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Is a Guru as Good as God? A Vedāntic Perspective

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pWithin Hindu religious contexts, a guru plays a crucial soteriological role, and is sometimes viewed as being as good as God. Questions of a guru’s sphere of epistemic authority thus have far-reaching socioreligious implications. In this paper, I highlight one such implication within the Caitanya Vaiṣṇava tradition. I then analyze various Caitanya Vaiṣṇava texts in order to precisely define the parameters of a guru’s epistemic authority within this tradition. I suggest that the statements made by gurus within this tradition are of a bipartite nature and describe how an understanding of this bipartite nature can lead to social progress within the tradition. In particular, I highlight how the teachings of the Caitanya Vaiṣṇava tradition can be made consistent with contemporary socially progressive values. I also consider some objections and respond to these.</jats:p>



5004 Religious Studies, 50 Philosophy and Religious Studies

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Journal of Dharma Studies

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC