One of the most controversial and essential themes of spiritual development is the relationship between gurus and devotees, masters and chelas, teachers and students etc. This theme has been commented on at various places on this website and from various spiritual perspectives. On this page you will find the pro 's and the con 's from Sufism, Theosophy, Buddhism and Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Just get inspired by spirituality in action
These are some of the teachers - past and present - who will keep reminding us that there IS more to life. There is more to US...
Spiritual teachers are the salt that gives flavor to our otherwise somewhat dry western culture. With all the focus on s*x, drugs and rock and roll - development of the heart can very easily be forgotten or ignored.
Not what you expected
A real spiritual teacher will teach you a NEW perspective on your life - which also makes sense, but wasn't what you expected.
Controversies and ponderings on the relationship between gurus (spiritual teachers) and their students.
- Sufism: The functions of the Sufi lineage
- A Practical Approach to Spirituality
- Developing a healthy relationship with a spiritual teacher, free ebook in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition by Alexander Berzin
- How to do guru yoga in Tibetan Buddhism
- Patience with your spiritual teacher (aka, how to pick one)
Readers on a previous version of this page felt the following qualities are important in a spiritual teacher - starting with the most important:
- Self-knowledge (44%)
- Compassion (31%)
- Humility (9%)
- Happiness (8%)
- Self-confidence (3%)
- Emotional rest (3%)
- Indifference to pain (2%)
Eckhart Tolle on teaching spirituality
Practicing Presence: A Guide for the Spiritual Teacher and Health Practitioner
The contemporary book on how to be a spiritual teacher or spiritual health practitioner. What to avoid. What to look out for. What to keep in mind. How not to put yourself, but your client first.
- Can you feel the quality of a spiritual teacher? Katinka Hesselink
- I got a book for review recently that I put down within a few minutes because it made me all jittery. A few days ago we had a spiritual teacher do a lecture at our local theosophical lodge, and he turned the room quiet. We didn't even have questions to last the full time set for that stuff.
- Spiritual teachings best fresh? Katinka Hesselink
- I dreamt of fruit going bad last night, so I wonder: are spiritual teachings best 'consumed' fresh? What do you all think are classic spiritual books for instance of the same value as say the fresh teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle and the Dalai Lama?
- When yoga increases stress: about the teacher, Katinka Hesselink
- Yoga is generally sold online and off as a great stress reliever. I can vouch for that: with the right teacher, yoga can be very healthy emotionally. I've often come away from a yoga class with a great big smile on my face that was certainly not there before.
- When are you ready to be a spiritual teacher?, Katinka Hesselink
- Two people recently made the same remark to me. They both complained that they weren't getting through to people. That they were getting negative responses to their spiritual path. They were rubbing people the wrong way.
- Messengers of the Masters or the Great White Brotherhood, Katinka Hesselink
- An anonymous reader asks my opinion on the Trans-Himalayan teachings, as they've been called, going from H.P. Blavatsky to Mabel Collins Cook to the Temple of the People to Agni Yoga to Alice Bailey etc.
- Caring for beginners a mistake? Katinka Hesselink
- Whether beginners are practicing virtues or not is their problem not yours. Believe in no teachers, trust your own logic, your own experiences, make your own mistakes, learn and grow. Have a courageous attitude and be inwardly prepared to die.
That would be all nice and dandy if all I cared about was myself. But I also care about beginners. I care about what effect spiritual teachings have on other people. I care about whether people make themselves and others happy or sad. I care about a lot of things. And I don't feel I need to let go of that in order to 'grow spiritually' - and if I do, I'd rather not grow 'spiritually' at all.
So. what's a REAL spiritual teacher like?
- A real spiritual teacher will be REAL - that is: authentic.
- A real spiritual teacher will be a human being - don't imagine him or her as a saint.
- A real spiritual teacher will confront you with things you did not know about yourself, or did not want to know.
- A real spiritual teacher will be a good person in ways you perhaps didn't expect.
- A real spiritual teacher doesn't just preach - he or she also practices.
- A real spiritual teacher is Bodhisattva: someone who lives for others, not themselves.
Check out some biographies of inspiring women and men.
- The Mahatma Chela Relationship, by Katinka Hesselink (classic theosophy)
- Chelas and Lay Chelas, H.P. Blavatsky (classic theosophy)
- Relating to a Spiritual Teacher: Building a Healthy Relationship, Alexander Berzin (free ebook, external website, Buddhism)
- Quotes by Blavatsky, the Mahatmas and W.Q. Judge on Mahatmas. (classic theosophy)
- More from Esoteric Studies Guide :(classic theosophy)
- Chelas (students or devotees) (classic theosophy)
- Mahatmas (gurus or teachers of occultism) (classic theosophy)
- Many disciples like to think of their teacher as perfect, Robert Frager (sufism)
- The Functions of the Sufi Lineage, Robert Frager (sufism)
- Occult Status, Hugh Shearman (theosophy)
- A Curriculum of a School, Idries Shah (claims sufi inspiration)
- False Masters in Sufism, Idries Shah (claims sufi inspiration)
- On Masters and the Path, Jiddu Krishnamurti
- On Authority, Jiddu Krishnamurti
- A conversation with Andrew Cohen on teachers, enlightenment, practicing what you preach etc.
The best spiritual teachers - according to my readers
- Jesus Christ
Only the founder of Christianity :)
- Dalai Lama
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Gautama Buddha
The founder of Buddhism
- Lao Tzu
- H.P. Blavatsky
- Kahlil Gibran
- Paramahansa Yogananda
- Eckhart Tolle
Vedantist New Age teacher
- Anthony de Mello
- G.I. Gurdjieff
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
- Annie Besant
- Osho / Bhagwan
- Ken Wilber
- Dr David R Hawkins
"Enslavement by illusion is comfortable, it is the liberation by truth people fear."
- Gary Renard
- Swami Vivekananda
"Each soul is potentially divine.
The goal is to manifest divinity within, by controlling nature, external and internal.
Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy, by one, or more, or all of these -and be free.
This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms are but secondary details."
- Swami Vevekananda
- Donna Eden...
- Wayne Dyer
- A.H. Almaas
Guides people to be lovers of truth above all else, and uses curiosity and inquiry as gateways into presence.
- Paul Brunton
Founder of Islam
- Ram Dass
- Harold Klemp
Eckankar (aka Eck)
- Paramahamsa Nithyananda
Self realization is the only goal in life!
- Lester Levenson
Happiness is free
- Jein Klein
There's is only Oneness expressed as many oh what a wonderful mysterious paradox
- Marianne Williamson
- Radhanath swami
"Mood of Spiritual Kingdom is that we want to see everyone excel more than us"
- Sri Aurobindo and The Mother
- Albert Low
Zen Master and Author
- Andrew Cohen
Interfaith spiritual teachers - male and female
Jiddu Krishnamurti, world teacher
Jiddu Krishnamurti was famous in his lifetime for first being raised as a 'world teacher' and then renouncing the organisation founded in his honor. Paradox...
David Bohm: science and spirituality
Famous for his 'Implicate and Explicite Order', quantum physicist David Bohm combines a knowledge of current day physics with a spiritual vision of the...
Ken Wilber writes on psychology, philosophy, mysticism, ecology, and spiritual evolution. He has been described as New Age, although his writing...
Karen Armstrong: author, former nun and religious inspiration
Karen Armstrong is the embodiment of religious tolerance and spiritual transformation. A former Roman Catholic Nun, she got disillusioned about religion....
John Hick - philosopher of religion
An introduction into the philosophy of John Hick a noted religious philosopher using quotes. Philosophers of religion know John Hick's pluralistic...
- Dakini Power: women spiritual teachers in Tibetan Buddhism
- Pema Chodron - feeling Tibetan Buddhist teacher and nun.
- Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso [ Tibetan Buddhism ]
Articles and quotes by the Dalai Lama on Tibetan Buddhism and related subjects.
- Thich Nhat Hanh quotes and articles
Articles, quotes on peace and buddhism and a biography.
Sufi and Muslim spiritual teachers
- G.I. Gurdjieff articles and wisdom quotes - Fourth Way
Biography, articles and quotations by and about G.I. Gurdijeff
- Robert Frager articles and quotes - Sufism
Founder of the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology. He has written many books, mainly on the spiritual path in Sufism and Islam.
- Reijo Oksanen: On the Fourth Way.
- Kahlil Gibran quotes from The Prophet
Inspiring quotations and biography from the Lebanese poet-artist who wrote 'The Prophet'.
- Idries Shah.
Articles and quotes and sufi-stories.
- Elsner, Reijo
- Wellbeloved, Sophia
Christian spiritual inspirators
- Anthony de Mello
Inspiring quotations on spiritual liberation and living inspired.
- You're Not Going Crazy...You're Just Waking Up! Michael Mirdad
This book will be an inspiration to anybody who has had a troublesome life. To anybody who is dealing with major issues that make you feel like you're losing...
Sufism, fourth way, Buddhism, theosophy, history, and related subjects.
The Theosophical Society has been very influential in comparison to its size.These are some famous theosophists
- H.P. Blavatsky Articles and quotes - classic theosophy
Essential articles and quotes from Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on various subjects, including spiritual growth, metaphysics, karma and reincarnation.
- Annie Besant
articles by and about Annie Besant - with links.
- Mabel Collins
A clairvoyant and author of romance novels, whose theosophical fame started with Light on the Path, a book written in trance and still her most well selling work. After having been expelled from the Theosophical Society by H.P. Blavatsky for unknown...
- Radha Burnier, former president of the theosophical society and personal student of Jiddu Krishnamurti
- Henry Steel Olcott: founder of the Theosophical Society
Articles by and relating to the work of H.S. Olcott.
- William Q. Judge
Quotes, articles and Biography of William Q. Judge
- Hodson, G. (Geoffrey)
- C.W. Leadbeater
Leadbeater on clairvoyance, the astral plane and thoughts as things. Also tributes to Leadbeater and critical material on his life and work.
- J.J. van der Leeuw
Quotes from books by J.J. van der Leeuw on truth, illusion, consciousness and the meaning of life.
- Mundy, Talbot
- G. de Purucker on the Theosophical Movement
Quotes on the value of love and tolerance in the TS and the Point Loma Society.
- N.Sri Ram - former president of the Theosophical Society Adyar
Articles by Nilakantan Sri Ram, with short biography and selected bibliography.
- Row, T. Subba
- Hugh Shearman
An honours graduate in history and the author of some twenty books which include The Passionate Necessity, The Purpose of Tragedy and Modern Theosophy.
- John Algeo - vice president Theosophical Society Adyar
Articles on theosophy, theosophical history and Harry Potter, among other things.
- Pablo D. Sender
Articles on Damodar, the spiritual path, meditation and theosophical leaders.
- Katinka Hesselink's English articles on religion and spirituality
My own articles on religion and spirituality.
- de Purucker, G (Gottfried), former leader of a Theosophical Society.