‘Guru’ devotion in India: Socio-cultural perspectives and current trends Cover Image

‘Guru’ devotion in India: Socio-cultural perspectives and current trends
‘Guru’ devotion in India: Socio-cultural perspectives and current trends

Author(s): Anusha Gavankar
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Sociology, Sociology of Culture
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: Guru; Guru in India; new movements in India; Guru-shishya tradition; Charismatic Authority; Personality cults

Summary/Abstract: Though the academic study of religion is considered nascent in India, eminent scholars speak of Hindu restoration and the evolution of a guru. In a highly dynamic and pluralistic India, various sociological perspectives stand valid even today, for a better understanding into the spurt of the new movements – religious, spiritual and charismatic. These offer several insights into the evolution of the ‘guru phenomenon’ in the country. We have come a long way from the traditional guru to the contemporary godman (godwoman). The ‘Guru’ in India has today entered the realm of religion. Despite having access to a wide pantheon of divine entities, what makes a people of a nation in current civilized and better literate times, cut across all barriers of caste and religion (also class) and surrender one’s all to that one ultimate authority called a ‘guru’? What makes him ‘god’? This paper attempts to comprehend, appreciate and study the evolution and progression of the ‘guru’ tradition in India - with an understanding of some sociological perspectives, the need for a ‘Guru’, role in Indian society, related psychoanalysis, and finally current trends. As we do so, this would only be the beginning of a journey in discovering the numerous traditions and movements that come to be associated with this phenomenon, each enshrined with its own trends, plentiful stories and abundant miracles – taking it to a new level, altogether.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 47
  • Page Range: 159-174
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English