Bro. Erle Frayne Argonza
Good afternoon from Manila!
Is it possible to practice guru for nationhood? Everybody who knows the term ‘guru’ or teacher expects the role of somebody who mentors on the level of the individual psyche, or intervenes on the individual level. Let me shed light about the matter.
There are different levels of consciousness and awareness. Each one of us has an individual aspect to our consciousness, which sociologists call the ‘individual self’ or authentic self. The individual self is the repository of our personality, the totality of our behavior system that allows us to behave in many circumstances in a unique way. The mind of our unique self is called the ‘individual mind’ plain and simple.
As we move up the ladder of sociality, we encounter the ‘collective consciousness’. Sociologists used the terms ‘conscience collective’ (Durkheim), ‘social consciousness’ (Marx), and ‘social self’ (G.H.Mead) to refer to this level of consciousness and type of self. The rules that guide our behavior are deposited in our collective memory and operate through our ‘social self’.
The nation is a cultural being that comprises of a congregation or agglomeration of diverse ethnicities, races, social classes, genders, and other social identities. At the level of nation, collective consciousness operates and congeals as rules, national culture and identity. Nationhood therefore is no fixed thing, born from out of a silver platter, but is rather an entity that has to be collectively constructed.
It is in the task of constructing nationhood that diverse teachers do come to help mold minds of people towards accepting a common culture, identity and normative template as a people. Gurus are indeed sent from time to time, whose missions have to do with galvanizing collective consciousness towards an ‘enlightened society’ rather than focus on individual learning of the Teaching.
Among the various mystics who were sent forth by the Divine Hierarchy to focus on the collective consciousness formation, Jose Rizal and Mahatma Gandhi come to mind as the prototypes for modernity. Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero, practically expended his time and effort teaching his fellow islander Malayans in accepting an identity as ‘Filipino’ and learning the patriotic values and duties that go with practicing citizenship.
Mahatma Gandhi, who read Rizal and must have been aware of the mystic-guru side to the first Filipino, likewise embarked on the noble mission of teaching nationhood for his beloved India. Among the patriotic virtues that he taught, that of ahimsa (peace/non-violence) stands out as the most. He preached nationhood till the last breath of his physical body, and did a lot of punishing self-sacrifices just to prove his point. Even his profession and money pursuits he sacrificed in the last instance.
Both of them eventually lost their lives for the cause. Rizal was executed by the Spanish overlords of his beloved Philippines, while Gandhi was assassinated by a partisan fanatic. During that moment of death, what people don’t realize is that, as their respective souls departed, they made inner commitments to Cosmic Hierarchy that they partly shoulder the collective karma of their nation. In other words, they carried the cross for their nation, in the same way the Jesus carried the cross of the entire planet Earth’s humanity.
In a similar way, gurus who intervene on the level of individual consciousness do take a part of the karma of their respective individual disciples. Some of them suddenly acquire incurable cancer, some would lose their voice partly, while some others could die from absorbing so many vibrations and bad karmas of their disciples. That’s what it means to become a guru: take on the cross for others.
So, Fellows, let us please appreciate the noble works of gurus for nationhood for their selfless dedication to their thankless jobs. They more than deserve accolades for their sacrifices and gargantuan feats. No wonder why some people regard them as worth the cult worship, revere them like gods. They deserve enormous respect, to say the least.
[Writ 09 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]