Meet a Guru: Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna is a well known teacher from the 1800s who is often referred to as a Hindu saint. It is said that he helped start a renaissance in Hinduism.BackgroundBorn Vaishnava in 1836, he was spiritual from the time he was a child and was more interested in spiritual pursuits than a "bread winning education." He had many periods of feeling universal consciousness and getting lost in that feeling (samadhi). As a young man he began working as a priest.His family, concerned that he … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

Sivaya Subramuniyaswami is the guru of the Himalayan Academy, the organization that puts out the magazine Hinduism Today. He's written many books and established a Shivite monestary in Hawaii. From all I can tell, he was a very respected member of the Hindu community, even being given an award by New Delhi's World Religious Parliament naming Sivaya Subramuniyaswami one of five modern-day Jagadacharyas, world teachers, for his international efforts in promoting and chronicling a Hindu re … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Osho

To be honest, at this point the only thing I know about Osho is that he is a controversial figure. That made me curious, so I'm going to do some research and find out more...BackgroundIt seems that young Osho (born Chandra Mohan Jain) was a thinker and liked to question authority. He claimed enlightenment when he was 21 years old (note: I've always been taught that if someone claims to be enlightened, that's a pretty good indicator that they aren't. A holy man shows his holiness, he … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Sai Baba

I can't recall how or where I first heard of Sai Baba. I don't know much at all about him or his teachings (yet). I'm going to do some research today so we can both learn about him. I know I have at least heard of him before. Seeing his picture on the website of the congregation I'm going to be checking out, I instantly recognized it because of his wild frizz of hair.BackgroundŚri Sathya Sai Baba is the spiritual name of a recent guru who was said to possibly be the reincarnation of  Sai … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada is the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, also known as either ISKCON or Hare Krishnas.  Srila Prabhupada came to New York in 1965 to bring  Gaudiya Vaishnavism to America. Vaishnava is a branch of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma (the eternal truth) as many prefer to call Hinduism. It focuses on Vishnu (i.e., Rama and Krishna, who were avatars of Vishnu) as the supreme God. Apparently Gaudiya Vaishnavism was founded "around 1510 with an ascetic who too … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Mr. MacLaren

I think my theme this week is honesty. Deep, confusing, contradictory truth. I am going to tell you about the group that I grew up in today.I find that I am at a loss as to what to say. My experiences and thoughts are confused and deeply ingrained. There are things that I did not appreciate about the time I spent here, but I'm not sure it's any worse than any other organized religion.BackgroundThe story goes that Mr. MacLaren, a man of Scottish heritage living in England, wanted to … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Amma

The name "Amma" has been given to a woman whose real name is Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. The word Amma means "mother" (as the website Amma.org points out, it means "mother" in a number of languages). She is known to many as "The Hugging Saint."BackgroundIt is said that Amma was spiritual from the time she was a child in 1950s Kerala. Though her parents tried to get her married, she resisted and devoted herself to Krishna instead. Apparently she was so known for her devotionals that people … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Gurumayi

A woman known as Gurumayi Chidvilasananda is the current leader of the Siddha Yoga tradition.BackgroundThe path was founded by Swami Muktananda based on teachings from his guru Bhagawan Nityananda. It was in 1975 that Muktananda began opening ashrams and schools in America.Gurumayi started in the tradition as a child in India. Her parents brought her and her brother to study with Muktanada in the 1950s. By 14 she had her official initiation ("shaktipat") and she lived at the ashram. M … [Read more...]


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Meet a Guru: Bharati Tirtha

Sri Bharati Tirtha is my parents' guru. He is a Shankaracharya, which means a teacher of the way of Shankara. There are four seats in India for Shankaracharyas, one for each cardinal direction. The seats are not always filled. Sri Bharati Tirtha currently holds the seat in the south of India.A couple of years ago my family and I went to India to visit his ashram in Sringeri.He is quite a young man for a guru, but has gained great respect the world over. I heard a funny story that one of … [Read more...]


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