Sunday, 15 April 2012

CASE 399 - Guru's, Shamens, elders, guides and prophets

Guru is a Sanskrit term for "teacher" or "master", such as Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Sikh, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati and Nepali.The malayalam term Acharyan or Asan are derivered from the sanskrit word Acharya. It is transliterated in different ways such as Asaan ,Ashan, Aasaan etc, but especially in the Indian religions. The Hindu guru-shishya tradition is the oral tradition or religious doctrine transmitted from teacher to student. In Western usage, the meaning of "guru" has been extended to cover anyone who acquires followers, especially by exploiting their naiveté, due to the inflationary use of the term in new religious movements or can even be used for materialistic uses, that either empower that guru or makes them richer.

The term shaman comes from the Tungus region of Siberia and denotes a traditional healer and practitioner of that region, many of the red indians who travelled from this region to the lands of America were also Shamens. Certain anthropologists are highly critical of the term when used outside of its original context. Part of this criticism involves the notion of cultural appropriation. This includes criticism of New Age and modern Western forms of shamanism, which may not only misrepresent or dilute genuine indigenous practices but do so in a way that. Many "real" shamens will go on a spiritual quest on their own into the wild with nothing other than the cloths on their back for weeks on end until they met their demon or had a realisation of some sort.

within each tribe elders, "are repositories of cultural and philosophical knowledge and are the transmitters of such information," including, "basic beliefs and teachings, in the Great Spirit, the Creator". "The fact acknowledged in most Indian societies: Certain individuals, by virtue of qualifications and knowledge, are recognized by the Indian communities as the ultimately qualified reservoirs of aboriginal skills." The role of elder is featured within and without classrooms, conferences, ceremonies, and homes.

The following definition is from a study of the role in a specific tribe:
A point of reference: those people who have earned the respect of their own community and who are looked upon as elders in their own society...We have misused the role of elder through our ignorance and failure to see that not all elders are spiritual leaders and not all old people are elders.

In religion, a prophet, is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy. Claims of prophets have existed in many cultures through history, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, the Sybilline and the Pythia, known as the Oracle of Delphi, in Ancient Greece, Zoroaster, the Völuspá in Old Norse and many others. Traditionally, prophets are regarded as having a role in society that promotes change due to their messages and actions.

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