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Of Gurus and Pseudo Spiritualism

Of Gurus and Pseudo Spiritualism

Sentinel Digital Desk

Ma Prem Naina

The modern man is predominantly suffering from the tyranny of the world of "feelings" and emotional turmoil. His inner world is a battleground of anxieties and longings, hopes and aspirations, rights and wrongs. There is clear evidence that the modern man/woman is facing a split between the unconscious manifestation of mental functioning and a conscious behavior based on alert attention. This very fact highlights the importance of having a Satguru, a true spiritual master, in our lives.

Modern man is a very new phenomenon. No traditional meditation methods can be used exactly as it is supposed to because modern man had never existed before. For example, the body has changed so much. It is so much drugged that no traditional method can be helpful. The whole atmosphere is artificial now: the air, the water, society, living conditions. Nothing is natural. We are born in artificiality; we develop in it. That's why traditional methods will prove to be harmful for the body today.

Another thing is that the quality of the mind has basically changed. In Patanjali's days, the center of the human personality was the heart, not the brain. Now, the center is the brain. It is the true guru who lights the path for a seeker. A true guru does not direct the way because the spiritual journey is an individual journey and each seeker/individual's path is unique. At the most, the guru can point his finger and share his experience but the seeker has to tread the path alone. There are no superhighways in the world of spirituality and meditation.

In view of how significant it is to have a Satguru in modern times, Osho teaches us to beware of so-called gurus. He observes, "If there is one Satguru in the world, for each perfect master there are ninety-nine pseudo gurus. This is always the ratio: 1 to 99. The joke lies in the fact that the pseudo-gurus are more successful in attracting people than the genuine guru, for they speak our language. The pseudo-guru knows us very well and does all that you wish of him deep within yourself. He tries to satisfy all our desires. Therefore, you find crowds of thousands around a pseudo-satguru, for he is but a reflection of our own life".

He says: "It is difficult to recognize a Satguru, for it requires a transformation in your life: you must change! A pseudo-guru gives to you and tries to satisfy your desires; an authentic guru snatches away all you have. Thus, you usually find crowds around the pseudo-guru. Whenever you see such a crowd, beware! For a crowd is always of deluded people. You will find very few people in the right place, near a Satguru. And they are extremely hard to find. You will find only a selected few whose aim is to attain God. A crowd is always made up of desire-ridden people."

But then, one may ask: how does one find a true master, a Satguru? Here are the keys given by Osho for finding a Master.

"If you can find a man who is interested in you as yourself - He is your Master. That is the criterion, the definition of a Master: one who is not putting any trip upon you, who is simply interested in helping you to be whatsoever you can be. He is not driving you in any direction, but simply nurturing you, nourishing you, so that you can have any direction that comes naturally to you; who is not pruning you, who is simply putting fertilizers onto your roots, so if you want to grow to the north or to the south, or you want to go high in the sky, or you want to become a thick bush, you become whatsoever you want to become. A Master is just a benevolent presence. He does not guide you to be this or that; he simply helps you to be that which is hidden in you."

Satgurus are a natural phenomenon to guide people out of their own compassion. They help the seeker to grow. The master can at the most be a loving gardener. They nurture but do not impose anything. If Satgurus are there, pseudo gurus are bound to be there. Maybe that is a way to keep the balance of nature. Donning saffron attire, pseudo gurus operate from homes and auditoriums. Crowds of thousands, millions, are found around a pseudo guru, for he is but a reflection of the desires of the people. He does not lead but is led by the desires of the crowd.

Osho says, "If you recognize the guru by your desires, you will err; what has the guru to do with your desires? The true guru is not there to gratify your desires; he is interested in awakening you. To accomplish this it is better for you to be rid of desires -- as many as possible. The guru is not interested in your illness, in your court cases or your wife and children; he is interested in you and your God. And his path is not the path of desires, but of desirelessness. Therefore he will not be able to attract you to him."

What is it that drives a man to become a pseudo guru? Many of the pseudo gurus seem to be well meaning good people but then why do they leave their simple and happy lives to become pseudo gurus? Money, power or ego? Many of the pseudogurus are driven by an invisible inner craving to guide or lead fellow travelers in their spiritual search, knowingly or unknowingly, which in turn gives a satisfaction, the feel goodsyndrome that they are doing good to others.For those of us who found Satguru, pseudo gurus are not meant to be taken seriously. Who are the people who come to such gurus and why? Are these people real seekers of spirituality? What is the role of greed, power and ego in driving people towards spirituality? Is it because of the misconception among the people that spirituality will make them superhuman, take care of their stress and tension when they need it?

Because of inner turmoil and chaos, people seek all sorts of methods and possibilities. And this brings to all sorts of gurus and pseudo-gurus. Osho says, "If you are seeking a state where fear will dissolve, a state where your greed will be fulfilled, a state where you will be titillated constantly with pleasure, then you are bound to become a victim of such pseudo-persons."

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