April 2015 The Laughing Buddha doffs his hat to gurus everywhere They say if you meet Buddha on the road, kill him. That sounds great in theory, but what if I actually did meet Buddha? Before anything else, I’d pull out my selfie stick, mount my iPhone 5s, set the timer and click myself with him. I’d Instagram it with Earlybird or 1977 (filters) and upload it on Facebook. “Honoured to meet Gautam! Great conversation and a few insights – under the Bodhi Tree.” You cannot blame me – let’s admit it. On the attractiveness chart – there is your hottest actor/actress, there is your secret crush, there is Modi (for some), and then at the very top is your guru! That love is so blind that it can overlook everything – including dressing sense, voice (don’t get me started on this one), bad jokes and weird names. As long as it is guruji, sab chalta hai! In today’s day and age, a good guru is a basic necessity, just like HD TV, 3G Internet on your mobile, vegan toothpaste. They all help you connect, tidy up, and look at the world more clearly. And honestly speaking, no disciple wants a really effective guru – if there was any guru who guaranteed 100 per cent enlightenment to every disciple, s/he would be left without any followers pretty soon. They would all turn competitors! So the gurus have to let it simmer….they have to keep the gyaan just right…..exciting enough for progress but not potent enough for liberation. That, oh dear disciple, you have to do yourself! But then if you have to do it for yourself anyways, do you really need the guru for enlightenment? Or is the guru our own need for an object of affection, of admiration, of seeing some of our own wisdom reflected back from the outside? My guess is, it is the latter. Because there is nothing more addictive than unfulfilled love – love that is never consummated. It is our unfulfilled love for liberation that we are in love with – and the object of that love, that promise is guruji…..that one person who sees this so lovingly, so tenderly and willingly, holds us with all our dramas, our made-up constructs and our unwillingness to go beyond our illusions. So that pretty much sums up my mixed feelings about gurus – but the close of a guru special has to be a deep bow to all the gurus that ever were. Not only because they are enlightened or that they show us the path. Rather, because of the sheer magnanimity that they show in being patient with the rest of us. In holding space for us to grow, patiently nudging us, without ever judging us. In smiling and loving unconditionally, willing to hang on in this world a little longer, so that a few more of us may see the light…. If I meet the Buddha on the road, I will probably kiss him.
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