465 What value Gurus?

What value Gurus?


In the press yet again an article about a guru - Ram Rahim Singh - abusing his position and his disciples … he’s in the courts for - among other reasons (incl. a conspiracy to incite the murder of a critical journalist) - convincing about 400 followers that castration will bring them closer to God. He has about 40 or 50 million followers worldwide, who helped him amass a fortune of aprox. $50m.


There are many Indian gurus who fall into the category of charlatans, who have enriched themselves and in the process abused their followers; i.e. Sathya Sai Baba, who died in 2011 with a fortune of about $7b ... or Asaram Bapu, worth about $1.9b; or take Mata Amritanandamayi (a.k.a. Amma) who has built a fortune of $300m just by offering people ‘holy hugs’. Then there is Bhagwan ‘Osho’ Rajneesh (he with the 50 Rolls Royces - or was it 90?) These gurus have managed to extract maximum value from their followers ... but how much value did the seekers get from them? 

I guess that is for them to determine.


There is no doubt that gurus have profound teachings to impart …


Every human has the capacity for enlightenment and - once free of anger, hatred, fear and prejudice - is capable of unconditional love; however ... our ego - our ordinary mind or lower consciousness - stands in the way, since it is the subject of social conditioning that creates false needs and conflicts. 

Meditation neutralizes that conditioning ... and it is not just a solitary practice, but a permanent state of awareness that is to be maintained in every moment; this total awareness awakens the individual from the sleep of ignorance ... which is induced by dogmatic beliefs and selfish expectations. 


There it is, in a nutshell, the gist of the teachings a guru may impart to his disciples. Whatever else is being said (or taught) largely is commentary, at best. At worst it is exploitation, brainwashing and the instilling of a delusional state of dependence … on the guru and his/her (often warped) teachings, rantings and ravings; interestingly, the above statement does apply to most established religions too.


Why do people follow - or fall for - a guru? Many of us want to know the truth … about life, love, ourselves, our mind, soul and consciousness. About the big picture … what is it all about? We then may turn to who we think is a spiritual authority, some guru (or teacher) … but many people get deceived by promises of salvation contingent on submission or faith, as well as demands for cold, hard cash payments. Indeed, not many gurus deliver the desired knowledge and peace of mind without disillusionment or even regrets later on.


Obviously there are sincere and selfless gurus; they don’t fall into the category of charlatans. How can you tell the difference? It’s not hard: Sincere gurus impart their teachings without charging for their wisdom - some live off their own income and don’t rely on donations for their living - and their teachings differ little from the advice that is at the base of every spiritual philosophy ... 

Seekers of spiritual wisdom are to live an ethical life, to love fellow human beings - indeed all of humanity - with compassion and tolerance, and in pursuit of peace. They are to cultivate purity of heart and to gain mastery over the mind while they connect with their inner self, their soul … or inner God.

... furthermore, their teachings are universal, they do not follow rigid dogmas, rely on odious scriptures or are valid for a minority only while excluding the majority; in fact their teachings do not form a religion. Genuine gurus do not have to conform to traditions in order to hang on to their jobs. They are free and they impart freedom.


I have embarked on a spiritual journey in 1987. It culminated in me writing down my insights as 150 essays, which I collected in my book with three definitions of the term en.light.en.ment  for a title. One of the essays - Q & A - is the account of my meeting with the Indian master Guru Maharaj Charan Singh Ji. That meeting provided me with an awareness that forms the background for much of my writings. In recent years I have been interested in  BUDDHISM ... especially  ZEN. Furthermore ... go to my blog  461  Buddhism revisited.