Thursday, 20 September 2012

Eka Guru or Aneka Guru in Kaula - Cont

harau ruShTe gurustrAtA gurau ruShTe na kashcana |
Meaning :

A guru can protect a shiShya from the anger of hara (shiva) but none can protect the shiShya from the wrath of the guru !

So, will not leaving one guru for another, invite the wrath of the pUrvaguru? It will. Not only that, leaving the pUrvaguru will also lead to losing of all knowledge.

It is also a fact that in the matter of choosing the disciple, a guru has unlimited freedom. But there is a specific injunction in the tantras against accepting another’s disciple. Tantric texts are unequivocal in this respect when they say:

“na deyaM parashiShyebhyaH” – Not to be given to another’s disciple.. etc

So who is a “parashiShya”? What are the conditions / circumstances under which a disciple can quit his guru and seek another? Under what circumstances, a guru can accept another’s disciple as his?

Before going into the meaning of the word “parashiShya”, it would be proper to know who is a shiShya in the sense and context of the word parashiShya, since, acceptance of parashiShya is strictly prohibited.

shaive gurutrayaM proktaM vaiShNave gurupancakam |
vedashAstreShu shatasho gururekaH kulAnvaye ||

In shaivism three gurus are authorished, in vaiShNavism, five. As far as VedashAstra-s are concerned, there can be hundreds of gurus. But in kulamArga, there can be only one guru. Thus, it may be seen that the word shiShya is used to generally indicate a disciple. But what is important is the context. A teacher-student relationship gets established in many ways like in a school, wherein you have a teacher for various subjects. Viewed in this context, in tantra also, many gurus are encountered. They are

prerakaH sUcakashcaiva vAcako darshakastathA |
shikShako bodhakashcaiva ShaDete guruvaH smRtAH ||
pancaite kAryabhUtAH syuH kAraNaM bodhako bhavet

prerakaH – who urges an aspirant to take to upasana, sUcakaH – who indicates about the path, darshakaH – who shows the path, shikShakaH – who teaches about the path and bodhakaH – who awakens. (Its also possible that a single guru does all the actions as above) The relation with the first five is limited to taking the aspirant to the bodhaka guru, i.e. the one who awakens. All these gurus do play important role in the journey of the aspirant in this shAstra. But the final destination is the pUrNAbhiSheka guru who alone is competent to give his pAdukA and therefore qualifies to be worshipped as the “kulaguru”.

pUrNAbhiShekakarttA yo gurustasyaiva pAdukA |
pUjanIyA maheshAni bahutve'pi na saMshayaH ||


The gurupAduka for the disciple is only from the guru who does the pUrNAbhiSheka and he alone is to be worshipped among the others, without doubt. The ‘others’ here refer to the prerakaH, sUcakaH etc.

In the normal course, a shiShya should not change his guru after he has obtained a worthy kulaguru according to the dictum “labdhvA kulagurum samyak na gurvantaramAshrayet”.

However, situation may arise when the disciple has to quit even his kulaguru. What are these circumstances?

In the course of upasana, if doubts arise in the mind of a disciple after the death of his guru, and he finds that another guru is competent with prescribed attributes and surrenders to the other guru, then the second guru may accept the disciple as his own. In case, the first guru is alive then the more competent guru may, with the consent of the first one accept the disciple who has surrendered to him.

Further, due to the absence of capacity to estimate the competence of a kulaguru, some people do get trapped and initiated by unscrupulous or incompetent gurus. On realizing that one’s guru is incompetent if a disciple quits him and goes for another competent guru, no doSha or curse will befall him in such a situation as per the following verse:

anabhijnaM guruM prApya sadA saMshayakArakam |
gurvantarantu gatvA sa naitaddoSeNa lipyate ||


gurorapyavaliptasya kAryAkAryamajAnataH |
utpathapratipannasya parityAgo vidhIyate ||

Meaning – “An arrogant guru who doesn’t know what is to be done and what not, and who has strayed from his pAramparya and is treading a wrong path, is fit to be renounced by the disciple along with all the mantras received from that guru”.

And if such a disciple with the prescribed attributes, approaches another guru with the prescribed attributes and surrenders to him, then the second guru may accept him as his disciple without the consent of the first guru.

Finally, all these issues arise due to non adherence to the laid down rules of shAstra. Before aspiring to do her upAsana, one must first introspect whether he or she has the prescribed attributes of a shiShya. It should also be remembered that an aspirant is well within his/her rights to test the competence of the prospective guru, just as a guru should never accept a person as disciple without testing. Tantras prescribe a mandatory period of 1 year or 6 months or 3 months as the case may be for mutual parIkShaNa (testing).


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