Cidu Bill on Aug 13th 2013


The comic’s not a CIDU, but it reminded me of something I’ve been wondering about for a while: does anybody know where the guru-on-a-mountaintop trope came from?

Filed in Bill Bickel, Non Sequitur, comic strips, comics, humor | 8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Guruidu”

  1. James Pollock Aug 13th 2013 at 06:25 pm 1


  2. Lost in A**2 Aug 13th 2013 at 06:58 pm 2

    Lost Horizon?

  3. Elyrest Aug 13th 2013 at 07:12 pm 3

    In the “The Razor’s Edge” by W. Somerset Maugham the main character climbs a mountain to seek spiritual guidance from a guru. That’s after “Lost Horizon”, but in LH the characters are taken to a mountaintop rather than seeking it out by themselves. The Transcendentalists were taken with Eastern spirituality, but I don’t remember any mountains or gurus.

  4. JHGRedekop Aug 13th 2013 at 09:10 pm 4

    From TV Tropes:

    - A staple character of the folklore of Asia. In one such tale, The Tiger’s Whisker, a young woman seeks the aid of a wise old mountain hermit after her husband has returned psychologically damaged from war. She begs him for a spell to return her husband to his old, loving self, from the cold violent man he’s become. The hermit says she must bring the whisker from a living tiger as an ingredient for such a spell. The young woman spends months gaining the tiger’s confidence with food and patience before snipping its whisker. When she returns to the hermit he throws the whisker in the fire and when she protests, tells her that if she can use such patience to tame a tiger, surely she can do the same for her husband?

  5. Kilby Aug 14th 2013 at 05:38 am 5

    The earliest mountain guru I could find on the New Yorker’s CD collection was dated 16 May 1964 (by Warren Miller, another one by Tobey appeared on 12 Sept. 1964). Their online collection offers 30 such cartoons for sale, but unfortunately neither of the ones from 1964 are shown.

  6. Kilby Aug 14th 2013 at 06:05 am 6

    P.S. There used to be a guru that made regular appearances on B.C., but I can’t find an example online that predates Hart’s death.

  7. MikeK Aug 14th 2013 at 12:11 pm 7

    There is a book “the Wandering Taoist” by Deng Ming-Dao in which this is discussed. It is the story of the author’s Taoist teacher, Kwan Saihung, who grew up studying at a Taoist monastery in China in the 1930s. Living for awhile as a hermit in the mountains (though in a cave, not at the summit) was one of his assignments and he explains how this fit in to his training as a monk.

  8. Ian Osmond Aug 14th 2013 at 05:20 pm 8

    It’s an actual thing that really exists. Holy hermit monks/lamas/gurus have historically existed in Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism, and probably in other religions, too. And pilgrims would come to learn from them.

    They’d live near a settlement of some sort, and the locals would provide food and other necessities, so it WAS possible to get from some form of civilization to where the hermit was. So it wasn’t actually so much “mountain climbing” to the guru as “hiking”, but, yeah, the basic concept is real. Exaggerated for comic effect, of course.

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