What is it to be a teacher of anything from Indian or Vedic science

Today we are riddled with Yoga teachers who have all paid $3000 to $5000 to have a standard 200 hour course certification in what certifies them to become a teacher of yoga. This is also the case in the education of Vedic Astrology, Ayurveda, and pretty much everything in the Pseudo spiritual realm today in the Western world. There is also 500 hour courses in Yoga so I do not want to exclude that there are courses that actually have more hours. There are also courses that have less as well. So the first question is, what can actually be taught in 200 hours? Second, what is someone going to learn in 200 hours? Third, how in the world is someone going to teach something as vast as any of the Vedic sciences with only that amount of time studied. This puts the 500 hour trainings into the same small dust bin as well when you have any knowledge of what the depth of these sciences are. This, people, is what you have teaching your yoga classes. Truth. How is this at all acceptable? Why is it then that these people band together to make what they do seem like a valid field? This is not to bash them but more to say what is really going on out there. The BS is as thick as it gets and with this the actual knowledge is as thin as it gets.  

Below, I have included a portion of an article that was written in a Vedic Astrology magazine. I believe that this in itself explains the problem of what is the popular and biggest educational trend in the modern world. There are very very few yoga teachers that have done any study with a real guru in the classic texts. There are some who have gone to India and done asana practices with big name teachers, and the rest (most) are left with going around to classes and using what other teachers have taught to fill their hour to hour and a half class with exercise never actually knowing much of anything of what yoga is, yet standing firm on the fact that they do and then writing articles on the popular ezines on the net. You find this huge lack of integrity much less in the Vedic Astrology world because it is not as easy to just BS your way thru things but it is growing there as well. It is probably more vast as yoga or ayurveda in its complexity and detail.  


“This is the toughest part where you come in. It is easy to blame that manuscripts are hidden or in libraries and sanskrit scholars are so egotistical that it is difficult to get any work done out of them. But still few Sanskrit scholars have translated some works and are we studying things the way shastra is to be studied? Let us see how shastra was taught not so long ago by an example. Shri Paresh Desai one of our esteemed writer comes from a Parampara, his father was the legendary Ravindra Desai, family astrologer of the biggest industrialist in India at that time, owner of Mafatlal Company. Mr Ravindra Desai learnt astrology from Gurukul in his home town in Gujarat and then from Banaras. First he was asked to mug up 15 classics and only after that the Guru started teaching the students wherein the Guru would give reference on these classics e.g. references on Adhi Yoga from all the classics that they had mugged up and then taught what works and what does not with the logic behind the yoga. So both mugging and understanding the classics and also experience of the Guru came to be learnt. Then you would go deeper into each classic say for e.g. Brihat Jataka and you would be asked to read all the 40 commentaries on it and then you would be asked to think on each verse to grasp its meaning and then test it practically. For e.g. the most revered astrologer Suryanarayan Vyas of Ujjain whom Dr Raman used to regularly consult when he wanted the charts of Nehru family members always used to say that Laghu Parasari is the Gita of Astrology/Bible of Astrology. This work of 40 verses looks easy but if you go Real Deep you would find it extremely confusing. But you would surely realize that the whole of practicing astrology is in Laghu Parashari hence every scholar has attempted to write a commentary on it. In recent times a close friend who is from Gujarat, India known for his stunning predictions has done some original work on Laghu Parashari but still it is a short coming and is not well explained in his work due to lack in command of English language. What is needed today is clarity in thoughts of writers, to explain classical verses in a precise and clear cut language.  


…Then the process of learning goes to experience, after you have studied all the 40 sub commentaries on Laghu Parashari or such ancient works is the process of hunting down experts all over India who have practiced those techniques mentioned in those verses for minimum 20 years. The Last Book of Astrology insists on 18 years. Why 18 years we don’t know? Earlier we tried to do Fit-o-logy that every student of astrology does by bringing in some mystic element to each statement or event of one’s life and thought that 18 is near the cycle of Saturn (19 year dasa) but that is one’s own thinking. The thing is Mentor having spent decades travelling all over India and burning huge amounts of wealth realized with experience that unless one learns a method from an astrologer who has practiced ‘Professionally’ that technique for 18-20 years it is no use learning and adding confusion to one’s mind. He is obstinate about this part and won’t budge having burnt his bridges many times earlier. The advantage that he gained was he would know who in which village of India is an expert in Yogini Dasa, who is on Kalachakra Dasa, who in Bhrighu Astrology and who in Padanathamsa Dasa, who in Chara Dasa and so on. Who is good in longevity, who in marriage timing, who knows nakshatra well and so on. Trust us, this experience in each technique/subject/text is to be gained ‘Directly’ sitting for days/years in front of each teacher and not from that teacher’s article. In an article not even 20% of the technique comes out – this is the hidden truth that nobody tells you nor did anyone tell us until we experienced. The problem is people are giving lectures and writing articles on a technique of astrology without spending 18 years in that technique. Ideally one must not write a single article before he has spent 30-35 years in astrology studies…. …Most in modern India learn from books of modern authors and somewhere down the line most knowledge is not passed on from available classics to the books of the modern authors. This is a huge problem and after 3-5 years of the study one realizes that one should read only classics. after reading one or two classics the student who’s Saturn might not be strong will go back to modern authors or search for Gurus on the net or classes or courses for easy learning. Unfortunately there is no easy way out and you must develop a habit of revisiting those classics every year, reading them again and again otherwise the mistakes in ones learning that has happened in the last 100 years of astrological magazines and books will happen to you and who will suffer your clients and your bad karma will only increase, your remedies on yourself will not work. Coupled with this the need of the hour is to bring more classics in English including tooth-combing each classic as we read, otherwise one’s whole life will be a waste by not understanding the most basic fundamentals of astrology….  


…What is important is for us to admit that we don’t think so in our lifetime we would be able to make such kinds of predictions; their knowledge is lost, not documented in books, not encouraged by publishers and organisations that existed even then due to politics. This knowledge still existed it seems just a few decades back but how can today’s Paramparas (traditions) who claim to be 800 years old and having the experience of 800 years cannot make such predictions. People like Panditji never bothered to set up shop outside their house or create a website, they lead simple lives and did not indulge into marketing and PR, their predictions spoke about their knowledge. Just of the cup, Mr Saxena is the father of modern author Shanker Adewal who has written many books published by Sagar Publications. But then astrology is so vast that it is not possible for any father to dish out his complete knowledge and experience to his own son even if willing within a lifetime…”  


18 YEARS or bad karma…..  


Today’s new age spiritual revolution is nothing more than taking short term workshop after workshop and certification course after certification course from random people with who knows what real authorization to teach. Just because they have a name means nothing. More so, most are new ways of the western marketing and creative ways or new styles and systems. It truly adds up to no more than doing an online course in brain surgery thru Phoenix University. This is the way that education has gone in the entire United States and also most 1st world countries around the world unfortunately. In Petaluma, California there is a place that was giving a 6 week certification that gave the participant a certification in Ayurveda as well as Panchakarma. Many people I know have studied two weeks with a “Shaman” and because he certified them, they now are shamans too. I know people just want to help and it is getting crazy out there but don’t you see the darkness in all of this? parading as light?    It has also become a mainstream cliche’ to say “you are your own guru.” From the basic understanding of the fundamentals of ALL vedic knowledge there has to be a teacher of knowledge that has walked the path with experience, there are teacher qualifications along with qualities and teaching abilities. These qualities of a teacher are dealt in detail by Charaka in Vimana section. The teaching and learning in between teacher and disciple has peculiar angle. These angles are studied in multidimensional methods instead of Western models of vertical or horizontal.


The first instance of the knowledge transfer is said as “Brahma Smrutva”, which means the Brahma recollected. The knowledge known is recollected but not the unknown. How come it is possible? The former is the knowledge learns knowledge in single dimension. The later explanation is from present day science states that the genes are imprints of the past and recollects the entire saga of the human. Only what is to be done is decoding from the genetic junk. The second dimension lies with two, i.e. learners and teacher. There after the object comes in third dimension of knowledge. Fourth dimension is always the time. The time bound to role always and understanding the time replay (which is not possible) is possible in forth dimension. Very few may be able to demonstrate this in a plank second. The recollection becomes personalized so it may not be a dimension if knowledge. If we consider with in frame – it can be a personalized first dimension. The models of learning are either vertical or horizontal. Surface knowledge or wide application in different faculties is learned in horizontal knowledge. On the other hand the knowledge of an individual topic or object perceived with vertical knowledge. To understand how a herb acts in different disease is vertical and the use of herb in different areas like as food, as fuel, as medicine, or in spiritual, etc. goes as horizontal knowledge.
A person who teaches or instructs, especially as a profession called as instructor in terms of teacher. According to the present day, a teacher who follows a text book should be a comprehensive text designed to focus on skills that employers (knowledge managers) demand in today’s workplace; i.e. thinking, listening, composing, revising, and editing.
Adau Gurvasrayam… Adau gurvasrayam: “To enter into the spiritual life, first thing is first of all to accept a guru.”
A human life should be engaged inquiring about the Absolute Truth, and he should inquire from a person who, who has heard about the Absolute Truth from a realized person. Therefore it is called sruti, parampara, disciplic succession. One just like Vyasadeva is hearing from Narada. Narada is authorized. He has heard from Brahma. Brahma has heard from Krsna. So this is the parampara system, disciplic succession. We should hear from the sampradaya-acarya by disciplic succession. As Krsna recommends in this Bhagavad-gita: evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. The Bhagavad-gita is one of the main texts of Yoga.
Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. You… To understand the Vedas, you must approach a guru. Otherwise, you cannot understand. Just like it is forbidden that without becoming a brahman, nobody should read Vedas. Because he cannot understand unless one is qualified brahman, unless one has approached another qualified brahman who knows, there is no question of understanding Vedas. Just like Max Muller translated Veda. What does he know about Veda? All such kinds of translation, understanding, is useless. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). Abhigacchet means “He must!” There is not that “I may go or I may not.” No, you must. If you really serious in in Vedic knowledge or Vedic sciences, you need a real parampara.
Saying you are your own guru is a huge western arrogance much akin to saying you are god. Without a teacher you would have been able to count to ten, much less know what ten is.
Learning from real guru from a real lineage will give someone a vast knowledge of an experience of the knowledge as all of the vedic vidyas are experiential if not more than they are physical. The course of long term study give a relationship to something steeped in tradition. This tradition is not just entwined in myths but with the depth of knowledge it gives, it unwraps what the ordinary person would not be able to see as anything other than nonsense. Most of the knowledge lays between the lines of the ancient texts. They do not read like a Western text book as much as the teachings of them are in any linear fashion the modern mind understands. The parampara, gives you the key into this world.
So who is teaching yoga today? Is it found in the trendy sweat shops called trendy names linked to yoga? Really? Really? What is it to be a teacher? Are our qualified teachers qualified by anything other than a money making certification giving business? Just some questions to think about. What is it that you are really getting? What is it to be a teacher, a vaidya, an acharya? Where is the integrity in saying you are a teacher of something that has the depth of the cosmos with only a short course certification that fit into the weekends, not to disturb your schedule?
If you have any doubts, read the Kathopanisad http://www.imperience.org/Books/kcv8chap_22.pdf

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