Can I have more than one spiritual Guru in my life? Can I take Mantra Diksha from two Gurus? If I take Mantra Diksha from two Gurus then which Guru will be considered as superior?
Yes you can have.
See the following verse which i have used in this answer:
MadhuluvedhA yathA bhringah pushpAt pushAntaram vrajet |
JyAna luvdha stathA shishyah guro gurvantara vrajet ||
Just like the bee, desirous of honey, moves from one flower to the other, a disciple, desirous of knowledge, can likewise move from one Guru to another.
Kularnava Tantram 13.132
Also from the Uddava Gita we get the following verse:
na hy ekasmäd guror jïänaà su-sthiraà syät su-puñkalam
brahmaitad advitéyaà vai géyate bahudharñibhiù ||
Although God is one, sages have described Him in different manners. For this reason, one may not be able to gain a complete understanding of God from one ordinary spiritual master.
So, in such cases looking for more than one Guru is recommended. Lord Shiva, in that KulArnava verse i have given, is alluding exactly to such a scenario.
Bhrighu, Swetaketu had more than one Guru, for example.
Also, from this answer you can know that Sri RAmakrishna Paramhamsa had more than one Mantra Gurus. First, he was initiated by Sri KenArAm BhattachArya. And, then sometime later, he was further initiated by his female Guru Sri Bhairavi.
So, it is certainly allowed.
As regards, superiority, then that is not based on who initiated you first but rather on which DikshA uplifted your spiritual level more.
If after a DikshA you feel completely satisfied, then that Guru is the ultimate Guru for you.
As per tantras, You can change until your purnadiksha (higher/highest initiation). I.e in the initial initiations it is allowed to change. But it is recommended to have a single guru. But today there is so much confusion among the masses regarding the shastra. One should be careful in selecting a guru or disciple.
ekaguru or aneka guru in kaula?
madhulubdho yathA brngaH puShpAt puShpAntaraM vrajet |
jnAna lubdhastathA shiShyaH gurorgurvantaram shrayet || meaning,
Just as a honey bee out of greed for honey jumps from flower to flower, a disciple who is greedy for knowledge should seek one guru after another.
Just as the above verse seems to give a blanket sanction to the disciple to change his guru without sticking to one guru in his quest for knowledge, it also throws up numerous questions since, in the same breath, kulArNava also says,
"labdhvA kulagurum samyak na gurvantaramAshrayet"
i.e., after obtaining the kulaguru, one should not further seek another guru and stick to the kulaguru.
it also seems to contradict PKS Sutra No. 20 which says "ekagurUpAstirasamshayaH" meaning,
There is no scope for doubt in the worship of one guru. By implication this means multiple gurus are not permitted in shrIvidyA.
On one hand, while glorifying the attributes of a competent guru, the tantras bestow limitless freedom on the guru in the matter of choosing the disciple and on the other hand, it also gives limited freedom to the shiShya to change his guru under certain circumstances. Is it contradictory?
Is a shiShya whose true thirst for knowledge cannot be quenched by the guru then entitled to change his guru ? (when the guru is not competent enough to clear the genuine doubts of the shiShya)
When after initiation, the shiShya finds that the guru is a fake (it does happen sometimes, due to ignorance) can he change his guru and seek a competent one
harau ruShTe gurustrAtA gurau ruShTe na kashcana |
A guru can protect a shiShya from the anger of hara (shiva) but none can protect the shiShya from the wrath of the guru !
So, will not leaving one guru for another, invite the wrath of the pUrvaguru? It will. Not only that, leaving the pUrvaguru will also lead to losing of all knowledge.
It is also a fact that in the matter of choosing the disciple, a guru has unlimited freedom. But there is a specific injunction in the tantras against accepting another’s disciple. Tantric texts are unequivocal in this respect when they say:
“na deyaM parashiShyebhyaH” – Not to be given to another’s disciple.. etc
So who is a “parashiShya”? What are the conditions / circumstances under which a disciple can quit his guru and seek another? Under what circumstances, a guru can accept another’s disciple as his?
Before going into the meaning of the word “parashiShya”, it would be proper to know who is a shiShya in the sense and context of the word parashiShya, since, acceptance of parashiShya is strictly prohibited.
shaive gurutrayaM proktaM vaiShNave gurupancakam |
vedashAstreShu shatasho gururekaH kulAnvaye ||
In shaivism three gurus are authorished, in vaiShNavism, five. As far as VedashAstra-s are concerned, there can be hundreds of gurus. But in kulamArga, there can be only one guru. Thus, it may be seen that the word shiShya is used to generally indicate a disciple. But what is important is the context. A teacher-student relationship gets established in many ways like in a school, wherein you have a teacher for various subjects. Viewed in this context, in tantra also, many gurus are encountered. They are
prerakaH sUcakashcaiva vAcako darshakastathA |
shikShako bodhakashcaiva ShaDete guruvaH smRtAH ||
pancaite kAryabhUtAH syuH kAraNaM bodhako bhavet |
prerakaH – who urges an aspirant to take to upasana, sUcakaH – who indicates about the path, darshakaH – who shows the path, shikShakaH – who teaches about the path and bodhakaH – who awakens. (Its also possible that a single guru does all the actions as above) The relation with the first five is limited to taking the aspirant to the bodhaka guru, i.e. the one who awakens. All these gurus do play important role in the journey of the aspirant in this shAstra. But the final destination is the pUrNAbhiSheka guru who alone is competent to give his pAdukA and therefore qualifies to be worshipped as the “kulaguru”.
pUrNAbhiShekakarttA yo gurustasyaiva pAdukA | pUjanIyA maheshAni bahutve'pi na saMshayaH ||
The gurupAduka for the disciple is only from the guru who does the pUrNAbhiSheka and he alone is to be worshipped among the others, without doubt. The ‘others’ here refer to the prerakaH, sUcakaH etc.
In the normal course, a shiShya should not change his guru after he has obtained a worthy kulaguru according to the dictum “labdhvA kulagurum samyak na gurvantaramAshrayet”.
However, situation may arise when the disciple has to quit even his kulaguru. What are these circumstances?
In the course of upasana, if doubts arise in the mind of a disciple after the death of his guru, and he finds that another guru is competent with prescribed attributes and surrenders to the other guru, then the second guru may accept the disciple as his own. In case, the first guru is alive then the more competent guru may, with the consent of the first one accept the disciple who has surrendered to him.
Further, due to the absence of capacity to estimate the competence of a kulaguru, some people do get trapped and initiated by unscrupulous or incompetent gurus. On realizing that one’s guru is incompetent if a disciple quits him and goes for another competent guru, no doSha or curse will befall him in such a situation as per the following verse:
anabhijnaM guruM prApya sadA saMshayakArakam |
gurvantarantu gatvA sa naitaddoSeNa lipyate ||
gurorapyavaliptasya kAryAkAryamajAnataH |
utpathapratipannasya parityAgo vidhIyate ||
Meaning – “An arrogant guru who doesn’t know what is to be done and what not, and who has strayed from his pAramparya and is treading a wrong path, is fit to be renounced by the disciple along with all the mantras received from that guru”.
And if such a disciple with the prescribed attributes, approaches another guru with the prescribed attributes and surrenders to him, then the second guru may accept him as his disciple without the consent of the first guru.
Finally, all these issues arise due to non adherence to the laid down rules of shAstra. Before aspiring to do her upAsana, one must first introspect whether he or she has the prescribed attributes of a shiShya. It should also be remembered that an aspirant is well within his/her rights to test the competence of the prospective guru, just as a guru should never accept a person as disciple without testing. Tantras prescribe a mandatory period of 1 year or 6 months or 3 months as the case may be for mutual parIkShaNa (testing).
THE BOTTOM LINE - FIRST DESERVE THEN DESIRE
Yes. Lord Dattatreya had 24 (not mantra gurus though)!
But it has some risks. If you step back and see what's the pros/cons of having 1 or more than 1 guru(s)
- Pros of 1 Guru:
- Single line of teaching
- Single source of truth
- Unambiguous source of instruction
- No conflict with "other" schools of thought
- Cons: All of the above (i.e., no cross-pollination of thought)
With more than 1 Guru:
- Pros of >1 Gurus:
- Cross-pollination from different schools of thought
- Intertwined thoughts - who is right/wrong?
- Competition between "my way is the right/better way"
- Possibly conflicting philosophies
If however, you are willing to be your own guru then you can help alleviate most of the cons of multiple gurus. That is, you should ruminate on the teachings of multiple gurus and really pore over what parts agree and what are in conflict. You need to think about what is the right way to fix the conflicts - do you need more clarification? Is there something missing? Is there something new that you've stumbled upon? Will the gurus agree to your new insights? Do you need another guru? Think of this as "spiritual research" that you'll have to entail. Owing to this, most people prefer a single Guru. I have a "main one" and about half a dozen others and this is what I land up doing and really enjoy it.
The thing is this, with multiple gurus comes a greater responsibility - the onus is on you to really ruminate, disambiguate and distill the knowledge into your inner self.
As discussed here ideally a Guru cannot be changed. Once you accept a person as your guide, it is permanent. You cannot change the guide from time to time. Logically too it makes sense because if you follow more than one guru then your mind is bound to get confused and you will end up achieving nothing. Basically Confused, Scared, Directionless. There is a famous saying "too many cooks spoil the broth". Yes in order to master different traits you can have differnt Gurus, for instance Arjuna has Drona as guru to master weapons, he was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by Bhishma. More details here
Find a guru who can guide you personally.
In the seventh chapter of the Bhagavad gita, Lord Krishna describes four types of people who worship him: men in pain, seekers of knowledge, seekers of wealth and seekers of enlightenment. Of them he says the last kind, the men of wisdom are dearest to him because they identify themselves with him and are forever established in him. Lord Krishna does not demean the first three. He calls them noble (udara), but considers the last group of men as the noblest.
If you seek a guru for enlightenment or liberation and if you want him to initiate you in a proper manner into spiritual life, you have to choose your guru carefully, making sure that he or she is available to you on a regular basis and respond to you promptly. If you cannot reach him or if he is inaccessible, you may have problems dealing with your difficulties on the path and you may not be able to seek the guidance when you need it most. If you think your guru can communicate with you supernaturally or clairvoyantly across the oceans and continents, first check your convictions with him before you delude yourself. It is also true that sometimes the gurus deliberately ignore their most sincere followers to teach them some lessons or remove the sense of dependency and attachment. Whatever may be the nature of your relationship with your guru, you must have unflinching faith in him. Refer this
Arjuna also was trained by a lot of people.
Uttara asked how Arjuna alone will fight against a lot of Kauravas.
And Uttara said, 'Thou, O best of Pandavas, art alone. These mighty car-warriors are many. How wilt thou vanquish in battle all these that are skilled in every kind of weapon? Thou, O son of Kunti, art without a follower, while the Kauravas have many. It is for this, O thou of mighty arms, that I stay beside thee, stricken with fear.'
Arjuna laughed and he said that he should have any fear.
Bursting out into loud laughter, Partha said unto him, 'Be not afraid, O hero, what friendly follower had I while fighting with the mighty Gandharvas on the occasion of the Ghoshayatra? Who was my ally while engaged in the terrific conflict at Khandava against so many celestials and Danavas? Who was my ally when I fought, on behalf of the lord of the celestials against the mighty Nivatakavachas and the Paulomas! And who was my ally, O child, while I encountered in battle innumerable kings at the Swayamvara to the princess of Panchala?
He then tells that he was trained in arms and using weapons by various people and asked Uttara why he should not fight the Kuru army?
Trained in arms by the preceptor Drona, by Sakra, and Vaisravana, and Yama, and Varuna, and Agni, and Kripa, and Krishna of Madhu's race, and by the wielder of the Pinaka (Siva), why shall I not fight with these? Drive thou my car speedily, and let thy heart's fever be dispelled.'"
*Note the bolded words where Arjuna said that he was trained in arms by Drona, Indra who is Sakra, Vaisravana, Yama, Varuna, Agni, Kripa, Krishna, and Shiva. This means that you could have more than one guru.
Same is the case with Pitamaha Bhishma, the grandfather of the Pandavas and Kauravas also.
Endued with superior intelligence, he has studied with Vasishtha the entire Vedas with their branches. Skilled in all weapons and a mighty bowman, he is like Indra in battle. And, O Bharata, both the gods and the Asuras look upon him with favour. Whatever branches of knowledge are known to Usanas, this one knoweth completely. And so is he the master of all those Sastras that the son of Angiras (Vrihaspati) adored by the gods and the Asuras, knoweth. And all the weapons known to the powerful and invincible Rama, the son of Jamadagni are known to this thy illustrious son of mighty arms. O king of superior courage, take this thy own heroic child given unto thee by me. He is a mighty bowman and conversant with the interpretation of all treatises on the duties of a king.' Thus commanded by Ganga, Santanu took his child resembling the Sun himself in glory and returned to his capital.
Ganga tells Shantanu how Brihaspati, Parashurama,Usanas, and Vashishta trained Bhishma.
Karna also was a student of Drona, Kripa, and Rama of Bhrigu's race which is Parashurama.
And there Karna put up with Drona, for the purpose of learning arms. And that powerful youth contracted a friendship with Duryodhana. And having acquired all the four kinds of weapons from Drona, Kripa, and Rama, he became famous in the world as a mighty bowman.
Greetings!:) Although CHANGE even of the main Guru (Mantra Guru) is possible, there should be "only" one main Guru (even without giving personal mantras) for anyone! By the Saint Scripts and all Saint Sources, there are 3 Levels of guru: 1) Parents, near peoplle like family members (including close friends) = only ordnary ones. 2) Teachers, advisors, experts = ordinary ones. 3) GURUs = EXTRAordinary Effective!:).
EXPLANATION OF THE ABOVE NOTED LEVELS:
- Preparing for beginning of living more independently, but JUST INSIDE of ongoing living. Although that, they are doing dependency which will staying still nearly ontil YOUR death (yes, you can be depended at "your" parents even afet their death!:(...).
- Teaching,advicing and helping for ongoing living more independently, but JUST INSIDE of ongoing living. Although that, they are doing dependency which will staying still nearly ontil YOUR death (yes, you can be depended at "your" helpers even afet their death!:(...).
- AWAKEning and LIBERATING plus Preparing FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE and MAINLY FOR THE LIFE AFTER DEATH which will LASTING LONGER!
Each higher Level incudes previous levels as should was Clear from all above. Therefore the Guru is the top Authority!:) And THE TOTAL TOP IS "OLY" ONE point! Therefore "only" one Main Guru should Serving to all A-SOCIATEd. Also all blover Level Effects are available Thsnks to the Guru, GODlike!:)
As RESUME I will cite from the Saint Song about a Master (Shri Gurugita, from Sri PURANA Skanda)...:
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Eko deva eka dharma, eka nishöha parartapah. parataram nanyan, nasti tattvam guroh param.
One God, one religion and one faith are the highest austerity.
There is nothing higher than the Guru, no Element is Guru superseding.