That thought came to mind after I wrote about an Indian guru, Gurinder Singh Dhillon, bringing in over $250 million for himself and his family through insider transactions of Religare stock.
Since the shares essentially were gifted to the guru and his sons (the 2006 purchase price was very low, about 1% of the current market value) by businessman relatives who also are disciples of Gurinder Singh, it can be argued that this is nothing unusual.
It's commonplace for people to use their influence and connections to make big money. Politicians do it. Business tycoons do it. Wall Street wheelers and dealers do it.
But this guru is considered by devotees to be God in human form. He's living and breathing in the Punjab. So to true believers he's exactly what Osborne was referring to: God as one of us.
Though I used to think this was possible -- God in human form -- here's what bothers me about this GIHF hypothesis now: if God is one of us, just like one of us, there's nothing special about God or God in human form.
I've talked about this before in What if a "guru" is no different from us?
How do we know that anyone has special expertise in some field? We can confirm that a mountain climber knows how to scale difficult peaks. We can document that a computer technician is able to get balky machines running smoothly again.
Yet where's the evidence that a guru is any different from you or me when it comes to knowing what, if anything, lies beyond the physical reality that we experience now? How could we tell that a guru is able to get one's mind/soul in good working order?
How could this be done? What questions would be asked? Of course, the biggest question is whether the game even is possible, since the producers of the show would have to find a genuine true guru themselves.
This isn't a fantasy game. It is being played by millions of people in every corner of the world.
Heck, make that billions if we have a expansive definition of "guru," one that includes ministers, imams, rabbis, priests, yogis, and others who claim some special knowledge of a divine aspect to reality.
Skepticism is called for.
For sure. Disciples of a guru such as Gurinder Singh love to talk about how human he is. "Wow, he kicks a soccer ball, wears blue jeans, gets angry, makes mistakes, falls sick."
Yes. That's true. So what?
Everybody can do these things. Along with making money. How does this point to a guru's divinity? Shouldn't showing every sign of being a normal human being lead to an obvious conclusion?
The guru is a normal human being.
Once someone told me a story about walking into a room where Gurinder Singh was having a meeting. The guru had been reviewing a book manuscript written by this person.
Seeing the visitor come in, he picked up the manuscript and threw it at his visitor, pages scattering over the floor. After uttering a dismissive comment about how bad the manuscript was, he went back to his meeting.
Most people would consider this a typical "bad boss" episode, a superior acting like a jerk. But the disciple who told me the story considered the guru's actions to be as perfect as a God in human form always is.
We just can't recognize the perfection when it appears as anger or some other normal human attribute.
Well, if God can't be recognized, if God acts no different from us, if it is impossible for a God-realized person to be differentiated from everyone else, what's the point of believing that someone is God in human form?