Sunday, March 12, 2006

How can we recognise false masters and prophets?

(second edition)

“Under whose guide do you search for God?”

There does not exist false masters, gurus or prophets, because is they are false they can not be called a master, guru or prophet.

All the lies in this world are hidden behind some wonderful announcement

The true masters are humble not arrogant, they do not treat people badly; to the contrary, they are full of universal love.

Don’t take refuge in materialism. Don’t be fooled. Find a spiritual guide.

In the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 16, text 4, it is said: Pride, arrogance, anger, laziness and ignorance; these are the qualities of the demonic nature.

We must protect ourselves from those who have an interest in exploiting us. We must be wary of those who say there is no one superior to them; wary of those who profess monism, who say that we are God.

To be on the path of spiritual realisation is the greatest thing in life

The spiritual master has the most elevated thought, aspirations and ideals. C.C. Bhakti Yoga

There are many people in this world who conceal their personal motivations behind marvellous signs that appeal to the religious sensibility of humanity. Virtually all the lies in this world are secretly hidden behind some beautiful signs and diverse fragments of truth that are universally attractive and accepted. We rarely find someone who says: "watch this film and you will become more violent", "smoke this cigarette and you will have cancer", "accept this philosophy so that I can take your money", "accept this political leader so that he can enjoy the glory of his false ego and not serve the public as he promised".

In order to recognize the truth and to be able to protect ourselves from the false invitations and deceit that this world offers, we have to go deeper and not only see what the diverse groups and persons promise and say. First we should analyze the character and the results from the teachings of the master or school, in the persons that sincerely follow this path. We should see, for example, their sexual conduct; if extramarital sexual relations are permitted, we can already reject this teaching as counterproductive to advancement.

If some type of intoxication is permitted that simply damages the brain causing chemical dependence, drug addiction or alcoholism we should not accept this as something truthful. If we find some message in it, where it is permitted to kill or mistreat animals, we should immediately understand that on the path, there is very little love, and therefore there is nothing of interest to us. If it promotes deceiving others and gambling, if there are lies, then this is not going to be something that brings us to the truth.

In India, there are many criteria given by the scriptures in order to recognize a true spiritual master. First, a spiritual master comes from a chain of spiritual masters and he teaches and practices what he learned from his spiritual master. The master is not attracted by opulence or money; everything that he receives, he immediately uses for the good of others and for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

With much mercy, they teach us in order to uplift the fallen from their conditioning, so that they can take refuge in spiritual amnesty. Spiritual masters teach their pupils that the revealed authorized scriptures are the real guidelines to determine whether a person can be accepted or not as a spiritual authority. Their teachings should coincide with the sacred scriptures and they should also be endorsed by the practices of those who follow their instructions and who can be seen as positively transformed persons.

Additionally, one should check one's own heart to see if one feels inspiration and positively guided after having visited the guru; and whether the guru, scriptures and other masters agree and harmonize their teachings. If we see this to be so, and the heart also feels something positive, we should follow his teachings, because in this world the only thing that we can do is to make our best effort; and if we decide to put into practice the good that we have found with all sincerity, this attitude will guarantee that we get ahead. And if, in some moment, we are mistaken, the Lord Himself will protect us from these false paths.

The false teachings of materialism that are promoted in modern schools, universities and in the media are very dangerous. They have engendered pure materialism into a majority of humanity. Consumerism is dedicated to making the system wealthier, but without consciousness and sensitivity to the individual. And the great necessity, the great desire of the people, to leave this completely disagreeable situation is taken advantage of by unscrupulous people with hidden agendas.

Really, they do not teach the complete truth, because God is He who maintains everything. If we can not even easily maintain ourselves, how can we say that there is no one above us? Mother Nature is above us, and if there were no God, we would have to give thanks to her, who provides for our bodily needs. Since we all have a gigantic false ego, we like it when someone tells us that there is no one above us, that we are all part of the Supreme; but as Schopenhauer calls it, this is “friendly” atheism. Instead we should search for the humble masters who give recognition to, and who are grateful for, the teachings and illumination they have received, and who feel true compassion for all living entities. These should be the stars that teach us the light of the way to universal love; until we can find a personal relationship with the Lord of the Universe, the friend of everyone.

Teachings of Sripad Paramadvaiti Swami

Translation: Erica Wolski, Gopananda dasa


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