An infant looks up to its mother for the gospel truth. Years pass by and as a tiny tot on being corrected by a parent, pat comes the reply, "My teacher has taught like this only." Later we look at a peer group for worldly wisdom. The search for a mentor would mean that we still admit learning is a process where the taught requires a teacher. As a nation we place "Guru" over God. In fact in one of the devotional poems, Kabir rests the balance in favour of the teacher, thus
गुरू गोविन्द दोऊ खड़े, काके लागूं पांय।
बलिहारी गुरू अपने गोविन्द दियो बताय।।
In short, he says that if the teacher and God appear together, he would choose to prostrate before the teacher first as it was he who led him to God. Then what makes a Guru materialistic?
The story of Drona of Mahabharata portrays this quintessential aspect. In the court of Drupada, Drona is insulted but none comes to his rescue even though he is the son of the fabled Rishi Bharadwaja who is one of the saptarishis. Rishi Bharadwaja also played host to Shri Ramachandra when the meeting with Bharata takes place. Thus, society at that stage also had made it clear that the Guru needs to fend for himself and his family. The Gurudakshina had to be fixed by him to protect his status. Compare this to the Gurukula system where Guru Sandipani taught Krishna and Sudama. They revered the Guru and gave him their utmost so he did not need to seek.
If necessity is the mother of invention so is it the mother of many other children like materialism.
The other way to look at it is the convenience of expecting others to be having exemplary morals while we lack it ourselves. A teacher ought not to be materialistic. A doctor or a nurse should not bother about personal needs. A leader needs to sacrifice his needs for the public good. This reminds me of an essay in Hindi wherein the people put some others on a pedestal so as to avoid following the principles. Gandhi is conferred title of Mahatma. Jesus is eulogised as Son of God. Mohammed is turned Prophet. Nanak Dev is turned into a Guru. There is no dispute in conferring these titles but we reduce ourselves to common men and say that we are beyond such achievements or even an attempt to do the same. The matter does not stop there we also start questioning several such persons who attempt on why they do not lead a frugal life, sacrifice more or even prescribe standards which is nothing but an abashed display of our own base intentions.
Repeated onslaughts on these noble professions have led to the day when they have come to state that theirs too is a commercial profession. Who is to blame?
Let us mend our ways to facilitate them to regain their glory.