- Consider taking a class from MIT – with a catch – you are one of 100000 people taking the course, with hardly any opportunity to have a deep interaction with the teacher or the assistants.
- Consider visiting the Tirupati main shrine, to get a 5 second glimpse of the deity before being pushed out by the “jaragaNDi” shouting prabandhaka-s.
- Consider visiting an super popular ascetic (say the XYZ jagadguru), with whom the only interaction you will probably have is to be given a fruit after doing a namaskAra (if that).
- In all these cases, popularity implies less individual attention and opportunity.
- I feel that there is hubris without substance on the part of most patrons. “I went to MIT” or “I visited Tirupati” or “I am a shiShya of the most holy jagadguru” is what counts for them rather than “I learned statistical mechanics” or “I experienced a beautiful pUja” or “I got some great spiritual insight and progress” (since these things can be had from lesser known institutions and individuals, even remotely).
- I suspect that the institutions in question have an incentive to keep up the hype to get such disproportionate patronage.
- Hence, I don’t like to patronize overly popular institutions (temples or courses).
- EDIT: Note important qualifications and corrections noted by shrIvatsa on G+ here.
- People often affiliate with certain spiritual paths/ traditions rather than others because they increase their status amongst peers (eg: clansfolk); rather than because they are genuinely superior to others. So, “I chant the veda-s, do this and that sAdhana which is rigorous” or “I do this research on this HOT topic” is suspect. Too often, one does not ask oneself: Is the hype justified or not?