Wordsmith Rumination : Boss, Mentor, Guru


In the Bhagvatam – a Hindu scripture, there is a verse in Sanskrit that says something like this : “in every birth, you will sure get mother and father and getting a Guru or Spiritual Master is not certain.”. The same scripture asserts that a “soul” transmigrates across 8.4 million material bodies, i.e. life forms. Since Life comes after life, any living form will finally trace back to living forms and not some factory or warehouse. As of now. No one knows what will happen in the future.

I hear that having left the day to day running of the trillion dollar value companies they founded to some hired gun CEO, founders of such companies are becoming 21st century alchemists – in search of everlasting youth by bio-engineering and other cutting edge technologies.  The more things change, more they remain the same.

Boss, Mentor, Guru : The Wordsmith Identification Test

  1. An ordinary boss asserts his/her authority purely on circumstantial basis, i.e. seniority, more experience, legitimacy and delegated power – legitimately or otherwise. Such a boss implicitly tells his juniors the fact that the prize these fellows will get, after the journey is his/her status. Since such bosses live an un-examined life and are quite convinced of the “superiority” of their current station, they never look at themselves from the eyes of other people. They would have been surprised !
  2.  A mentor (true one, not the charlatans and fraudsters) puts the craft before self and does not use delegated power. He/she mentors because a cosmic force makes him do it. This is not a business for him / her. Such people are very rare and rarer are the people who are qualified to have true mentors. “Guru mile lakho lakho chela mile ek” – “gurus are available in hundreds of thousands, true chela can be found one or two.”
  3. Guru in Sanskrit means “heavy” – literally, i.e. neither money, nor fame nor worldly temptations can move him from his exalted station. His “power” or “legitimacy” is neither manufactured nor delegated. He is the chosen one.


  • A boss’s gravitational pull is predominately power-based. Hence a boss always wants the junior to be dependent on him. Thus you will observe that more idiotic and stupid bosses are micro-managers and “perfectionists” in their own pompous foolish ways.
  • A mentor’s pull is predominantly achievement based and hence he wants people to be achiever like him. Thus although a mentor grants more freedom but he wants his juniors to be like him. The dependence remains – very subtle, in a sense of mentor casting a shadow of himself.
  • A true guru’s (the charlatans and frauds of religious and spiritual marketplace) pull is transcendental. He is not insecure of anything and thus he wants the disciple to become more and more independent. The most beautiful thing of a guru is this that at a certain point you will feel that you never had one or even needed one. A guru’s supreme virtuosity is self-effacement.

Close your eyes. Think of someone in your life who has influenced you profoundly but you are not dependent on him / her. He/she is the closest one of being a guru figure to you.


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