Phiroz was not a Professor nor a Guru — was he?
By Professor Noel King and Krim Natirbov
“Caesar has not returned to the camp, has he?” My teacher insisted the answer was implied in the question and the answer was “no.”
Phiroz was academically sound as any Professor, his logic rigorous, his knowledge of the sources impeccable. But he had no title, no Chair, no tenured salary. He never took refuge in his status, never belittled the simple faithful who actually believed the great teachings. He was as critical and could be as deconstructive as any, but left a place in the hermeneutic of suspicion for the God hypothesis.
He was never a Guru though he had a charisma and bearing which inspired devotion and the desire to hand over one’s life, but he firmly parried any such build-up on the part of his followers. His focus was on the teachings, not his own, but of the great teachers, and on training the mind to grow to her full spiritual stature till she could ask and answer the questions for herself.
So the answer is “No, he was not, but yet he was.” But even so it was more than “yes” and “no” or even “no” and “yes”.
The work must continue, and we who knew him face to face have a special task.