by cleaves Sunday, Jan 16 2005, 6:00am
personal development /
The opera singer and a champagne glass – interesting association considering the title of this piece. Yet as an analogy it is difficult to beat. Most of us are familiar with an opera singer hitting a high note and creating a sympathetic reverberation in a champagne glass until it too starts to resonate and produce sound. The singer, in harmony with the frequency of the resonating glass, increases vocal intensity until the glass shatters into pieces! Here we have the perfect analogy of the guru and disciple relationship in a perfect world. But we are all too familiar with the imperfections of the world and unfortunately most ‘gurus’ fit into today’s world comfortably!
Many years ago an idealistic youth set out for the mysterious East to find the ‘perfect master.’ What he found (instead) was an emerging industry of saffron-robed charlatans capitalising on Western ideals of the East. While these types were a disappointment, they were ‘saints’ compared with the avaricious, sexually deviant and morally degenerate ‘gurus’ of today. But to return to our idealistic youth (who was fast becoming realistic.) Not to be daunted by his initial encounters, he persisted until he became painfully aware that the ‘perfect master’ was not to be found where one would expect to find a cliched guru. So our youth relaxed and while not giving up the search, decided to appreciate what the exotic East had to offer – at least that part of the brochure was accurate.
One day, after sharing a massive chillum with a wandering Sadhu, our youth began to whirl like a dervish down the back street of a South Indian town when a voice (in perfect English) called out to him from above. No, it wasn’t God or the result of too much Kerala gunja mixed with Afghan charis, it was just an old wiry Indian engaged in tiling a roof with some labourers. The temporary companion of our youth retorted (in response) that the youth was "crazy, too much gunja" – admittedly, whirling down the street hadn’t helped our youth’s cause – but such is life. The old Indian gentleman, who was dressed in rags similar to the labourers, noticed something that is usually overlooked by most. He replied, "not crazy, just dancing with the gunja" – that reply stopped our youth – who (incidentally) had gained a reputation among Westerners for exposing fake gurus and making laughing stocks of them [our youth found it expedient never to stay in one location too long.] As our youth turned his gaze toward the Indian, their eyes met in mutual understanding; a short exchange resulted in an appointment for a later discussion. That discussion led to an introduction to the ‘spiritual underground’ of India. None of the adepts and siddhas our youth subsequently met wore saffron robes or other vestments that would attract undue attention, nor did any of these extraordinary individuals pose as a guru or ‘perfect master.’ But I digress, to detail all the experiences with my spiritual preceptors would require a book, which I neither have the time or inclination to write. Let the above illustration be sufficient for this short paper; what you seek is found in the most unlikely place.
For those who haven’t understood the analogy of the champagne glass, understand that a wise teacher is aware that you lack nothing – within you is the same universal harmony that permeates all things. The wise teacher strikes the resonant chord to which we all respond; as that resonance grows in intensity false notions shatter and our innate Self is revealed. However, few are those able to strike that (universal) ‘chord.’ Let your innate self be your guide and never forget, you cannot ‘buy’ God.
The charlatans (of India) often quoted a profound little phrase: "The Guru is God." They twisted the literal meaning in order to satisfy their megalomaniac tendencies and inculcate subjection in their followers. However, we take it literally, the Guru is God, and that God is living within All.
As we progress, our experiences become lessons; the Guru is ever striking the chord that resonates in us all.
Om Tat Sat
Stripping the Gurus
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