Dangers of being a GURU


In our Hindu culture, becoming a guru is a often seen as the ultimate pinnacle of most teachers and priests' lives. 
However, most never know the inherent dangers of becoming a Guru !

One of the biggest problem is pride. 
Flattery of devottess, disciples and sychophants can inflate the ego of any Guru.  Most gurus, once they accumulate enough disciples, feel they are all powerful and can do no wrong.  Some go so far as to declare themselves to be even more powerful than GOD !!  The language of this omnipotence is very simple and often encapsulated in the following verse -

Guru Govind dono khade, kisko lagu pai,
Guru balihari app ki, jine Govind deyo batay.

In short, because the Guru introduces you to God, you should worship him / her first.  Gurus thus usurp the power and position of God by repeating this single, simple verse - probably created by a Guru !

Exact and correct translation of the verse is –
“Guru and God are standing side by side.  Who should I bow to ?
Thank you Guruji for pointing out God to me.”

i.e. – Guruji is pointing out that you should bow to God, not to him. 

It is very tempting for gurus to usurp the position of God, especially when fawning sycophants are urging them to declare themselves as living divinity.  Therein lies the danger for both the gurus and there disciples.  Gurus' every word is recorded with loving accuracy by the disciples.   Gurus' every gesture is scrutinized and mimicked by disciples desperate to be mini versions of them.  Just as absolute power corrupts absolutely; constant adoration and deafening adulation, offered as blind devotion, is capable of turning anyone's head !  Constant attention of feet-hugging disciples can swell the head of even the most sensible of people, leading to delusions of grandeur and divinity.  As a result, many gurus feel they can do no wrong !  Indeed, even when are wrong, they feel it is by some divine design and hence even their mistakes are sanctioned by the supreme !  Their delusion of being one with God is so absolute, they tell their devotes to refer to them as God, worship as God and some insist they deserve to be worshiped before God !  In many sects you are expected to bow first to the guru before even starting the puja / seva.  Some sects have gone further and have replaced all images of God with that of their Guru !  Akshardham in New Dehli is a classic case of this craziness.

Sometimes, even gurus give out wrong information.  Whether this is through a genuine mistake, pride, ego or even selfish interest,  misinformation can harm the prospects of a genuine seeker trying to get to God.  For example, most Gurus claim that if God becomes angry with a devotee, they (the Guru) can shield them from divine wrath.  But, if they, the guru, becomes angry with the disciple, God certainly can't protect the disciple !  Who better to say this than the guru !!  Such tall claims are repeated ad-infinitum and the gullible disciples swallow these claims without examination or argument.  Scriptures warn us about such gurus and their inflated sense of self-importance.  Ambrish and Durvasa's tale is one of many tales to help point out that gurus are not infallible and gurus are not God.  Bali and Shukracharya along with Pandavas and their elders are further examples of guru worship that went too far.

Being human, even gurus are fallible.  Challenge is for the gurus and their disciples to recognise this is and make a course correction as and when required.  Most gurus, with sufficient help from their adulating disciples, set themselves up for failure.  They place themselves so high above everyone around them, that they do not see the dangers of being "wrong".

Guru is a guide.  Guru is a path finder.  Guru is a mentor.
Guru is not the goal.  Guru is not the destination.  Guru is not God.

Danger comes when people misunderstand the role of what a guru does or does not do and hence expect more from this than the guru can actually deliver.  Most gurus are happy to accept the material benefits of being a spiritual guide, but devolve the actual responsibly of delivering the results to their own Guru or better still God !  Most are very diplomatic in their ability to help in matters spiritual & temporal and leave actual results in the lap of the gods !

Most claim that if you succeed in spiritual sadhana, it is through their grace.  If you fail, it is because of your own lack of resolve and karma !  They do not guarantee success and yet give off an aura of infallibility.

It amazes me that people ask gurus for help in the temporal sphere.  If the guru has left sansar, why bother them with matters relating to sansar ?  If the guru hasn't left sansar, with burden them with your matters on top of their own ?  If the guru is a guide for the mundane world, ask them about the area of their expertise.  Do not confuse the matter by asking for advise outside their scope of expertise.  You would not ask a physics teacher about art or a car mechanic about heart surgery, so why ask a spiritual guru about sansar ?

If the guru is there for spiritual matters, let them guide you only in spiritual matters.  Do not ask about your children's education or which marriage proposal to accept or naming your baby, your business or court cases !  These are matters for you to sort out.  They are not in the sphere of Guru's influence to command.  Guru has no expertise in these matters - so let it be !

One of the reasons why gurus fail is their disciples.  It is because we are lazy and do not want to seek guidance from the correct source that we try and find a multi-functional guru who can deliver more than one set of expertise.  It saves us having to look for more than one guide.  It is because of our own apathy that we have abdicated our responsibilities and ask too much from a single source of data.  Results are obvious - when Gurus fail to deliver on temporal matter, we blame them / God or our fate for the failure rather than our own stupidity of asking wrong person in the first place !

Guru should remain as a "guide".  As long as they do this and no more, there is no danger of failing their disciples.


There are two other articles in this relation to this -
Lessons from the tale of Ambrish and Durvasa muni
Why do "we" gravitate towards Gurus


© Bhagwat Shahah   
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