Archives 89 – Transcendent Being or Fallible Human?

Monuments and Heritage sites

Monuments and Heritage sites

by Angela Burt

In Search of the Authentic Guru in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Tradition. The qualities and qualifications of a guru who is worthy of offering guidance and who can help the disciple to become free from material existence

are described in Gaudiya Vaishnava texts. A central text in the tradition, the Bhagavata Purana explainsthat a person should turn to a guru who knows God, is calm and whose self is in God. Another text, Hari-bhakti-vilasa indicates that an authentic guru should be pure in heart, free from anger, non-violent, thoughtful, humble- minded, faithful and free from envy. Such a guru should be devoted to suitable conduct, have knowledge of the Vedas and scriptures, be well-spoken, affectionate to his or her disciples, be devoted to sacrifices and mantras, and possess expertise in logic and debate. A guru should not make disciples out of a desire for worship, honor and gain. In other words, a guru should not take on the position for personal gain, but rather, to benefit others.

Selection of a spiritual guide can be made whimsically, based on superficial factors such as an attractive personality that is charismatic in the popular sense. Or it can be made in a discerning manner, based on the core principles of wisdom, detachment from self-interest, and exemplary conduct observed over a period of time. Buy the current issue to read the entire article.

artwork © Daniel Villafruela CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


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