GURU AND RABBI
DEVOTEE: In Vedic culture, spiritual knowledge is passed from the guru to his disciples. How is Jewish knowledge preserved and disseminated?
RABBI: In Judaism, knowledge is also passed from the rabbi to his students, but not everyone is qualified to become a student. "As a matter of law, the sages state that these mysteries 'cannot even be taught to a single individual, unless he is wise enough to understand with his own knowledge.' Even in such a case, the complete tradition was only given over to the head of the group, and he would then only instruct those whom he saw fit. Only individuals possessing the highest qualities of scholarship and piety would be admitted to the circle of initiates." [Introduction to the Bahir, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan]
DEVOTEE: In Vedic culture, although a guru would speak to whoever wanted to learn the Vedic science, he was traditionally very selective whom he would initiate as his disciple. He would only accept those persons who qualified themselves by humble submission and service. Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita, "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master, inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." [Bg. 4:34]
RABBI: It is also stated that "One who reaches the highest level cannot reveal it to anyone. All he can do is give over the keys, so that the enlightened individual can open the gates which are sealed to exclude the unworthy." [Meditation and Kabbalah, p 79]
DEVOTEE: In Vedic culture, the self-realized guru would distribute the process of devotional service which was so powerful that under his able guidance anyone could purify himself and perfect his life. Still, the ultimate success of the student depended upon his own willingness to follow the process given by the guru.
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