Now That You Mention It

A guru isn’t a Svengali. A Svengali knows you intimately, controls you, whereas you follow a guru from a distance. A guru isn’t a god: She might be spiritual, but she would never engage with something so controversial as religion. A guru isn’t an entertainer. He doesn’t want to bring you pleasure; he wants to change you. A guru isn’t a consultant, either. You can get good advice from anyone: It’s charisma that makes a guru’s advice persuasive.

The Slate guide to gurus.

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