Nowadays, thanks to the internet, we get a lot of opportunities to come in contact with spiritual leaders. I’m talking about great figures like the Dalai Lama, Ekhart Tolle, Sadhguru. And those are just a couple of the famous ones that I’m naming here. There are plenty more!
Here you find a little video of Thich Nhat Hanh, just to make sure that you understand more or less what I mean with gurus.
It’s not just because of the internet, but with so many teachers to be found, there are also those with not so amazing pretences.
Unfortunately, there are people around that don’t want to guide you for you. They want to be worshipped and loved. Which on its own is also not too bad. But it is when they want to become rich with it, that it gets out of hand.
And it can get worse. If we look at some cults that were big in the past, we know it wasn’t all that good… Especially if the leader asks you to kill yourself.
So, let’s have a little look at how you can tell if your spiritual guru is a fake guru.
#1 it’s too much of a business
This one actually has two sides to it. An ashram, where a guru mostly resides, needs to have an income. The same goes for gurus without an ashram. They somehow need to get a bit of an income to keep their satsangs (spiritual talks) going.
Very often they also have staff that need to be paid. Cameramen, assistants, etc. They don’t work for free, so this is why gurus can ask for a bit of money.
Another thing is when they start to ask too much for their merchandise or even for their events. If you look at prices that normal people would never be able to afford, then that might be a red flag.
I also have to add that it doesn’t have to be. Some gurus ask ridiculous amounts of money, but they have give-back programs. If you can pay your admission, you are also paying for another person. For example. When this is the case, it gives a completely different impression already.
And sometimes the guru might have a lot of costs as well. If the venue they choose cost them a couple of thousands of euros per hour, you need to get that cost back as well.
So, if the price is too high and it raises some suspicion, make sure you look at the other red flags down below to make up your mind about this guru.
#2 Practice what you preach
This is one of the most important things that a guru needs to do. A guru can only speak from experience!
And basically, isn’t that what we all go through? How are you going to tell your kids how great it is to be a vegetarian if you keep eating meat yourself?
This is actually a huge red flag as well. If a spiritual teacher is preaching things that he’s not living by. How can a monk talk about celibacy if he’s having intercourse with men or women?
We can call this being quite unauthentic. And even though spiritual teachers aren’t 100% perfect, at least they live by what they talk about.
Authenticity is important when we talk about gurus in general. If you are sensitive enough, you will feel it from the beginning on.
If you are on your first steps to finding spiritual guidance, it might be a bit harder. When this happens, I hope you find this article and that you are finding it helpful!
Just to mention it again. This is also not the biggest red flag. As I mentioned, gurus are also not perfection itself. They are radiant and great to be around, but they are also human in the end. So, don’t hang onto the small flaws.
#3 too much negativity
From now on it’s starting to get real. The next red flags are starting to get more serious and therefore, these will be a bit more negative on their own as well.
That said, if a guru is often very negative about whatever is going on in the world, this is a huge red flag as well.
Of course, gurus can have their opinion and their view on world events and how to deal with them, but the moment they are telling you what to think, that’s when it gets a bit dangerous.
Most of the time gurus will keep things with you. Meaning that you can form your own thoughts and opinions about a certain subject. But, and a big but, if that strokes within the teachings.
Bigger subjects will be talked about, but they mostly will be talked about in a certain way. This being very calmly and giving guidance on how to let go of your emotions attached to this matter.
When a guru starts ranting about world events, it might be a red flag. It doesn’t have to be for a 100%, but it’s more serious than the other flags above here.
#4 too superficial
This is a bit double. Because it might be really personal for you when someone is too superficial or too elaborate.
In general, I would say, if you sit with a guru and you ask him a question. If you don’t get an answer regarding this question, this might be vague. And too superficial.
Worse is when gurus do this and they say that they want to give you guidance in private if you didn’t understand completely. This is a complete red flag. Especially when they are asking for money for it. This is going towards a scam and I can assure you know that you’ll never be getting a proper reply to your answer.
That’s what we call going through the rabbit hole.
It’s alright if a guru stays on the surface with its talks and satsangs. But not when it makes you more confused, doesn’t answer your questions, or even raises more questions.
A guru is here to guide you, not to completely confuse you and make you dependent of him.
What can you do about this? Find out if there are lectures online. These days all of the gurus can be found online with free talks. See what resonates with you and especially, if they give you a good feeling.
#5 Hidden agenda
This one is the hardest but actually the biggest red flag as well!
When a guru has a hidden agenda.
It’s really hard to recognize and even though people are more aware now as more discussions are going on online. Still, it’s the hardest one of all to be conscious of.
In the 80′ and 90′, a lot was going on with entire cults taking their lives and such. This has slowed down a bit. Now the thing is that gurus are trying to get the support of other people to push their agenda through.
Conspiracy theories are never something positive, but always quite negative. And a true guru is even going to say that they are purely mind-based. Some gurus talk about these theories and that they are often misleading and can even be dangerous.
Therefore, people preaching them, are very often on an ego trip themselves. Not that they are always wrong, there might be some truth in their theories. But there might not.
And as we saw with Pizzagate, it almost ruined the business of a hard-working man that had nothing to do with kidnapping any children. Which is a big shame.
Actually, gurus very little talk about conspiracies. As I previously said, they want to touch the inner truth and go into a deeper state. And in this, negativity, in whatever way it unfolds, won’t really be mentioned. Or they will turn it around into something positive.
What about negative reactions towards the guru?
When you are searching online, you’re bound to run into a couple of people on your path. These might be gurus, spiritual teacher, guides, or whatever you can call them.
And it’s good to run into them as well.
Just make sure that you do your search online before you really start to go deeper into someone’s teachings. Even if it feels super good inside of you, make sure you do a little bit of research on who you’d like to take advice from.
And it also has to be said that you’ll find a lot of negative reactions towards any kind of guru.
Which makes it hard to commit yourself to the teachings of someone. Try to see past the negativity of a couple and see the ratio between positive and negative reactions.
While you are getting teachings from a guru, emotions will come up and those are yours to deal with, not the gurus. Which brings up anger and resentment in people. And this is not at all the guru’s fault.
Of course, if there is only a dozen of good reactions in a pool of negativity, you can make up your mind rather quickly.
Down below the last video of someone who’s trying to expose gurus. I’m not going to give my opinion about it. I sometimes watch videos of Sadhguru, I like him, but at the same time I don’t really follow him. When he has a nice subject that relates to me, I watch it.
So, these are a couple of tips for you when you are running into a guru. I hope these make sense to you and that you’ll find someone that is fitting and nourishing for you!