Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Type Casting the Guru

Yeshua said, "No prophet is welcome on his home turf; doctors don't cure those who know them.”............... Saying 31, Gospel of Thomas

This saying of Yeshua is the result of his experience in his own home town and which is reflected in the canonical Gospel of Matthew “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honour” ....Matthew 13: 53-57
  Human perception is highly conditioned by sensory experiences we go through. There is a tendency to rationalize and fit all our encounters into an imagery we already have in our mind map. Modern cognitive studies have clearly indicated that we constantly seek patterns into what we perceive and any new experience is consigned to uncertainty and the result is a typical emotional response seeking a level of comfort in our physical and intellectual survival.

The deep messages of Yeshua were put to the common man through parables in which the kingdom of heaven was compared through common imagery such as the mustard seed and the pearl and the indoctrinated mind of the listeners refused to accept his higher knowledge, when he preaches them by deeper interpretation of the Torah, through radical rejection and social classification.

The second part of the saying is very relevant from what we know of the mind-body connection in modern medicine. If, as a patient, I am very familiar and have different relationship to the doctor on a personal level then it is difficult for my mind to become unbiased to a medical advice I receive. Faith is an important element in the mind accepting unknown or unknowable information as truth. Faith and an unconditional acceptance in a revelation of truth cannot be evoked unless one has absolute and unqualified trust in the source of this knowledge. This is a very important aspect of accepting a very radical teaching. Yeshua was trying to provide a radical shift in the way the law and ritual oriented Pharisaic teachings of Torah, which though it had profound value was not rooted in value based action, needed a new approach.

This is amply explicit in the canonical Gospel. "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them"..... Matthew 23:1-4

There is also another dimension of this part of the saying from a historical perspective as John Dominic Crossan points out. “If Jesus was a well-known magician, healer, or miracle-worker, first, his immediate family, and, next, his village would expect to benefit from and partake in the handling of that fame and those gifts. Any Mediterranean peasant would expect an expanding ripple of patronage-clientele to go out from Jesus, through his family and his village, to the outside world. But what Jesus did, in turning his back on Nazareth and on his family, was repudiate such brokerage, and that, rather than belief or disbelief, was the heart of the problem.” Yeshua chose to attenuate any preferential influence of his social action. He practiced egalitarianism to the core.

In spite of all the effort taken and from historical events preceding his own ministry, the radically different message coming from a carpenter’s son could not be accepted. The Guru was type cast and consigned to a role which only the ignorant could comprehend.

Love to you all

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