It takes all types, but people will usually listen to anyone who speaks, or yells loud enough, with any kind of authority. Sometimes, this can be good if the info is profitable to the listener, but at other times it can be a disaster. And this can reveal a BIG difference between a guru and a proper teacher.
A guru is anyone who usually tries to draw people to himself or herself at the expense of other teachers and/or teachings. Such a person is also regarded by followers as a personal guide to living, and is invariably looked to by such followers as a source of vital knowledge. Personally, I don’t know any gurus, even though I have read oodles of books written by wise people on different subjects. But to empty one’s brain of common sense and logic in favor of anyone’s teaching is rash. Everything needs proving – especially after our Worldwide experiences – and compared with what favorably links up with plain, simple, logical sanity.
A teacher, on the other hand, is one who lays out the facts and encourages the student to build on the foundation that such teachers have provided. In this instance, I’m talking about a GOOD teacher, and not one who simply rambles from a book somewhere, but one who researches his/her work, loves what they’re doing, and puts a lot of energy into the implementation of the passing on of that knowledge.
Knowledge, of itself, never made anyone smart. However, an understanding of the working of such knowledge and the wisdom derived as a result can be the key to a person’s growth. Einstein, for example, was basically a mathematician, but it was the application of that mathematical knowledge that made for things like the understanding of energy, relativity, quantum mechanics, the “bending” of space relative to the effective mass involved, and the unified field theory, etc. But the mathematics was only the initial knowledge. The depth of understanding of what he then calculated as a result is now history.
This concept is anathema to any guru. A guru must have complete allegiance from a following to his/her own ideas, theories, and prophecies. A guru – and they come in all sizes, personalities, and religions – invariably has a gargantuan ego, even though he may sit cross-legged on a mountain top and meditate on infinity. People don’t need gurus. People need good, dedicated teachers.
A story (which you may have heard) illustrates the point about gurus. A New York Jewish mother sought throughout the world for a particular guru. It was said that this guru had all the answers to life. At last she found him high in the Himalayas, but she was told, it would take weeks before she could possibly get to talk to this guru because he was so busy with disciples, and then, she could only ask one question. She waited the time, and when she was finally ushered into his presence, his head was down, and he reverently spoke to her: “How may I help you, my child?”
“Sherman.” she yelled back, “It’s your mother. Come home.”
The guru attitude is common everywhere. Look at modern day “Christianity.” Since ego prevails in too many areas, there are far too many who like to hide behind their own little fount of knowledge. This goes for business and religion. How many of us have been in a company where we’ve had supervisors, managers, or executives above us that have deliberately withheld knowledge from us? By withholding such info, they think, gives them an upper hand, and leaves us poor peons more ignorant than they. Their ego is left intact, their guru status remains unaltered, and the staff is forever dependent on them.
How many of us – for example – can remember the day that the manager, etc., found out that we knew as much (or more) than they did, and we finished up with a pink slip? Since we knew we’d done nothing to warrant dismissal, the only motive for our firing was the fact that we were now on an equal competency level to the boss. The guru mentality will never permit equality to themselves, and if they are threatened, they will dispense with that threat – and hence, the pink slip.
How true is this with religion! Worldwide was such a typical example. The hireling was our guru (and the ego invariably showed), the HQ administrator was the hireling’s guru, the cultmaster was the administrator’s guru, and Apostle Herbie was everyone’s guru. As such, went the guru chain of command.
The answer to staying employed (as many cultmasters and hirelings did), was to constantly stroke the egos of those who were senior, and always pamper to them as if these cultmasters actually had something akin to a brain. In the sixties (as told to me by departed hirelings) if any cultmaster found out that a hireling could PROVE these cultmasters wrong, then they were (1) usually demoted in some way by giving them a smaller church group, and (2) moving them further away from the HQ area, wherein lay the center of guru power.
If one is to carefully look at the ministerial moves made in the sixties and seventies, we could see that those who actually thot for themselves and challenged doctrine were relegated to an outer area, and all those who (in the vernacular) “kissed ass” maintained their cushy jobs, homes, and salaries near or at the HQ area. There was room for only ONE guru, and any challengers were immediately ostracized. Blind obedience was the order of the day, the same as it is with any guru type cult.
Besides Apostle Herbie, there are others of similar ilk that we can name. Jim Jones, the Rev. Moon (Unification), Marshall Applewhite (Heaven’s Gate), etc., and now (according to the correspondence received), we have a conglomerate of new gurus that tread and strut the boards of the new guru stages, showing the same egotistical characteristics toward their own followers. The offshoots of Worldwide, like the Living cult, the Philadelphia cult, etc., also tolerate no challenges to the egos and guru-like stature of their particular leadership. Most, it seems, are following the same spiritual sludge and wallow around in the same ego trips as their forefather, patriarch (and very dead) Herbie.
There is no shortage of gurus, especially in religion. But there is a drastic shortage of honest and devoted teachers. There’s usually no thanks or profit in being a good teacher, but there’s a helluva lot of money and prestige to be gained as a guru. That’s why gurus abound. Superior teachers don’t. This is NOT to say that there are not good teachers around. There are. But far too many are either muzzled by a corrupt, irresponsible, and incompetent system that they cannot control, or they quit in disgust after running their health into the ground.
So while the gurus abound, and always will, people will always be willing to give their devotion and money to some noodle brain who lavishes in the adulation of well intended people, and fleeces them to the full. We all know of one such guru who (1) violated the Constitution [prohibiting the freedom of speech against him], (2) lied about his “doctrines,” and many other things, (3) had the morals and ethics of an alley cat, (4) had the merciless, bullying attitude of a Hitler, and (5) took money from hard working people under false pretenses and spent it cavorting around the world, living it up, while taking the occasional side trip to sex clinics to have his penis stretched . . . at tithepayer’s expense, of course.
And now, he’s dead. But the dishonor of his life lives on, and it will live forever.
Gurus come and go, but few (if any) remember what such ego driven salespeople ever say. They always sound good at the time, but when they go away, their legends are only kept alive by those who have something to gain.
However, while gurus make their profit here and now, proper teachers gain respect – usually when they die. In the early AD’s, there were gurus running rampant up and down the Levant, but we don’t have anything to show from them now. A few teachers during that same period, on the other hand, have been remembered. Teachers like Apollonius, Marcus Aurelius, and the wisdom from the teachers in early Greece all come to mind. Earlier ones like Euclid, Plato, Aristotle, and Archimedes have long been remembered for their teaching of facts and not for selling snake oil. In the middle ages, we have the teachings of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Kant, and many others. All these teachers usually had one thing in common, and that was they (except for persecution) were given little notice by the people.
There’s a reason for all this, and that is because people (in general) like to be entertained rather than have to “push” themselves to go that extra step in order to grow. Gurus entertain, or give the people what they want, while good teachers deal in facts. Teachers can show people how to grow. A guru can only show people how to degenerate. Decent teachers can provide the food, but they won’t cook the dinner. They can provide the foundation, but the student must construct the building themselves. And thereby hangs the big problem. Far too many cannot be bothered. Far too many would rather be spoon-fed. And that’s why we’ll always have an abundance of gurus and a willing audience to follow.
A proper teacher can deal out the facts and show the many possible ramifications, but it’s up to the student to take that knowledge, apply it to themselves, do their OWN homework, and make the progression to the next step. In essence, the teacher can only prod a person to become their OWN teacher.
People in the past (especially in Worldwide) have thot me insensitive or ignorant when I wouldn’t feed them with every last detail about something or other. Instead, I’d tell them what they needed to know so that they could find the rest of the way themselves. So many times I’d tell people: “Do your own homework, and prove the thesis right – or prove it wrong.” Regrettably, many wouldn’t bother.
A good college professor cannot provide students with all the answers. They never claim to have this capability. The serious student really starts to learn AFTER leaving college, but he/she carries with them that class foundation at all times.
The guru will sell anyone on the idea that he/she has ALL the answers, and that is always the path of destruction for the genuine student. But, the competent teacher will always tell you that he/she does NOT have all the answers. They can only point the directional finger. Students must ferret out their own unique and applicable understanding for themselves. The responsibility is ultimately on the student. But, one thing we can remember. We don’t need gurus. Those answers are all within ourselves.