Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Do you need a Guru to guide you ?

Do you need a Guru to guide you?

The 'guru' phenomenon is mushrooming all the way from Jakarta to Jordan. The reason is quite clear. In today's world we are surrounded by a wide variety of choices or options, each promising us to make our lives better, in some way or the other. In the days of yore when the multiplicity of options was limited, deciding on something was much easier. It's the good old question of whether having 2 friends or 20 friends is better. In the former, your hedge is small but your relationships are deeper. What plagues today's world is the same. The breadth has increased. As a result fundamentals take a hit. The trend in the technology world is towards depth - limited but clear. Subject Matter Experts (SME's) are in demand. The number of consultants in a project is increasing. The employee syndrome is dwindling. The world is changing at breath taking speeds and in such a world we need people who can give us direction - 'clarity' in one word.

Take the software industry for instance. Most of the technical paraphernalia's that are out there are all ephemeral. Today Java is in vogue. Tomorrow it is some other product. What you learn has become inherently transient. By the time you claim to be master of a language, that concept is on the way to extinction. Programming in the future would be restricted to certain specialized kind of activities as cognitive pick and choose tools gain dominion. This is the mantra that I promulgate 'Learn programming concepts, not languages. Learn semantics, not syntax'. Silicon intelligence today is resting somewhere in the cradles of knowledge and intelligence, but say 5 years from now we will find a new trend viz. Wisdom software. In short Silicon intelligence is destined to overtake us in terms of processing speed and parallelization. Then we will be left with only one alibi - our Soul. This will be the only thing that will make the difference between us and these contraptions.

But now comes the million dollar question. Of the 6.5 billion of us on this Earth, how many of us have realized the soul. Forget that. Here's a basic question. How many of us know the true purpose of life and are we headed the on the right path? So many questions in a short life that we have to live. Hence the need for Gurus. By Guru's I don't mean industry pundits who predict a thing or two. My definition of a guru is more fundamental. It is attached to meaning. He/She is somebody who provides answers to the questions that abound in the inner recesses of our heart. Help us with a way or the Tao that will make our life more meaningful or complete. Help us become a happy person. Help us contribute to the world. But, this is just the first level.

There are so many steps to achieve emancipation, but there are no shortcuts. People want to become enlightened in the shortest possible time frame. But I am afraid this just is not possible. You can't jump from standard I to Standard X without experiencing the classes in the middle. And most of the people just want that. If you don't know the alphabets, how can you form words and then sentences? It takes time and effort to achieve a certain position. A guru can short-circuit your search for the ultimate truth. But finally it's up to you. Your attitude, your education, your experience all add up to the quandary. Inside each of us is a Buddha or a guru, but to realize the same, we have to go through a learning experience. Most of us are not equipped for the same, hence we need external gurus. But mind you, there are many gurus out there who promise Nirvana to you, but they themselves are lost in the soul searching game. You need to steer clear of these fakes who masquerade as genuine seers.

Finally, you need God's grace. You may have reached the pinnacle of knowledge and experience, but still liberation may have eluded you, for long. For it to happen, you just have to wait - persevere. Till he deems that you can join the elite club, it will stay so. But he is very kind. And will shower his blessings upon you, as soon as he finds that you are fit to get the certification. Till then, keep fighting.



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