Guru in Two Perspectives

Posted on: Thursday, May 19, 2016 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe


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In the Orient, having a master is considered a matter of pride. A master is a symbol of security, love and a sign of great wealth. Being with the guru is like being with one’s higher self. Not having a master was looked down upon as being an orphan, being poor and a sign of misfortune. The word "anatha" in Sanskrit, means one without a master. Those without a master were considered to be orphans, but not those without parents.

But in the Occident, having a master is considered a matter of shame and a sign of weakness, for masters are known for enslaving people. In the Orient people take pride in having a guru and there is a guru for every discipline – a religious guru (dharma), a family guru (kula), a rajguru (guru for the kingdom), a vidyaguru (guru for a particular discipline) and a satguru (spiritual guru).

In the Orient, masters made you feel powerful; in the Occident, masters made you weak. In the Orient, there was a deep sense of belongingness that would enable one to dissolve the limited identity into infinity. But in the Occident, a master was a motivator and one who provoked competition.

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