Devotion to the Guru as Bhakti Yoga - Pros and Cons
The adulation of the devotee for their guru, and
the identification of one's own guru with the
of the age is however not uncommon in Hindu
(and perhaps universal) religious belief.
In India at least it is considered a legitamate form of bhakti yoga (Yoga
of Devotion), and has been for thousands of years. The guru, quite
simply, is seen as the representative or incarnation
of God on Earth, and certainly the representative
of God to the devotee. This is so even if the Guru is a pretty mediocre
guru, or even a fake. It is part of that religious tradition.
Parallels can be seen elsewhere, for example, Tibetan Buddhism, Sufism,
the New Age movement, etc.
Because of the emphasis on bhakti yoga - the worship of the Guru as
God, many gurus claim that they are God.
In some cases this is due the genuine (whether deluded or valid) belief
and/or experience of the guru in his/her own states of Divine consciousness.
In some cases it is deliberate fraud. Perhaps occaisonally it is
a "teaching device" - an upaya or "skillful means" to use the terminology
of Mahayana (especially Tibetan)
Buddhism. There is also the problem of how
appropriate all this is for the modern age, when it is so tempting
for the guru who still retains an atom of egotism to get enmeshed in the
whole power and sex trip of being a guru.
page uploaded 12 March 2000