Why We Don't Like Da (And The Kracki, Sri Sri, Etc.)
File under: Gurubusting
Lately it's been heated in the "Gurukripa" tribe at tribe.net, where we produced this statement before we bowed out and left the bliss bunnies to their cherished (and occluding) notions about their gurus:
I have found self-realization to be quite normal, ordinary and even somewhat mundane as a direct and experiential understanding. I know this because I've been lucky to meet more than several people online who live in that understanding, along with a number of folks in real life.
So, how to reconcile these lives with the life of a big-time, island-owning, self-proclaimed greatest-in-recent-history guru? It's like trying to reconcile a Muslim extremist with a West Bank-occupying Zionist.
The thing that separates a normal shlub who is self-realized from a big-time guru who may or may not be self-realized is the idea of spiritual power. Big-time gurus are imagined to contain vast amounts of this power in various forms. There is a litany of things people believe about their big-time gurus as a result of this belief in their power
I would not blame a soul alive for thinking I'm a complete poser (and loser for picking on their guru), but I'm convinced that all spiritual power lies inside each of us, and that it's the belief in the guru's power that tricks us to manifesting our own power. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, and I'd agree, if it weren't for the bugaboo I call occluding nonsense about self-realization.
According to Vedanta, we are all the Atman, and Atman is Brahman, making each of us the foundation of all existence and non-existence. It's not something we climb to, or descend to, or transport to or work toward, despite what we might think we're doing. It's something that is right here, right now, closer than our own breath, in every moment of our lives; the changeless and unborn Self.
So, half the world is running around jumping through so many different hoops, trying to climb, descend, transport and work toward becoming the changeless and unborn Self, which is right here, right now, closer than our own breath. What's the problem? Why aren't they finding such a completely immediate reality?
Simply because it's the most unassuming thing about yourself that you'll never be able to imagine. It's like a wallflower in your mind. It's always there, but goes completely unnoticed. Even when you are spending all your time, money and freedom following a big-time guru so you can find it, it's still just sitting there, right in plain view, waiting to be noticed.
From the mass-cultural angle, big-time gurus are held up as the example of what self-realization means to a life. Never mind how many of them fall far from the distinction. The ones who survive are all seen as paragons of virtue and base-stations of God-like powers that can bestow bliss with a gesture, read your thoughts, see your entire past-life history and supposedly bestow self-realization. But I guess they don't use that power very often, as the conversion rate is probably less than a millionth of one per cent.
It's especially curious that something that is right here, right now, closer than our own breath, is practically impossible for a divine being to bestow as a direct understanding. What's the problem? A: The guru doesn't have any power to bestow anything if you continue to believe in your own ignorance, and B: What you believe about self-realization is standing right in front of your wallflower like the group of popular kids you wanted to be accepted by.
The fact that the right here, right now... etc., is so right here, right now, leads one to conclude that it must be exceedingly subtle. It's awareness' awareness of awareness. We've never not known it, yet because it's always been there, we've never had the opportunity to notice it. If the light is on all the time, how will you ever know it is light?
The ideas that occlude self-realization are legion. Basically, anything you believe about self-realization can occlude. It's why Ramakrishna said that bhakti was the easiest path. Bhakti is not about self-realization when practiced in the spirit of surrender, freeing a mind from forming various ideas about realization based on what they've read, been told, or assumed by what they believe about their guru.
This is why I have such a problem with Adi Da. His is one of the most egregious examples alive. Kalki Bhagavan is up there as well, along with a few others. But Da seems the most extreme in his ideas about himself as a personality on the world stage. He appears to literally believe he is the number one, greatest spiritual being in the last couple hundred years... or more! And he expects his devotees to accept him as this. It's beyond the pale in my book.
However, I'm as sure as his most fervent devotee that he can function as a wonderful guru for some people, provided those people are fully convinced in his power. It's a ruse, like faith healing, one which some gurus are in on and some not. And there's nothing wrong with the ruse if it works, but there's big problems with the ideas people accept to join in on the ruse.