvenile behaviour of Vaishnavas, such as dictating when a deity eats, is dressed and locking them away, parading them about and even going so far as to devote one’s self to a doll of the deity and tend to it like a child – is somewhat derogatory to the human Rishis that never proclaimed themselves as the Central Deity – but only in a state of atmabhava (self-state), just as Guru Nanak’s statement of “na koi Hindu, na koi Mussalman” (there is no Hindu or Muslim) isn’t meant for the mundane embodied social state, but for the state of the Self, wherein no dualities like. Likewise, Adi Shankaracharya stated he had no mother or father – a statement again in atmabhava (self-state), not to be taken literally and superimposed or applied out of this atmika (self-like) context into the mundane / phenomenal world, any more than his own statements that he is Shiva in actuality are (though they are to Vaishnavas who, again see him as Shiva’s avatar or incarnation, as they do with Krishna’s statements in the Bhagavad Gita).
The very slanderous notions in the Bhagavata Purana – though spiritual allegories, have been taken as literal and not metaphoric by Vaishnavas, where they see Krishna as consorting with gopis at a tender age, having numerous ‘wives’ etc. Again, – allegories, but they don’t classify them as such in their very Abrahamic literal and physical world-view, divorced from the adhyatmika yaugika (inner yogic) view! Herein lies the issue. Moreover, the Mahabharata paints a different portrait of Krishna, as I have explained in my books and articles on the great Yogavatar or incarnation of yoga.
The very peculiar nature of the adherents of Vaishnavism reveals, as with Christianity and any devotee of cult-movements and ashram-dwellers, a sociopathic gene and also one that attempts to mask their numerous psychological conditions.
We also never see a Saivite, Advaitin, a Jewish Rabbi or even a Zoroastrian / Parsi knocking at our door trying to convert us, trolling us on social-media pages with endless quotations from their Masters’ works or mainstream texts – nor are they seeking to slander anyone in a trance of spiritual sociopathy or covert narcissism as we do with Muslims, Christians and the ‘Hindu’ Vaishnavas! The self-righteousness is left at home and in the faith and does no transgress these, unless to simply draw attention to purity of their teachings when attacked, misunderstood or misappropriated by others (again, often Christians, Muslims and Vaishnavas). It is the story of ‘everyone to their own, unless you attack us, and then we will take up arms to defend ourselves’, not the Christian, Islamic and Vaishnava maxim ‘we shall go forth and zealously proselytise at all costs!’.
A peculiarity also that we don’t (commonly) see outside of Vaishnavism, Christian Catholicism and Islam, is the abuse of women and children and notable cases of pedophilia. This may be placed down to the blind-devotional systems in these faiths, in which adherents actually think and act like children with juvenile samskaras (karmic and personal impressions or traits). Take the Vaishnavas for example as noted before – while most Hindus will bathe and dress a sacred murthi (idol) and see it as symbolic devotionalism for a higher purpose – a lesser stage of dwaita (dualism) leading to eventual adwaita (non-dualism) – the Vaishnavas see the image as literally God itself, adore it and modicodle it like a young girl with a Barbie doll, unable to understand the difference between an object of symbolism and one of reality. As noted, the same is also with their textual translations as well. When one has such a juvenile mind, mixed with a self-righteous narcissistic attitude, I guess one is attracted therefore to children and also sees nothing wrong with transgressing their own moralistic barriers and taboos – but will openly engage in criticism of those such as the Aghori Tantrikas that openly display their vulgarity in public, not covertly, in order to transcend the duality of the world and render asunder the boundaries of the ego-mind complex. Here, sattvas becomes not the self-righteous ideology of the ahankara (ego) within the mithya (false)–realm of snobbery amidst the self-entitled Vaishnava / Christian and Islamic Puritans – but something to be transcended, as a guna or materialistic trait itself, still a property, not nir-guna (devoid of physical characteristics) per se as in Tantrism. Still, none molest children or degrade and rape women, unlike their Vaishnava / Islamic / Christian attackers who label them as heretics, heathens and evil-beings or sinners!
While Hindu Saivism and Saktism give equal importance to both counterparts as a whole, the Vaishnava feminine as Radha and Lakshmi become somewhat subordinate to the lofty Vishnu in Vaishnava systems (not his ‘power’ as in other systems), which reflects a strong antagonism towards the Divine Feminine (not the same as human feminists using such to further their liberal gains) – not dissimilar to the male-dominated and almost homoerotic systems of Christianity and Islam in the west, not to mention fantasy paradises after death as moksha, not the state of formless merger in Consciousness per se! Here, Vaishavism reflects many Abrahamic tenets – something seen as early as 400BCE in the Bhagavata cult of India that gained even Greek adherents during Alexander’s time!
Like Islam’s Mosques and Catholicism’s grand Cathedrals, Vaishnavism prides itself upon personal wealth and physical structures of temples as a sign of outer faith rather than inner (like their physical paradises) – such as we see with ISKCON Bangalore with it’s Krishna Lila Theme Park to the grand-scale Akshadham temple of the Swami-Narayan movement of India, back to the historical Padmanabhaswami Temple in Kerala and Venktateshwara / Tirupati Temple in Andhra Pradesh – each personally possessing more wealth than the Vatican itself does! Yes, while other Hindu demonimations do possess grand historic temples, none has ever matched, nor does today, the grand-scale of Vaishnavas and their wealth or lavishness reminiscent of ancient Persia!
And herein lies the issue. I have discussed The Ego of Sattvas here that readers may also care to read and go further with. It connects to what is discussed here relative to such cults and how they have twisted Hinduism and moulded it out of the original fashion, like a yoga-teacher contorting their body out of the bounds of the original intention – to develop supple, male military personnel in ancient Sindh!