Can a “Guru” Preach Something That Isn’t In Śāstra?
In case you are wondering if a “Guru” is so “holy” and “spiritual” that he or she can say anything, and we should just believe them… here is a short extract from the first chapter of a summary study of Nāma Cintāmaṇī by Śrī Kānupriya Goswāmī, which I am blessed to be working on.
Powerful, charismatic people create new religions from time to time. If their goals and methods are founded on the eternal principles revealed in Superhuman Sāstra, their new religion and scripture can be accepted as valid.
The more thoroughly a new religion aligns with eternal principles the more it will be decorated with success and fulfillment. These eternal principles include faith in God, non-violence, truthfulness, purity, philanthropy, renunciation and sense control — fundamental principles universally acknowledged as virtues by all cultures throughout history. The faiths of the world are based on these principles, expressed in different ways according to qualifications and circumstances of the culture in which they are founded.
The less a new religion aligns with eternal principles, the less beneficial it is. The main tenant of Indian theology since time immemorial is that, no matter how impressive and extraordinary a saint or prophet may be, his philosophy will not be accepted as valid if its foundations cannot be substantiated in the words of śāstra. Thus a new book or religious system that fully agrees with śāstra will be happily embraced and itself granted the status of śāstra. But new theories that contradict the conclusions of śāstra, regardless of how erudite they may otherwise be, are respectfully excluded from the Vedic umbrella and their texts are never granted recognition as Human Sāstra.
Buddhism is an excellent example. Sāstra states that Bhagavān Śrī Buddha-deva is an avatāra of Vishnu — like Śrī Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Matsya, Kūrma, Vāmana, Paraśurāma and Kalkī — and all Indians accept it. But because his teachings and the teachings of his followers do not concur with many of the eternal Vedic principles, Buddhism is respectfully excluded from Vedic umbrella and its texts are not considered śāstra.
Buddha is Vishnu Himself, but even His teachings are unacceptable because they are not in harmony with śāstra. What to speak of the ease with which we should reject the teachings of ordinary people that are disconsonant with śāstra! In modern times ordinary people have concocted so many whimsical religious and moral ideas. Those who are not educated about the need to reject these ideas, or who lack knowledge of śāstra and thus cannot evaluate the merit of new ideas, are mislead and soon betrayed and frustrated by such concoctions. This causes the reigns of social disciple to slacken and permits society to veer into dissatisfaction, wantonness, bullying, and general anarchy.