ACCORDING TO THE THOMAS GOSPEL
12. The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?" Jesus said to them, "No matter where you are, you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."
The highest aim of creation, the very purpose and summit of it (for whose sake heaven and earth came into being), is in creating the possibility of achieving holiness amidst the limitation of being just a small human being like everybody else. From all accounts, such was the nature of James the Just and such is the nature of the true teacher & saint (our leader). To such a teacher one must go for guidance and to no other (no matter where you are).
24. His disciples said, "Show us the place where you are, for we must seek it." He said to them, "Anyone here with two ears had better listen! There is light within a person of light, and it shines on the whole world. If it does not shine, it is dark."
The one who knows the self (the person of light) must let it (the light) shine through and true, spread the truth (shine on the whole world). When seeking the self (we must seek it) we have to remember that we can recognize the self by its effect (it shines). If we do not feel that effect in someone posing as a teacher, then this is not a true teacher (if it does not shine it is dark). The source of all understanding is the self and only through the self one can bring understanding to others.
34. Jesus said, "If a blind person leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a hole."
The message is pretty obvious : follow the real teacher and not the fake one (the blind leading the blind). It will ruin both the student and the fake teacher (both will fall). It is tempting to add that "the one-eyed is king in the land of the blind, but what you need is not just a two-eyed teacher, but a three-eyed one." (a saying of Harish Johari, referring to the third eye of the 6 th chakra).
78. Jesus said, "Why have you come out to the countryside? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a person dressed in soft clothes, [like your] rulers and your powerful ones? They are dressed in soft clothes, and they cannot understand truth."
Spiritual searchers are too often focused on outer appearance to judge the value of a teacher. Neither the signs of heavy detachment such as food fasting (looking like a reed shaken by the wind), nor signs of worldly power (soft clothes, like those worn by rulers) which is only attachment, are indicative of true spiritual value.