By: Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani

I was absolutely stunned recently to see that we now have Guru Ratings on the net!

Your Guru’s position on the charts can depend on how many devotees / students / disciples / fans they have and how many organizations they run worldwide. The political and financial clout can also help get a better rating and DVD and book sales figures are equally important.

Modern Gurus seem to call out, “come to me and I will save you!” without letting the students ever come to know that none can save us except ourselves.

Lord Krishna also known as Yogeshwar, the Lord (master teacher) of Yoga would be an utter failure in such a rating system. He says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Of thousands of people only one desires me and of the thousands who desire me only one attains me!” to put that in figures only ONE out of 1,000,000 get to him! Such an abysmal failure as a Guru indeed!

Pujya Swamiji Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri used to say, “ I don’t want to create followers, I want to create leaders who can lead themselves and others towards Moksha!”. He would further extol his students to work on becoming a Guru to themselves by finding the inner Guru spirit- the Guru Sakshat. Swamiji would kick off anyone trying to cling on to his feet saying, “It is not my duty to carry you – you need to carry yourself”.

The Dharma (sacred and righteous duty) of a Guru is to help the student find themselves. When the student does so (Moksha – liberation -Kaivalya) none exists. If we understand the role of the Guru in these terms, the most successful Guru by these lofty standards is the one left with no disciples anymore as they have all attained Moksha!

What a far cry from the modern Guru ratings!

About the Author:

Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani heads the Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga lineage of his guru-father, Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri, Gurumaharaj. He is a licensed physician and an international speaker and teacher of yoga recognized worldwide for his unique insights into the field of yoga as therapy. For more on Dr. Ananda visit:

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7 Comments so far

  1. International Yogalayam on September 13th, 2009

    More yoga junk keeps popping up on the internet everyday. All I can say is that I’m reminded of Jesus’ final words upon the cross: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

  2. Svasti on September 13th, 2009

    This is crazy!! Being a guru is not a popularity contest!

  3. Ntathu on September 16th, 2009

    No doubt next will be an X-Factor Style contest to find the 2009 guru of the year….Potential candidates please forward your CV… Namamste Ntathu

  4. Byron Selorme on September 16th, 2009


    If you carefully review this site you will find that you have not understood the intentions.

    As you know, they are many snake oil salesmen who pass themselves off as enlightened masters willing to help those who are struggling. The frauds will often amass large amounts of disciples who tout the masters claims and collect money and services from the unsuspecting, often uncritically minded, seeker.

    This site seeks to review these Guru’s to determine if they are authentic and actually practice what they teach. It does not, as you say, rate them by how many followers they have, but by the value the Teachers bring to the students (if any).

    Another website that offers excellent critical review is . This site exposes Guru’s who are obviously bilking money out of honest seekers. It is well worth visiting.

    There was a Yoga Studio in the next city from me called Dahn Yoga. I visited them but found them to be very suspicious. Interestingly they are getting some press in the U.S. right now for there cult practices and scams that are hurting innocent people.

    I have enjoyed your previous articles but please investigate further before you publish things that may be of importance.


  5. International Yogalayam on September 16th, 2009

    Hi Bryan,

    What you say about many so-called modern gurus is, unfortuantely, true. I agree. The author of this post, however, is not calling into question the “intentions” of the person behind the guru rating website. A real lack of awareness causes nice people to make blunders like this all the time, although they think they are doing something good and helpful.

    Dr. Ananda is making a point that the validity of the rating system is what is extremely questionable. Even the author of the guru website himself reveals that all of his ratings are purely subjective, based really on his own, limited experience and opinions. Now, it would perhaps not be so misleading to the casual visitor to his site if that fact was made extremely evident, front and center on the site. But it’s not. If the site says something like, “this is my hobby site with my own opinions which are not based on fact, and should not be taken as anything but pure entertainment”. Ok, maybe that would be a tad better. But I would then ask, why even bother with a site that is not going to provide any real credible source of useful information, but instead run the risk of misleading so many people who may simply assume that the author behind it is some kind of authority?

    I published this article because it has further insight into a world that most Westerners think they understand, but obviously have much to learn about. There is much insight in Dr. Ananda’s words, and I would encourage you to take a little deeper look to find it.

    Thanks for sharing your views, even though you may not agree with this one :O)

  6. Byron Selorme on September 16th, 2009

    I do agree with learning to be your own teacher. However, the post starts under the wrong premise. If you open the Home page of the Guru Rating website (not the link in this post) I think you will find plenty of description as to why the site exists as well as disclaimers not to take it too seriously. I do not think that the site intends to present the material as “pure entertainment” but rather to introduce some questions about what a particular teacher is teaching. I have not taken this website as the sole determiner as to whether a particular teacher is offering valuable assistance or not, just perspective.

    I think Dr. Ananda “assumed” what the website was about and then wrote an article. This is the problem being faced everywhere. People are assuming that they understand what they see and then make comments from there. Just like you assumed my name was Bryan (and I do get that a lot so no hard feelings) but it is this lack of really paying attention to what we are looking at before jumping to conclusions that is the crux of my comment.

    There is nothing stunning about a Guru Ratings website on the net unless you have a preconceived notion about what it would be. We live in an age where information will now be posted on the internet. Individuals will post up their small websites as sign posts to help or hinder us on our journey. It may be that our “idea” of what a Guru Rating website would be could get in the way of what it actually is. This requires our attention and the consideration of the material as to whether it is relevant to us or not.

    I have found the site to be moderately interesting, maybe giving some perspective about a particular teacher. This is aided by comments from others who have had experiences with the teacher in question. Of course we all must be aware that we are responsible for our choices. I think more sites that cause people to add some questions to their vocabulary instead of blind following is of the most value.

    Nevertheless, I hope that I have not berated my point.


  7. Sarlo on September 16th, 2009

    The author of this blog has not looked deeply into my guru ratings site at all. However dubious and presumptuous it is as an enterprise — and i acknowledge this in my Disclaimer and About pages — it is NOT about numbers of followers. This is simply an unexamined idea of the blog’s author, having no basis in reality. Likewise, political and financial clout, and DVD and book sales figures have no bearing on rating.

    This is the thing about numbers: Numbers have a bearing on WHETHER i rate someone, but not how high. How high depends on other factors, about which one might well argue. So argue away, but please examine your assumptions first.

    And fwiw, most gurus i do not rate at all but simply list, without evaluation. No evaluation means no evaluation. Non-rated does not equal low-rated. The reasons for non-rating are varied, and might include: they are just new to the biz and haven’t had the time to stake out a market niche, or they are too unassuming, preferring to avoid the fast lane, or there is not enough info on their website to form an opinion, or just generally too above-it-all. In the case of Sri Krishna, about whom there seems to be some concern here: he is such an iconic figure to Hindus that i mentally categorize him as a “founder” of a religion — though of course many great Hindu gurus preceded him — and i don’t usually do founders, such as Mohammed, Buddha, etc. (And yes, i make an exception for Jesus.) Were i to rate Krishna, i probably would rate him highly. But it’s nothing to do with numbers or DVD sales. This is the blog author’s fantasy.