I got a book for review recently that I put down within a few minutes because it made me all jittery. A few days ago we had a spiritual teacher do a lecture at our local theosophical lodge, and he turned the room quiet. We didn’t even have questions to last the full time set for that stuff…
While as to metaphysics I don’t completely agree with that teacher (which is why I won’t put his name up here), it was clear that he had a certain something that put us all in a meditative state. I even meditated a bit when I came home. Something I do very rarely. In fact, he reminded me of the meditative state I used to go into quite frequently without effort when I was younger.
This is what the Indian people call ‘darshan’ – merely the seeing of a spiritual teacher is thought to be a blessing. The ‘higher’ the teacher, the stronger the effect.
Someone asked my opinion recently about various theosophically relevant teachers: Alice Bailey, Benjamin Creme… I responded that they weren’t my thing. That Alice Bailey though, based on her autobiography, did seem authentic. Still, her books don’t ring much of a bell with me. With Benjamin Creme it’s worse: I have no idea what he’s talking about. What’s the message? What’s he trying to teach?
The feel of teachings is, I think, very often what makes us stick with one teacher instead of another. This is no doubt partly personal preference. Some teachers and authors fit us, others don’t.
On the flip side, a popular teacher in The Netherlands had me invited to one of his lectures recently. I guess he, or his followers, wanted to enlist me. I didn’t go, because the last time I went he’d tried to hypnotize the crowd. I’m sensitive to that sort of thing, so I could hardly walk afterwards. However, that same effect, in a lighter form I’m sure, is what makes him so popular.
So, there are two issues here: the genuine feel of a great teacher, and the misleading feel of a not so good one. Still, what else is there to judge a teacher by?