The Vaishnava teacher who gave these cautionary instructions for gurus wrote many important works on the practise of bhakti. When the sacred town of Sri Rangam was being attacked by Mogul invaders, who eventually slaughtered 12,000 people, he made a daring plan to escape with the utsava murti of Ranganatha (smaller deities above)
I saw this today – The Reprehensible Delusions of Guruship – and wondered if it might help us in ISKCON. Like other pieces I come across, it is from a mediaeval south Indian saint and guru, in this case Sri Pillai Lokacarya (1217-1323).
Pillai Lokacharya has described in Srivachana Bhushan (308 – 310) three reprehensible delusions which must be avoided by the guru at all costs. These are:-
1. The delusions of ‘preceptorship’ – thinking of oneself as the preceptor – a guru should think of himself as simply a conduit of the Lord’s Grace and not as a teacher of sacred lore, this awareness prevents the guru from developing the egotistical notion of being a great and learned person and having custodianship of spiritual knowledge.
2. The delusions about the role of the disciple – thinking of the disciple as one’s own personal adherent – the disciple should rather be thought of as a co-disciple of the same acharya. Thus the guru avoids the potential for exploitation inherent in the relationship.
3. The delusions arising from the process of instruction of a sisya – these are of four categories:-
a. seeking to gain financially from the disciple, either by tuition fees or dakshina.
b. the delusion that one is actually facilitating the liberation of the disciple.
c. the delusion that one is assisting the Lord in his salvific agenda.
d. seeking or expecting social companionship or service from disciples.