What are thoughts on guru pathik? He was clearly a reference to the Indian sub continent; race, culture and accent wise. So where in the atla world was he from? What did he mean by "I'm a spiritual brother of your people" when he spoke to aang? Could he have played a more significant role in book 4: air? I'm so confused about him, perhaps your thoughts could shed a little light. :-)
Yeah, Guru Pathik definitely has an Indian inspiration, which is where the chakra system is said to originate from. When he said “I’m a spiritual brother of your people,” I took that to mean that he espouses the enlightenment philosophy of the Air Nomads, but he is not related to their culture by blood.
The guru is very old, like 150, so he seemed to have known the Air Nomads personally. This is similar to how the White Lotus Society is made up of masters from all of the different nations, who take on a political role using the same universal spiritual principles.
The reason that the lotus is used as their symbol is once again related to the ever important Crown Chakra, known as the Sahasrara, or the thousand-petaled lotus in Sanskrit. The color associated with this chakra is violet or white. The lotus blooming is a metaphor for the expanded consciousness associated with the Crown Chakra. The lotus symbol is used on Iroh’s Pai Sho tile, and is also present in the Sun Warriors’ Temple.
Other than the Old Masters, who take on a more political role, there were other wise spiritual leaders in Avatar who remained more remote. Huu was a waterbender, and the Sun Warrior chief is a firebender. So if I had to guess, I would assume that Guru Pathik comes from a remote area of the Earth Kingdom that we never got to see. If Book 4 had happened, we may have even gotten to see a new Air Nomad Old Master. That would have been cool.
I definitely think that Guru Pathik was going to come back. His role definitely felt unfinished. And since he is a master of chakras, he is capable of remote viewing and clairvoyance, a property of the Third Eye Chakra. He would have been able to wait for Aang at the Air Temple in Book 4. That was where Ehasz planned for Aang to travel to again after he left on his journey to rediscover himself, while dealing with the ramifications of energybending. I strongly believe that Guru Pathik was going to play a role in this.
I suspect that he may have had knowledge about the Lion Turtle. The Lion Turtle is connected to the chakras, after all. The Lion Turtle connected with Aang’s Heart and Third Eye Chakra, representing compassion and wisdom, allowing him to bend another’s spirit. Along with Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, Spirit is often referred to as the fifth element, which is the supreme element, in esoteric philosophy. Spirit represents pure consciousness and is the element that one must connect with to unite the other elements. That is why the Avatar being able to energybend made sense, just not the way Aang mastered the Avatar State to be able to do it.
As the Lion Turtle says, “The true mind can weather all the lies and illusions without being lost. The true heart can tough the poison of hatred without being harmed. Since beginningless time, darkness thrives in the void, but always yields to purifying light.”
Since this type of bending deals directly with another person’s consciousness, it makes sense that there would be risks and strong energetic repercussions associated with this practice. Ehasz said that it is a dangerous art and has the ability to corrupt the user. That’s also why there could have been a Book 5, since Avatar was based on Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. The fifth element in that story is Void, or Spirit.
After defeating Ozai, Aang was going to experience an inner darkness due to the effects of energybending, his guilt over breaking Ozai’s will to live, and becoming jealous over how close Zuko and Katara were growing. Aaron Ehasz said that Aang’s Avatar Spirit embodies the light and dark spirit of the planet, so this growing darkness would have created an imbalance within Aang; yet another parallel between him and Zuko related to the kundalini duality symbolism. Aang may have been able to master the Avatar State, but he still is not in a state of true chakra balance.
Just like Zuko, Aang’s arc also contains dragon symbolism, such as the poster in The Deserter. The fire ball that the dragon is reaching for represents the whole universe, the combination of all dualities united into one whole, like Aang’s Avatar Spirit. It also represents the unity of enlightened consciousness after connecting with the Divine Source of the Universe. Its nature is Oneness and unconditional love, the essence of God.
That fire ball is also the Crown Chakra at the top of the kundalini, also known as the Rod of Cadeuces, which is also the symbol that western medicine uses. The process of climbing the mountain with sacred fire is a kundalini metaphor for mankind striving to reach the enlightenment of higher consciousness. The coiled snakes also represent the double helix of the DNA structure. In esoteric philosophy, an Avatar is said to possess 12-stranded DNA as a by product of having attained a higher level of consciousness. All of what is supposedly called junk DNA in regular people is active in a fully realized Avatar. But that may be a post for another day.
I definitely think that the guru was going to come back and play a further role in helping Aang recover from energybending and balance his chakras. And I believe Aang still had more to learn about the Crown Chakra. As the Avatar, Aang is the bridge between the human world and the Spirit World, and he is supposed to be the embodiment of balance, the Divine Love of the Creator. Ehasz said that Guru Pathik believes that Aang never learned what letting go means, and I agree. Pathik could have helped Aang understand that love does not need to be possessive; inner fulfillment is attained by being unselfish and wanting happiness for others, since we are all One and our consciousness is eternal. Ehasz really wanted to use these developments to have Aang challenge himself and test whether he truly would be willing to make personal sacrifices for the stability of the world like a good Avatar should. Bryke robbed Aang of learning a very important spiritual lesson.
We do not die, and we attain peace and freedom by recognizing our true Divine nature. Like Yangchen said, we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and part of being human is to experience human emotions in order to learn, grow, and ultimately to love ourselves and others unconditionally and receive their love. This is why it is so frustrating how Bryke did everything in Book 3 and writing things as if Guru Pathik never existed. The Guru has some of the most interesting philosophical aspects in the whole show!
Aang was even supposed to learn new advanced airbending techniques, so Guru Pathik may have even played a role in that as well. Perhaps the levitation technique that Bryke used in TLoK was originally going to be used in ATLA? I know they came up with Raava and Vaatu based on Ehasz’ idea. Guru Pathik may have used his remote-viewing to help Aang find the surviving airbenders. He may have even taught Aang how to do this himself. Ugh, it’s such a shame we never got Book 4.