For those who are looking for the next step in pursuing Hinduism, here are some of the gurus and schools out there and a brief description of each. This page will be updated as I do posts on more gurus. Remember to exercise caution when selecting a teacher. I have just discovered a great site where the blog owner tests out and exposes gurus: Guruphiliac. The archives go back for years! It’s going to take me a while to read through them. ISKCON also has a detailed post on what to look for in a guru (it is a tiny bit biased!). See also Hindu-Blog’s Beware Fake Swamis
Easwaran brought his intellectual and modern background to his interpretation of Hinduism. He had a gift for simplifying difficult concepts and making it all feel easy. He truly emphasized unity and focusing on the similarities across religious traditions. He saw truth as beyond the label of Hindu or Christian or Islamic.
Mission Statement: To provide to individuals, from any background, the wisdom of Vedanta and the practical means for spiritual growth and happiness, enabling them to become positive contributors to society.
The doctrine of advaita vedanta as expounded by Sankara can be summed up in half a verse: “Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah“ — Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; this world is unreal; and the Jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman. This is the quintessence of his philosophy. According to Sri Sankara, whatever is, is Brahman. Brahman Itself is absolutely homogeneous. All difference and plurality are illusory.
The vision statement of Siddha Yoga is: ”For everyone, everywhere, to realize the presence of divinity in themselves and creation, the cessation of all miseries and suffering, and the attainment of supreme bliss.”
She says that her religion is love and she gives out hugs at her large gatherings.
“The School of Economic Science is a centre for spiritual and practical knowledge and enquiry. Our aim is to help anyone who seeks it to lead a fuller, richer and more useful life and to evolve the spiritual aspects of their being in accordance with natural laws. This aim is pursued mainly by offering innovative courses in practical, living philosophy inspired by the philosophy of advaita or unity, and economics with justice.”
ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya, a monotheistic tradition within the Vedic and Hindu cultural traditions. It is known for being particularly welcoming of westerners.
“I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on a mission of publicity for a sect or creed or cause, nor have I come to collect followers for a doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation of Love.”
A controversial figure, whose teachings are a bit difficult to unravel. Many of his quotes seem to advocate for love, kindness, and unity, though there are many complaints about his beliefs on sexuality in particular.
Founder of the Himalayan Academy, he is a well-respected American-born monk who has written a number of books on Shivaism. His monastery produces the magazine Hinduism Today.
Regarded by some as a saint, he was a spiritual seeker in the 1800s who found Truth in many different religions and traditions.
Author of Be Here Now, Ram Das is a spiritual thinker in America. He gained a following in the 1960s and 70s and still teaches today through a blog and videos (having recently suffered a stroke).