Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Varieties Of Space-Daddies

File under: Gurubusting

We've told you before, and this won't be the last time you'll hear it from us: the commenters here rock! There is just so much good information in the comments sections of this blog that it makes us positively giddy. (The 10" of snow on the ground at Guruphiliac HQ may have something to do with that as well.)

Today, David "The Blade" drops his science about space-daddies and mommies, a term we coined to describe the make-it-all-ok with a [insert your guru's shtick here, be it a look, gaze, glance, hug, squeeze or whatever other nonsense they've come up with]-type gurus that are making the rounds in the world today:
The Blade's Space-Daddy/Mommy Glossary with Examples

Space-Daddy Explicator:
Makes it pretty clear that he is to be your space-daddy, and if you know what's good for you, you'll be his little chela.

Examples: Adi Da, Andrew Cohen, Sai Baba, Sri Chinmoy, ...

Space-Daddy Silent Cultivator:
Never claims space-daddihood explicitly, but cultivates it through his organisation

Example: Maharishi, [Ed.note: And Sri Sri!]

Space-Daddy Repudiator-Cultivator:
Explicitly tells you not to make him a space-daddy, then makes himself a space-daddy by cultivating it through his life and organization, just like the silent cultivator.

Example: J. Krishnamurti, [Ed.note: And Swami Nithyananda.]

The above show people whom I believe fit decisively into those three categories. Other people skirt the categories, in certain aspects or times behaving as if they belong to one category, then moving into another category in another aspect or time.

Most space-daddies these days (except the extreme explicators) have some element of 'repudiation'. If you are getting into the game, this is important to know because many people think that when they hear a little repudiation of space-daddihood from their space-daddy, that he isn't a space-daddy. Don't be overly impressed when you hear something like 'You mustn't put me up on a pedestal. You must think for yourself'. Or credit being given to your own nervous system or Guru Dev. Think again! Think like a woman thinks when she hears 'I don't go after women for their bodies'.

The lower down they are in those categories, the deeper is the denial of the followers that the person they are following a space-daddy.
Now we have a taxonomy of space-daddies & mommies. As soon as we read the description of the space-daddy repudiator-cultivator, Swami Nithyananda's noble, yet somewhat comically stereotypical Hindu visage jumped into view. A perfect example of what "The Blade" has shared with us today.

So today the turban comes off so we can take the dust of the feet of "The Blade".

96 Comments:

At 12/20/2006 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jody said...

Next time Antarananda sends along some of Nithyananda's repudiation, I'll know better.


I've given up, Jody! lol...

Somehow many elements of the Hindu Vedic tradition have not translated well into the West, and even behavior which is considered absolutely normal in a Hindu context in India (doing saashtaang namaskaar to one's Guru, touching one's parents' feet, etc) would be looked at as supplicating behavior in America.

The other thing is that Americans who don't have a deep understanding of either Vedanta or the the cultural milieu from which the Guru-bhakti tradition originated tend to look upon their Hindu Guru as "space-parent", just as the Christians tend to look upon Jesus as their "savior". No difference. Krishna and Shiva too were once human beings, and have gone on to become the biggest space-daddies of them all! It's just human nature to worship I guess.

Don't you perform arati to RK's picture because you have some measure of gratitude, or respect for him? I know you assiduously work at not showing your devotional bhakta side online to the world, because it is in stark contrast to your Guruphiliac persona, but I know it's there. Now that doesn't mean you have a dead space-daddy does it? =)

As I have said many times before, every one in my small friend circle who have been initiated by Nithyananda has had an equal measure of jnana awaken in proportion to the bhakti they might exhibit.

BTW, that picture was shot for the devotees in India, who would write emails to Swamiji asking for blessings etc. Since he doesn't have time to write back anymore, they were told they could meditate in front of that picture.

 
At 12/20/2006 7:22 PM, Blogger jody said...

Don't you perform arati to RK's picture because you have some measure of gratitude, or respect for him?

I do a short arati before bed with incense to pictures of Ramakrishna, Ma Kali as envisioned by Sudha Ma Mookerjee, and Sri Sarada Devi. While I feel a personal interaction with each of these "characters", I'm fully cognizant of the fact that I've simply chosen symbols I find apt given my personal characteristics, and the fact that I'm an initiated tantric shakta in the lineage of Ramakrishna.

I know you assiduously work at not showing your devotional bhakta side online to the world, because it is in stark contrast to your Guruphiliac persona, but I know it's there.

I really don't try to hide anything (except maybe that time in the hotel room with the animal trainer and her 12 singing baboons.)

However, my critique of gurudom is based in my interpretation of Vedanta. That's not to say that I ignore the power of bhakti. On the contrary, I've said many times that even bad gurus can work great for good people. In other words, sincere devotees.

Now that doesn't mean you have a dead space-daddy does it? =)

The only thing I've ever prayed for since becoming a shakta is surrender. I am sitting in my chair in the midst of one gigantic, tremendous manifest universe that is all my Space-Mommy. I have no need or use any intermediary space-daddies or mommies, living or not.

 
At 12/20/2006 7:38 PM, Blogger facedog said...

Thanks for writing the above, Antarananda. I hope you will keep posting things here. You are completely right when you say that "many elements of the Hindu Vedic tradition have not translated well into the West." I had a teacher who asked me to move myself and my family across the country to take over a temple in Michigan, which was just a little house in the boon docks. I felt terrible not to simply drop everything and do it. An Indian friend told me there was no need to actually do that, just say "yes" to it internally.

I am a guru bhakti type and have a Guru I can respect and who respects his devotees. I really enjoy doing arthi to him, touching his feet, etc. I give special love and honor to him. This does not mean I believe he is God and pulls any strings. It's just a beautiful traditional ritual that softens my heart.

I see no difference between my Guru and his photograph. I hope to become more like my Guru as time goes by. He is worthy of my respect. But do I expect him to "give me" samadhi or solve any of my problems? No, that's my job.

Jody is sometimes like a fire breathing fundementalist preacher. I appreciate this blog.

 
At 12/20/2006 7:42 PM, Blogger facedog said...

Jody said, "I have no need or use any intermediary space-daddies or mommies, living or not."

............


You say this now but at sometime you felt otherwise and grew out of it. So it did you no harm.

 
At 12/20/2006 7:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

that's my job.

I'd say that's Ma's job. Yours is to see that anyone holding any "jobs" is pretty much a ball of fluff floating in the breeze.

 
At 12/20/2006 7:55 PM, Blogger jody said...

You say this now but at sometime you felt otherwise and grew out of it.

I saw through it. That's different.

I'm not trying to demean the concept of bhakti toward the divine, but I'm fully opposed to the idea that anyone is any more divine than anyone else, along with the idea that gurus have supernatural abilities outside the ordinary weird shit that happens to anyone.

My first spiritual trip was the I AM movement via Elizabeth Claire Prophet, but it didn't take long to drop that crap. I checked out this Jewish UFO guru, J. J. Hurtak, but again, it was easily recognized as crap. Then I got on to Alan Watts, which put me onto Ken Wilber and transpersonal psychology. Then I joined a Ramakrishna-based yoga center, and I've been a shakta ever since. That yoga center had a guru who was regarded as a space-daddy by his devotees, but I only half bought into it. The guru I took initiation from is most assuredly not a space-daddy, nor does he cultivate it as far as I've ever seen. But still, there are folks who want to project that on to him. The difference between him and a typical space-daddy is that he shuts it down, to the point of not having any interaction with people who put him on the pedestal. A space-daddy laps it up, even while he's talking out of both sides of his mouth trying to deny it.

 
At 12/20/2006 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason behind my own puja practice is no different from yours, Jody. The mind needs some external symbol to which bhakti can be directed. Meera had Krishna, the Nayanmar saints had Shiva, Ramakrishna had Kali. Worshipping through a picture, or idol or even a living human Guru doesn't mean that the bhakta mistakes the wave (the physical Guru) to be the ocean (Parabrahman, or Parashakti).

Ultimately, as Shankara said in the Vivekachudamani about bhakti, "Among the instruments of emancipation, the supreme is devotion. Meditation upon the true form of the real Self is said to be devotion."

 
At 12/20/2006 8:07 PM, Blogger jody said...

The mind needs some external symbol to which bhakti can be directed. Meera had Krishna, the Nayanmar saints had Shiva, Ramakrishna had Kali. Worshipping through a picture, or idol or even a living human Guru doesn't mean that the bhakta mistakes the wave (the physical Guru) to be the ocean (Parabrahman, or Parashakti).

You're preaching to the choir, Antarananda. But worshiping a guru as a symbol of the divine is one thing, believing them to be God with all the powers they imagine God would have is quite another.

Ultimately, as Shankara said in the Vivekachudamani about bhakti, "Among the instruments of emancipation, the supreme is devotion. Meditation upon the true form of the real Self is said to be devotion."

Ramakrishna said, "bhakti is the easiest path," although it took Vivekananda a while to believe it.

 
At 12/20/2006 8:56 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Jody said: term we coined to describe the make-it-all-ok with a

Good job coining that -- I reckon you'll see your baby take a life of it's own. It sums it up nicely and has the simplicity (and power) of sulphuric acid. :)

An interesting question is, why do space-daddies/mommies fit where they do in the taxonomy? People at the top don't provide much interesting food for thought in their relationship to their own gurudom -- they just tend to be full-blown narcissists and nothing, tradition or otherwise, is going to stop them.

Some people in the middle, perhaps, have a sense that the explicator number at the top is unacceptable or distasteful (whether that sense is innate or given by culture).

To the people at the bottom, I reckon it is even more obvious that there is something wrong with the whole space-daddihood thang, but because of some limitations of theirs, they can't see that they're a-daddyin'. They're sacro-mythically inflated but don't know it -- they're insufficiently self-reflective to see it and pull themselves on it, and the daddyin' is just going to flow out of that almost inevitably.

The difference between him and a typical space-daddy is that he shuts it down, to the point of not having any interaction with people who put him on the pedestal.

Good for him! The man sounds self-reflective, and truth-dedicated. He just has what it takes not to let the enormous untruth of the pedestal invade and pollute his true-guru role.

I don't know Ammachi so well. Where does she fit? Mainly a cultivator with a few nudges into the top and bottom?

 
At 12/20/2006 10:03 PM, Blogger jody said...

why do space-daddies/mommies fit where they do in the taxonomy?

It's an axis of self-importance against self-awareness. The more self-important and less self-aware, the more explicit. Less self-importance, less explicit. More self-awareness promotes repudiating, and maximum self-awareness with minimum self-importance promotes a realistic self-image.

I don't know Ammachi so well. Where does she fit? Mainly a cultivator with a few nudges into the top and bottom?

Amma is pretty much a silent-cultivator. Perhaps she occasionally repudiates, but she gives every appearance of being a cultivator.

 
At 12/21/2006 3:22 AM, Anonymous Sumchicki Saya Bigui-Wot, Esq. said...

No, there is not "much good information" in the comments section here. In fact, for the most part, the comments ably support the assertion that religion is the opium of the people. (Perhaps that accounts for your giddiness?)

Why must it always be they and their gurus, priests, idols, sages, and holyrollers
who are deluded and fraudulent, but I and my gurus, priests, idols, sages, and holyrollers who are of course clear-eyed and authentic because ___________ (e.g., we don't do that goofy stuff; we saw through it; we grew out of it; we only half-bought into it; our guru isn't a space-daddy, etc.)?

There are indeed sound arguments that can effectively counter Marx's maxim, but this blog's comments rarely leave the realm of puerile nya-nya raspberries, which of course we've all heard and read (and performed) for decades.

Do better.

 
At 12/21/2006 7:05 AM, Blogger jody said...

No, there is not "much good information" in the comments section here. In fact, for the most part, the comments ably support the assertion that religion is the opium of the people.

Well, in many ways it is.

(Perhaps that accounts for your giddiness?)

No, that would be my general lack of adult maturity.

Why must it always be they and their gurus, priests, idols, sages, and holyrollers who are deluded and fraudulent, but I and my gurus, priests, idols, sages, and holyrollers who are of course clear-eyed and authentic because [they don't fill their devotees' heads with occluding nonsense about self-realization] (e.g., we don't do that goofy stuff; we saw through it; we grew out of it; we only half-bought into it; our guru isn't a space-daddy, etc.)?

Because that is the demarcation between good and bad gurus, as determined by me.

There are indeed sound arguments that can effectively counter Marx's maxim, but this blog's comments rarely leave the realm of puerile nya-nya raspberries, which of course we've all heard and read (and performed) for decades.

We specialize in the puerile, thank you very much!

Do better.

See more clearly.

 
At 12/21/2006 7:58 AM, Anonymous durga said...

The honorable sumchiki said: "There are indeed sound arguments that can effectively counter Marx's maxim, but this blog's comments rarely leave the realm of puerile nya-nya raspberries, which of course we've all heard and read (and performed) for decades."

Well, I consider the commenters here to be much more creative and insightful with their words (except for betty) than those of smug devotees who have found the truth and stop asking questions.

 
At 12/21/2006 7:59 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

SomeChick say "a biggie--What?" said:
There are indeed sound arguments that can effectively counter Marx's maxim


So, just because we aren't dedicated to countering Marx's maxim, we aren't saying anything useful???

but I and my gurus, priests, idols, sages, and holyrollers who are of course clear-eyed and authentic because


All sorts of people comment here, and indeed, that is true for some. But not for all. And even for those who can see the corrupt daddyin' going on in other people's gurus but not their own, well they aren't where they can be, but they are better off than they would be if they could see none of it.

 
At 12/21/2006 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody said,

Amma is pretty much a silent-cultivator. Perhaps she occasionally repudiates, but she gives every appearance of being a cultivator.

.......................

Jody, she sits on a stage and the folks out front are told she has become God. She is worshipped as God. How is that a being silent cultivator?

 
At 12/21/2006 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jody,

All your criticisms of Gurudom could never be enough imo.

My Guru came to visit us recently and while he was there I (again) complained that he had gone from plain dress and no noteriety to humongous satsangs in India with filming, TV, ministers, etc. and so forth. His response was that if a man is realized, Gurudom brings him down into the 'mud' in a way that nobody can imagine. He said it is the filthiest job, the worst kind of work a man or woman can ever do. We don't call him "Guruji" or any other title, but rather by his name. Always have. He has said that when he is welcomed by garlands, fanfare, a big stage, etc., he knows it's false, that the people are false. It is happening that way and he doesn't care. He won't stop it. He didn't start it (that much is true, I know.)

Since this person has his own fortune, earned earlier, and needs nothing, and really enjoys quiet time with friends and family, I asked him (again) "then why are you doing this to yourself?"

He said "There is a leash around my neck that you cannot see. I am a dog. I do as I am told. That's all. This is just my bad karma to have people flocking around me. It will continue until it stops. I don't start or stop anything. I don't want to change anything in this world. If I see a dirty window, perhaps my nature would be to go over to it and wash it off. But that's all. I don't even care if it's dirty or clean...."

As simplistic and unbelievable as this sounds to you, I understood something when he spoke these words. We are always begging him to drop all the circus and return to the way we knew him for several years before he became famous.

This is the simplest man I know. It's still amazing to me that he is doing this Guru thing. I think it's even amazing to him.

I've wondered if there are others in the 'business' in the same spot, or if most are like Ravi Shankar (who I personally know to be a fraud and crook) or Sai Baba who is a child molester. How could we ever know?

 
At 12/21/2006 6:46 PM, Blogger jody said...

I've wondered if there are others in the 'business' in the same spot

Some months ago someone came on the site with the same kind of story. I got the impression he was talking about himself. He wasn't too repentant about it, sounding almost as if it was o.k. to enjoy it because he didn't think he was pushing it on anyone.

It's quite simple, if someone says they are God, or sits idle as others around him/her proclaim them to be God, or if a person claims to have a magical ability to bring peace to a life, that person is a blatant space-daddy/mommy.

 
At 12/21/2006 6:49 PM, Blogger jody said...

Jody, she sits on a stage and the folks out front are told she has become God. She is worshipped as God. How is that a being silent cultivator?

She demurs when someone asks about her supposed divinity directly, and she pays lip service to the idea that all are divine.

As The Blade has aptly pointed out, it's held to be more appropriate to deny your own divinity and allow others to be constantly blaring on your horn.

 
At 12/22/2006 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it's held to be more appropriate to deny your own divinity and allow others to be constantly blaring on your horn."

I guess Ammachi has a built in deniability because whenever she has "become" God, she is in a bhava trance, so how should she know that she's up on a stage being presented and worshipped as God?

Guess she doesn't watch her own videos...

 
At 12/22/2006 8:00 AM, Blogger jody said...

she is in a bhava trance

Or so you've all duped yourself to believe.

How could being in a "trance" make you anymore divine than you are right now? Is divinity carried like a disease that you can catch? Do you tune into the divinity channel to become what you've never not been?

All of these ideas are occluding nonsense, including that of Amma becoming God just because she puts on some fancy clothes and makeup.

 
At 12/22/2006 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody said, "Or so you've all duped yourself to believe."

Geez Jody, I guess I didn't make myself clear. There is no question of her "becoming" God, just the projection of it. I don't believe for a second that she is God.

 
At 12/22/2006 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He said "There is a leash around my neck that you cannot see. I am a dog. I do as I am told. That's all. This is just my bad karma to have people flocking around me."

I remember hearing this story months ago from On the Other Hands. In previous posts you have convinced me that you had a close association with Sri Sri and that he is the kind of critter you say he is. Isn't this story about your guru allowing himself to be worshipped by "false" people a red flag to you?

It seems to me that at some point you had a powerful knowing that Sri Sri was good and great. Then you had a powerful knowing that he is not so great. What is your knowingness about this present man and what are you getting out of it?


Could it be that Sri Sri started out with good intentions and was quickly trapped by the "false" ones around him? I am just wondering what you think about it.

 
At 12/22/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Jody, she sits on a stage and the folks out front are told she has become God. She is worshipped as God. How is that a being silent cultivator?


Anonymous, the idea of silent cultivator is that she is not explicitly making herself a space-mommy. It isn't supposed to get her off the hook in any way -- the whole point of the "cultivator" is to contrast with the "silent". Her cultivation is loud, loud, loud, screaming atcha even. The contrast between 'silent' and 'cultivator' is nothing more than a hypocrisy.

Just as the contrast between 'repudiator' and 'cultivator' is an even deeper hypocrisy.

 
At 12/22/2006 10:05 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

anonymous said: We are always begging him to drop all the circus and return to the way we knew him for several years before he became famous.


Anon, I'm glad your guru has the insight to speak as disrespectfully as he does about the mess he is involved in. However,


There is a leash around my neck that you cannot see. I am a dog. I do as I am told. That's all. This is just my bad karma to have people flocking around me. It will continue until it stops. I don't start or stop anything. I don't want to change anything in this world. If I see a dirty window, perhaps my nature would be to go over to it and wash it off. But that's all. I don't even care if it's dirty or clean....


Your appropriate response to that should be pretty clear. It is "Gurudev, I think you need to start taking some responsibility".

Enlightenment of any kind is no excuse for not taking responsibility. Whether it's being a dead-beat dad, or a dead-beat space-daddy.

 
At 12/22/2006 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Blade said, "Anonymous, the idea of silent cultivator is that she is not explicitly making herself a space-mommy."

.....

When she sits on a stage already dressed up as a God even before she supposedly goes into "Bhava", and then actively advises people not to go to other Gurus, or as she did to me--advises that the teachings of a person's guru isn't quite up to snuff, then she is more than just a "silent cultivator".

Having said all this, I still admire the woman and have felt very blessed by her. But I don't go to see her anymore.

 
At 12/22/2006 10:31 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

When she sits on a stage already dressed up as a God even before she supposedly goes into "Bhava", and then actively advises people not to go to other Gurus, or as she did to me--advises that the teachings of a person's guru isn't quite up to snuff, then she is more than just a "silent cultivator".

What I'm saying is that 'silent cultivator' isn't supposed to mean "not-screamin' atcha". If 'silent cultivator' sounds too innocuous, perhaps "pure cultivator" would be a better term?

 
At 12/22/2006 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blade said

Enlightenment of any kind is no excuse for not taking responsibility. Whether it's being a dead-beat dad, or a dead-beat space-daddy.
..................

You speak about being enlightened as if you know about it. Are you enlightened?

It seems to me that there have always been two types of people, those who create icons and respond to them and interact with them in either positive or negative ways, and iconoclasts who feel more united to pure existence when they have broken all the images. Even Jody has a conscious relationship with photos of Sri Ramakrishna.

This man's Guru out of love for his devotees must allow himself to be used as a pair of breasts flowing with milk. It must not be that everyone who wants to garland him is false. According to his light, that is his responcibility.

 
At 12/22/2006 10:50 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

You speak about being enlightened as if you know about it. Are you enlightened?

I don't subscribe to the on-off term at all. It isn't discrete. I have experienced some changes that could be called an 'enlightenment' but then some people were probably born with the same thing and called it nothing at all.

So I never say 'I'm enlightened'. I think it's said only by people who don't know better.

And it's very, very, clear to me that being enlightened is no excuse for any kind of not-taking-responsibility. (This doesn't mean that you don't 'surrender'. 'Surrender' and not-taking-responsibility are entirely different.)

This man's Guru out of love for his devotees must allow himself to be used as a pair of breasts flowing with milk.

If they were not ready to be weaned off his jolly tits, there would be nothing dispicable about the situation, and apparently, according to the guru's own insight, there is something dispicable about the situation. :)

 
At 12/22/2006 10:51 AM, Anonymous betty said...

the Blade said, "If 'silent cultivator' sounds too innocuous, perhaps "pure cultivator" would be a better term?"

.................

Blade would you be a silent or a pure cultivator of the idea that you personally know how realization takes place and all the steps we have to go through to get there? You speak with quite a bit of self authority on these subjects. If you truly are such an authority, maybe you should be our guru, or maybe this blog is your way of silently cultivating this. Maybe you are building the foundation for your own pedestal.

 
At 12/22/2006 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

blade said,

"I have experienced some changes that could be called an 'enlightenment' but then some people were probably born with the same thing and called it nothing at all.

.................

What changes?

 
At 12/22/2006 12:16 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

anonymous said;
What changes?


The changes are quite broad and hard to summarize. It's hard to be accurage and it's hard not to be vague. Sometime, I may blog about this whole business of what enlightenment is and not (in my experience and beliefs), but this isn't the time.

A few broad strokes: A not-being-bound in the drama of existence. A reduction in the weight of the distinction between self-and-other.

Ultimately, I believe these things are nervous-system changes. They are kinds of growth, just as moving out of adolescence is growth.

But the eastern traditions have mytholgoized the hell out of them. The biggest mistake is the belief that you become some sort of enotmous magical superman-santa-claus, handing out enlightenment to other people. It doesn't work that way. Enlightenment is very important for the person who gets it. But because it is a myth that they can pass it on effectively, their enlightenment is not generally important to the world. Which is why they don't become important to the world by virtue of having some sort of enlightenment, despite what they think.

Which is why sacro-mythical inflation is just inflation.

 
At 12/22/2006 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which is why they don't become important to the world by virtue of having some sort of enlightenment, despite what they think.
.................

They become important to the ones who get to know them and benefit from that association. Not being able to pass on the "enlightenment state" as a full blown experience is not the criterion for their value to the world. Who we are is the only gift any of us have to give. Living near or knowing an awakened being is very helpful generally, depending on one's maturity. If you are a healthy young guy and live near a beautiful sexy woman, you are more likely to be horny than not. If you are alert to your own self and live near an enlightened being, you are more likely to have that awareness increase.

I'm not trying to make a big dogma out of this and of course not everybody who claims to be enlightened is.

By the way, your broad strokes:

"A not-being-bound in the drama of existence. A reduction in the weight of the distinction between self-and-other."

would mean just about everyone I know is enlightened. Hurrah!

But I appreciate you putting yourself and your ideas out there.

 
At 12/22/2006 1:18 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Blade would you be a silent or a pure cultivator of the idea that you personally know how realization takes place and all the steps we have to go through to get there? You speak with quite a bit of self authority on these subjects.


Betty, I tend to be reluctant to talk about enlightenment. I haven't spoken much about those subjects you mention above at all. I've spoken very little except about the huge mistakes in the ways gurus are viewed, and the way they present themselves.

 
At 12/22/2006 1:30 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

They become important to the ones who get to know them and benefit from that association. Not being able to pass on the "enlightenment state" as a full blown experience is not the criterion for their value to the world.

Yes, and there is nothing wrong with just that if it stays there. They are space-daddies/mommies if and when thy cultivated or make explicit (either directly of by negligence) that they are magical amazing beings who can make it all better, or can hand out enlightenment.


"A not-being-bound in the drama of existence. A reduction in the weight of the distinction between self-and-other."
would mean just about everyone I know is enlightened. Hurrah!


Yes, it is a matter of degree. Those who use the word 'enlightened' are responsible for using it the way they do.

What does happen is that some transitions are sudden and dramatic in practice. Which sometimes confuses people into thinking that the change was discrete and complete.

Consider where you are now. Consider the person much more deeply bound than you are in the drama of existence, taking the distinction between self and other extremely seriously (in a negative, territorial sort of way). Imagine being that person all your life, and then waking up in the morning where you are now. Likely you would consider yourself enlightened. If you got inflated, you could start a cult.

 
At 12/22/2006 3:07 PM, Anonymous betty said...

I haven't spoken much about those subjects you mention above at all. I've spoken very little except about the huge mistakes in the ways gurus are viewed, and the way they present themselves.
.............

I'll check u out on this, blade. If correct I'll apologize. If not, bite me!

 
At 12/22/2006 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Likely you would consider yourself enlightened. If you got inflated, you could start a cult.

...........


Which is where the value of having a true Guru could come in,

 
At 12/22/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

I'll check u out on this, blade. If correct I'll apologize. If not, bite me!

Get ready everyone -- Betty apologizing! :) That would be a sight! Seriously, what's up with you Betty, even contemplating apologizing: is Chuck right about the Prozac?

 
At 12/22/2006 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the Guru/Disciple relationship has always been a mess or maybe it is breaking down because of the higher levels of stress placed upon it by huge populations and the growth in Guru commercialization. I don't know.

Blade criticizes the Guru who allows himself to be worshipped by people he doesn't respect. Yea, it sounds shitty. Are all those people just rich people thinking they can buy God?

Does anyone know of a good lineage that has preserved knowledge about Self Realization and not become corrupt?

 
At 12/22/2006 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always been prone to having somewhat "flashy spiritual" experiences. These experiences are associated with a range of personalities, sacred places, and in nature. But I have them far more consistantly when with my Guru. I know that he is not giving these experiences, anymore than a church or a waterfall. So why does it happen more around the Guru?

 
At 12/22/2006 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anonymous above:

You may find these two pieces answer some of your doubts on the mechanics of what happens:


Paramahamsa Satyananda on Transmission



Transmission article on Living Tantra

 
At 12/23/2006 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All too often when Asian traditions are translated to the west, the Asian who is doing the translating is the following or does the following:

* The Asian who is teaching in the west is someone whom Indians would term an 'export guru'--someone who would be readily identifiable as unqualified by Indians well informed about their own traditions, but who would be seen as authentic by mis informed Westeners.

* The Asian who teaches in the West is tempted to tell eager students only what their obligations are to the guru, and will omit telling the students about key elements in the Asian tradition (and its scriptures) about the obligations of a guru to his students, and the absolute need for all seekers to cultivate discernment--'viveka'.

All too often Asian gurus will only tell disciples the fun stuff about the need to give their power to the guru and not tell the students that the guru is accountable to the lineage and to the welfare of the students.

An expert on Ayurvedic medicine once quoted, 'A greedy guru and an impatient disciple are both suspended over the pit of hell.'

He told us this was a traditional proverb. It wouldnt have been devised had there not been greedy gurus.

Charlatan gurus have always been around in India. If you wish, get a copy of Gopi Krishna's book, Living With Kundalini.

Krishna tells how his father became mentally unbalanced and reduced his family to near poverty by over doing yoga and then giving excessive charity to religious beggars.

Krishna himself became dangerously ill when practicing yoga and an energy surge went out of control. He said he would not have survived without the love and care of his wife.

Krishna himself was given the temptation to become a guru. People began to show up on his doorstep thinking he had special powers.

Krishna knew he did not have special powers. He had seen friends of his enslave themselves to gurus and had been horrified.

So he refused to take on the guru role, even when people tried to get him to do it. He could easily have made himself rich, but he refused.

He instead sat with them, cried with them when they told him their troubles. But he had no special answers.

Gopi Krishna found that just sitting with people as a human being and sharing thier puzzlement and grief was enough to send them away feeling better.

Later in life, Gopi Krishna and his wife dedicated themselves to a social campaign to persuade their neighbors to give up demanding dowries and expensive weddings. They sheltered a young woman who fled from an abusive marriage.

Living With Kundalini gives a remarkable description of life in northern India 100 years ago--and that untrained gurus and yogis were as much part of the scene as today--except there was not yet any mass commercialism.

He also describes cases of how people became injured and sometimes permanently insane when they did certain mantra or yogic practices and did not know when to stop.

 
At 12/23/2006 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

eastern traditions have mytholgoized the hell out of them.

Eastern traditions have not mythologized them. Eastern and Western pseudo-teachers have mythologized them. The answers in the texts are plain to see.

To answer the anonymous fellow's question about changes brought about by self-realization/enlightenment, here are some concrete points:

a) Enlightenment is a state where there is an effortless awareness of the "construct" of it all, of the consensus realities that dictate everything from custom to tradition, to laws, to moral obligations, to time and space, and indeed even a verbal debate about the nature of self-realization.

b) Enlightenment, in that sense, is like a "controlled psychosis". A psychotic person is one who knows that everything is a consensus reality, but then does not have any functional reality in its place. In his complete denial of the consensus everyday reality, he looses the ability to empathize with and relate to people who live in the more common "everyday" reality.
In enlightenment, however, your ability to live in the (material) world is enhanced not decreased through self-realization.

c) Enlightenment is a precarious state, and needs constant discipline, meditation and practice. It is not a permanently achieved state. It is not a BMW you buy, but one that you lease (OK, so that wasn't a great metaphor, but you know what I'm talking about.

The Blade and Jody have seen beyond consensus realities, and are therefore in touch with that state, however, in my opinion, they are too attached to their ideology (they doth protest too much), and that, in my opinion, will interfere with their Sadhana.

But that's just my opinion. See for yourself.

 
At 12/23/2006 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anantaranda,

Ick! Do I have to get transmission by the woman in that link -- Somebody or other saraswati? Why are all these people "giving transmission", etc., so god-awful ugly?

Is she one of the "lucious beauties" you describe in your website? If so, double yuck to you, dude. (I'm refraining from stronger language in deference to the site.)

 
At 12/23/2006 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said :
"It seems to me that at some point you had a powerful knowing that Sri Sri was good and great. Then you had a powerful knowing that he is not so great. What is your knowingness about this present man and what are you getting out of it?
Could it be that Sri Sri started out with good intentions and was quickly trapped by the "false" ones around him?"

I was actually very close with Ravi Shankar before he was ever "Sri Sri" But from the very first meeting, I was extremely uncomfortable and vowed time and again I would not come back. I felt he was dishonest, a manipulator, and somehow just plain wrong. To this day, I do not know how to explain why I went back again and again to him, except to say I was weak minded. I spent an inordinate amount of my time with him arguing with him, telling him that I would not return, and that I did not trust him at all. Somehow, through something I believe was a kind of tantric mind-trick (F***), I always returned.

The Guru I am speaking of now is the person who told me to stop trying to be loyal to Ravi Shankar, and be on my way. Somehow, the Mind-trick (F***) ended abruptly upon my meeting this person. I was no longer affected by Ravi Shankar. This person explained to me that it was a type of Tantra that can be used for good or ill. I don't know if that's true or not, but since it ended that way, I believe him. I never once had any deep feeling that this Guru was wrong, dishonest, incomplete, a liar. On the surface, I see him doing all sorts of bizarre things, including lying. Someone in a post said it's time I told him to take responsibility for his actions. I don't see him as acting. That's impossible to explain. He simply appears to be going through the motions. I have asked him about responsibility (his). He simply said "If I do anything wrong to anyone anywhere, I will definitely be punished." His definition of wrong and right are definitely not the same as mine. But at least he is open about his actions. He doesn't hide away in a closet like Raving Faker (SSRS).

So, yeah, I've considered all that, but no, I don't think SSRS was ever truly great or good and no, I never felt he was. I was looking for someone good and got "hooked" on the hits of bliss I got around him. That's about it. I got over it.

If this other Guru is doing anything wrong, it's his problem. I don't get involved in his "ashram business" as he puts it. He is not that persona around me at all, thank God. He is my closest friend, and greatest guide. Plus, he doesn't ask me to lie for him like Ravi did :-))

 
At 12/23/2006 9:24 PM, Blogger jody said...

Enlightenment is a precarious state

That would make it something other than enlightenment.

I'd say enlightenment is the result of a life lived in self-realization.

and needs constant discipline, meditation and practice. It is not a permanently achieved state.

Self-realization is not an "achieved" state, but it is a permanent one. The ahamkara is broken. But that's not to say that undisciplined types can't get into a little mischief at times.

The Blade and Jody have seen beyond consensus realities, and are therefore in touch with that state, however, in my opinion, they are too attached to their ideology (they doth protest too much), and that, in my opinion, will interfere with their Sadhana.

What do you mean? This is my sadhana.

 
At 12/23/2006 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say enlightenment is the result of a life lived in self-realization.

It's a question of semantics. One can become irresolute and "slip" from a state of enlightenment (while still with the knowledge of the Self)

If you do not understand what I am talking about, either I am not being clear, or we are using different words, or our experiences are very different.

Either way, it does not really matter.

This is my Sadhana.

My mistake. No offence was intended.

 
At 12/23/2006 10:56 PM, Blogger jody said...

One can become irresolute and "slip" from a state of enlightenment

If it's something you can slip from, I'm not too sure it's something worth having.

Because ultimately, anyone who would be "slipping" is entirely illusory to what it is supposedly slipping from.

 
At 12/24/2006 1:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Ick! Do I have to get transmission by the woman in that link -- Somebody or other saraswati? Why are all these people "giving transmission", etc., so god-awful ugly?


Dude, did you even bother to read the article carefully? Did you miss the part where she wrote about how the entire world is always "transmitting", but we shut ourselves off? That's pretty much the same as the analogy jody uses, regarding Ma.


My Guru lineage is actually the Puri order of sannyasis, not the Saraswati order, so there's no need to make subtle accusations that I am trying to promote some Guru. I thought both articles did a good job of explaining the concept of "Grace always being there", as Ramana used to say, and so I posted the link.


Is she one of the "lucious beauties" you describe in your website? If so, double yuck to you, dude. (I'm refraining from stronger language in deference to the site.)

I believe you've gotten me confused with Swami Shyamananda, aka Anand. There's no mention of "luscious beauties" on my blog.

 
At 12/24/2006 2:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If it's something you can slip from, I'm not too sure it's something worth having."

It is worth having. :}

To use a crude analogy - it's like the nourishing milk of the Universe. All of us drink it, but many of us do not recognize it.
For further details on the "slipping" issue, you are welcome to read more on my website.

 
At 12/24/2006 5:49 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Eastern traditions have not mythologized them. Eastern and Western pseudo-teachers have mythologized them. The answers in the texts are plain to see.

No, I was right first time. Sure, you can get 'tradition' off the hook by defining everything you don't like as being a misinterpretation of the tradition rather than the tradition itself. As far as I am concerned, that's a waste of time. If it's pervasive in the 'tradition', it's part of the tradition.

As far as I am concerned, the very siddha-tradition, with its cultivated picture of the enlightened person as some sort of superman, is a mythologization.

Your a,b,c points are good. ( I'd only disagree with the statement that it's all consensus reality, which is probably just a language issue anyway.)

 
At 12/24/2006 5:52 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

P.S. I think I misquoted shyamananda as antarananda, sorry, but I can't edit it back. ..

 
At 12/24/2006 8:00 AM, Blogger jody said...

It is worth having.

What is there among the impermanent that is worth having?

it's like the nourishing milk of the Universe. All of us drink it, but many of us do not recognize it.

I know that, and it is permanence itself. If somebody is slipping from that, they never really had anything in the first place.

 
At 12/24/2006 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is there among the impermanent that is worth having?


Impermanence itself is worth having, Jody. And before you snort with impatience and, if I may add, a bit of intellectual arrogance, please take a minute to reflect on the universal fact of existential impermanence. It is the other side of permanence.

Sorry to be so cryptic, but as you know these things are difficult to express linearly.

Shyamananda

 
At 12/24/2006 8:24 AM, Blogger jody said...

Impermanence itself is worth having, Jody. And before you snort with impatience and, if I may add, a bit of intellectual arrogance, please take a minute to reflect on the universal fact of existential impermanence. It is the other side of permanence.

Impermanence is something that can be understood as the condition of life, permanence is something you can know yourself to be, although that doesn't change the conditions of impermanence that contain our lives.

Sorry to be so cryptic, but as you know these things are difficult to express linearly.

None of it is cryptic to me, and we're just about on the same page, except for the fact that you apparently believe self-realization can be lost, and I have found that a broken ahamkara cannot be put back together again.

 
At 12/24/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Jody said:
except for the fact that you apparently believe self-realization can be lost, and I have found that a broken ahamkara cannot be put back together again.


It's hard to talk about this stuff in person, but it gets really hard to do it in the writtent word.

The trouble with debates like this is that they can sometimes be more semantic than substantive; it can come down to a person's definition of the terms they are using.

Jody, I'd agree with you this far: there are some things that we can mean by 'self-realization' whereby it is difficult to lose it. Just as, for example, barring certain kinds of mental illness or brain degeneration, I cannot go back to believing in Santa Claus, or being afraid of the dark. No amount of 'sinning' or being 'impure' on my part will reverse that. So it is with certain aspects of 'enlightenment'.

At the same time though, I agree largely with Swami Shyamananda has said.

P.S. I think I misquoted shyamananda as antarananda, sorry, but I can't edit it back. ..

Looks like I never actually labelled what I quoted, just did it in my head. Now I can't retract my self-correction. Life sucks. :)

 
At 12/25/2006 11:10 AM, Anonymous durga said...

Anon said: "All too often Asian gurus will only tell disciples the fun stuff about the need to give their power to the guru and not tell the students that the guru is accountable to the lineage and to the welfare of the students."

the last few days I've been reading some essays on the subject on the dark side of spirituality. In an article by katy Butler writing about a crisis that affected the buddhist community in the 80's regarding Trungpa Rinpoche and Osel tendzin, she says problems occur when Asian devotional traditions are imported to the west because the traditions come here without the corresponding social controls. The social controls that exist in the Tibetan society where TR was raised did not exist in the "freewheeeling" 1970's in America.His relationship with American students was "governed by frank, open discussions" rather than by shared social ethics and mutual obligation. Without these social limits, his behavior became like a rock star while his students acted like household servants. So, in her opinion, the tradition of Asian deference combined with American license is what generated the conflict. Some Tibetan scholar named barbara Aziz said behavior like that would have created more of a scandal in the Tibetan community and they probably would have driven out a guy like Osel tendzin (he used his students sexually and contracted aids without telling his sex partners). To her, the Tibetans are much more discerning than westerners and expect much more of the guy they revere, although I can't really affirm that statement since I don't know. but I find these discussions about cultural miscommunication to be interesting and necessary in cases where misuse and abuse of power come into play.
I also read what Blade said: "Sure, you can get 'tradition' off the hook by defining everything you don't like as being a misinterpretation of the tradition rather than the tradition itself. As far as I am concerned, that's a waste of time. If it's pervasive in the 'tradition', it's part of the tradition."
This is the other side to the coin. The conflict with asian teachers in the west, imo, is a combo of these 2 points of view. If i weren't so skeptical of guru types, I might try one myself, but I am reluctant to put myself in the position of being psychologically, sexually, emtionally, spiritually abused by any of these people, which, as jody points out in his blog, is all too common. My conclusion: better to worship divinity through the manifold expressions of it in nature and to see every person as a potential teacher without raising the more enlightened ones up on a pedestal that separates them from the rest of human kind.
(this is my christmas contribution to the blog. And btw, merry Christmas Chuck, Jody, Blade and all the anonymouses i have responded to).

 
At 12/26/2006 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody and all,

It seems to me that if enlightenment is living That which never changes, that it could not, by definition come and go. If the ego has been shattered, the veil lifted, and it becomes known that "I" never was as I thought, how could it again become clouded? How could one revert back, so to speak, to having an ego that believes itself to be "me"?

It so happens that something like a glimpse of this has occurred in my case several times. But when "I" returned, it was quite clear that whatever had happened to me, happened to "me", and was therefore not the finality, the Reality. Otherwise, how could it "disappear"?

The argument that it is a precarious state was given to me by Ravi Shankar ("the Brahman is easy to glimpse, but difficult to maintain. For this we take Veda...") I found this ludicrous. How do you maintain the infinite, became my question? Who would do that maintaining? It seemed utterly silly to think "I", which I had begun to realize was quite a bit of nothing, should be in charge of maintaining enlightenment. For whom? How? Veda? Still makes no sense.

So my quest (which borders upon giving up, since it's become very clear that whatever "I" do, I could not influence That Which Is) continues.

It does seem to me, however, that impermanance would, ultimately, be part of That Which Is, and therefore part of Enlightenment. As would permanance, or anything else for that matter. I guess that type of thinking would be classified as advaita, perhaps, by some.

All this talking about it never helps me. Somehow, I keep posting here, and reading (sometimes with great glee) the postings about various gurus.

Turning one's power over to another person? I'm not even sure it's mine to turn over. Do I have any power? Seems I don't. Seems to me that things, throughout life, are just occurring, with or without my intentions. I might try very hard to have something happen and the result is the opposite. And vice versa. And sometimes, the result coincides with the action. But the two don't seem as connected as one would suppose. That's another post...........

Merry Christmas, or happy holidays, or whatever to everyone posting so diligently here and keeping me so entertained!

 
At 12/26/2006 10:16 AM, Blogger facedog said...

Durga said

My conclusion: better to worship divinity through the manifold expressions of it in nature and to see every person as a potential teacher without raising the more enlightened ones up on a pedestal that separates them from the rest of human kind.
.....................

I agree for the most part. But it also depends upon where a person is in their development, whether they need or feel they need the guidance of a true Guru. Most people don't, and don't really want a real relationship with a Self realized person. This is true of the other major kinds of relationships. People who have many failed or unfulfilling relationships with the opposite sex, are generally not wanting it or ready for it. There is far more depravity and hurtful betrayals being experienced in the arena of male/female realationships than in Guru/Disciple relationships. Many of the folks who post on this blog who are negative on the Guru relationship will also be found negative and hurt and resentful in male/female relationships.

If you are in need of a true Guru, ready and mature and sincere, you will get one. You won't be able to miss it, whether you are looking or not, whether you want it or not.

 
At 12/26/2006 10:47 AM, Blogger jody said...

Do I have any power? Seems I don't.

Excellent comment, Anonymous.

I like to think of it this way: any "me" who would be getting a "glimpse" of the Self is essentially illusory. An illusion cannot have a vision of reality, it can only have a vision of an idea about reality. In order for self-realization to truly manifest, something is broken. The person cannot go back to something they now know they are not. They'll still function as a person and an idea of themselves as such may remain, but the fundamental relationship with identity is irrevocably altered. There's still plenty of chances to fuck up in life, but it will be with a new understanding of one's identity and essential illusoriness as an individual person.

 
At 12/26/2006 11:40 AM, Blogger facedog said...

Jody said
An illusion cannot have a vision of reality, it can only have a vision of an idea about reality.
................

Lots of us have had some beautiful, exhaulted experience that fools us into believing we have arrived, only to have them fade away. The one thing that hasn't faded is that I am not who I think I am or believe I am in the midst of intense activities. It's not very glamorous or fulfilling in itself but it feels as real and undeniable in its own way as a sudden blow to the head.

I really like what both of you have said. If someone has such an experience and can't believe it's not the "real thing" because it is so convincing, all we have to do is look at nature and see how convincing that is.

 
At 12/26/2006 7:12 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Anony-not-mouse said: It seems to me that if enlightenment is living That which never changes, that it could not, by definition come and go.

I believe what you have said contains an error which is somewhat subtle, and it is pervasive, occurring again and again. You seem (to me) to have confounded the perspective of enlightenment, with an an analysis of enlightenment. In other words, you have extracted an analysis of enlightenment from the perspective of enlightenment, in a mistaken way.

If we analyze enlightenment as a phenomenon, it certainly can come and go (though as I admit, it will probably leave traces). There was certainly a time when it was not there (by all reasonable definitions of it) and there comes a time when it is there. By an analysis of it, it came and went: end of all claims that it cannot come and go.

However, enlightenment may be like living (or being) that which never changes. Within the perspective of the enlightenment itself, there is no struggle to make it permanent. It feels totally secure, as if nothing can be lost, and it also feels as if nothing has been gained.

This does not mean that it has not been 'gained' (time-wise) and cannot be lost. Because, as we already know, things are not always as we feel them to be...

Some of the things I have read in Zen are I believe sometimes misunderstood (particularly by Westerners applying analytical minds) and read as an analysis of enlightenment when they are in fact an expression of the perspective of enlightenment.

The nature of the error is nicely exposed by an example. If Bob said: 'It is illogical that the sense that nothing can be gained or lost, can itself be gained or lost', Bob would be making an equivalent kind of error.

Happy Holidays Y'All

 
At 12/28/2006 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Blade,

I don't actually know whether what I've said is in error or not vis a vis enlightenment not being something that can come and go. Because I definitely am not enlightened (I actually feel myself to be my body, or mind or whatever) I have no actual idea of what enlightenment is. So all of what I said is my opinion. That's it.

An experience has occurred in my body/mind/me which lasted some time. At that time (for months), there was nothing to change. Everything was perfect. The experience descended suddenly on me, relieving me of all strife, struggle and want. My activities continued automatically, even more "accurately". Without thinking much about anything, I was able to complete my most complex tasks. There was a sense that each and every being was dear and not separate, yet I was living separately. There was an unspoken understanding inside somehow, that this "state" which was stateless, so to speak, was not to be spoken of to anyone. There was no need. Nothing had changed except that some kind of curtain had been lifted and all my trying was suddenly very funny.

After some months, as quickly as this "state" happened, it one day disappeared. Suddenly I had a thought "my God, that wass dispassion!" There had been no previous thought that I was anything but totally normal (for the first time in my life).

Since that state disappeared, I must assume that it was not Reality. If my ego had actually been shattered totally, how could it have reconstructed itself? Unless I'm mistaken (which is certainly possible) enlightenment is the end of the ego, a sudden dissolution, never to return. If that is in fact the truth of what enlightenment is, then how could enlightenment come and go? How would the ego reinvent itself?

It seems to me not to be possible. I think that many people who have had states such as the one I described think that they were enlightened for a while and then stopped being enlightened. I, for whatever reason, just don't believe it.

I have to praise the Divine Beauty for even letting me see for a few months whatever it was I was seeing. It gave me strength not to totally give up on my quest. However, I just don't believe that it was, however perfect it seemed, truly Reality, since the ego re-emerged in all it's nasty glory. haha

What do you think?

 
At 12/28/2006 8:59 AM, Anonymous pig stye said...

Blade,

Do you think that your reading and application of analytical thinking is helpful to you in becoming enlightened?

 
At 12/28/2006 11:07 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Anonymous said: It seems to me not to be possible. I think that many people who have had states such as the one I described think that they were enlightened for a while and then stopped being enlightened. I, for whatever reason, just don't believe it.

Where is the border between making definitions, and considering properties? Until something precise is identified and set apart, unfortunately, there is no precise border. So, are you considering your definition of 'enlightenment', or discussing its properties? You tell me. :)

I totally understand your experience -- I have gone through something similar, though more than once. This is my use of language now with respect to the word 'enlightenment': those were temporarily-high levels of skill in which a state which could be described as 'the enlightened state' was experienced. Evidently, your body-mind had strong potentials to return to a more ordinary state, and it did.

Chances are, you permanently learned some things (I know I did) which won't be lost.

Maybe you will recover the enlightened state again, who knows. My guess is that it will be more stable next time round if you reach it. Of course, paradoxically, hankering for the 'enlightened state' is probably unskillful and unhelpful.... Not all true things are useful to know at all times....

Mind you, I'm not saying it is impossible to get into the enlightened state and stay there for life. It can be done. If the potentials pulling you out of the enlightened state are gone, you'll stay there.

The enlightened state isn't the be all and end-all either, despite what the traditions might say. It's nice for the person who has it, but 'getting enlightened' isn't necessarily your own best possible contribution to the world.

 
At 12/28/2006 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Blade,

I am describing my definition of enlightenment (which, again, of course, could be totally wrong).

Like you, I've been through that type of experience with different flavors of expression, many times, always reverting back to the "same ole me". But as you say, nothing is ever the same. Some rememberance of those times does remain.

I just don't buy the slowly getting integrated into enlightenment thing. There are many teachers who do, and in fact say that one must go in and out of these states until one is finally "stabilized". That just, for reasons I don't know, sounds wrong to me.

Again, if the ego is broken, shattered, no more, how would it get pieced back together again so that one could "revert" back to an ego-based way of thinking?

I view my own experiences as just that: experiences that came and went away, and therefore are of the Relative, not the Absolute or Eternal realm. Like a flower that grows up and dies, no matter how lovely it is, it is temporary. We could not say "some day the beauty of that flower will be permanant" because the flower, by it's very nature is impermanant, growing and dying, changing.

Somehow, something inside of me says that there has to be something that never changes, never dies. All the scriptures say so. My gut says so. And living that something, I guess, would be enlightenment.

 
At 12/28/2006 1:32 PM, Blogger jody said...

Again, if the ego is broken, shattered, no more, how would it get pieced back together again so that one could "revert" back to an ego-based way of thinking?

This is the crux of the whole problem of ego as it is defined in Vedic-based spiritual culture.

With self-realization comes the shattering of the ahamkara, or the ego's identification with itself. Before self-realization: "I am person 'x'". After self-realization: "I appear to be person 'x', yet I now live in the ongoing revelation that I am the Self."

The ego remains intact, it just loses the mistaken idea that it is the end-all, be-all of identity.

So, while a self-realized person can still be a total dick, they are such from the greater understanding that they are not really the dicks everyone else thinks they are.

 
At 12/28/2006 3:12 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Anonymous said: Again, if the ego is broken, shattered, no more, how would it get pieced back together again so that one could "revert" back to an ego-based way of thinking?

I believe merely because "shattering" is a simplification -- a metaphor if you will. Enlightenment isn't simply a matter of breaking the ego. Unfortunately, people and traditions approach it as if it is. As I see it, while the transition into enlightenment may be experienced as a 'dropping' or a 'shattering', it is in fact a transition into a much more highly-skilled state (something which your own testimony seems to confirm). That state transition probably needs a complex organic brain process -- a growth process -- as its background and basis. Just as adulthood is not really a 'shattering' of adolescence, enlightenment is not really a 'shattering' of ego.

What shattered to make you unafraid of the dark? Isn't it more like something grew in the background, and then the fear of the dark shattered as a result of what grew?

Somehow, something inside of me says that there has to be something that never changes, never dies. All the scriptures say so. My gut says so. And living that something, I guess, would be enlightenment.

Yes, I agree with that. Living enlightenment means living that which never changes. Don't confound that with 'enlightenement cannot come and go'. It can -- any aspect of it can -- the business of 'living that which never changes' can come and go. It's quite logical, as long as you don't confound the perspective of enlightenment itself with the perspective of an analysis of enlightenment.

That is the way I see it anyway.

 
At 12/28/2006 3:31 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Pig stye asked:
Do you think that your reading and application of analytical thinking is helpful to you in becoming enlightened?


Pig Stye, (LOL),
yes and no.

I don't see it as a direct help.

Also, if people think that enlightenment is gaining a strong analytical grasp of something, that mistake in itself will probably be a big hindrance.

But a discerning skeptical-analytical mind can keep you out of trouble and help you indirectly. For example, it may help you steer clear of cults. (Of course, it's just one factor in that, and gives no guarantee.) It may also help you not form a cult, or unfruitful movement -- for example, if I did not have a strong analytical mind which questioned strongly what my enlightenment was and how powerful it was really, I might have gone out and formed a cult.

There's more than one skill that can help you stay out of trouble, and a good analytical mind is one of them. All told though, a high level of ordinary street-sense is probably even better for saving you from being abused by gurus.

 
At 12/28/2006 6:23 PM, Anonymous pig stye said...

Blade,

What process were you involved with, such as a specific sadhana, that might have facilitated your transformational experiences?

I take your word that a good analytical mind can be very helpful and that as you said,

"All told though, a high level of ordinary street-sense is probably even better for saving you from being abused by gurus."

But this blog seems to be about more than just avoiding bad gurus. Don't you think that being a little adventurous and open to grace is also important? It seems to me that a person needs to be willing to get hurt sometimes in order to receive grace. I have experienced hurt from a guru but also grace that flowed from inside me in the process.

 
At 12/29/2006 5:58 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

What process were you involved with, such as a specific sadhana, that might have facilitated your transformational experiences?

Mantra yoga. Taught to me through the Maharishi.

Pig Stye said: But this blog seems to be about more than just avoiding bad gurus. Don't you think that being a little adventurous and open to grace is also important? It seems to me that a person needs to be willing to get hurt sometimes in order to receive grace.

Yes, I do agree. It is necessary to be open and take risks in order to really live. The 'bad gurus' don't even necessarily need to be avoided, provided you are properly protected by insight. If you clearly see their light for what it is, and their darkness for what it is, without mythologizing the latter, you're going to be protected.

In a similar vein, a child who believes his or her parents to be perfect is vulnerable. If it's true that sometimes they send you to bed without supper largely because they are unreasonable and over-react, then you are better off to know it.

Insight, my man, insight. Not inconsistent with an open heart.

 
At 12/29/2006 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that a person needs to be willing to get hurt sometimes in order to receive grace."

It is a common pitfall to believe that a guru can be so gifted, so advanced that he or she is exempt from karma, or what some schools of Buddhism term 'cause and effect'.

The prime directive in all healing is above all, do no further harm. Do not add new layers of trauma to what a person already has.

The notion that sometimes we have to get hurt in order to grow--that marks a slipperly slide toward justifying abuse of power.

Jesus commented 'Temptations there are and temptations there must be, but woe to the one through whom those tempations come.' Yes, there is pain in life, and yes there are risks, but we can never use this to excuse or rationalize harmdoing.

It is too difficult even for the most wise and gifted human being to calculate whether spiritual shock therapy will ultimately benefit or harm someone.

Dr. Jocyln Elders, our former surgeon general, was quoted as saying why she opposed any attempt to legislate human sexuality and contraception; she said she'd never met any person wise enough or loving enough to pass judgement on what other persons did with thier sex lives.

There is no human being wise enough or kind enough to know whether a harmful action could, mysteriously, be so beneficial for a student that the benefits outweigh the risk.

The trouble is, getting hurt tends to inflict shock and pain on us at multiple levels--not merely at the level of conscious mind, but also can inflict wounds that hit us subconsciously at the bodily and emotional levels.

This kind of wounding can be hard to identify and healing wounds inflicted through the questionable medium of a 'guru's grace' takes time and energy that can distract us.

The horrors of Auschwitz led Viktor Frankl to come up with an existentialist approach to psychotherapy--he later wrote Man's Search for Meaning.

But Frankl's spiritual achievement does not make Auschwitz any less ghastly, or redeem it.

In Viktor Frankl, humanity earned an 'A-plus'

In Auschwitz, humanity flunked, massively. And for the small number who emerged from the concentration camps as heroes and saints, thousands more were broken, some beyond repair.

Psychologist Alice Miller has identified a persistent trend to rationalize cruelty and brutality, especially toward children, or social inferiors, as character building. She terms this bias 'poisonous pedagogy'

Any argument, no matter how subtle, that there is something good about being harmed under spiritual auspices, marks a slippery slide toward excusing powerholders while devaluing the experiences of those harmed under spiritual auspices.

Yes, there are risks, just as there are driving down the highway. But society mandates putting out signage to warn of road hazards, and drivers are required to have functioning headlights.

It is a similar neighborly instinct that should rouse the spiritual community to do what it can to mark the road so that the new generation of students can avoid pitfalls and make faster progress than the previous generation. This is not coddling. Its the experience of feeling solidarity with the next generation and wishing them well, and hoping they'll reach home faster than we did--and with fewer bruises and bumps than we suffered.

There are risks and hurts, but only life itself has the authority to inflict those--no human being, not even a guru is wise enough or loving enough to do such a thing.

 
At 12/29/2006 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pig stye said...

It seems to me that a person needs to be willing to get hurt sometimes in order to receive grace. I have experienced hurt from a guru but also grace that flowed from inside me in the process.


That is how Guru bhakti, when intelligently applied, works. It's essentially utter surrender to Existence through the agency of the Guru. So, even though you may encounter behavior in the Guru which appears unpleasant, once you learn how to surrender no matter what, you tune into grace. I have also found states of utter desperation to be useful to disengage from the mind and to facilitate utter surrender.

Those Zen Masters of legend used to whack their disciples with a stick (both literal as well as metaphorical); whatever it took to awaken someone! Since most people these days look for a Guru who will dish out sweet platitudes and mollycoddle them, that is what they get.

 
At 12/29/2006 9:48 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Anon said: There are risks and hurts, but only life itself has the authority to inflict those--no human being, not even a guru is wise enough or loving enough to do such a thing.

Qualified agreement here with what you have said anon. I don't want to give any teacher excuses for abusive behavior. At the same time my own point is different: if you can protect yourself in the right way, you may be able to make postive use of people who happen to have abusive qualities.

antarananda said: Those Zen Masters of legend used to whack their disciples with a stick (both literal as well as metaphorical); whatever it took to awaken someone!

Legend indeed! LOL! Whatever it took to awaken someone, or whatever it took to fail to, there's nothing like a warm stick on a cold night to make a Zen Master (especially of the kind that won't make Legend) feel a little bit better! :)

The list of Stick-Awakened Masters is pretty slim....

 
At 12/29/2006 9:56 AM, Anonymous pig stye said...

Anon said,

"The notion that sometimes we have to get hurt in order to grow--that marks a slipperly slide toward justifying abuse of power."
................

You have misunderstand and misquoted me. I said "willing to get hurt...". To take a chance with a Guru that you have thoughtfully tested and considered is worth the risk if that is what you need or feel you need.

This is exactly the same risk we take in any kind of relationship. I am under no illusion that anyone can "save me". I also notice that you quote Jesus, who would be branded an "avatard" on this site. He seemingly claimed all the powers you say nobody has.

 
At 12/29/2006 9:59 AM, Anonymous pig stye said...

antarananda said,

I have also found states of utter desperation to be useful to disengage from the mind and to facilitate utter surrender.
.................

This is what I meant about being willing to be hurt. Thank you.

 
At 12/29/2006 11:32 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Pig stye: I also notice that you quote Jesus, who would be branded an "avatard" on this site.

I wouldn't call Jesus an avatard.

And, he might have been sacro-mythically inflated, but that's not a criticism of him. I mean, he lived 2000 years ago, before the Age of Reason, in a culture which had no real grasp of enlightenment at all.

Just as criticizing, say, Julius Caesar, as a sexist, or a racist, might prompt someone to say, "no shit Sherlock", a criticism of Jesus as being sacro-mythically inflated is somewhat empty in my opinion. I mean, what do you expect?

People growing up these days have less of an excuse to become deluded that they are God.

 
At 12/29/2006 12:00 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Anonymous said... a mouthful!

I'm marking you down as also possibly unmarriable!

Please relax!

 
At 12/29/2006 4:04 PM, Anonymous durga said...

anon said: Psychologist Alice Miller has identified a persistent trend to rationalize cruelty and brutality, especially toward children, or social inferiors, as character building. She terms this bias 'poisonous pedagogy'

I totally agree with you here, and about the buddhist teaching of doing no more harm to others as being a basic principle of spirituality. Abuse can be character building for some people, and destroy others. No one in their right mind would want to subject themselves to a spiritual teacher who was sometimes hurtful,although no one can avoid hurting other people all the time. That would require total perfection, which isn't realistic.
.

 
At 12/29/2006 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon said: Psychologist Alice Miller has identified a persistent trend to rationalize cruelty and brutality, especially toward children, or social inferiors, as character building. She terms this bias 'poisonous pedagogy'

.............

This is the level of abuse leveled at noble spiritual elders on this blog.

 
At 12/29/2006 6:29 PM, Blogger jody said...

This is the level of abuse leveled at noble spiritual elders on this blog.

I'm the judge of who's "noble" around here.

If a guru can't take what I'm dishing out on this blog, they're not fit to wear the mantle. And the devotees need to understand that there is no guru in the world who is more divine than they are.

 
At 12/30/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody said, "If a guru can't take what I'm dishing out on this blog, they're not fit to wear the mantle."

There's not one guru mentioned here who has ever heard of this blog...

 
At 12/30/2006 8:49 PM, Blogger jody said...

There's not one guru mentioned here who has ever heard of this blog...

You are probably right.

I don't imagine reaching any of the gurus I lambaste, but maybe one or two devotees will see through the mystifanatical nonsense promoted by those gurus as a result of reading here.

 
At 12/31/2006 9:00 AM, Anonymous pig stye said...

Jody said, " but maybe one or two devotees will see through the mystifanatical nonsense promoted by those gurus as a result of reading here."

.................

Although I agree with much of what is expressed here, I think that a big part of this problem is something Stuart and others have pointed out: if "space daddies" didn't exist many of us would have to invent them to fill our need. I have seen this mystification taking place in spite of the gurus' teaching. When people need to be fooled, we fool ourselves first.

Happy New Year!

 
At 12/31/2006 3:00 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Pig Stye: I think that a big part of this problem is something Stuart and others have pointed out: if "space daddies" didn't exist many of us would have to invent them to fill our need. I have seen this mystification taking place in spite of the gurus' teaching. When people need to be fooled, we fool ourselves first.

I think pretty much all the gurus Jody drags up onto the chopping block here are at the very least cultivators of their own space-daddy-hood ( with Eckhart Tolle being maybe the closest to innocent we have seen among the guilty here in a while -- while the average here should be shot at dawn, we might want to let ET off with 100 hours community service).

If and when there is no supply of such self-cultivating space-daddies, and all is left is gurus who are mythologized by their followers despite the guru's own best efforts to stop it, we can move onto the followers alone, which would be less fun but....

Don't worry. It won't happen. Human capacity for hubris and self-inflation is so big that we'll have an endless supply of space-daddies to expose.

 
At 12/31/2006 3:37 PM, Anonymous durga said...

pigstye said:Although I agree with much of what is expressed here, I think that a big part of this problem is something Stuart and others have pointed out: if "space daddies" didn't exist many of us would have to invent them to fill our need.

I think the book "the Guru papers" is interesting in explaining why people look for space daddies. The authors write about the way society cultivates a lack of self trust, which makes us look to others to tell us what to do. They say the guru-disciple relationship, when it is based on authoritarian control, is just the most obvious example. The more devious types of mind control are well hidden from view, hence more insidious. More public info on how people lose their self trust in the first place would be beneficial to people who easily fall into these kinds of mind traps.

 
At 1/01/2007 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Durga said, More public info on how people lose their self trust in the first place would be beneficial to people who easily fall into these kinds of mind traps.

.................

This world is a maze created by our own imaginations. All the outer forms of domination follow the original imagined separation from self. No parent or guru or government is responsible. It is our own mind at work. When the mind can be relaxed enough to let go its grip, the self is self evident.

 
At 1/02/2007 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

This world is a maze created by our own imaginations. All the outer forms of domination follow the original imagined separation from self. No parent or guru or government is responsible. It is our own mind at work. When the mind can be relaxed enough to let go its grip, the self is self evident.

............................

I think I read this same thing on a bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap, or maybe it was a box of Cheerios.

 
At 1/02/2007 9:40 AM, Anonymous pig stye said...

Anonymous said...

I think I read this same thing on a bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap, or maybe it was a box of Cheerios.
...........................

That doesn't make it any less true. I like Dr Bronner's soap but you can keep your Cheerios. I prefer granola every time!

 
At 1/02/2007 9:44 AM, Anonymous durga said...

anon said:This world is a maze created by our own imaginations. All the outer forms of domination follow the original imagined separation from self. No parent or guru or government is responsible. It is our own mind at work.

Sorry anon, this just doesn't cut it for me. human beings can dramatically change reality when higher order thinking is employed, and when more conscious ways of relating to one another are learned. Ignorance and illusion will always exist, but saying that all forms of domination just follow the original separation from self is underestimating what we can actually do to change the here and now. A lot of new age thinking seems to be leading people away from engaging reality in a practical way that will really benefit people in dire conditions. Instead, metaphysical solutions are offered, like the one you just gave.

 
At 1/02/2007 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Durga said,

A lot of new age thinking seems to be leading people away from engaging reality in a practical way that will really benefit people in dire conditions. Instead, metaphysical solutions are offered, like the one you just gave.




...................

There is nothing New Age about what I said. Criticizing your parents, gurus and "New Age" thinking will also have little to no effect on the dire conditions of this or any other world. Only first taking responcibility for your own suffering will. My statement was not intended to replace practical action in the world.

As for your belief that "higher order thinking" will dramatically change reality, that is a pipe dream. Reality never changes, period. You must be very young to believe this kind of stuff.

 
At 1/03/2007 7:57 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Anon said:
As for your belief that "higher order thinking" will dramatically change reality, that is a pipe dream. Reality never changes, period. You must be very young to believe this kind of stuff.


Durga's right. It depends on what you mean by 'higher order thinking' of course, and it depends on what you mean by 'reality', but there's no doubt that better beliefs mean better reality, in the sense of reality such as: it is a reality that it's better not to be under the control of murderous brigands.

 
At 1/03/2007 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blade, although I admire your defence of Lady Durga, her misinterpretation of what I was saying and now yours just shows you like to argue for its own sake. If better beliefs lead to a better reality, you should go back to Maharishi for further training. Then maybe your glimpse of enlightenment can become stable. All you have to do is believe that along with a lot of other people. Obviously I was referring to the real reality that doesn't come and go. And certainly I do not support any murderous or authoritarian gurus.

 
At 1/04/2007 7:30 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Blade, although I admire your defence of Lady Durga, her misinterpretation of what I was saying and now yours just shows you like to argue for its own sake. If better beliefs lead to a better reality, you should go back to Maharishi for further training.


Anon, no, the transcript above shows your need to teach, rather than my or Durga's need to argue. It started to go wrong when you began to respond to Durga in the manner below, which is to deliver an enlightenment-platitude to someone who wasn't asking for one, in a conversation in which an enlightenment-platitude was out of place. The rest is a continuation of the same tendency.


Durga said, More public info on how people lose their self trust in the first place would be beneficial to people who easily fall into these kinds of mind traps.

.................
anon said:
This world is a maze created by our own imaginations. All the outer forms of domination follow the original imagined separation from self. No parent or guru or government is responsible. It is our own mind at work.

 
At 1/05/2007 10:43 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

Blade said,

Anon, no, the transcript above shows your need to teach...

..........................

That's like the pot calling the kettle black or Chuck calling you an asshole, or Jody telling someone they have their head up their ass.

 
At 1/05/2007 1:28 PM, Anonymous durga said...

Blade said: It started to go wrong when you began to respond to Durga in the manner below, which is to deliver an enlightenment-platitude to someone who wasn't asking for one, in a conversation in which an enlightenment-platitude was out of place.

Well said, Blade. better than I could have done. I would have responded but all of this blogging is making my back and neck hurt. I think I will have to cut down my time spent on the internet.

 
At 1/06/2007 9:00 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

Durga said

Well said, Blade. better than I could have done.

..............

Considering your compliant man pleasing personality, maybe you should team up with Jody. You may be his type.

 

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