I don't trust the trappings of "spirituality", the clothes, the trinkets, the Books, the stereotypical voices. I am suspicious of anyone in a guru costume. I can't believe that enlightenment comes with a uniform. I just don't buy it (pun intended).
What would a true teacher want with a crowd of worshiping followers? If the teacher is qualified to teach, he/she should be able to recognise the relative handful with real sincerity and potential. After all, a teacher's job is to help the student find enlightenment for him/herself, not to preside over an adoring hoard of groupies. Pretty words, no matter how true, will never bring understanding. They can only reflect and confirm the knowing that is already present.
I don't consider myself enlightened (yet) but I know enough to see the dynamic at work in these spear-it-you-all cults of personality. Nobody gets enlightened but there are still pay-offs all around. It starts with the "teacher" who is usually sincere and charismatic, but deluded. He (it's usually a "he", but not always) typically has a peak experience (often accompanied by siddhis) and takes it for a divine mandate. Other people who are looking for a savior, are attracted to his aura of certainty. Those people begin to idolise the teacher, giving him their energy. This increases the charisma of the leader and attracts even more followers. This establishes a feed-back loop. The power and charisma of the leader keeps growing until it overwhelms him. Any weakness in the leader eventually becomes magnified beyond his control. At that point, scandal of some kind is practically inevitable.
The trap is equally deadly for the followers. Most of them come seeking to lose themselves in something greater. They are not disappointed. They don't know that the leader's powerful aura has been created by his (unconscious or not) vampirism of the flock. They imagine it is a sign of divine selection. Membership in the group relieves them of emotional isolation, gives them an identity, and makes them feel special. Eventually, the ability to think for themselves is trumped by their desire to belong. If they lose their belief in the leader because of scandal, abuse or glaring hypocrisy, they are left drained and disillusioned.
When I saw the ad at right on a newspaper box, I felt like sicking up. How dumb do you have to be, to think that anyone who promoted real spiritual freedom would be given editorial control of a Zionist rag like the Vancouver Sun? I can't believe people take this guy seriously. It's tragic. What could a sheltered, pampered figurehead possibly teach anyone. He's never been poor or married or raised a child. He hasn't got a clue about the challenges faced by those he presumes to teach.
Surely any real teacher would have the goal of making himself unnecessary. Are professional standards really too much to ask? Don't you think a Guru should have to produce at least one enlightened student before accepting the title? I can't think of a single good reason for a real spiritual teacher to claim to be one. The true teacher is revealed once his work had been accomplished. Think about it.
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