The Perils of Pedestalization

This is an expandable page if others feel to add something. 
Why do we put these guys up on pedestals? When is it appropriate, if at all?
What are the consequences, to teacher and student?

People look to gurus as a way to get self acceptance. If they can get acceptance from the guru, then of course they must be ok. The more powerful and magical and mystical the guru is, the more valuable his/her acceptance is.  Therefore, the tendency is to elevate the guru to superhuman mythical Godman status.

Any self-respecting guru would understand this and make every effort to show his students that s/he poops on the same pot as they do.  People need to understand that Self realization doesn't automatically render one a saint.  People need to see examples of realization in everyday life.  When a bigtime guru stands as the example of realization, people acquire all kinds of incorrect expectations about realization, effectively hindering their own self discovery as it has become templated by their bigtime guru's image.

It's not the guru's fault if s/he gets elevated by his/her students, but it's always his/her fault if s/he gets comfortable there.
Jody Radzik
There's more of Jody's perspective on this on his blog / rants page.


From a discussion in the GuruRatings Forum:
People come to cherish the notion of purity in a guru. When it comes out that the guru wasn't so pure, they go into a tailspin trying to preserve their cherished notions. The reason is because they have acquired these notions as a component of their own identity, whether it be in a postive or negative association. It isn't the guru they are protecting, it's their own definition of their illusory sense of self that they go to battle for. What they are really defending is their *projection* of their guru.
Jody

I'd like to [see more] about the extent to which the guru is a bundle of projections propelled and maintained by the devotee. And these projections are as dear to the devotee as his very own self-image.
Greg

Yes.  Even more than that, they *become* the self-image of the devotee, and therefore part of the problem if the devotee is trying to break free of identification with the individual sense of self.
That is what's wrong with the whole guru phenomenon.  It's not so much that the gurus are quacks, although there are a lot of those out there.  It's much more that the gurus contribute to the ongoing state of ignorance of their devotees by themselves being ignorant of the psychological dynamic that invariably occurs around them.
Jody

Yes, from what I've noticed time after time from the folks who have come through New York City, it can go both ways: sometimes the guru is ignorant of the dynamics, and sometimes the guru is needily enabling, in order to have their own needs served. 
Sometimes they contribute to this phenomenon while being ignorant of the psychological dynamics, and sometimes they do it in spite of knowing the dynamics, because they put their own needs before those of the students.
Greg

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