The New Age of the Teacher
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the coming of a New Age, called the Age of Aquarius, and a lot of speculation about how society will change, the birth of a new human and a shifting reality etc. I find it incredibly fascinating, but some of it can be confusing as well.
What I can relate to are the changes that have slowly been manifesting over the past few decades. And during the last two or three years, the world seems to be changing with increasing speed and urgency so that it often feels as if reality itself is becoming strangely insubstantial. My students tell me about the many theories that are floating around regarding this New Age. One comment stuck with me: in the Age of Pisces (the age we are now leaving behind), knowledge was tightly controlled and closely guarded, handed down from master to disciple, and kept secret from all but the members of the same school or lineage. Those who wanted to learn and grow had to search for knowledge and prove themselves to their future teacher before they were allowed to join. Based on my own experience, I agree, and I would say that the proverb “Knowledge is power” is sums up the Age of Pisces well. In contrast, the Age of Aquarius is supposed to bring about the dissolution of all such structures, making knowledge universally accessible and pulling away the veil of secrecy.
Well, to a large degree, this has already happened, with the internet offering information about anything and everything with the press of a few buttons. I believe over time, the tradition of Guru Shishya Parampara, the master-disciple relationship that shaped my path of Naad Yoga as a teenager, will eventually disappear as well. And with it, the monopoly on knowledge still held by the Gharanas, the traditional music schools in India. I sincerely welcome this development and have done my best to speed it along by founding Raj Academy more than 27 years ago. My mission is to offer the techniques and the knowledge of Naad Yoga to the world so that everyone can benefit from it. It is too valuable to be forgotten or hidden away for the use of a select few. The future holds many challenges for humanity, and we need all the tools at our disposal if we want to navigate those times successfully.
However, there is more to this New Age than widely available information and the unearthing of ancient wisdom, I think. After all, there was more to the teacher-student relationship than a mere transfer of knowledge, which could have easily been achieved by writing everything down and handing the text to the student to read. Thinking back to my own time as a student, I realise how comprehensive and intense my learning journey was. My teacher ensured that I learned not only intellectually but through experience - he created situations where something I had previously learned suddenly came to life or where I had to apply prior lessons in real life. I was not allowed to write anything down but had to memorise what I was taught. This developed my ability to focus to a level I would otherwise never have reached. The lessons became a part of my being, body, mind and soul. I came to not only knowing but living and breathing the wisdom he shared with me. Even though I have not seen my teacher for more than 33 years, my gratitude for his guidance and teaching has never faded, and neither have the memories of our time together.
However, I firmly believe that there will be new ways of learning in the future that do not require a student to surrender to a teacher in quite the same way. This surely will be for the best. While I was fortunate to have had a teacher who took his responsibility seriously and for whom the welfare of his students was paramount, I know that there are many people out there who had very different experiences. I agree that the time of the “Guru” has passed. There will always be people who will lead the way and share their knowledge and experience with others, but they will be just that: guides who point you in a particular direction where you might find the knowledge you need. But to turn that knowledge into wisdom, to make it your own, you need to find ways to experience it, live it - you can’t just be a bystander.
While in the old days, the teacher assumed full responsibility for the student and guided their life closely, in this new era, if you want to grow and reach your full potential you must be both student and teacher. Now, the responsibility lies with you, and you must find the teacher within yourself, instead of looking towards another person. When I was little, I used to feel that my teacher was incredibly demanding, always coming up with new challenges to test my resolve. But now that I think of it, I believe that the students of the future face a much more significant challenge: instead of the straightforward structure and guidance of a teacher, they face an ocean of knowledge. Instead of proving their determination and dedication to a teacher, they must prove discernment and self-motivation day after day to nobody but themselves. Daunting, isn’t it?
But it also offers immense freedom and potential - you can go where nobody has gone before and let your unique gifts and talents blossom without restraint. I followed in my teachers' footsteps until he considered me ready to find my own way. You can choose your path anew every day. There will be times when it will feel like a burden, and you will want nothing more than having someone else take charge and tell you what to do, who to be and where to go.
I want to encourage you not to give in, instead carry on as best as you can, trust yourself and enjoy the journey. Only yourself defines your purpose in life, and you alone can decide what is worth your time. Will you make mistakes and end up in a situation you wish you had been able to avoid? Of course, you will, most likely more than once, but if you deal with it head-on and see it as a lesson that life offers you, not a moment of your life will be wasted. For me, this is at the core of the New Age we are now entering: humanity will grow up and reach a new level of maturity where we no longer need to be held in check by rigid structures.
I invite you to suck the marrow out of every experience, drain the last drop of knowledge out of every moment so that you come closer to know yourself with every breath you take. The meaning of life for me is Oneness: to become one with yourself - body, mind and soul. When you become one with yourself, you become one with the Creator, with the entirety of Creation - and that is the ultimate purpose of life. No matter which path you follow, as long as you follow it through to the end, this is where it will ultimately lead you. A teacher can only ever walk alongside you for a time and point you in the direction of wisdom, but it is you who must do the walking.
So, let us buckle up and meet each day with an open heart and an open mind, ready to take in the joy and the sorrow and grow from both. And if you feel drawn to the path of Naad Yoga, have a look around the website or get in touch with me, and I will offer you what wisdom I can for your life’s journey.