Laughing Buddha

The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 2

Fake Guru Guide
So you’ve amplified your little bathroom epiphany into a full-blown enlightenment orgasm, you’ve created an indecipherable teaching and convinced a few blokes that you are the Real Shree Sri McCoy-ji. You’ve painstakingly followed all the instructions in The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A  Guru – Part I, and you think it’s finally time to have your aching feet washed in rose-water… But wait! The critical phase is about to begin. Here’s the insider’s guide by GD and me to Livin’ La Vida Guru Loka!

1) Destroy the Competition:
Constantly discourse that all other teachings are superficial and all other teachers are caught in various degrees of self-deception. (Note: Dead teachers should be praised freely). Also, any student who leaves or wants to explore something else is an idiot.
In short, present yourself as the only broker for enlightenment on this planet. You are the only socket to plug them to the Source. You are the only real-true-capable master… the rest are all frauds, thieves and delusional monkeys!

2) Disciple of The Week Award:
Let your disciples compete for your attention and affection. Create situations where disciples compete for intangibles like a place in front of the podium or leftovers from your plate. Public reward and punishment is key to this. Remind students that he who has the microphone and the big flowing beard is always right! Keep them well-behaved by never letting them know exactly where they stand and how much they have evolved. And for your own job perks, remind every attractive student that “a true disciple never says no”.

3) ‘For Your Own Good’:
Let this phrase be the chorus line of all your songs. I am making you work for free… for your own good. I am taking all your money… for your own good. I am publicly humiliating you… for your own good. I am exploring tantric poses with your girlfriend… for your own good. And one day you will thank me for it! (Repeat 2x.) A superb variation of this strategy is: “This is what your soul is asking for.” Try arguing your way out of that!

4) Elevate the Sheep:
Reward the disciples who become more and more like sheep, or mindless robots – whichever comes first. If they show symptoms of independent thought, deal with it firmly because that obviously comes from their ego. But be a little devious about it: Tell disciples to trust their inner voice — but only after you translate it for them!

5) Spiritualize All Your Desires:
You may have a pertinent question here: how to maintain your specialness even after disciples see you blundering day after day? Here’s how this simple, fool-proof technique goes: “Since you are pure consciousness, everything you do is blameless. And since they are not yet awakened, everything they do comes from ego!”
There, now you have a license to be rude, angry, jealous, greedy, insecure and screw around while still being awakened. Enlightenment means never having to say you’re sorry… or wrong, or confused, or depressed, or horny!

6) Glamorize Suffering:
In time, some followers will get really stressed in their quest to appease your impossible standards. Some may begin to suspect their constant unhappiness is a sign that they are not on the right track. So do not – we repeat – do not make happiness or love or peace the yardsticks to measure progress! Instead, keep telling them that the more they suffer, the more they are evolving! Reframe all their dullness and depression as ‘dark night of the soul’ or ‘part of the ascension process’. Tell them stories of how much people in the past have suffered and cried for enlightenment, and keep them addicted to the struggle.

7) Be a “Non-Guru” Guru:
See, here’s a tricky point. If you run a business, you need to show results. So how do you keep people hooked for decades onto an enlightenment carrot with no proof of success? Simple — don’t ever call yourself a Guru! Demand respect and obedience like a guru, but insist that you are just a normal guy. Tell them: “You are my real gurus.” (Not too often, else they may start believing you.) Emphasize repeatedly that you don’t really want to be a guru – and that a true master suffers the power, worship, dollars and threesomes only for his devotees’ sake!

The Bottom Line:
One, make sure the students constantly realise they are spiritually inferior to you. Use large doses of judgement, criticism and complaint. Keep ‘em small, keep ‘em seeking, keep ‘em hooked.
Two, keep them scared for their future outside of your safe little chalk circle; in the name of freedom, teach them a new kind of bondage.
Three, anyone who leaves should instantly be demoted to the status of ‘lost soul trapped once again by worldly desires’.

So there, with a little help, becoming a guru can be as easy as one-two-three. And if all your disciples escape in any case, then announce with deep sadness: “Nobody wants the real thing. People are not ready for the truth.” With this simple declaration, you can still continue to be right… and superior to the rest of the human race. Then you can move to another country and start again from Step 1.  

In the meantime, just be careful that you don’t bump into a real master – one who may be lovingly and insightfully using some devices just like these to transform people’s lives.

[Coming Sometime Soon: The Foolproof Guide to Being A Fake Disciple – How to suck up to your spiritual teacher, dump all responsibility for your life on him and blame him when everything goes wrong!]


Laughing Buddha

The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 1

Fake Guru Becoming a spiritual Guru is a tricky business. One wrong move, and you could end up actually having to work for a living. But with a few time-tested tricks from GD and me, you can have a spiritual empire which spans far beyond your dog and driver. So here’s the hilarious first-class pass for all those on a guru-trip!

[Disclaimer: No real gurus were harmed during the writing of this article.]

1) Invent The Big Bang:
The first thing you must create is that truly cosmos-shattering enlightenment anecdote aka The Big Bang. This is important. But what is even more important is that your enlightenment story must always be preceded by a disclaimer like, “I don’t really like to talk about this…” or “I only share this for your understanding.” And then share it as freely as a visiting card. Next, dismiss everything pre-enlightenment as a meaningless dream and choose your grandiloquent new name. Again, insist your disciples conferred it upon you out of love and respect!

2) Create ‘The Chosen Ones’:
To convert potential disciples, you need to privately say this to each one: “You have such great spiritual potential.” It does two things: one, it supports the poor bugger’s secret belief that he is a highly evolved soul. More importantly, it shows him that only you have the penetrating insight to see this, and guide him to his glorious destiny!

3) The Mystical Touch:
Tell your students what you want to give them cannot be contained in words. To add that special kundalini mystique, every once in a while during deep meditation, flap your arms like an albatross and channel moaning sounds from a galaxy far, far away. If you can’t burp up holy ash, at least wear enough crystal jewelry to make Elizabeth Taylor look like a nun.

4) Copyright Your Own Technique:
Next, copyright any ordinary technique in your name by adding the word ‘quantum’ to it. For example ‘quantum relationship yoga’, or ‘quantum argle-bargle technique’ or ‘quantum of solace method’. Explain it by randomly combining words like “fifth dimensional attunement”, “pure being” and “Archangel Zigzagel”. Finally, create a pseudo-Sanskrit Ritual Mantra ‘Oppa Ganga-namah Stile-Om’ (Translation: Oppa Gangnam Style)

5) Spread The Good Word:
Like every brand, you need a strong marketing & PR team, except you will call them ‘gullible-disciples-willing-to-work-for-free’. Virtual followers on social media are more important than real followers these days so give up-to-the-minute updates of your gloriously happy, perfect life. Since everything is part of one consciousness, feel free to recycle others’ ideas as your own (but remember to copyright your words and sell them for $13.95 in paperback).

6) Answer Every Question With ‘Absolute’ Confidence:
So what if your attempts at discourses are as shallow as monsoon puddles? Just paraphrase everything by saying things like “Don’t pay attention to my words. Listen to the silence between my words.” Remind students that even Lao Tzu admitted that the Truth cannot be spoken.

A few tips on dealing with smart-ass questioners. If you don’t know how to answer a difficult question, the first option is to shoot back: “Who is asking this question? Who wants to know?” If that doesn’t work, dive straight into the Absolute (as in the state of Being, not the Vodka). Remember this: “Pure Consciousness” is the correct answer for every question ever asked! For example:

Q: Master, my wife has left me, and I am about to shoot myself. What should I do?
A: Everything is happening in Pure Consciousness. Nothing happens outside Pure Consciousness. Pure Consciousness is all there is.
Q: Oh thank you, Master! I didn’t see that perspective! I am so small and petty.
A: Yes, you are.

If someone persists, then say with a deep sigh: “I am ready to give you enlightenment right now, but are you ready to receive it?” (If he persists in saying ‘yes’ that’s obviously ego speaking.) And if all else fails, dismiss the student as ‘too intellectual’. And recommend a month of kitchen duty to cure him of this disease.

7) Set Impossible Standards:
If anyone demands to know where they are heading, reply ‘the day you are able to surrender FULLY, you will be enlightened’. The trick is to use words like ‘completely’, ‘totally’ or ‘fully’. Because hey! What ‘fully’ actually looks like is so totally in your hands! So keep the herd running after goals like trusting fully, loving fully, serving fully and you can keep them busy for a decade at least.

If you do have occasional pangs of conscience, remember that sheep need a shepherd. If it’s gonna be somebody, might as well be you! And if the CEO of Goldman Sachs can get paid millions, why shouldn’t you? Chances are, you might actually help someone!

These tips should get your little spiritual movement off the ground. But the difficult part is yet to come – how to keep your new flock from bleating too loudly, grazing on greener pastures or jumping the fence completely. More about resolving these issues in: The Foolproof Guide To Becoming A Guru – Part 2.

GD Speaks

The Ever-Present Answer

This little ‘poem’ is based on something GD said on a phone call. The mind, he said, is always looking for that one spiritual answer, that one final insight which will satisfy us permanently. But every mental answer only leads to more questions, and every amazing insight fades in time.

The real answer, GD reminded me, is not in words. It is not a combination of words or sentences that will free us, it is this presence-awareness from which all words arise. This has stayed with me for many months now, a useful reminder when I get too obsessed with seeking knowledge outside instead of resting in the knowing that I am.

Monk Image used under Creative Commons Free To Adapt Pictures by Gane


Being Awake is Optional

Ten days ago, I had written a little poem called ‘Living is Optional’. It had a simple message about the value and power of living consciously. While we were up in the mountains the last few days, my mentor GD inspired me to write some more about this subject. So here is the follow-up to that poem. Hope it lights up awareness for a moment.

Going on vacation is a ritual,
Actually taking a break is optional

Beauty is all around,
Seeing it is optional

Being human is mandatory,
Embracing our humanness is optional

Spiritual objects are part of every home,
Having faith is optional

Waking up happens every morning,
Being Awake is optional

Lovely image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti

GD Speaks

Please Appreciate This Blog!

Spiritual teacher Byron Katie says that if she had a prayer, it would go something like this: “God, spare me from the desire for love, approval and appreciation.”

No matter how many times I unravel this strait-jacket of seeking appreciation, I find it comes again in a new form. Like, for example, when I compulsively check stats on the blog to see how many likes or comments i have in the last half hour. It’s sweetly neurotic at this level but in the larger picture, the desire for appreciation is such a crippling factor in our lives, it ultimately destroys us: forcing us to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like in the first place. Here’s a lovely talk by GD on whether we are spending all our lives seeking appreciation. If you like it, don’t forget to appreciate this blog… or not 🙂

“In school, we wanted to be at the top of the class – for what? To impress our parents, teachers, other students – everyone must see me as a smart, special child! 

This desire for approval and appreciation then spread into all areas of our life. And for that, we needed the perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect husband or wife and finally, perfect kids!

A friend of mine has fallen in love, but does not want to go out with the girl because she is not very good looking. Why?  Because he is afraid that others will not approve and think that he is really desperate!

So even the woman you marry could be based on other people’s approval.

The job, the salary, the car, the perfume, the clothes, the body language – everywhere it is the same story.

All this so that people can look at us and say: “Wow! You are amazing!”

We are willing to sell our souls just to hear this.

Most of our choices are based on others’ reactions.

Do we ever do what we really want to do?

Do we even know what we really want to do?


This constant need for love and attention seems to be one of the core preoccupations of humanity.

What is this unending need for attention?  It is a question we have to ask, otherwise our entire life will be spent roaming around with our begging bowl – seeking love, approval and attention.

This unexamined need makes us dependent on everybody: ‘Give me some love, give me some attention, appreciate me, please look at me!’

We willingly become puppets in someone else’s hands.

And gradually, the more addicted we are to attention – the more fake we become.

The more fake we become – the more miserable and split we feel inside.


No matter how hard we try, we find that some people are impressed and some are not.

The funny thing is: even if you don’t try, some are impressed and some are not impressed!


The ‘false’ you is always trying to get attention, approval, love. 

When you want something from someone, you are never at ease.

The false you is always uneasy with people because of this subconscious need.

This need insists that I be seen as a nice human being, as a loving human being, as a worthy human being.

And in order to have this need met, we start behaving in ways which we think others will like.

When we want approval from others, we instantly lose our honesty, our ease and our naturalness.

This begging-mode is a very uncomfortable place to function from. But most of us are so habituated to this state that we don’t even notice it.

When you want nothing from anybody – finally – you are free to be yourself.

When you are yourself, you are – regardless of the situation – simply present, open and playful.


What if you could let go of this need for attention?

What if you become clear and realize: ‘I don’t really need this’.

If the need for attention or appreciation completely disappears – how would your life change?

Can you imagine how different life would be if one was not playing this game?

If you were really, really true to yourself, and not worried about impressing:

What kind of job would you be doing?

What kind of people would you really hang out with?

What kind of a person would you date?

What kind of lifestyle would you choose?


What you need is your own love and attention.  That is what’s really missing.

We don’t acknowledge ourselves enough for who we are and what we do. So we constantly need others to do it for us.

Acknowledge yourself. Why manipulate others into doing it for you?

When you start ‘feeding’ yourself, you will stop running around with your begging bowl asking others for scraps.

Then, you feel good about yourself! When you feel good, you find people being drawn to you.

This is the paradox. A person who doesn’t seek love and appreciation starts getting it!

Suppose someone is impressed with you – what do you ultimately get?

Let us imagine this scenario: you have managed to impress someone… so what have you really achieved?

What you will actually get are a few thoughts, which say: I am worthy; I am loveable; I am wanted; I am needed.

This is what you will get, right?  That is what gives you a thrill.

These three-four sentences – I am wanted; I am needed; I am lovable; I am worthy.

This is all that you get.

For these few thoughts we sacrifice our whole life.

If we learn to generate these thoughts ourselves, we don’t have to beg for them outside and the whole game changes.

A truly crucial inquiry…

We start by inquiring into how many (if not all) of our choices are meant to impress others. We need to make a genuine and thorough list.

The second question that follows is: why is it so important to impress them?

The third question to be considered is: if they get impressed, are you going to buy it?  For example, if someone calls you beautiful or spiritual or a genius, are you really going to believe it?

The fourth question that naturally comes up is: if you are not going to believe it anyway, what is the point of trying so hard?

Lastly, the fifth question worth asking is: how would your life change if you stopped this game?

When you are peaceful, happy and not trying to create false images – you enjoy self-approval.

That’s when you internally say:

It is okay to be me.

It’s okay to be casual.

It’s okay to not pretend.

It’s okay to just enjoy the situation.

That is self-approval.


If you stop seeking approval, you will enjoy immense freedom and peace.

You will be in a state of meditation throughout the day.

It has to be – because you are not moving out of integrity at all.

You are not being false, you are not being fake – there is no manipulation.

The mind starts to dissolve.

Concepts of success and money and fame – all become useless if you are not interested in impressing.

Why do you want to be successful and get awards? So that people come to know how great you are.

Money – why do you want so much money?  So that you can show-off with the money; so that you can buy a big house and a big car.

Success, fame, career… what do you need all these for? To impress others.

But this desire to impress never lets you rest.

It keeps you running… like a rat on a treadmill.

You must be the best in the office; you must be famous; you must write a book; you must have your own car – even if you don’t need it.

As long as you are running, you cannot enjoy anything you have.

When you have your own approval – you will start receiving everybody’s approval.

That is the magic of it.  But first you have to find your own approval.

If I need you to tell me that I am a good teacher – then I have great doubts about my teaching ability.

Why would I need you to tell me that, unless I have serious doubts and I need reassurance?

We need others to tell us that which we doubt about ourselves.

And since we doubt it, we want to hear it again and again.

But no matter how many times we hear it, it will not be enough.

Deep down, there is a part of us that goes on denying and doubting it.

Better to spend our time healing that part, than to hunt for approval and appreciation again and again.

When you start loving yourself, you will start seeing everyone’s love for you.”