Guru-Disciple: Another Round of Clarification and Correction


By the discussion that arose from my previous posts on this topic (Traditional vs. Modern Approach and the followup) I came to realize that I was in error to depict the dynamic as if it was a problem limited to ISKCON and Gauḍīya Maṭha. I realize now that many, many gurus outside those institutions also have thousands of disciples. My apologies there for assuming the dynamic to be relatively limited to ISKCON and the Gaḍīya Maṭh.

Also there were many gurus in the old days who had thousands of disciples (though I think it is still correct to say that it was much less frequent). So, it would have been better not to present the issue as “Gauḍīya Maṭh vs. others” or “Traditional vs. Modern” but simply as “many disciples vs few disciples.” Had I done that, I think the point I was trying to communicate would have been clearer and easier to grasp (the point is: it’s easier to take care of a few disciples, and in the long run the knowledge being transmitted transmits to more people).

Also, to make the original posts much more clear – some clarification needed to be made between “official” guru and “functioning” guru (sometimes the way we use the word dīkṣa-guru and śikṣa-guru refers to this difference). Often one person can go around and inspire thousands, thus becoming the guru of thousands in some official or theoretical way, but my main point is that there needs to be a low student-to-teacher ratio between the disciple and the person doing the real day to day help with their study and practice. Everyone accepts the concept that low student-to-teacher ratio is much more effective than a high ratio.

Vraja Kishor dās

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