Sri Ramana and Modern Day Gurus: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar
I am very often asked by Sri Bhagavan’s devotees what I feel about modern day teachers and gurus.
I don’t know how to answer that question well. I do not personally know most of these teachers.
For sincere devotees of Bhagavan, I recommend that they seek company of other devotees. Sri Ramana exemplified all that is best in a living Self-Realized sage in his actions. The Sage of Arunachala was liberal, tolerant, compassionate, and for him all faiths and religions had a place and were welcomed with an open heart.
Sri Ramana lived as a recluse first but when a community formed around him, his life became public. He was in the spotlight 24 hours a day, seven days a week for over 50 years. During all this time, he lived as an ascetic and served all those who came to him and answered their questions.
The devotees know that Sri Bhagavan was so alert to everyone’s welfare and that included not just people but also animals and plants and trees in his vicinity. He refused to eat unless enough was available for everyone. I recall that when the plague came to that area of India, one of the devotees came down with it. Others wanted to leave that devotee and for Bhagavan to come with them. They assured Bhagavan that food would be periodically sent to the afflicted individual. Sri Ramana told them that they could go but he would stay with the devotee who had come down with the dreaded disease and continue to serve him.
How many modern day teachers and gurus can do that?
Like many saints, Bhagavan led a pure and spotless life.
Sometimes, people write me very moving letters detailing how they have had experiences with certain gurus thought to be enlightened who actually were very abusive. Given below is an answer I recently gave to someone after hearing their heart breaking account.
Thank you for your sharing. I am so glad to know that you came through OK what must have been some very difficult experiences and trying times in your spiritual journey. Surely Bhagavan was with you all the way.
I have known of many gurus not treating their students well and have written about it in the following article.
I know that many teachers use Sri Ramana to bolster themselves but are not able to live up to the teaching. Once someone asked Sri Ramana the fate of a false guru and those who followed that guru. Sri Ramana said, “each according to their merit.”
People should be very alert to gurus who are on power trips and abusive of others. If someone asked me for advice about any guru, I would counsel them to be patient and cautious before deciding to follow someone. Those of us who have Bhagavan as our Sat Guru have nothing to gain by following anyone else.
My teacher Chitrabhanu-ji used to visit Sri Ramana in his teenage years. Chitrabhanu-ji told me, when I was very young, to follow Sri Ramana and study the teachings of the Sage of Arunachala.
It was like magic for me. That was back in 1978 when I rediscovered my connection with Bhagavan. I have never felt the need to follow any other guru.
But each to their own. This is the way of the life and we can only wish the best for others. If someone asks me about gurus, Sri Ramana is the only one I can point to.