Over on my "Let's add a new L-word to 'Who is the guru?' possibilities" post, William left a comment today:
I was listening to a talk on the topic of What is a Guru? by Alan Watts. You may well find it interesting. Here's the link that will bring you to the pertinent part of that talk. https://youtu.be/sAq2NY0Tjf8?t=1m54s
Since I enjoy reading Watts' books, saw him speak in person back in the 1960's, and like his audio recordings, I watched about half of the You Tube video today.
Here's the link William sent, which starts at about the two minute mark.
I resonate with almost everything I heard Watts say, agreeing that the only authority a guru, master, or other religious personage has flows from the devotees who choose to elevate that person to a position of spiritual leadership.
Otherwise, where could any authority come from?
There aren't qualifications for becoming a guru, as there are for professions such as medicine, law, engineering, and so on. Anyone can claim to be a spiritual adept. Usually it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find objective evidence that what the "guru" claims to know about the cosmos is actually true, and/or that the guru can do what he or she claims, supernaturally speaking.
So Buyer Beware is excellent advice for anyone looking to purchase some spiritual authority.