Seeking Enlightenment:
How To Find A True Teacher, Sat Guru?
Whom To Follow and Whom Not To Follow

“A blind leading a blind, both will fall into a pit.”

A guru is the one who removes the veil of ignorance from the eyes of his disciples. But, most modern gurus who lead a cult just do the exact opposite, they pull over a veil of ignorance and fanaticism over the eyes of their followers. 

We give a lot of thinking about what profession we would go into, whom would we marry, or where would we go for our next vacation. Why don’t we give equal importance to whom we should follow? 

Buddham Sharnam Gacchami
Dharmam Sharnam Gacchami
Sangham Sharnam Gacchami

Buddha is the Enlightened One, the avatar, the saviour.
Dharma is the cosmic principles or the doctrine of the Buddha, spiritual knowledge.
Sangha is the group, the organization led by a guru.

Here Shakyamuni gives us the 3 prerequisites of sure success on the spiritual path. You need the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. All three are essential. Even if one is absent, it would become almost impossible for someone to succeed on the spiritual path.

Now, whenever you are attracted or invited to a group or spiritual organization, firstly, find out about the lineage which this group or spiritual organization follows. Now a days, it’s so easy, just search the internet or their website. A Buddha is the one who has been there, done that. A Buddha is not just repeating someone else’s words. He has self-expression. He reveals the cosmic secrets or at least some part of it. He teaches the cosmic laws, the Dharma and gives the world a new understanding of the laws we are subject to in this cosmos we cohabit.

Secondly, find out what is their philosophy, what principles do they follow, not preach but follow and practice. Preaching is one thing, practicing is another. What is their spiritual doctrine? Neither a kriya, yoga asanas, pranayama, a stress alleviating technique or methods are doctrines, nor vegetarianism, chanting and meditation techniques are philosophies or Dharma. A philosophy or Dharma is the path that organization follows to reach enlightenment, Nirvana or Buddhahood. A lot of people can talk eloquently with wit and intelligence, but what is their core philosophy, that’s the million dollar question? Do they have any? 

Thirdly, if they are solely based on a personality, the founder — and the whole organisation fanatically and blindly just keep chanting the guru’s name, then there should be no doubt left in your mind and heart that they are a personality cult without a Buddha and Dharma. 

Now a days, a self-confessed atheist runs a very famous yoga school in India which has a huge following all over the world. Another most famous Indian guru, touted as the love guru, an apostle of peace, with a world wide following, is in fact known to be a homo-sexual in his inner circle. Some famous modern Indian gurus have been already exposed in sex scandals. And what is common in all of the above is that all their followers fanatically worship their guru. That is a surest sign of a personality cult. Moreover, none has a Buddha guiding them. Of course, they would want their followers to believe that the guru is a Buddha. 

But a Buddha will never charge for teaching Dharma, and of course a Buddha will teach the Dharma. But neither these gurus have any Dharma to teach, nor they follow any Dharma, except for some meditation techniques, the same old yoga postures and hyperventilating breathing exercises peddled with some old Vedic verses and new kindergarten spiritual blab. Of course, they can be forgiven for charging for those. Because these postures, techniques and breathing exercises are not spiritual knowledge. At best they cleanse and energise your Vital and Physical Body, that’s all. Know this that a spiritual organisation or guru guided by a Buddha will never charge for spiritual knowledge.

So here are some sure signs of a cult you should stay away:
1. There is no lineage leading back to a Buddha.
2. A lot of verbal coquetry, but no real doctrine. There is no philosophy – core wisdom, a path that leads to enlightenment, no Dharma guiding the organization. Or they charge money for spiritual knowledge, if they have any.
3. The guru is fanatically and blindly worshipped, it’s a personality cult.

Alas, the masses believe that if some guru has millions of people following him, comes on tv and talks eloquently, he or she must be spiritually enlightened. This is the biggest fallacy. Remove the veil of ignorance from your eyes and evaluate intelligently before you commit your life and soul to any such guru.

To your enlightenment…

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