Chakra Discussions

Modern people may hesitate to accept a guru

by Suneel Kunamaneni

Posted June 3, 2004

I absolutely agree with Zack Sunderman ("To be a Guru"). However, I felt I should express my opinions as well.

Firstly, it is very important to realize how fast the world has changed within the last 20 years or so. An ordinary man would feel that there is far more variety and pleasure in material objects than many seemingly monotonous spiritual organisations can provide.

Many Vaishnava sects may be existing just because individuals want to be different from others. It is this difference that gives rise to different sectarian views and Vaishnavism, at least in the first few years of the 21st century, appears to be founded on these principles.

I have seen numerous arguments on different topics like the issue of authority, strict adherence to the four regulative principles, and vegetarianism, etc. Any busy man of the present day would not be satisfied with the arguments among the many differing groups. I think modern man wants variety and assured relief from transience, and does not like to build an aura around an individual seen as Guru. They are extremely hesitant to be involved in anything that is built around apparently "imaginary" stories and myths, and prefer sects practising ashtanga or falun gong to the varieties that Vaishnavism can provide.

It appears that societies like ISKCON are failing in the expectations of their followers. The many guru dropouts and acceptances of weakness have cast doubt in the minds of followers whether this path of variety is going to give relief from the temporariness of this material world. I have also heard complaints of ruination of teenage enjoyment which led to withdrawal at middle age. Societies like ISKCON must be extemely cautious about possible criticisms of hypocrisy and effectiveness of its methodology. I think the issue of authority is a bane for our society in the sense that there has not been conclusive literature on this.

An organisational dictating body (like the GBC) is ultimately composed of individuals and the acceptance of a motion is dependent upon the thinking of the majority of individuals, so I cannot influence the minds of the GBC. I can express my concerns; it is up to them to accept it or not. So I can only say "Gurus, be cautious. Your activities are always seen, but no one bothers about a commoner like me."