The word “ guru “, in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is defined as:
1. a personal religious and spiritual teacher in Hinduism
2. a teacher in matters of fundamental concern
As I see this title “ guru ” bandied around so frequently on the Internet, I find myself asking these questions.
What qualifies a person to be a guru ? Is there some sort of test you have to pass? Does it go by age? Are gurus old men of wisdom? Or can anyone be a guru ?
Are they perhaps appointed by their peers or maybe they appoint themselves? Do you have to have a license to be a guru ? Or perhaps if you have made a certain amount of money off the Internet you qualify as a guru ?
It sort of reminds me of my first business. I was a carpenter doing home improvements and I would consistently come across people calling themselves “master carpenters”. These “master carpenters” were young and old, experienced and novices in the trade.
Maybe I’m missing the point here but the concepts of “master” and “ guru ” in both cases would seem to mean someone who has arrived. Someone who has paid his (or her) dues. A teacher who has tenure for example. Someone who has been around a long, long time and is an expert in their field.
Now I’m not putting “ gurus ” or master carpenters down by any means. If the title is legitimately earned and they are someone whose teachings are profound. I have no problem giving them a title to set them apart from us mere mortals.
The point I’m trying to illustrate is that we tend to be too free with our accolades. Words like hero, superstar, guru and yes, master carpenter should be reserved for the few that really have proved themselves and truly deserve to be put above the rest of us.
When the powers that be indiscriminately bestow these praised titles on many individuals and the over used title carries a certain meaning to the masses, then the titles tend to loose their meaning. With this power goes responsibility. Whether you are a superstar athlete, celebrity, or Internet guru your integrity and what you say should be beyond reproach. Should I include elected officials in my grouping?
What I am saying is that if a title carries a meaning then that should mean something! My goodness, I made a “Yogi-ism”.
Why am I apparently attacking the venerable guru club? It is just my way of saying to you, don’t be intimidated or awestruck by the Internet’s, in my opinion, over use of the term “ guru “.
Just because someone is proclaimed by others or proclaims himself to be an Internet guru doesn’t mean you have to take their teachings as gospel. Use a little common sense as you surf the net or read the tons of emails in your inbox from or about Internet gurus and their superhuman exploits.
Even if the person is a guru the old adage is still true: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be sucked in by unrealistic claims of success or fortune. In reality their success and fortune are coming from ordinary folks like you and me thinking we can buy their success. That is assuming their success and fortune are not just hype!