Saturday, January 24, 2015

To Be a Guru

For reasons unknown even to me, I’ve always wanted to be a guru.

The last several decades have witnessed many gurus of prominence, all delightfully diverse, their garb ranging from saffron robes and turbans to (these days) white lab coats: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Ram Dass, Maharaj-ji, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Timothy Leary – the list goes on.

I believe I’d fit in quite well with this bunch. Indeed, since my beneficent influence has been such a boon to so many, I’m practically one of them now!

Just the same, I’ve seen the need to formalize a few things.

In the first place, there’re certain time-honored traditions for gurus. So in order to be convincing as one, you have to fit the profile or picture. Secondly, the California guru industry is so competitive nowadays that to get noticed, you have to be unique or distinctive in some way.

A proper guru soufflé, I believe, should feature some or all of the following:

Esoterica, including a lexicon with plenty of colorful neologisms 

Allusion to cryptic Ancient Knowledge

A path or way to Enlightenment and Higher Consciousness with much imparting, imbuing, and    instilling

A hierarchy with rites of initiation and rules that, inter alia, obligate devotees to obedience and self-sacrifice on behalf of the spiritual leader*

Of course, if you’re really ambitious, you can just claim to be God from the get-go and have done with it. However, this limits prospects for ascension through the hierarchy toward a hoped-for apotheosis – ritual and process being everything in this business.  Moreover, it raises credibility concerns that could land you in the rubber room just as you’re getting started.

Among the various kinds of gurus, I thought, a channeler – someone who speaks on behalf of nonphysical beings or spirits from the “other side”– might be the best kind for me. For one thing it allows you to say pretty much whatever you like and, if needs be, disavow it later as the ravings of a demented channel hog who’d temporarily taken you over – kind of like an insanity plea in a divorce case. Guru-ism at its most refined, you see, allows for some plausible deniability.

So awhile back, with all this in mind, I went ahead with a few trances, induced by illegal substances, in the hopes of scouting out channelees. 

Invoking the power of the Entabulanic Orb as manifest through vibrations of the Ectoplasmic Reticulum (well, you have to start somewhere) I attracted the attention of four potential candidates: Old Testament Moses; the Babylo-Sumerian potentate Secukinumab III (circa 300 BC); New Age minister and author, Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1939-2009); and Dr. Timothy Leary (1920-1996).

Unfortunately, not one of them fit the bill. To begin with, they weren’t especially unique. But there were other issues, too.

Moses was a fine magician and renowned Egyptologist. But to channel him, it turned out, you’d have to be Harry Potter on steroids with an outsized magic shillelagh that could re-zone the oceans, provoke water to gush forth from masonry, and through some weird detumescence, become a rock python when tossed on the ground.

But what if you inadvertently dropped your big wand? On the marble floor at the mall, say?  Or by accident at the beach where it could imperil small children and deep-water shipping?

No deal.

Babylo-Sumerian potentate Secukinumab III was the next to appear and proposed that through me, he’d rekindle human sacrifices to Moloch, an Ammonite deity with which he’d once been in league. I assured him that, far from forsaken as an arthritic relic, human sacrifice was alive and well – and currently taking place in Babylo-Sumeria at an inspirational rate! Indeed, Moloch had become so bloated on the proceeds that he stood in need of a diet.

E.C. Prophet
No dice.

For some reason, Liz Clare Prophet showed up in the buff – all of her own accord, mind you – then indignantly branded me a “clairvoyeurant” (sic). As though I’d fancy a naked ghost! When I suggested that her opaque ideas were providing as much cover now as they had during her ministry, she flounced off in a vaporous huff  (still in the buff).


The last to turn up was Professor Timothy Leary, more spaced out than ever. “Turn on, tune in, drop out, man” he droned through a plasmic haze.

But in today’s world, I cautioned him, his once famous mantra sounded more like a gripe about cell phone reception. No one would “dig it” unless they used AT & T.

No sale.

So, less than productive, all of these ghostly encounters turned out like bad job interviews in the midst of a downturn.

What in the world (this one) to do now?

Having thus run short of options, I turned to the ultimate resource in such matters – the inimitable, irrepressible, indescribable (and often unfathomable) Señor Raleigh Raccoon!

I found him under a potato bush in the back yard languidly munching a crayfish he’d caught for lunch, his little black domino mask just visible amongst the leaves.

“You’re a New Age raccoon, Raleigh, a natural raccoon,” I said, explaining my situation. “So, tell me, whom should I channel?”

He continued to chew slowly for a few minutes, looking thoughtful.

“I know just the one,” he finally replied, spitting out a piece of crayfish shell. “I’ll hook you up with Guruphilo Pelagopher, the legendary fur-bearing patron of sages – he who from Kleptos Intellectuless, the Knowledge Thief, didst receive the secret lost Wisdom of Gadwohw.

"That sounds a bit farfetch..."

"Avast there, Ascended One! 'Twas not you who asked me for advice? The way this works is, I’ll channel Guruphilo to you, and you can broadcast him to whomever you like. There’ll be a small fee, of course. Don’t worry, I’ve done this before.”

“I’ll bet you have,” I said. “But why can’t I just channel Guruphilo myself? Channeling you channeling him would be just channeling a channeler. This isn’t a microwave relay, you know.”

“Being a medium for a talking raccoon like me ought to be achievement enough for you,” replied Raleigh. “Besides, you’re getting this service for chicken-feed – well, dry dog- anyway.  What more do you want?”

At this point Raleigh abruptly paused and closing his eyes, raised his right paw to command silence:

“Wait…there’s a message coming through right now. Guruphilo reveals…that “persecution” is an anagram of “rescue point.”

“You don’t say,” I replied with some irritation. “Why don’t you just ask Guruphilo about the weather? In the meantime, I’ll be back with specific questions from clients as the occasions arise. This trivial pursuit stuff doesn’t interest me.”

“That’ll be a half-pound of Pedigree Adult, Chicken Flavor,” said Raleigh. “Just leave it on the usual flagstone. Oh, and the forecast for tomorrow is ‘fair.’”

So saying, he scampered up his jelly palm for an afternoon nap.

I’ve made up my mind to wear a turban of palm fronds whenever I’m on guru duty so as to appear more pastoral and (I hope) somewhat less orthodox. A coonskin cap, of course, would be out of the question. Indeed, by treaty with Raleigh I’m officially obliged to jam any channels from Davy Crocket and even Fess Parker (I threw in Charlton Heston myself).

As for Guruphilo, I don’t know. Besides anagrams, he channels aphorisms, so far always the same one:

“A fool and his opAl are soon parted.”

But what does it mean? Raleigh swears he has no idea. He says it must be part of the secret knowledge.

I'm not so sure.

*Self-sacrifice to Gurus has included almost everything –  from sex to Mercedes and beyond.

Anagram Solver:

“Dismissive phrase for cleverness’ sake doth not a thoughtful guru make.”

                                                                   Swami Deepsheesh Rajathustra