The Guru: Watch Your Step

 

Be A Lamp Unto Yourselves‘ were the famous last words of the dying Buddha. You are on your own on this one.

The central figure of the Rig Veda was the Rishi, the one who ‘Sees’ [hence ‘Seer’] and composes the hymn [sūkta]. But there is little talk of the Guru [related to the Latin Gravitas] an appellation of later consequence, a role meant for different purposes.

Gurus are the bedrock of an Oral/Apprentice tradition. They are indispensable in Classical Music, in Dance, in Natural Medicine and such where the means are transferable, the ends, specific and measurable. The lineages of the finest Gurus in such fields are impeccable. Not so in misty, open-ended claims such as ‘Truth’.

I am not fond of Gurus. The single biggest hurdle I faced was succumbing to and retracing my steps from the unbaked advice and scripts of half-done Gurus. [But then, you might be very fortunate in having found that extremely rare authentic Guru. Don’t let me cloud your judgment too much.]

Stay alert for lectures on the virtue of patience from a teacher who isn’t looking for a job to pay the rent, on Infatuation from one who has never been in Love, on the venality of sex from a celibate monk.

Take them out of their protected and privileged seclusion, ask them to find a parking-spot in a crowded city-center, and they quickly reduce to irate mortals.

Prophets, Pundits, Priests, Professors, Professional Philosophers, Masters, Mystics, Mullahs, Speakers-for-a fee, Writers-for-a-royalty. Gurus of every kind. Walk away.

[And in the spirit of the Self-Eating Expression, make sure to include Writers on the Web, such as this one.]