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Re: Pandits and Gurus

Oct 25, 1995 04:56 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

Jerry HE:

>>But how do we teach this? JHE would teach the ideas from the
>>books and leave the spiritual side to the individual to handle
>>on his self-initiative. I'd want something more than that, but
>>I'm not initially sure as to how to go about it.

>That is the difference between a pandit and a guru. I'm
>just a pandit--I only teach theosophy--and I teach it in such a
>way that students will be able to use it in their lives.

The spiritual side is the part that the students can put to
use in their lives. The intellectual ideas are the "clarity"
to the teachings, and the spiritual aspect is the "depth".
Without a sense of inspiration, of depth, of genuineness, of
integration with life, the teachings remain but a mind-game.

>Those who believe that they have some special enlightment, spiritual
>authority, superior spiritual understanding, or believe that they
>are speaking from the Masters, become the gurus.

We don't have to become gurus when we strive to teach Theosophy.
At least, not in the sense of trying to take on others as our
spiritual students and to be training them. But to the extent
that we have a spiritual practice integrated in our lives, it
gives us something more significant to offer others. And that
added depth is an important element, something that keeps us
from being caught in dry intellectualism.

Even as mentors or trainers of the intellect of others, we
can try to maintain inside ourselves the fire of mind, and to
pass it on -- not limiting ourselves simply to the tinder of
mind, the contents of the teachings.

Training others, I'd suggest, in an analytical process of how
to study, or in the literal teachings of Theosophy unadorned
with any sense of spirituality, is passing on something that
is dead, something that life has not been breathed into.

>They have their job, I have mine.

This distiction between the intellect and the spiritual is
an artificial one that arises in the West. There are not really
two jobs, just one job.

>What I try to do is to teach people to develop the tools they
>need in order to listen to the Master that is within them -- that
>is all a pandit can do.

Acquiring the abililty to "listen within" is a technique, a
practice. Perhaps you're just teaching those techniques that
you approve of, and setting aside the rest?

>The meditation techniques, pranayamas, Aums, prayers, pujas,
>asanas and kundalini raising are things that I leave to the
>gurus who at least think that they know what they are doing.

The gurus in established traditions have centuries or perhaps
longer of tradition in their respective schools to draw upon.
They are teaching what has seemed to work over a number of
generations. The ones that can get into trouble are the pioneers,
the ones that are either teaching things ad hoc, from their own
experimentation, or are leaders in some new tradition. In the
theosophical field, we would be like these later gurus, being
pioneers in a new tradition that does not have centuries of
practice behind it.

>Personally, I would not want to take on the karma of a guru--
>especially one who is mistaken.

We pay for our mistakes, but everything in life represents a
risk, and we can never be mistake-free. If we're experimenting
with a dangerous drug, we'd conduct trials before mass marketing
it. If we're experimenting with new spiritual techniques, we'd
likewise try to find out on a small scale their workability before
promoting them to the world.

There's karma for everything that we do that affects others.
When even a single word leaves our lips (or keyboard), we pay
a price, as it touches others. Purucker has spoken on a number
of occassions of the price that a Teacher has to pay. That price
is paid by mentors as well as by spiritual coaches or trainers.
I'd suggest, though, that the price is worth it, if we *can*
affect people for the better, despite the mistakes that we may
make at times.

-- Eldon

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