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Relevance of ancient Indian scriptures: A shepherd or a guru?

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Dayanand Saraswati answers thus, “No it is not right. Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara, and Parabrahma are all names of the Supreme Being and the guru can never be equal to God. This, whatever you have said, is probably the work of some foe. True gurus are one’s father, mother, tutor, and guests. The Vedas say, to serve them and acquire knowledge and culture from them is the duty of the pupils and the children.”

“But the Vedas also say that if the guru is covetous, is worldly, and possesses a nasty temper, he should be left alone. It is the duty of the king to correct these gurus. First, by general admonition; if still intractable, inflict punishment or put them to death. They are false gurus who tie strings of beads around the necks of their dupes, chelas and so on. I won’t go much into it, because it would be considered bad taste to do so. We could also call these gurus shepherds because, just like the shepherds maintain goats and sheep for the purpose of obtaining milk, these gurus have male and female disciples in order to extricate their money which they enjoy themselves.”

And, like a friend, he held my hand and walked. He allowed me to walk on this journey to find the truth without the compulsion to believe anything blindly what he said.


Here, I was quoting Dayanand Saraswati—the founder of the Arya Samaj—who was himself such a great Vedic scholar and a Sanskritist, that people were afraid of having a scriptural argument with him lest they be vanquished. Well, having said this, let me also add that I myself have had a guruan unknown man who had no banner, who wore white, who wandered in the Himalayas without a house to live, without a roof over his head. He was one who had no organisation, no banners, no distinctive marks, yet, I am indebted to him for all that I understood about the Upanishads.

And, like a friend, he held my hand and walked. He allowed me to walk on this journey to find the truth without the compulsion to believe anything blindly what he said. At every step—like Amartya Sen said in his book The Argumentative Indian—he encouraged argument. Of course, constructive argument and not an argument for the sake of argument, which we are quite familiar with. So, let us proceed now to one of the Upanishads—one of the most ancient, one of the oldest ones, one of the principal Upanishads. And, as we proceed, let’s learn how important it is and how relevant it is even today—as it was perhaps 2000 years ago—especially for the young and the intelligent.

2 Comments
  • Sujin Balakumaran
    June 12, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    I was also lucky to find a great teacher who is modern and practical. When I asked his permission to be a teacher, he said “Lets be friends…!!” I still cannot take out that first interactions from my thoughts.

  •    Soulveda
       Soulveda
    June 13, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Hi Sujin, you are lucky. You seem to have found an interesting teacher.

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