File under: Real True Gurus
The Guruphiliac discussion list continues to produce nuggets of wisdom. Greg Goode has been in our pantheon since our first encounter with him at Jerry Katz's Nonduality Salon. As a frequent host of travelling gurus in NYC, he's got a backstage perspective that is rich with insight into the all too human nature of the guru:
There are lots of guru shenanigans! Many of them lurk beneath Guruphiliac's high-level editorial radar, but they're still sociologically fascinating. Maybe they can be discussed here.That's what we're here for, Gregji, to blow the cover off the facade of holy divinity and expose the much more accessible humanity that always lies just a tenth of a millimeter underneath.
To me, small hypocrisies can be just as interesting and instructive as large ones.
Stuff like the satsang teachers who were touting themselves as Pure Consciousness a few years back who are now spiritually and financially cuddling up to a major power monger like Kracki. Sure, the bills gotta be paid, but these guys have swallowed the whole roll, wrapper, advertising spiel and all. Or the Papaji teacher who announced her enlightenment and launched herself onto the satsang circuit claiming authorization from Arunachala thru Ramana via Papaji, who later got exposed in an adultery scandal, renounced her enlightenment, went to get her batteries charged by Jon DeReuter, and took up the enlightenment banner once again. Or the teacher who was accused of making enlightenment a personal thing, who then pretended to discover a brand new kind of enlightenment never before seen on the planet - "impersonal enlightenment!" But of course that was his, too!
These folks are humans acting totally human, often with stronger neuroses and shakier self-esteem than the average person, but presenting themselves as having transcended or perfected human-ness, having come to the end of all learning and development. Bringing clarity to the human condition is a more effective teaching than the pretence that some have transcended human-ness but others haven't.
If I were a seeker with tendencies to idealize gurus and spin fantasies about enlightenment, these kinds of tidbits would give me pause. Something, somewhere, would have to get re-evaluated!
The veneer of perfection is not necessary. The enlightened transmission model is not necessary, the kind of thing that touts the passage of a "special gift" from Ramana directly to the ticket buyers for my weekend satsang-intensive. Through me, of course. It might hurt business at first, but it leads to more clarity and reduces the suffering of the punters much more effectively in the medium and long run.
This age of rapid global communication and comparison shopping is itself working to reduce conceits. Muckraking-type info gets out easily, covers get blown, and facades get harder to maintain.