Last year I wrote a sequence of diary entries about ten different types of followers. Ramona and I have been talking about the people whom they follow, the gurus, and noticed that here, too, you can make a clear separation into separate categories. Today and in the next days I will thus describe five different types of gurus for you.
1. The religious Preacher Guru
This type of guru is one who actually has a very clean image and is respected not only by followers who believe he is holy but by all kinds of religious people who see the knowledge that this guru has – because he has done effort to learn his profession.
These preacher gurus study the scriptures, read them, understand them and then give their interpretation in their programs where they recite the scriptures and explain the meaning of the verses they recite. Their success herein depends on their interpretation, their rhetoric skills and ability to fascinate their audience.
This is what I was doing when I lived the life of a guru myself. I had done my studies, I had learned from my father and had developed my own style of interpretation. My grandfather and father were reciting the poem-like scriptures all alone on stage, singing and chanting in between and that is how I started, too. With growing competition the program got more and more artistic though and at some point I started bringing my band or orchestra with me.
Yes, I would say this preacher guru also has to be an artist to be successful. You can see gurus with bigger followings and gurus with smaller ones. In Vrindavan this kind of preaching is the main business and that is how you can find a lot of preacher gurus here – but they are not all good artists! Those who are only interested in making money buy some cassettes or CDs of other gurus and simply learn by heart what they hear. Then they sit on a stage and repeat. You cannot ask any questions and it is not very artistic – it is just a repetition. But if there is passion, a preacher becomes a performing artist that enchants his audience.
It is a religious audience, interested in the scriptures and the knowledge. They recognize their guru for his intelligence, his wisdom and his knowledge of the scriptures. Most of them are not too focused on a single guru but can listen to different ones to hear different ways of interpretation. If they like a guru’s interpretation and way of performing, though, they can also become official disciples – by a mantra initiation, a tradition in which the guru gives the follower a mantra.
Some popular gurus of this type here in India are for example my grandfather Sri Bindu Ji, Pandit Ram Kinkar Upadhyay, Morari Bapu, Ramesh Bhai Ojha and many more.
So the preacher guru is a guru who has done effort and is known for his knowledge. Tomorrow I will describe a type of guru who is normally a guru because of his inheritance.