Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It’s a puzzlement.

Maybe I shouldn’t be putting these thoughts down on … I almost wrote ‘paper’. But I’m perturbed. Seeing them in front of me may prompt a probable answer. There’s a practising Advita preceptor whose view of the working model of the world tallies with mine. Where I veer away from his worldview is that he postulates the ‘guru’ as the gatekeeper to Consciousness. I’ve never believed in the guru-shishya parampara. Anyway, I’m friendly with one of his most devoted shishyas (disciples). He casually said a couple of days back something that I found puzzling. He was talking about an infrequent visitor to his guru’s daily satsanga (discourse). I know the concerned person at second hand, by reputation, to be an intellectual, highly successful in business and on intimate terms with the crème de la crème. From some of her published letters to her guru, I feel she’s devoted to him. And, yet, her shortcoming in my friend’s view seems to be that she doesn’t regularly donate to the guru as some other well-to-do disciples do. From what I can see the guru in question – whose unwritten motto for his daily satsanga is “Nobody is invited. Everybody is welcome.” and who spontaneously gave a one lakh rupee donation for the Kargil war – does not need her donation. But as my friend puts it, it is a way of showing your unstinted devotion to the guru. Here’s why I found this disturbing. It reminded me of Suketu Mehta’s description – in Maximum City – of how the wielders of illegitimate power keep a tight grip on their followers. “Show respect or else” seems to be the guru mantra. “Pass the leader the lion’s share of the booty" is one of the ways of showing respect. It’s the dhandawala’s way. Or, the way their kind of business works. My question: Is everything a dhanda these days? It’s a puzzlement, as the King of Siam would have said. P.S.: On the other hand, maybe, it’s none of my business.

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