Anyone seeking to satisfy urgings of a spiritual nature will inevitably come across a guru or three professing truth and enlightenment, each offering to provide their own answers. Both Stanford and Chiappalone claim to have some special connection with now deceased Haidakhan Babaji, a predecessor doomsday guru referring to doomsday as the maha kranti. Chiappalone also recounts significant inspiration from Sai Baba. One might go as far as to say that at the core of Stanford and Chiappalone, serving as inspiration for their beliefs and spiritual mission, are these gurus. Indeed, they make out to be gurus themselves.
But is the guru phenomenon in India one that could reliably and substantially inform a relevant and accurate present-day spiritual belief system such as that of Stanford and Chiappalone’s? Do we need gurus at all?
With the rapid modernisation of India in lockstep with China, the phenomenon of gurus is surely on the path to expiry, perhaps having peaked in the 20th century and to disappear altogether in the 21st. Just ask a family there whether they want good food to eat, a roof over their heads, improved transport (although the successful guru will often already have advanced to possession of as many luxury vehicles as the heavens would kindly afford), healthcare, education for their children, and prosperity generally, or, instead, a life with little material comfort, perpetually worshiping gods that do nothing practically for them but ensure a life characterised by impoverishedness and suffering, you can guess which now is the more popular choice. The apparent change of mood in India, from the old ways of gurued spirituality, to the far more attractive opportunities of modern life, is well evident in the recent mainstream Indian film “OMG – Oh My God“. In it, the message of rejection of spirituality of old is so strong that it’s inconceivable a film like it could have been shown only a decade or two ago. Yet, Stanford and Chiappalone inherit from and attempt to perpetuate as gurus themselves the fast becoming relic that is guruism.
The reader is invited to watch the trailer of a recently released film about the guru “Kumaré”: