Monday, February 18, 2008

The Gurus and the Internet

There were gurus then, there are gurus now, there will be in the future. Gurus long past have been seen as godheads and faultless personifications of goodness and benevolence. Gurus in the twentieth century, less so. Gurus of the future will have a very hard time.

As for the gurus of the last century, their larger than life persona didn't assume wondrous proportions and didn't endure for long because they were exposed to audiences of various countries, various western and eastern seekers wrote about them and their original writings and reminiscences have been preserved, and in general, human thought has evolved in the last few centuries to be sceptical and scientific.

How many truly revolutionary, blemish-free gurus can one name in the last century? Maybe a couple, if assisted with a liberal dose of faith. The personal lives of them all are known and known to be less than stellar. Krishnamurti, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Osho, Mahesh Yogi, Sai Baba, Ramana, Meher Baba et cetera.

How many truly revolutionary or radical, truly serious and sincere, non-follower-seeking (even reasonably so) gurus can one name in the present time? I can think of none, actually. Sri Sri? Asaram? Jaggi Vasudev?

There is a reason for this welcome trend.

In the last few decades, advances in audio and video technology have enabled archival footage of the gurus to be viewed by anyone curious enough to know how they were in person, how they talked, answered questions, how they lived, walked and talked, ...

Advances in computing technology and search engines have enabled instant investigation of gurus' claims and teachings. This worldwide sharing of evolutionary or transcendental thinking is, to me, the greatest thing which will speed up human evolution.

Gurus can no longer hide. What one disciple knows will soon be known to the rest of the world. Their pseudo-rational claptrap, their charlatanism and "magic tricks", their miracles are now subject to instant and wide scrutiny due to the impeccable digital reproduction and communication technology.

One can discuss one's faith, beliefs, the teachings of one's guru with people from around the world as easily as with people in one's neighborhood.

Yes, gurus are also using the media to attract the followers. But the gullibility of such followers is now capable of being dispelled more easily due to the wider media scrutiny of these very gurus, and the easier ways in which the disciples can communicate with each other and with other groups.

Miracle tales, claims of flying and levitation, claims of healing and incision-less-surgery are fast going into oblivion because people expect recorded performances in this age of effortless video recordings and transmission. The writings and talks of gurus are easily available for anyone to see their rationality and logic (or lack of it). No longer have we to depend upon second-hand accounts and interpretative texts.

The horse's mouth was never so close!

Websites such as The Rick Ross Institute collect information on cult groups and gurus from around the world to be made available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.

Internet is the antidote to superstition, of blind belief in anything, and is the greatest aid to human intellectual evolution.

If you have been in touch with any technique of evolution, if you have been in contact with any guru or religious or spiritual group, if you have a tale to tell about your seeking happiness, put it on the internet. It's free, and really easy.

Start a blog, write a paper, an essay, an anecdote, a description of your experience, start sharing!

For the benefit of all mankind.

What a great time we are living in! What a stupendous phenomenon that any event immediately gets a billion inspecting eyes and ears and minds! What an opportunity for collating the immense volume of human thought, for trying out new things that one would never come across otherwise, for evolving, for going where ... man ... has ... gone ... before.

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