General Characteristics of Modern Guru Movement
Gurus have been with us for a long time
Today they have become popular
Verities of people bow before them
Guruism is now a worldwide force
Guruism is a struggle for cultural independence in India and
It is a struggle for counter culture in the west.
India - Cultural independence: guruism may be revival of Indian culture
West- there was catholic theology, the protestant reformation and humanist enlightenment.
In this context the west was searching for something new.
That was the time guruism came.
Meaning of Guru:
Gur – u i.e. he tortures, kills or eats up the ignorance of his disciples, elevates or makes efforts to elevate his character and ultimately leads him to the path of salvation.
The word Guru is not in the Vedas because mainly sacrifices
In the Upanishad the idea of guru developed. Here it means the one who gives religious instruction.
In puranas and Tantra guru is the inventor of a sect or creed . thus became important.
There was Kabir, Gurunananak, nine gurus and Adi granth takes the place of guru.
Many considers guru as god i.e. god-man
Five sociological factors that produced guruism in India:
The nature of Aryan education: Brahmachariya, total, slavish acceptance of what was
Esoteric character of Indian religions: Upanishad – secret knowledge,
Class system (Brahmin dominance): Brahmanism was replaced by guruism. Four
castes became two: initiated and the non-initiated
Authoritarian structure of Indian family
Repressive Puritanism of Indian society: strict segregation of sexes. Here gurus had sex
Important factors in the west:
Since Swami Vivekananda there was respectability to Hinduism
There was an intellectual vacuum after rejecting isms and Christianity.
Erosion of religious authority: failure of Christianity to the demand of the time
Enlightenment, science, naturalistic humanism or secularism.
Reaction to hollow materialism
Frustration with futile reactionism: need to escape from the world
Disillusionment with barren rationalism
Rationalism could not answer all questions in life.
The intellectual impulses behind Guruism:
Epistemology is science of knowledge
Indian gurus spoke of silence
The Indian gurus have filled the vacuum created by the epistemological crisis of the west.
From physics to monism, idealism, irrationalism (truth is irrational or super rational).
From Biology to Mysticism –consciousness
From psychology to Vedanta- Guru has become an eastern substitute for a
From para-psychology to gurus i.e. powers of extra sensory perception and action to
From ecology to pantheism
Differences between old and new gurus: