How To Become A Spiritual Guru

Becoming a spiritual guru is not as difficult as it may seem.

There are one or two guides already written on the web, but after my popular Rulebook for Indian TV News Producers, I thought I would write my own guide to becoming a Spiritual Guru.

  1. Appear knowledgeable about at least one ancient philosophy and way of life. Hinduism and Buddhism have been milked by numerous stalwarts already, so you might lose the race if you start afresh now. Try Mayan, Incan, or Aztec. Find your own niche if you want to be popular, just like in blogging.
  2. Appear to be calm and serene at all times. Vent out your frustrations and anger in private if necessary, never in public.
  3. Detach yourself from current affairs so that you appear to be living the myth that this world is a myth and you’re already “beyond” it.
  4. You may wisely make rare exceptions to #3 to take advantage of marketing opportunities in case of popular public concerns. Claim that your way of life can cure whatever the current malady that has caught the public unawares and is at the center of media attention – AIDS, bird flu, swine flu, etc.
  5. Veterans in the field have gone beyond #4 to claim cures for non-existent maladies, but you are advised not to follow in their footsteps unless you are already an acknowledged guru.
  6. Do not contradict or blatantly deny any scientific theories. Rather, subtly suggest that there are limits to what science can understand or achieve. If you appear to be against a scientific approach, you risk losing a lot of followers.
  7. Do not focus heavily on God. If your followers were God-obsessed, they would already be flocking to religious leaders. Those people are not your target market. Instead, focus on other abstract “stuff”, like cosmic events, natural elements (fire, water, etc.), meditation, yin-yang, energy, oneness, etc.
  8. Conduct workshops, seminars, retreats. Your followers have busy, stressful, professional lives. These breaks rejuvenate them, but the reason behind the rejuvenation would be your spiritual guidance, not the breaks themselves.
  9. Use the power of music. In your seminars and workshops, use hymns, chants, and mantras. Hypnotic, stress-relieving, soothing powers of music are well-known and are not the exclusive privilege of spirituality, but your followers don’t know that.
  10. Research conspiracy or doomsday theories and exploit one to your advantage. You can use the Polar Shift, Nostradamus’ predictions, 2012, or whatever. You need a tangible, real, FEAR of something to attract people to you. Of course, don’t tell them that fear is a real human emotion.
  11. Your doomsday event should be sufficiently far into the future but not too far. It should be towards the end of your followers lifetimes, or better still, right in the middle of their children’s lives. Before that time, you should be sufficiently rich to be sunbathing on your own private island.
  12. Embrace, integrate, mix concepts from various disciplines, philosophies, and civilizations, even if they were developed independently of each other in vastly different geographies and eras. Your predecessors have built a wealth of resources that you can reuse. By mixing them all up, you appear “holistic”, show that everything is “connected” to everything else, and that you are the sole person able to understand it “all”, whatever that means.

Do you have any other tips to share?

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  • http://indiancabbagesandkings.blogspot.com/ manju

    How about putting your followers to work in some way? Maybe selling literature- small booklets telling just enough about your ‘phlosophy’, so that people will want to attend your workshops?

    Great post! Sadly, there are too many spiritual leaders in our society today.

  • http://amreekandesi.com amreekandesi

    Now that i have this cheat sheet, let me work on a business plan to become the next big thing in spiritual world.

    That private island beckons!

    :)

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Manju: How did I miss the viral marketing part?! Thanks a lot. Any guide would be incomplete without showing how to use your followers for marketing yourself!

    An added bonus is that your followers get a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment out of the work you assigned them – so they gain more ‘karma’! 😀

    Amreekandesi: “Cheat Sheet!” 😀

  • http://calamur.org/gargi harini calamur

    cute :)
    one more :
    proclaim that you can unlock the metaphysical door to happiness and spiritual contentment :)and that you and i will never be lonely again – because of the ‘spiritual’ guru !

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    :) I took that for granted, but yes, it should be useful for “newbies”!

  • http://calamur.org/gargi harini calamur

    :)
    i had a leading spiritual guru on one of my shows, at the end of it, he ended up making me feel ‘unworthy’ – thank fully, i have a pup that gets me back to my normal state of ‘happiness’ and ‘contentment’ – but that is the USP.
    i much prefer reading the Gita – as a tether – especially the parts on detachment :)

  • http://pr3rna.wordpress.com prerna

    Make sure that you have a few good looking followers surrounding you all the time, both male and female to catch the attention of prospective clients.All the present babas do that and the future babas need to do that in this age of electronic media.

  • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

    Harini: Additional Rule: Ban all followers who claim to get fulfillment from anybody else other than you. :)

    Prerna: Excellent suggestion! Absolute must. If you get a Bollywood star or cricketer, consider yourself in the top league.

  • http://priyank.com/ Priyank

    Mahendra, would you like to invest in a “Baba training institute” that I propose to open using all the MBA knowledge I possess? Eligibility: ४थी नापास. Will need to clear entrance examination covering some points you mention above. And yes, a hefty ‘donation’ is required too.

    I predict glorious future ahead for our grads, including one international exchange semester in Canada.

    • http://skeptic.skepticgeek.com Mahendra

      Sounds like a great idea! We might need to check if the horoscopes of the applicants pass the entrance test. A numerological analysis of the family bank accounts will also be an integral part of the test. And yes, this course will also be termed an MBA: The “Mystic Baba Achievers” program.