Friday, December 31, 2010


"The Truth does not make people free. Facts do not change attitudes. If the guru is dogmatic, all that he evokes in his pilgrims/disciples is their stubbornly resistant insistence on clinging to those unfortunate beliefs that at least provide the security of known misery, rather than openness to the risk of the unknown or the untried. That is why that Renaissance Magus, Paracelsus, warned that the guru should avoid simply revealing "the naked truth. He should use images, allegories, figures, wondrous speech, or other hidden, roundabout ways".

The earliest form in which the guru appeared was that of the shaman, who arose in the hunting and gathering societies of the Paleolithic era (and among their contemporary Eskimo and Indian progeny). Before the advent of God and His priests in the more stable agricultural societies of the Neolithic era, the shaman acted as the spiritual leader to the nomadic, Stone Age hunting band.

Such a guru starts out on his own tortured pilgrimage as a deeply troubled, misfit youth. In mastering his personal afflictions, he gradually comes to the position of being able to help others on their spiritual trips. Unlike the later priests who were ceremonially trained in ritual acts and verbatim incantations, the shaman has been inspired by the visions that arise during his own pilgrimage.

The power of his growing self-awareness and the spontaneity of his improvisations fit the hunters' need for daring and imagination (just as the priests' ritual intonements and predetermined social proscriptions fit the planters' needs for stability achieved by the sacrifice of the individual to the greater good of the group)."

Page 13, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" by Sheldon B.Kopp

1 comment:

kabir said...

love your blog- chanced upon it randomly. The books you quote and your musings- it could have been me, if I wrote a blog. Then, I ravenously gorged myself on more of your posts and your other blogs. In line with the title of your blog, I thought you would like this quote from Huxley who on his deathbed is reported to have said: "It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all of one's life and find at the end one has no more to offer by way of advise then 'try to be a little kinder'
Keep on

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