Everyone has something inside him that that makes him ask questions and seek something beyond. To quench this higher thirst people look into religions, books and holy people.

The problem right now is good teachers or gurus are very few, almost nil. Most people cannot recognize false from truth and then become easy targets for misleading people who pose as gurus, prophets and saints.

In today’s world, probably every religious leader or holy man should be checked so that the fakes can be separated from the genuine ones. A false guru or prophet drains people out of common sense and practicality. Worse, he makes them lose all their money and even go as far as to hypnotize them. No wonder, we commonly hear of such men and women caught and jailed.

So what are the ways to detect if a guru, saint or prophet is not genuine? Here are five red flags –

#1 Money

signs of a false guruIf he or she asks for money for being your guru, be sure there is something amiss. The holy man is not so holy. A guru does not need your money. A prophet will never ask for money, directly or indirectly in the name of God. God did not take money to enlighten Buddha, Mahavira or Jesus. You cannot bribe Krishna or Shiva for your self-realization. Leave these false gurus and leaders immediately and stay away from them as far as you can.

If any money is even asked for a cause or construction, anyone can ask for its audit and ask to show them the income and expenditure proofs.

#2 Talks

signs of a false guruIf all is talk and lecture and no real work, be very careful. One should walk his talk. If you speak of kindness and generosity, you must show it in action also. Not to show off but to be genuinely concerned. It is very easy to talk and talk and make everything sound so good. But lecture should be balanced with ethical action and practicality. The opposite of it is staying maun (sworn to muteness) which may be a good practice, but one must introspect whether it help him in any way.

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#3 Sex

signs of a false guru

As horrible as it may sound, many false gurus and prophets are engaged in sexual acts in secret and open and – worst in the name of the divine. Sex is only for sexual pleasure and nothing more and it has no way to get you connected to God. The function of sex is just like eating and sleeping – the way our body is meant to function.

People who use sex to pull people towards them are the worst kind. They spread diseases of the body and also sicken the mind. Stay away from these false gurus as far as possible if you want your family’s and your well being.

Related: Identify and stay away from toxic people

#4 Stereotyping and dividing

signs of a false guru stereotyping

Wearing a particular colour or dress code will not get you to God. Nor does begging, else beggars would have been the most enlightened. Singing songs, praying like a chore or saying mantras like a parrot without any heartfelt connection is just lip service. The point is to use your common sense.

A false guru can never get you to God but on the contrary make you look like a foolish man by dividing and differentiating. Some are very glib speakers and it is very easy for them to engage people blindly into any stereotypical activity.

#5 Are you ascending?

The gist of all this is only your ascent.

false guru cannot help you in your ascent

Remember that the divine is the sanest and the most practical person out there. He and She runs the whole universe and also your well being. People who just pose as gurus and prophets may not have any real knowledge but can easily quote line sand scriptures from the holy books. The real deal is whether you are getting spiritually a higher person.

Ask yourself this. Have you become a better person? Have your overcome your lust and anger? Are improving in your physical health and mental peace? Can you forgive others and stand calm in a storm?

If not, sorry to say that you should stop seeking these false gurus and look inside.Keep asking these questions and introspecting.

There are true saints and gurus in this world too but they may not look the same as the expectation you hold in your mind. A true guru will show you to face yourself and look into the truth. He will tell you- and show you – that the real thing, the entire divine, all the source is within you. And you do not have to go anywhere else.

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