Monday, February 16, 2015

A surfeit of sages

Has anyone else noticed that there is an abundance of teachers these days? Rather, there is an overabundance. Nowadays, it seems like everyone and their astral or earthly guide is a guru, a healer, a seer, or a sage. One might almost think that this is a good thing... more teachers, less students... if only this were happening in the public school system. Unfortunately, it is not.

With the proliferation of life-teachers comes the notion that there are myriad paths to perfection. Ultimately, it appears that there are as many paths as there are people. If this were true, it would further entrench the individually and socially harmful notion of moral relativism. But is it so? Can there really be more than one true path? Surely, toward the end of the journey... near the peak of the mountain... the paths must merge. If that be so, then why not merge below as happens above?

When teachers have little or nothing to teach and only their inflated prestige to maintain, humanity is in great peril. And so it is rightly said: Beware of false prophets. At this juncture in history where every Dolly and Hari presents as God's gift to the world, what quality should we look for in a guide? Given that any true teacher is one who instructs by example, I would submit that the most important quality should be a readiness to learn something new. Even if a teacher seems to know everything about everything, still that teacher – to be ideal – must maintain the attitude of a good student.