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Guru resolves contradictions in religion
August 6, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

After a pleasant learning experience of Vipassana meditation under S.N.Goenka, whom Richard found to be a man of honesty and integrity, Richard decided to go to Calcutta to seek the blessings of Mother Teresa. At Kali Ghat, on the bank of Ganges he entered a temple of Mother Kali, a compassionate energy of Lord Shiva. Inside the temple Richard was shocked to see a black goat being butchered as an offering to Goddess Kali. Richard nauseated and struggled to make sense of the striking contrast between the bloodshed he just witnessed, and the peaceful sages he lived among in the Himalayas who follow the same Hindu religion. He met a former priest of the temple who had quit his duties, unable to take the nightmarish experience of seeing innocent goats being mercilessly slaughtered. The former priest explained to Richard that in every religion people interpret scriptures and follow practices according to their level of realization. The Vedas are like a desire tree wherein we can find a path to fulfill whatever we seek. He also pointed out to Richard that Goddess Kali is a vegetarian. Richard realized he now needed a guide in spiritual life

“Up until this day, I had been thinking that examining many paths would broaden my understanding of spirituality. But this incident gave me a deeper understanding that, without a mature guide, apparent contradictions in every tradition could seriously bewilder me”.

The Hindu religion allows killing of animals as a concession for those who cannot give up meat eating altogether. It isn’t a license or a recommended path. There are many restrictions to eating of meat, and a sincere practitioner evolves to a stage of finally giving it up for the service of God. While killing the goat, the butcher chants mantras, hymns which translate literally as, “my dear goat, I shall kill you now but in your next life, you shall become a human and I shall be a goat, and then you kill me.” Offering such prayers regularly makes a practitioner think about the meaning of these prayers and he eventually realizes the futility of killing animals. He then evolves to a higher level of spirituality where he abandons meat eating.

To understand the rationale behind such apparently contradictory teachings in Hinduism, the Vedas- the sacred book of the Hindus- recommend studying spirituality under a bonafide, practicing teacher. A genuine teacher can not only help the student develop his relationship with God, he also resolves contradictions and confusions that a student may experience during his spiritual quest. Some people may be averse to taking guidance from a spiritual teacher but for developing material skills like dancing, martial arts, learning tennis or athletics they accept a coach or a guide. In other words, in order to gain mastery in any field, we agree to become an apprentice under an expert who is advanced in that field. Since we accept a teacher in every walk of life why not accept a teacher in spiritual life? Spirituality is also a science that is best learnt under a teacher who is self realized.

Although it’s recommended we accept spiritual guide, we should do so only after due testing; otherwise we may be cheated. For example, a person who accepts medicine from a quack is unintelligent and is inviting trouble and suffering. One should consult only a qualified doctor, who has graduated from a recognized medical college, has good clinical experience, and can help in curing the ailment. One cannot test the genuineness of a spiritual authority by the language he speaks, by his physical appearance or by his nationality. Just like the genuineness of gold can be determined by certain specific tests, there are also tests to determine the genuineness of a spiritual authority. He should be sense controlled, shouldn’t be teaching meditation for material benefits, and he himself must follow his guru sincerely.

Radhanath Swami, who has followed his guru for the last forty years, says, “The most important qualification of a Guru is he has awakened the truest desire to serve God eternally.” Following his guru’s footsteps, Radhanath Swami also aspires to eternally serve God as the servant of God’s servants.

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157 Comments


  1. Accepting Guru is one of the foremost requirement for any one who sincerely wants to understand the purpose of life, and the path to follow to achieve that purpose. We are very fortunate to have personalities like HH Radhanath Swami who can perfectly guide the seekers of ultimate truth in their path.

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  2. Spirituality is a serious subject and seeker must accept guidance of a qualified teacher. Also, it is of atmost importance that one should be careful that he/she doen’t get cheated as there are so many so called “Godmen” available these days.

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  3. Perplexities of life can not be resolved without taking guidance from bonafide Guru whose qualifications are lucidly mentioned by Radhanath Swami Maharaj as:The most important qualification of a Guru is he has awakened the truest desire to serve God eternally.

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  4. Radhanath Swami himself aspires to eternally serve God as the servant of God’s servants and is aspiring thousands to follow this path as well.

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  5. One must seek a bonafide Guru who can lead one to the highest perfection of life.

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  6. Jagdish Majethiya

    Maharaj has given a perfect definition of a Guru. Thousands of devotees across the globe has experienced the awakening of the desire to serve God by just coming in association of HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

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  7. Vedas are not so easy to understand. Radhanath Maharaj rightly emphasizes the improtance of Guru who has the real knowledge to clear the seemingly contradictions in the scriptures.

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  8. Yes, a guru is must for spiritual advancement.

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  9. A Guru is a must,to resolve all confusions and to guide a disciple in his spiritual path as the title of the article rightly points out GURU RESOLVES CONTRADICTIONS IN RELIGION.

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  10. Thanks for sharing such an enlightened realization.

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  11. Radhanath Swami Maharaja identifies the essence of everything. Here he gives a simple test of who is a genuine Guru, one who wants to serve God in the truest sense. His new book “The Journey Home”, book launch, gives many such essential principles for progressing in spiritual life.

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  12. The greatest of all the qulaities of HH Radhanath Swami is simply following in the footsteps of His guru. This is the only quality which differentiates all others from HH Radhanath swami who really removes any descripencies and differences.

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  13. It is so easy to see “Contradictions in Religion” but only a humble and sincere soul like Radhanath Swami who follows his guru to his heart can clearly explain the true message of religion

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  14. In the gloomy world of the cheaters and the cheated, the fake and the phony comes a bright ray of hope through the words of H.H. Radhanath Swami.

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  15. thank you for posting this enlightening article…it cautions one to accept a spiritual authority only after confirming its authenticity and not blindly…

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  16. Radhanath Swami sees all living entities on the true spiritual level, as pure spirit souls, part and parcel of God. So Radhanath Swami can clearly see what selfish motives or motivations or misconceptions or personal interpretations, these modern spiritualists say in their so called religions. Thus, Radhanath Swami can resolve the conflicts from the very root of the conflict because He is clear in principles as portrayed by all bonafide scriptures.

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  17. Dharmendra kumar

    every religion people interpret scriptures and follow practices according to their level of realization
    such a profound staement. Jai….

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  18. All Glories To H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

    Truly Said, Only under the tutelage of an able master can you attain spiritual knowledge, and gain enlightenment.

    Spirituality is the only answer to an otherwise greedy lot of materialist who constantly are seeking to draw pleasures from their futile meaningless endeavours.

    Hare Krishna.

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  19. Radhanath Swami tells the esence of the Vedas, which is to attain love for God. Otherwise one would be lost because the Vedas are so vast and as written in the first para – that the Vedas are so vast that we can find a path to fulfill whatever we seek. So instead of seeking Love of God which is the essence, we may get entangled in other things.

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  20. following in the footsteps of the guru is the important lesson and essential part of a true disciple, radhanath swami is exhibiting these qualities without any alteration,

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  21. From this incident, Radhanath Maharaj realised the need for a Guru. His ability to pick up the right learning from any happening is something very special.

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  22. Smitha Krishna das

    H.H Radhanath Swami has met several religious leaders but only after meeting Srila Prabhupada, he took initiation. A Guru is an absolute necessity to progress spiritually.

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  23. It is so crucial that we don’t justify things we do, rather we should do justified things

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  24. Very nice lecture. We must definately avoid animal killing.

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  25. It’s true “without a mature guide, apparent contradictions in every tradition could seriously bewilder anyone”. So much to learn from you Swami ji

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  26. Nice article on importance of accepting a Guru….Guru is like a captain of the ship, without whose help one cannot cross the ocean of this material world…..Radhanath swami was really very fortunate to have got a powerful Guru like Radhanath Swami & so are the disciples of Radhanath Swami…….

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  27. Mangesh Kulkarni

    I am very much impressed by the way Radhanath Swami reacted to the seemingly bewildering situation. He realized one of the very important lessons in spiritual through an apparently very confusing situation. He has this special quality of make the best out of worst situations.

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  28. Dr Yuvaraj J Bhosale

    the best Defination of Guru can be found in this article
    thanks Radhanath Swami

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  29. How true….. apparent contradictions exist in every tradition….And we need a bonafide ,mature guide like Maharaj or else each one would be intrepreting religion to suit his needs.

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  30. Nice Article. Thank you very much for sharing

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  31. Manish Raikundalia

    Well said. Why not accept a teacher on spiritual path when we accept one for material benefits.

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  32. This is a guideline set by Radhanath Swami, for those who want to be Guru, for others

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  33. Shoba Ramachandran

    Thanks for sharing….

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  34. Hello! I just wanted to thank you for your fun and engulfing post. Stories like this are a extremely perfect system to assist me in English, but I think I got the meaning ok 🙂 Thanks again!

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  35. very nice,thank you for the post

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  36. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj is enlightening us with the importance of accepting a Spiritual Master who can guide us to achieve the Love of God. Spiritual Master is for realizing God not for finding ways to accomplish sense gratification.

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  37. many people argue on why do one need a guru? Here Radhanath swami maharaj is also giving the who should we take as a guru.
    Thank you very much Radhanath swami maharaj

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  38. M. Pandurangayya Shetty

    Excellent explanation of a genuine guru. only one desire to please God. Radhanath Swamik is a genuine guru.

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  39. Radhanath Swami Maharaj has emphasized the necessity of approaching a right person for knowledge. It is imperative considering the mind boggling variety of spiritual practioners that we have today.Radhanath Swami Maharaj shows us an inoffensive yet intelligent way of finding the right spiritual master.

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  40. Great explanation on how to find a spiritual master. Right guru truly holds our fingers and walks with us in the process of self realsiation. Wonderful post.

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  41. This article form radhanath swami has thrown light on why we need guru and why he should be so much respected. Repect is given because he takes us out of apparent contradiction in a religion and shows what can we do to progress at our level.

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  42. Even Krishna had a Guru, Sandipani muni. We will also need a Guru if we want to make progress on the spiritual path.

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  43. We are so blessed that we’ve taken shelter in the eternal mercy of Sri Prabhupad and Maharaj

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  44. Radhanath swami is a bonafide guru. Thank you very much for sharing.

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  45. Radhanath Swami has emphasized the need of guru. Without a teacher, we cannot learn any subject properly. In spiritual life, it is most important to have a bonafide guru who can extract the essence of the scriptures and teach us the correct conclusion.

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  46. Very important – “Although it’s recommended we accept spiritual guide, we should do so only after due testing; otherwise we may be cheated.” -Thank you Radhanath Swami for being our spiritual guide

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  47. Very nice article. With out bonafide spiritual master one will get bewildered and not progress.

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  48. This meditation is really an eye opener for us by reminding us about the importance of Guru in our spiritual lives. We normally take the spiritual life as granted and often feel that we need no Guru esp. in spiritual life. We wanted to practice so called spi’ritual’ity as per our comfort. This puts us in confusion many times when we see the people of different faiths. We tend to confine to our faith and knowledge and tend to disagree and also tend to be quarrelsome at times. This meditation from the life of Maharaj really throws light on the importance of Guru who only can clear our understanding and awaken us from ignorance with the torchlight of knowledge. Thanks for this wonderful meditation.

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  49. a true guru will only tell one to surrender to krsna and no one else

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  50. “without a mature guide, apparent contradictions in every tradition could seriously bewilder me”. This realisation of HH Radhanath Swami is so wonderful as without the guidance under Guru, no one can achieve perfection in life. HH Radhanath Swami shows us by his own example how one can perfect their lives by simply following the guidance of Guru.

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