Monday, 12 November 2012

My Personal Guru

By: James Kyle

Once upon a time I had my own personal guru. Now when I say “had” I’m not of course implying sexual knowledge. For one thing he was a male. And for another that would be completely against Guru moral standards - which are very strict (well for most of them anyway). My guru was, in fact, a mistake. I had just arrived in Poona, India and I got off the train intending to visit a Yoga ashram run by - let’s call him Guru One - but on the station platform I was entrapped by a couple of spiritual entrepreneurs, India’s equivalent of timeshare salesmen, who convinced me to visit this other ashram - Guru three’s ashram - my guru to be.

For those of you still paying attention, thank you, and you may be wondering what happened to guru two. Well, at that time Poona was also the location of a world famous ashram founded by Rajneesh. So I decided to take the opportunity to visit this renowned guru first before going on to achieve perfect enlightenment at the feet of my own spiritual master. For those of you aware of Rajneesh’s history, this was before he emigrated with his followers to Oregon and tried to kill the local district attorney by the use of poison. Anyway way back then in his Poona days his, and his disciples, specialty was falling foul of a completely different commandment:  “thou shalt not commit adultery.” Now,  for this quasi virginal young Scotsman that was enticement enough to visit his ashram for an afternoon. That and my search for spiritual enlightenment, of course. So paying my ten rupees entrance fee I crossed the threshold into this local Shrangli-la - only to discover that the movie sets had somehow been mixed up - and find myself in Haight-Ashbury San Fransisco, time machined into the middle of India. There was plenty of white flower power to be seen - but not one Indian - not even Rajneesh. Perhaps he was stuck at the entrance trying to talk his way in: “yes, yes I know that the rules say no Indians allowed on the premises - but, I am the bloody boss here, and anyway I own 12 Rolls Royce’s and so I am karmically white.” He did eventually make an appearance that day -  on an ashram TV broadcast - warning about the danger of being attached to worldly possessions. And I could see how much he wanted to be spiritually supportive towards his disciples. As I contemplated the price list for his ashram’s services it was so obvious that he wanted to help them become completely unattached from all of their possessions. Not wishing to bring bad luck onto Rajneesh by contributing to funding Rolls Royce number thirteen, I decided it was time to leave. I had one last look around to see if anyone wanted help working through their “Idiot’s Guide to Tantric Sex” workbook. ( Please!) As ever, it was not to be the case. In fact, I once read in Karma 101 that an overindulgence in a prior life is eventually balanced by deprivation in a subsequent incarnation. … I must have owned a harem in everyone of my twenty previous existences. Anyway, with my genuine native Guru awaiting me, it was time for me to make my way back to the exit, leave this geographical aberration behind, and return to India.

My new guru was in fact an advisor to important Indian politicians. In retrospect given the continuing farcical state of Indian politics - this was not a good sign. Another warning sign should have been the prominence he gave to the spiritual qualities of - toothpaste. He had this thing that any society that puts sweetener in its toothpaste must be morally decadent and spiritually bankrupt. Now - while this is true - building a universal philosophy around this as a central concept is taking things a bit far. In addition Pavlov’s dogs also held a prominent place in his philosophical teachings. Now you know I am not making this up. No writer of fiction could come up with a spiritual philosophy based on tooth whitener and salivating conditioned animals. But wait - the best is yet to come. My guru had also thrown in the second law of thermodynamics to the mix and had consequently managed to compute - the precise temperature of the fires of hell. In degrees Fahrenheit if I remember correctly. I can’t recall the exact figure, but for those of you who could do with a friendly word of warning - I can assure you it was very hot. Meanwhile things were getting too hot for me at the ashram. My scientific background was getting in the way of my continuing suspension of disbelief and my guru had finally had enough of his cynical pupil. He threw me out. In fact being a failed disciple is now my biggest claim to fame. As I proudly tell people I am the only person I know who has received a dishonorable discharge from his own personal guru. And for all my efforts, infernal oven temperatures aside, I hadn’t even learned one secret of the universe. Well except this one subsequent, subtle, but insightful realization. And now I am going to share this profound secret with all of you. You don’t need a guru to achieve enlightenment, all you really need is a hot dog salesman. Because, of course, to experience the fundamental cosmic interconnectedness of all life all you need do is go up to any hot dog vendor, center yourself, and say: “Make me one with everything.”

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