Saturday, January 12, 2008

Delaware Guru Going 40-Years Strong

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Today we became aware of Bharat Gajjar, a retired Dupont, Inc. textile engineer and yoga guru for over 40 years in Wilmington, Delaware. A chela of His Holiness Swami Vishnu Devananda, whose own guru was Swami Sivananda (1887-1963), Bharat seems like mostly a straight shooter to us, putting himself aside and allowing the ideas of yoga to take the lead at his satsang.

Until we get to the end of the article, where the ubiquitous superstition that infects yoga philosophy pokes its head up to taunt us:
In your book you tell about a spiritual guide speaking to you and guiding you from the time you were a young man in India.

After many experiences I grew confident that it was Swami Sivananda, my guru's guru. He's like Jesus or Buddha to me. Students in my classes have told me of seeing a man in orange robes in the room.

They saw a kind of apparition or vision?

Yes, and he helped me in countless ways: at work, in my family life, with my yoga students.

Hindu philosophy says a guru can guide you in the body or from the hidden spiritual plane. It makes no difference.
Er..., you mean Hindu superstition, Bharat. Guruphiliac philosophy says that the Self of the student may appear to manifest as an apparent contact with a long-dead guru, and that such a manifestation can be immensely helpful, but that such only exists in the mind of the seer and those he directly influences. What better way is there to impress (i.e. suck up to) your guru than claiming to see the apparition he claims to see.

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29 Comments:

At 1/12/2008 11:42 AM, Blogger yomamma said...

but ultimately maybe no difference between student and long dead guru so who cares? if you don't believe in the boundaries of this temporal existence this is no biggy.

What better way is there to impress (i.e. suck up to) your guru than claiming to see the apparition he claims to see.?

People will find a way to suck up apparition or no, what's a few apparitions between friends?

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
It's interesting that Hamlet and his friends are discussing information from a ghost here.

http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/there-more-things-heaven-earth-horatio

 
At 1/12/2008 11:57 AM, Blogger jody said...

what's a few apparitions between friends?

Actually, nothing. You are making good points.

However, there is a distinction between having your own apparitions, and having apparitions for your friends. I've got photos of Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi on my altar. They get a bit of arati every night I'm at home. However, I wouldn't expect anyone else to believe I was receiving divine wisdom from them. They are mine, and mine alone.

The problem with apparitions in general is there's no way to prove their existence apart from a mind perceiving them. Either they have an independent existence, or we're all duping ourselves. I have to go with the latter, for it's clear that anything you believe represents God works as such.

 
At 1/12/2008 4:13 PM, Blogger Broken Yogi said...

How do you know your philosphy is the only true one? If you look at these things as purely the emanation of the Self, fine. But is there no reality to subtle beings at all?

The classical Advaitic view is that all beings are merely the Self, even seemingly physically incarnate beings as ourselves. The Guru is also merely the Self. But why can't the Self also manifest as the subtle form of the Guru? Just as the physical body of Gurus like Sivananda were visible to others, why can't the subtle boy of the same Guru be tangibly visible to others who have the capacity for subtle vision?

Or, is it your view that subtle vision is simply imaginary? I find that odd, since you seem to accept the reality of the Self, which is not visible to most people either.

Now, whether or not Sivananda really has been guiding this dude from the subtle realm is hard to objectively confirm. But so is the Self hard to objectively confirm. Your belief in the Self is no less superstitious than this guy's belief in the subtle presence of his Guru. So really, what's your beef? What seems important is that this guy doesn't use this kind of perception or belief to exploit others. If that's the case, your argument with him is merely a philosophical and metaphysical difference, and it's not clear that your position is superior in that respect to his.

 
At 1/12/2008 5:04 PM, Anonymous stillcrazy said...

Jody wrote: ...The problem with apparitions in general is there's no way to prove their existence apart from a mind perceiving them.....

Perhaps if these apparitions can be photographed, then there is objective indication that these apparitions are not the projections of an overly imaginative mind.

I am open to the possibility that such "apparitions" may not always be the projection of the perceiver, though I've never seen them myself.

Any anyone ever catch a good photograph of such apparations?

 
At 1/12/2008 5:10 PM, Blogger jody said...

is there no reality to subtle beings at all?

I don't care. I find them, whether or not they exist, entirely superfluous. So did Vivekananda and Shankara.

But why can't the Self also manifest as the subtle form of the Guru?

It can. But only on an individual basis. One man's subtle beings are another's delusion. For instance, the Babaji entity people say they encounter manifests from their idea of Babaji, by way of their own Self, imo.

is it your view that subtle vision is simply imaginary?

Imaginal. There is a difference. The imaginal world has a definite reality relative to the individual. However, while imaginal worlds culturally overlap, there is no imaginal dimension where all these subtle beings hang out, imo.

Your belief in the Self is no less superstitious than this guy's belief in the subtle presence of his Guru.

That would be true if I believed in the Self.

what's your beef?

My beef is with the idea that subtle spiritual phenomena exist separately from the one who experiences them. It's a projection rather than a detection. It's an important distinction that would clear a lot of occluding ideas about the Self out of spiritual culture.

it's not clear that your position is superior in that respect to his.

The positions are rather close, actually. The only difference is I wouldn't bring my imaginal experience to the satsang, leaving more room for the students to develop their own, or choose not to if they wanted.

 
At 1/12/2008 7:53 PM, Blogger Broken Yogi said...

I find them, whether or not they exist, entirely superfluous. So did Vivekananda and Shankara.

Yes, it's fine if you find them superfluous, but I don't think it's fine for you to insist that everyone else must think the same way, or they are "deluded". You could be deluded in thinking subtle beings are superfluous, when of course the whole subtle realm has a lot to do with spiritual matters. Vivekananda did not think that subtle beings were superfluous. In regards to ultimate realization, yes, but in regards to most other things, no. His whole relationship to Ramakrishna had a powerful subtle dimension to it, both in life and after Ramakrishna's death. You know of course of the "transference of spiritual power" in which Ramakrishna supposedly gave Vivekananda all his siddhis shortly before his death. That is a subtle claim that can't be verified. As for the existence of subtle beings, it's pretty commonly accepted by both Vivekananda and Ramanakrishna.

Even Ramana Maharshi acknowledged such things. When asked about the existence of Gods, he at first said, like you, that such things existed only in the mind, as mental apparitions. But he went on to add that all of us are only mental apparitions in this same way, and that the Gods existed just as much as we exist as individuals.

So the point is, yes, subtle beings are only mental apparitions, but then so are we of the same status.

"But why can't the Self also manifest as the subtle form of the Guru? "

It can. But only on an individual basis. One man's subtle beings are another's delusion. For instance, the Babaji entity people say they encounter manifests from their idea of Babaji, by way of their own Self, imo.


How do you really know this is true? You insist that a subtle being only exists to the person who perceives them, but isn't this true of everything, including physical beings? And yet, many people share the perception of physical beings. Likewise, there are many instances of shared experience of subtle beings. Why insist that all these instances are delusional, or merely the product of personal imaginal powers - except to the degree that everything is the product of personal imagainal powers?

The imaginal world has a definite reality relative to the individual. However, while imaginal worlds culturally overlap, there is no imaginal dimension where all these subtle beings hang out, imo.

Yes, again in your opinion. I have no problem with your holding such opinions. I have a problem with your calling people delusional who don't share your opinion. It sounds like you are trying to impose your view of the universe on everyone else, as a kind of Guruphilliac political correctness. This is fine when people are being exploited, but it's not fine when it's merely a difference in philosophical and metaphysical outlook.

That would be true if I believed in the Self.

I stand corrected. But clearly you believe in something that moves you to perform arati to a photograph of a guy who died over a hundred years ago - and his wife. Why is this superstitious practice and the belief behind it okay, but this yogi's beliefs are not okay? Simply because you do it alone? But you don't - you just told us about it, which means you have brought it into our sphere, and you are expecting us to deem it acceptable. If you had never mentioned it to another soul, perhaps you would have a point, and could criticize this guy for mentioning his own experience of feeling Sivananda present in his life, but you didn't. You are imposing this on us just as much as this guy is - which is not very much to be sure. Personally, I don't find your practice of arati offensive, even if it is "superstitious". But I don't find this guy's practice of mentioning his sense of being directed by Sivananda in subtle form as offensive either. What I don't understand is how you expect us to accept your superstitions as acceptable, but to judge his as delusional.

My beef is with the idea that subtle spiritual phenomena exist separately from the one who experiences them. It's a projection rather than a detection. It's an important distinction that would clear a lot of occluding ideas about the Self out of spiritual culture.

I can understand why you might disagree with these notions of the objective reality of astral planes, beings, etc. But I can't understand why you have such a beef with them, when you clearly have some rather dubious ideas and practices of your own which you expect people to find acceptable and not delusional.

In other worlds, the world is full of plenty of very bright and intelligent and non-exploitive people who accept that there are spiritual phenomena such as astral beings and planes which are as much objectively existing as physical worlds and beings, and that they are not merely imaginal as you say. Why should they be labeled by you as delusional, simply because they don't share your world view?

The positions are rather close,
actually. The only difference is I wouldn't bring my imaginal experience to the satsang, leaving more room for the students to develop their own, or choose not to if they wanted.


But you do bring your own cosmological views into this discussion, onto this website, and expect us to be accepting of that, when of course not all of us agree with you. So why can't he bring his views to his gathering of friends and students, and let them sort it out for themselves? It doesn't appear from your account that he insists that people believe he actually receives instruction from Sivananda in subtle form. He merely mentions that this is what he experiences and believes. Others seem to confirm some aspects of it. Others don't. Again, what's the problem with that? Why is that problematic, while your telling us about your singing to photographs of dead people is not?

Or is it that you don't really think they are dead?

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At 1/12/2008 8:57 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

KaliMa , the little Guru who lives in Berkeley somewhere calls the Deities embodiments of the Vastness, so they are some way for us to navigate , to know that we are verily that. The Sivanandas are big into deities , but i wouldn't say in an overly superstitious or manipulative way, they just believe that they have a great practice to pass along, I studied with them here in SF for a few months and they are sincere and straight forward.
The Buddhists say that they receive transmission from their teachers to carry on a lineage , has anyone a photo of one of these transmissions? how do we know it is real? Tibetan buddhists have a dream and go find the Dharma heir where the dream tells them to go , is this any worse then what the very real and materialistic chinese government decides about who should be a Llama? Probably Jews and Muslims are the only folks that don't have an imaginal tradition, it's weird that they don't get along for the most part.

 
At 1/12/2008 9:10 PM, Blogger jody said...

I don't think it's fine for you to insist that everyone else must think the same way

Fair enough. Nonetheless, ideas about realization bringing access to subtle worlds are occluding, imo. They set up an expectation that most likely won't be met, regardless of their status as seekers.

Bharat's conjecture that his Shivananda was somehow real to everyone else, or those "subtle" enough to see him, is what I'm after.

It sets up a couple of fetters. There's the idea that Bharat sees and speaks to Shivananda because he is enlightened, and there's the idea that anyone who is enlightened can do such things.

It's these kind of ideas that opaque nondual truth, imo.

Vivekananda did not think that subtle beings were superfluous.

He did not introduce those ideas as a component of spiritual practice, although he may have had some acceptance of them due to the fact India is flooded with them.

You know of course of the "transference of spiritual power" in which Ramakrishna supposedly gave Vivekananda all his siddhis shortly before his death.

I regard those sorts of stories as hagiographic myth. And even if there was such an interaction, it doesn't mean anything happened. Vivekananda died a broken man. Lots of good those siddhis did him.

As for the existence of subtle beings, it's pretty commonly accepted by both Vivekananda and Ramanakrishna.

That could be (and is, imo) cultural.

Even Ramana Maharshi acknowledged such things.

Cultural.

You insist that a subtle being only exists to the person who perceives them, but isn't this true of everything, including physical beings?

We can both throw a rock at a dog, but not at a subtle being. There is a difference in class.

Why insist that all these instances are delusional

I'm not. I'm saying their veracity as objects of perception lies with the perceiver.

I have a problem with your calling people delusional who don't share your opinion.

I used to be much worse. Thank God She has improved me in that way.

It sounds like you are trying to impose your view of the universe on everyone else, as a kind of Guruphilliac political correctness.

I've always sounded that way. It's more about how I'm saying it rather than it's what I'm saying.

I believe that certain ideas many hold about realization prevent that understanding from being seen. That's what I'm after, those ideas.

Bharat, by teaching the idea that his Shivananda is real for all, has set the expectation in his student's minds that they will get their own Shivananda when they're enlightened. That idea becomes the measure, and nondual truth can never be measured, and any such attempt only opaques that truth from awareness.

clearly you believe in something that moves you to perform arati to a photograph of a guy who died over a hundred years ago - and his wife.

Sure, I believe in the affection in my heart for those characters as I know them through books.

Why is this superstitious practice

It's not superstitious as I perform it. It's an internal acknowledgment, not a communication with discorporate beings.

you are expecting us to deem it acceptable.

Never do I expect anyone to find what I'm saying acceptable. But it's nice when they do.

I don't find this guy's practice of mentioning his sense of being directed by Sivananda in subtle form as offensive either.

And I believe it sets up unhelpful ideas in the minds of his students.

What I don't understand is how you expect us to accept your superstitions as acceptable, but to judge his as delusional.

I've explained the difference.

I can't understand why you have such a beef with them, when you clearly have some rather dubious ideas and practices of your own

Again, the difference is clear. One calls to something outside, I call to something inside. It's a matter of degree of separation from idea of self.

Why should they be labeled by you as delusional, simply because they don't share your world view?

It's only delusional when they project their cosmology as some kind of absolute.

Look at all the different spiritual practices. They all more or less work. Take 50 people who aren't seeking anymore, I bet they all came from very different approaches, by the by.

I'm not saying it's delusional to believe you have a connection to a dead guru, I'm saying it's delusional to project that as a subtle truth for all.

So why can't he bring his views to his gathering of friends and students, and let them sort it out for themselves?

He can do whatever he wants. But since he projects ideas I believe to occlude, I decided to say something about it.

It doesn't appear from your account that he insists that people believe he actually receives instruction from Sivananda in subtle form.

Yet some of them claim to have seen it, too. I'm afraid that's group hysteria in my book.

Why is that problematic, while your telling us about your singing to photographs of dead people is not?

It's just waving some incense in my case.

It's problematic to project the idea that communication with so-called subtle beings is a component of some "package" called "enlightenment."

Or is it that you don't really think they are dead?

The Ramakrishna gang? The whole lot of them are dead. But that doesn't mean they don't live in my heart as characters as I conceive them. Nor does it mean they exist as subtle beings that I'm somehow in contact with.

 
At 1/13/2008 12:26 AM, Blogger Broken Yogi said...

Btw, thanks for engaging this line of questioning. I'm being a little hard on you, because I think you're being a little hard on Bharat, but I don't really have a problem with your approach. I don't know anything about the dude, except what you've described, but I don't get the impression that he's claiming enlightenment. It sounds like he's merely a teacher who claims to have a subtle relationship with the deceased Sivananda. This is hardly a rare or inherently exploiting claim. Vivekananda for example continued to relate to Ramankrishna after his death, and so did most of his brother devotees in the Ramakrishna Mission. This was a shared experience among them, not a merely individuated thing. When you sing to Ramakrishna's photograph, he may only seem to come alive to you in the imaginal sense, but this is not how Vivekananda and his fellow disciples related to Ramakrishna. They felt a literal connection to him that was not severed by death. It was both personal to each of them and yet shared as well, in a communal sense. This was the very means by which the Ramakrishna mission got going, and without it you wouldn't have a photograph of Ramakrishna to sing to. So I think you have to recognize that whether you like it or not you are part of the same traditional approach that you criticize in Bharat. The only difference seems that Bharat claims that his subtle Guru is not merely imaginal, but alive beyond his own mind, and that he instructs him from there, not merely from his own deeper self.

Fair enough. Nonetheless, ideas about realization bringing access to subtle worlds are occluding, imo. They set up an expectation that most likely won't be met, regardless of their status as seekers.

Bharat's conjecture that his Shivananda was somehow real to everyone else, or those "subtle" enough to see him, is what I'm after.


How do you know it wasn't real to others also? It seems that at least to some, it was. I bet plenty of other devotees of Sivananda's lineage have had similar experiences at times. So it's probably not the case that this is an isolated claim by only a single guy. That doesn't make it true, but it does give credence to the notion that it very well might be. The general principle that Gurus may continue to instruct others after their death is pretty well established, and while I think it's fine to go after those who use such claims to exploit others should be criticized heavily, that doesn't mean the principle itself is a false one. Perversion does not make the thing being perverted false.

It sets up a couple of fetters. There's the idea that Bharat sees and speaks to Shivananda because he is enlightened, and there's the idea that anyone who is enlightened can do such things.

Are you sure he even makes such a claim? It doesn't sound that way. It sounds as if he sees Shivananda precisely because he isn't enlightened, but is in need of instruction from him. If anything, Bharat simply seems to be claiming to be subtler than most others, subtle enough to receive subtle instruction from Shivananda, but unless he is directly equating such subtle capacities with enlightenment, that's just your own inference, not his. Whether this sets up an expectation among his students is irrelevant as to whether it is true or not. If students are foolish enough to develop such expectations, they will do so whether or not he mentions these phenomena.

It's these kind of ideas that opaque nondual truth, imo.

These kind of ideas are not non-dual, to be sure. But I don't think we have to insist that all ideas pass the non-dual test. Very few do. Your practice of singing to Ramakrishna's picture doesn't pass that test, even if you try to imagine him as within yourself. It's still dualistic. Which I don't think is a problem. As Ramana taught, so long as you have a dualistic mind, it is appropriate to have an outer Guru to relate to. Otherwise, the capacity for self-delusion is even greater. Having an outer Guru, even a subtle Guru, still helps ground us and prevents us from pretending we are being non-dual when we plainly aren't.

I regard those sorts of stories as hagiographic myth. And even if there was such an interaction, it doesn't mean anything happened. Vivekananda died a broken man. Lots of good those siddhis did him.

No, those incidents actually happened. People can make a hagiography out of them, but they still happened. You are right, nothing may have happened at all, but the indications are that something did indeed occur. Again, why are you singing to these photographs of long dead people if nothing spiritual was going on with them that can be communicated to others by subtle means? Why don't you sing to pictures of some dead 19th century house cat?

The fact is, these guys you sing to (Sarada Devi too) made far more “superstitious” claims than Bharat has done, and yet you make them objects of devotion, rather than exposing them as frauds. Do I detect a double-standard?

That could be (and is, imo) cultural...Cultural....Cultural.

You conveniently claim that anything these guys say that contradicts you is “cultural”, and yet what you like about them is not. This doesn't pass anything remotely like a consistency test. Why not just accept the fact that these guys rather universally not only believed in astral experience and beings, but experienced such things directly, not just in the imaginal sense, but in the relational sense. Or at least that they strongly believed and interpreted their experience in this way, rather than in the way you do.

Now, the question is, whose explanation is more credible, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Sarada Devi, and Ramana Maharshi, or Jody? I can understand your right to your own views, and to override any outside authorities, but why should anyone else give you that kind of credibility? In other words, if Bharat chooses to interpret his subtle experience of his Guru as being relationally real, rather than merely imaginal, doesn't he have some good ground to stand on?

We can both throw a rock at a dog, but not at a subtle being. There is a difference in class.

We cannot throw rocks at the moon, but we can both see it. We cannot throw rocks at distant galaxies, nor can we even see them. Only people with special equipment can see those galaxies. We have to trust in those people and their technological claims of veracity to accept the reality of these things. Much of the physical world is that way. The class distinctions you are making among objects is not as clean and clear as you like to pretend. Subtle phenomena are commonly experienced by spiritually engaged people, certainly among the more advanced types. The degree varies, but almost everyone involved in spiritual life experiences something subtle. I bet that includes you.

I'm not. I'm saying their veracity as objects of perception lies with the perceiver.

That applies to all objects, including physical objects. That is the very basis of spirituality in fact – the observation that everything is arising in our consciousness, whether it is seemingly inward or outward.

I believe that certain ideas many hold about realization prevent that understanding from being seen. That's what I'm after, those ideas.

That's a laudable goal. But the devil is in the details. In trying to root out sin, you may end up digging up some innocent bodies. From what you've said so far, Bharat seems like an innocent bystander.

Bharat, by teaching the idea that his Shivananda is real for all, has set the expectation in his student's minds that they will get their own Shivananda when they're enlightened. That idea becomes the measure, and nondual truth can never be measured, and any such attempt only opaques that truth from awareness.

I think you're reading too much into this. Does this guy even claim enlightenment? I think the only expectation this sets up is that if you really devote yourself to the path and the lineage, and mature in it, you will get lots of help, some in subtle form. This isn't a false expectation in my view, but it's just the reality of spiritual practice. It's practically universal, and certainly it's the case in the Ramakrishna/Vivekananda lineage. If you want to throw out that aspect of the tradition, you have your work cut out for you.

Sure, I believe in the affection in my heart for those characters as I know them through books....It's not superstitious as I perform it. It's an internal acknowledgment, not a communication with discorporate beings.

That's simply a form of superstition that works for you. You think that singing to people you meet in books does you good. What's really different about that from singing to people one sees in subtle form, and who other people feel are alive in subtle form? Why not be tolerant of what works for others?

Never do I expect anyone to find what I'm saying acceptable. But it's nice when they do.

But you do expect it. You present your approach as a sound one that you think is acceptable, and your present Bharat's approach as an unsound one that you don't think should be considered acceptable. Very convenient for you. But there's no objective reason for anyone else to see things this way. You don't show any way in which your approach has made you a better person than Bharat's approach has made him. Or, for that matter, that your influence on others is superior to Bharat's.

Again, the difference is clear. One calls to something outside, I call to something inside. It's a matter of degree of separation from idea of self.

The photographs you sing to are outside of you, not inside. You aren't really doing anything different from Bharat, you just have a more elaborate rationalization for it. The more elaborate the rationalization, however, the more likely one is deluding oneself.

It's only delusional when they project their cosmology as some kind of absolute.

There's no indication that Bharat makes an absolute out of his experience of Shivananda. It's just something he experiences and finds meaningful, not just personally, but communally. You, on the other, hand, seem to have cut yourself off from any shared experience or communality. You are just alone with your photograph, and pretending there's no one behind the photograph, no living being or spiritual force. It's not clear at all that this is the superior position to be in.

I'm not saying it's delusional to believe you have a connection to a dead guru, I'm saying it's delusional to project that as a subtle truth for all.

I don't see Bharat insisting that all beings acknowledge his experience. He's just telling people what he experiences. Some find it to be true, others don't. I can't see how that can be wrong.

Yet some of them claim to have seen it, too. I'm afraid that's group hysteria in my book.

It may be, it may be genuine. How do you know? If you presume everything like this is group hysteria, you begin to lose credibility when you're actually right. It's the boy who cried wolf syndrome. Save the group hysteria charges for cases where the accusation seems more credible.

It's just waving some incense in my case.

Don't kid yourself.

 
At 1/13/2008 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never heard of this man in Delaware USA. But I have heard of his Guru's Guru, Swami Sivananda. Here's how:

While travelling somewhere, I had an incident where I awoke from sleep in agony. My back had done something weird when I turned over (?) I basically couldn't move without extreme pain. So I lay there, and eventually fell back to sleep, thinking "oh well, I'll not make my appointment in the morning because I cannot get up from bed....That's life...." I then dreamed of a large man I had never seen, in orange robes, who walked up to me, embraced me, hit me several times on my back (where the pain was, btw) and said "don't worry child. I am Sivananda. You'll be fine." . Then went away. I awoke with great heat in my spine and limbs, and all the pain was gone. Coincidence One.

Coincidence Two. I did make my appointment the following day, as I was quite okay. During the course of my visit to that place, I saw a friend. He showed me a particular book on some yoga type subject he was at that moment interested in. I opened the book and saw the picture of the man from my dream, with his title and name under it. Bizarre. My friend went on to hear my tale, and told me that Sivananda, by coincidence had been a doctor before becoming a Swami.

So there you have it. Indian superstition? Couldn't convince me of that one. I didn't know this guy was, nor did I care before that moment. I didn't go on to follow his movement, nor have I read his books. I did find out though, that I was passing through a part of India, during that incident, where Sivananda had done severe Tapasya during his youth.

I have no clue how these things happen. At that time, I had zero desire to have such an experience, nor did I have the expectation of anything such thing.

Therefore, I believe that Sivananda "appears" sometimes, just as that Swami in Delaware USA has stated. For some reason (who knows?) he did to me. Why not to others who actually believe in him?

Again, Jody, just because these things never happen to you doesn't mean they don't happen or they are created by the imagination. Again, it could be that you are like the tribal person who never saw a car and so thinks it's all made up foolishness when he hears about one. Rational is good, but dismissive can be damaging.

Not The Superstious Type

 
At 1/13/2008 10:20 AM, Anonymous Vikram said...

Ah, finally... jody meets his match :)

 
At 1/13/2008 2:18 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

this is a conversation that can go on and on , but as i said people will find a way to suck up one way or another whether astrally or actually. gurus and dead gurus can be exploited imo when they are used simply to enlarge the other wise ordinary experience of an insecure student thereby lifting that student to some kind of special status. Many jokers have had whole careers based on their "special" relationship with a Guru. so I think Jody's concerns are understandable. they might have us buy into a whole philosophy and lifestyle based on their subjective spiritual experience. is their experience superior to mine because they have Guru? and they see stuff? do they deserve accolades and special dispensation due to this?
One time i went to see a local holy man at an ashram in northern california, i was with a group of young yoga students who seemed to want to test this guys metal. one of them asked; Baba , can you see auras? he just shrugged and said everyone can see auras . he gave it absolutely no weight.

 
At 1/13/2008 6:55 PM, Blogger jody said...

I don't get the impression that he's claiming enlightenment.

He's claiming to be a guru, or at least, he allows himself to be considered such, and as such, he doesn't need to make the enlightenment claim. That is built in.

Vivekananda for example continued to relate to Ramankrishna after his death

Are you sure? I've read nothing that suggests that Vivekananda was in "communication" with Ramakrishna after his death. If fact, Vivekananda rarely spoke of Ramakrishna, and those few times he did, it was very brief.

this is not how Vivekananda and his fellow disciples related to Ramakrishna.

I think you are speculating, at least with regards to Swami V.

This was the very means by which the Ramakrishna mission got going

It was Vivekananda's rejection of Margaret Nobel as his consort that kept it alive.

How do you know it wasn't real to others also?

I don't. But what I do know is that kind of phenomena is easily suggested. If you want to have that kind of experience, just wish for it. It will probably come, but not necessarily out of any kind of real contact, but rather the mind's great power to make this sort of thing up.

I bet plenty of other devotees of Sivananda's lineage have had similar experiences at times.

Yes, superstition is rampant in yoga culture.

If anything, Bharat simply seems to be claiming to be subtler than most others

And claims of access to subtle things end up becoming clarity clogging, occluding nonsense, in my book.

I don't think we have to insist that all ideas pass the non-dual test.

Any idea about enlightenment is incorrect. It is beyond any language's power to describe, even Sanskrit. It may be that Bharat isn't enlightened, but that doesn't matter. Folks are still associating subtle beings and talking with them with higher consciousness. That, in and of itself, leads to occluding ideas, imo.

People can make a hagiography out of them, but they still happened.

You can only be sure if you were there. Neither of us was.

why are you singing to these photographs of long dead people if nothing spiritual was going on with them that can be communicated to others by subtle means?

Because it puts my mind in a certain mood conducive to devotion, no contact with the persons who are imaged is required or necessary.

Why don't you sing to pictures of some dead 19th century house cat?

Because I'm not about being devoted to random cats.

The fact is, these guys you sing to (Sarada Devi too) made far more “superstitious” claims than Bharat has done, and yet you make them objects of devotion, rather than exposing them as frauds. Do I detect a double-standard?

I can be a devotee of Ramakrishna yet not believe or promote everything he says. He liked 12-year-old boys, I don't.

Why not just accept the fact that these guys rather universally not only believed in astral experience and beings, but experienced such things directly, not just in the imaginal sense, but in the relational sense. Or at least that they strongly believed and interpreted their experience in this way, rather than in the way you do.

They did interpret their experience by the lens of their culture, which was and is chock full of superstition that I reject.

why should anyone else give you that kind of credibility?

I don't know. I'm only calling it as I see it. The mileage of the reader is sure to vary.

if Bharat chooses to interpret his subtle experience of his Guru as being relationally real, rather than merely imaginal, doesn't he have some good ground to stand on?

In his world, yes. In mine, no.

We cannot throw rocks at the moon, but we can both see it.

We landed there.

The class distinctions you are making among objects is not as clean and clear as you like to pretend.

To me they are.

almost everyone involved in spiritual life experiences something subtle. I bet that includes you.

Sure, and I chuck it all over the fence with my dog's shit. Neti, neti and all that.

In trying to root out sin, you may end up digging up some innocent bodies.

It's a big, wide, ancient mess out there.

From what you've said so far, Bharat seems like an innocent bystander.

He's just offering one interpretation of his experience, I'm offering another.

If you want to throw out that aspect of the tradition, you have your work cut out for you.

Tell me about it!

That's simply a form of superstition that works for you. You think that singing to people you meet in books does you good.

No, I don't. I think waving the incense in front of the pictures brings me home every night. I even talk to those characters, but I'm not believing they are hearing me. It's just me processing me. Honestly. That's all it is.

Why not be tolerant of what works for others?

I am tolerant about what works for others. I am intolerant when those others try to throw me under the umbrella of their superstition, and it just plain pisses me off to see gurus working superstition as their marketing plan.

I'm not saying Bharat is doing this, I'm saying it's a much more extraordinary claim to say you are talking to a dead person, and then encourage others to believe that, then it is to use the idea of talking to a dead person to help your mind help you make your way through life, spiritually or otherwise, without expecting others to believe it.

Or, for that matter, that your influence on others is superior to Bharat's.

Heaven forbid! I'm just some fool with a blog about gurus. Take it or poop on it.

You aren't really doing anything different from Bharat, you just have a more elaborate rationalization for it.

It's tremendously different. I'm not expecting anyone to believe I'm in contact with these dead people, because I don't believe I'm in contact with those dead people. Such is entirely superfluous to my practice, and to Vedanta.

You, on the other, hand, seem to have cut yourself off from any shared experience or communality.

You could say that. You could also say I've thrown away the "childish things" of Hindu superstition and mythology.

It's not clear at all that this is the superior position to be in.

I'm not seeking any "superior" position, I'm just telling it as I see it. You can decide where it belongs in whatever scale you employ.

I don't see Bharat insisting that all beings acknowledge his experience.

Me neither. However, his position as a spiritual authority guarantees that at least some folks will buy into it, and possibly as a result, plug their heads with occluding nonsense.

It may be, it may be genuine. How do you know?

I don't. But I do like to take Occam's Razor to this crap.

Save the group hysteria charges for cases where the accusation seems more credible.

You are going to love this: all spiritual experience is the direct result of the placebo effect.

 
At 1/13/2008 10:23 PM, Blogger Broken Yogi said...

He's claiming to be a guru, or at least, he allows himself to be considered such, and as such, he doesn't need to make the enlightenment claim. That is built in.

Since when? I don't know anyone who assumes that all Gurus are enlightened. Quite the opposite it seems. You are presuming everyone out there is some country bumpkin without the slightest discrimination playing three-card-monte with swindlers. It's pretty condescending.

The Indian Guru tradition does not at all imply that all Gurus are. Quite the opposite. That would be confined to rare instances of Sat-Gurus, and there's no indication that Bharat is presenting himself as a Sat-Guru. In the Indian tradition, it is expected that everyone has a Guru, which merely means someone trained in his particular tradition and qualified to teach – which would include the capacity to maintain and honorable and non-exploitive relationship with students. The term “Guru” in India simply means “teacher”, and does not imply enlightenment at all. High school teachers are referred to as Gurus. Yoga teachers are Gurus, and this guy seems to fall into that category. From your account, he seems like a fine teacher in that tradition. Not enlightened, but certainly qualified to teach.

I've read nothing that suggests that Vivekananda was in "communication" with Ramakrishna after his death. If fact, Vivekananda rarely spoke of Ramakrishna, and those few times he did, it was very brief.

After Vivekananda's death virtually all of Ramakrishna's devotees, including Vivekananda, still related to Ramakrishna as their Guru, and felt his influence in their lives. There are countless stories of this. Read up, dude! They all rented a house together and got totally into their practices, including meditation on Ramakrishna. Vivekananda did not assume that role of Guru to them, because for one he wasn't yet qualified, and two, Ramakrishna was already their Guru.

It was Vivekananda's rejection of Margaret Nobel as his consort that kept it alive.

That didn't stop him from making love to her that one night, referred to in his letters as his “great lapse”. I don't fault him, of course. She was quite the babe.

I don't. But what I do know is that kind of phenomena is easily suggested. If you want to have that kind of experience, just wish for it. It will probably come, but not necessarily out of any kind of real contact, but rather the mind's great power to make this sort of thing up.

The fact that such things can be suggested, doesn't mean that all such things are the product of suggestion. You are making an obvious error in logic.

Yes, superstition is rampant in yoga culture.

I think you have to see how you have erected a perfectly infallible system for explaining everything. Anything you don't like is the result of rampant superstition, whereas what you do like is simply “common sense”. You simply assume that because superstition is rampant in India culture, everything in Indian culture is superstition. Rather than actually ask yourself if something in particular is superstitious, you simply assume it must be. And yet, still you sing to photographs of dead people and claim this has nothing to do with superstition. Seems deeply inconsistent.

And claims of access to subtle things end up becoming clarity clogging, occluding nonsense, in my book.

I don't see why that should be the case. Subtle things and experience are a part of life. They are no more occluding than the newspaper. And maybe no less occluding. To an intelligent person, they simply become something to take with a grain of salt, or something to investigate, or something that helps open the mind to the possibility that there is more to this life than materialistic assumptions. In that sense, subtle phenomena can have quite positive effects, since materialism is even more deluding than exploitive Gurus. It's exploitation without any side dish of wisdom to help steer you out of it.

Any idea about enlightenment is incorrect.

Including that idea about enlightenment. You seem to be expert at putting your foot in your own mouth, Jody.

It is beyond any language's power to describe, even Sanskrit. It may be that Bharat isn't enlightened, but that doesn't matter. Folks are still associating subtle beings and talking with them with higher consciousness. That, in and of itself, leads to occluding ideas, imo.

But here you are, talking about these things. By your own definition, you are introducing occluding ideas into this world by making claims about what helps and what hurts enlightenment. And yet, you are condemning others for doing precisely what you are doing yourself. That seems pretty short-sighted. You are insisting that talk of subtle ideas is wrong, but you are talking about subtle ideas as you do so, and so you are being an occludist yourself, merely by commenting on such things, regardless of the side you take. Rather than just letting Bharat do his thing, you have to condemn him. Now, as I say it would be different if he were actually exploiting people, but you don't show that he is. You simply accuse him of introducing ideas that might, somehow, be used to exploit people. This is like accusing someone who uses a dinner knife of introducing a weapon to the dinner table that someone might use to stab someone else.

Because it puts my mind in a certain mood conducive to devotion, no contact with the persons who are imaged is required or necessary.

Well, you are using a practice that some people use to exploit others. Why aren't you condemning yourself for that? Devotion is clearly the most commonly used practice for exploiting gullible people. And yet here you are, practicing it yourself and defending it. Clearly you are introducing occluding ideas and defending them, because you personally happen to like them and feel that they benefit you. If you give yourself leeway to do so, why not give Bharat similar leeway?

I'm not about being devoted to random cats.

Right. And there's nothing random about your choice of Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi either. You have chosen two people who are associated with a highly superstitious practice of devotional worship. You must know that Ramakrishna was far “worse” in this regard than Bharat. And yet you praise Ramakrishna and criticize Bharat. Are you aware of the kinds of things Ramakrishna did? The guy worshipped his own penis as a God. He spoke to and worshipped Mother Kali and insisted, day after day, that she appeared to him all the time, and not just in his imaginal thoughts, but for real, and he told his devotees this constantly. And yet somehow Bharat's mention of seeing his dead Guru's subtle form is somehow more dangerous than that? Who are you kidding, dude?

I can be a devotee of Ramakrishna yet not believe or promote everything he says. He liked 12-year-old boys, I don't.

I see, you can do this, but you can't imagine that Bharat's devotees can do the same? You're setting yourself up as some special person who can have a crazy Guru like Ramakrishna without becoming deluded by the nutty things he said or did, but others are so dim they can't even have a benign guy like Bharat as a Guru, because he mentions that his Guru appears to him now and then? What kind of double-standard is that? If Jody does it, it's fine, but if other people do it, it's bad. Is that the rule?

They did interpret their experience by the lens of their culture, which was and is chock full of superstition that I reject.

They didn't just interpret their experience through the lens of their culture, they had experiences that couldn't be explained by materialistic views. It seems you are the one who is interpreting your experience through the lens of your culture. It's just that your culture is materialistic, and so you are unable to imagine that there is actually a subtle, non-material realm which is real, and in which realm experiences occur. You insist that they limit themselves in what they say to views that are consistent with materialism. You even limit what you say about your own superstitious practices to views that are consistent with materialism. You somehow think this is the way to guard against being exploited, but your fail to note that materialism has an even worse record of exploiting people than spiritual superstition.

”if Bharat chooses to interpret his subtle experience of his Guru as being relationally real, rather than merely imaginal, doesn't he have some good ground to stand on?”

In his world, yes. In mine, no.


So we live in different worlds? But you live in a world which worships Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi, and their views agree with Bharat's, and not yours. If you insist on having a foot in both worlds, you are going to have to respect both worlds.

”We cannot throw rocks at the moon, but we can both see it.”

We landed there.


I watched it on television. I didn't see you land on the moon. Did I miss something? And you are avoiding the point, which is that not everything in the physical world is personally verifiable either. I had to trust that the TV images weren't faked. I have to trust scientists when they tell me distant galaxies are real.

“The class distinctions you are making among objects is not as clean and clear as you like to pretend.”

To me they are.


No, they are not. You can't see distant galaxies. You didn't land on the moon. Your ability to know and confirm facts about the physical world is extremely limited. The class distinctions you are trying to make don't exist as you present them.

Sure, and I chuck it all over the fence with my dog's shit. Neti, neti and all that.

You can chuck it over the fence if you like, but just as your dog's shit is real, the spiritual experiences you chuck are also real. Why the taboo against talking about them? Or rather, why try to enforce your personal taboos on others? That's the issue.

He's just offering one interpretation of his experience, I'm offering another.

If that's all you were doing, I'd have no problem with it. But you are trying to denigrate the guy for it, when you don't really know what you are talking about. What about the other poster here who mentions an experience of Sivananda? Will you criticize him as well for promoting occluding ideas?

I think waving the incense in front of the pictures brings me home every night. I even talk to those characters, but I'm not believing they are hearing me. It's just me processing me. Honestly. That's all it is.

Well, I'll tell you what I think of that. I think you are going to great lengths to keep yourself from deluding yourself, because you fear becoming deluded, but really what you are doing is just what people who delude themselves do. Yes, you call it “processing”, as if changing the word or concept really alters the experience of singing to a religious image. Your problem is that you are ashamed of your devotion, so you protect yourself from the shame by telling yourself it's just “processing”. But in the end, it's just a form of self-denial. I think Bharat is simply more honest, more straightforward, and less neurotic in his approach. You are imposing a rather neurotic interpretation of your own impulses on this devotional practice of yours in order, you think, to protect yourself from even greater neurosis. And then you project that problem onto others, like Bharat, who are actually less neurotic about it than you are. I think we would all be a lot better off if you would just approach your evening devotions without any conceptual impositions, and just throw yourself into it without fear or any holding back, and see what happens, and allow whatever happens to happens. People who do that, of course, often end up having all kinds of spiritual phenomena occur. Ramakrishna certainly did. Why not use him as your model, rather than trying to impose some western materialistic psychology on yourself? If you want to practice psychology, put a picture of Freud or Jung on the altar, and sing to them. If you sing to Ramakrishna, why not do it his way?

I am tolerant about what works for others. I am intolerant when those others try to throw me under the umbrella of their superstition, and it just plain pisses me off to see gurus working superstition as their marketing plan.

Well, you aren't being very tolerant of Bharat. I agree that superstitious marketing plans suck, but that doesn't seem to be the case here, does it?

Heaven forbid! I'm just some fool with a blog about gurus. Take it or poop on it.

I know. I'm only giving you a hard time because you seem worth it. But bloggers open themselves up to criticism, and even welcome it, so why not drive it home?

It's tremendously different. I'm not expecting anyone to believe I'm in contact with these dead people, because I don't believe I'm in contact with those dead people. Such is entirely superfluous to my practice, and to Vedanta.

I don't see any evidence that Bharat expects people to believe him either. He just seems to be reporting his experience. Personally, I don't really doubt that he's had such experiences, do you? I can understand saying that such experiences are unimportant, but it doesn't seem to be the case that he's just crassly making it up to build himself up. Do you?

However, his position as a spiritual authority guarantees that at least some folks will buy into it, and possibly as a result, plug their heads with occluding nonsense.

Possibly. Or possibly they will simply open themselves up to the possibility that there is more to this world than materialistic dogma. I think materialism is a far more dangerous and occluding bit of nonsense than these kinds of subtle experiences, and that talking about subtle experiences can be good medicine against those materialistic assumptions of ours. You seem to think that subtle experience can only plug up one's head, whereas you don't seem to acknowledge at all how plugged up we already are with materialistic nonsense.

You are going to love this: all spiritual experience is the direct result of the placebo effect.

Now who's talking like the all-knowing Guru here? How could you possible know this about all spiritual experiences? You are making claims that are beyond either your experience or your wisdom. And you are making these claims for everyone, not just yourself, which again violates the very principle you are offended by in Bharat. Again, it seems that these rules just don't apply to Jody.

Btw, do you think that all materialistic experience is also the direct result of the placebo effect? In other words, mind-induced?

 
At 1/13/2008 11:51 PM, Blogger jody said...

I don't know anyone who assumes that all Gurus are enlightened.

There are millions who assume the enlightenment of their guru outside of anything they can verify.

You are presuming everyone out there is some country bumpkin without the slightest discrimination playing three-card-monte with swindlers. It's pretty condescending.

Kalki Bhagavan. He proves there are many country bumpkins in India and the West without the slightest discrimination playing rigged card games with con men.

In the Indian tradition, it is expected that everyone has a Guru, which merely means someone trained in his particular tradition and qualified to teach

Kalki Bhagavan, Sri Sri, Sai Baba. The rise of the big-time guru in India explodes that tradition and definition of the word guru.

From your account, he seems like a fine teacher in that tradition. Not enlightened, but certainly qualified to teach.

Imo, he's teaching superstition if he claims to receive messages from a dead guru.

Ramakrishna was already their Guru.

Ramakrishna being the guru is a long way from influencing the development of his Math as a discorporate being from beyond the funeral pyre.

The fact that such things can be suggested, doesn't mean that all such things are the product of suggestion.

The fact that someone has a subjective experience which he interprets as a communication from the dead doesn't mean it came from the dead.

I think you have to see how you have erected a perfectly infallible system for explaining everything.

I've found that spiritual life can be vivid and transforming without resorting to superstition. So, I reject the superstition as superfluous.

You simply assume that because superstition is rampant in India culture, everything in Indian culture is superstition.

No I don't. But I consider the idea that folks get communication from discorporate gurus to be superstitious.

yet, still you sing to photographs of dead people and claim this has nothing to do with superstition.

BY, for like the third time, I'm merely employing some photographs of beloved characters as a way to acknowledge the Self within. Quit trying to make my shit all magical.

Subtle things and experience are a part of life. They are no more occluding than the newspaper.

I'd add: they are a part of life because we generate them ourselves.

To an intelligent person, they simply become something to take with a grain of salt, or something to investigate, or something that helps open the mind to the possibility that there is more to this life than materialistic assumptions.

And to the thousands giving millions to Kalki Bhagavan because they believe he is God? There's a stunning dearth of intelligent people in these situations quite often.

Including that idea about enlightenment.

It's an idea about ideas of enlightenment, BY. Is that too subtle a distinction for you?

By your own definition, you are introducing occluding ideas into this world by making claims about what helps and what hurts enlightenment.

I am suggesting that the ongoing subtle truth of self-realization is made opaque by what we believe about self-realization. I offer my thorn to get at the thorn.

You simply accuse him of introducing ideas that might, somehow, be used to exploit people.

No. I'm accusing him of introducing an idea that could become a fetter in some of those who accept that idea.

If you give yourself leeway to do so, why not give Bharat similar leeway?

Because I'm not claiming to be speaking to dead people. BY, please, catch on to what I'm saying, for the fourth time.

You have chosen two people who are associated with a highly superstitious practice of devotional worship.

Not in my application of it for myself.

you praise Ramakrishna and criticize Bharat.

That's your gloss, BY.

Are you aware of the kinds of things Ramakrishna did?

Yes, he underwent an intense sadhana in a state that may have been diagnosed as bipolar disorder today.

And yet somehow Bharat's mention of seeing his dead Guru's subtle form is somehow more dangerous than that?

I'm not here promoting what Ramakrishna believed. I don't accept any of that in him any more than in Bharat.

but others are so dim they can't even have a benign guy like Bharat as a Guru, because he mentions that his Guru appears to him now and then?

Kalki Bhagavan. He proves that many are dim, or tragically desirous to the exclusion of their common sense.

you are unable to imagine that there is actually a subtle, non-material realm which is real, and in which realm experiences occur.

Actually, I believe in all that. But I also believe it's the same shit everything else is. In other words, only special because we make it special, and in the end, essentially superfluous to spiritual life, imo.

you say about your own superstitious practices to views that are consistent with materialism.

That's because it's not superstition, for the fifth time.

I admit that others employ the practice in a way that I would call superstitious, but I don't, and it has nothing to do with "materialism," it has to do with realism, keeping things simple and not relying on things outside my direct experience.

That said, I believe that most subtle experience is internally generated. You can't prove any different no matter how passionately you try. We are going to have to let this one fall in the can't be proved column.

your fail to note that materialism has an even worse record of exploiting people than spiritual superstition.

It's not materialism vs. spirituality. It's what can know vs. what we want to believe.

If you insist on having a foot in both worlds, you are going to have to respect both worlds.

That's the world you are seeing me in. It's very clear to me that ain't the one I'm standing in.

not everything in the physical world is personally verifiable either.

That doesn't mean everything we can't verify must be true.

The class distinctions you are trying to make don't exist as you present them.

I see them, they are there for me.

why try to enforce your personal taboos on others? That's the issue.

Because it's my blog and I feel spiritual culture needs the superstition knocked out of it.

you are trying to denigrate the guy for it

I'm saying it's unfortunate he's spreading those ideas. That's a way from denigration.

you don't really know what you are talking about.

You are in vast company there.

What about the other poster here who mentions an experience of Sivananda?

He's defending his subjective experience as something that proves every case. I get that all the time. I don't have the time to deal with them all.

you fear becoming deluded

That's an interesting analysis, but I have to say it says much more about you than you are about me. If there's one thing in the entire universe I'm NOT afraid of, it's becoming deluded. I'm grandiose like that.

Your problem is that you are ashamed of your devotion

I'm not ashamed of my devotion. Jesus Christ, BY. Get a hold of yourself!

I choose to interpret my devotional life psychologically, rather than resorting to superstition and myth. I also feel that superstition and myth create many more problems than they solve, in spiritual culture generally. I'm fine with being a devotee, I just choose to not dress it up with a bunch of magical bullshit.

to protect yourself from even greater neurosis.

My neurosis is as great as it's going to get, thank God.

People who do that, of course, often end up having all kinds of spiritual phenomena occur.

I am SO not interested in that. I feel no need to have any such experience, although I sure like skiing a 45 degree slope with 3 feet of new snow on it.

If you sing to Ramakrishna, why not do it his way?

Because I don't feel that.

I agree that superstitious marketing plans suck, but that doesn't seem to be the case here, does it?

Maybe not overtly, but the "subtle" effect of his confession could work as a kind of attractive feature to those who look for that sort of thing.

I don't see any evidence that Bharat expects people to believe him either.

It has resulted in others having the same belief. He didn't have to expect it, it happened anyway, a function of the fact that he's the guru and seen as the authority in those matters.

I don't really doubt that he's had such experiences, do you?

Nope. But that doesn't mean that they weren't completely subjective to him, and that it would have been better for him to keep that sort of thing to himself, imo.

it doesn't seem to be the case that he's just crassly making it up to build himself up. Do you?

I don't know. He could be, in a subtle way.

You seem to think that subtle experience can only plug up one's head, whereas you don't seem to acknowledge at all how plugged up we already are with materialistic nonsense.

And you are plugged up with the idea that mine are limited to the materialistic.

I'm not saying subtle experience will always plug up a head, I'm saying the expectation of subtle experience plugs up heads.

who's talking like the all-knowing Guru here?

The owner of this jerk's opinion blog. That's why it's here, so I can come off as all-knowing. It's the companion to my grandiosity.

How could you possible know this about all spiritual experiences?

See above.

do you think that all materialistic experience is also the direct result of the placebo effect? In other words, mind-induced?

Jump off a highway bridge into 65 mph traffic and let us know.

 
At 1/14/2008 3:00 AM, Blogger Broken Yogi said...

Okay, I think we both know this has gone about as far as it needs to go. I'm sorry if I've pushed the Devil's Advocate thing a bit too much. Didn't mean to offend you.

Anyway, I hope I've at least made you even slightly aware of some flaws in your approach. If you don't like having your own views unfairly denigrated, just think twice before you reflexively denigrate someone like Bharat, who from the article you posted really seems like an awfully good, kind, benevolent guy without an exploitive bone in his body. Is it really his fault if he sees dead Gurus?Rationalizing your denigration of him by pointing to big time spiritual narcissists and frauds like Kalki is just lame, and I think you know that, even if you're not about to admit it in public.

One thing I don't get is this:

BY, for like the third time, I'm merely employing some photographs of beloved characters as a way to acknowledge the Self within. Quit trying to make my shit all magical.

You said before that you don't believe in the Self. Now you say you do. Which is it? And really, isn't this “Self” just as superstitious a belief as the notion that you can see dead Gurus? Please, show me this Self, and then we can both say it isn't a superstition on your part. Until then, you are just showing preference for one superstitious belief over another.

Also. You say that subtle things are generated by us, but you also say you are not a materialist. What non-material things exist then, that aren't generated by ourselves?

Jump off a highway bridge into 65 mph traffic and let us know.

Why would I need to do that to see that the material world is mind-generated? I see the material world in my mind right now. Isn't that proof enough?

BTW, have you ever actually seen or experienced anything outside of your own mind?

 
At 1/14/2008 9:12 AM, Blogger jody said...

Didn't mean to offend you.

No problem, BY. I've been doing this sort of thing for years.

Anyway, I hope I've at least made you even slightly aware of some flaws in your approach.

I didn't need you to see the flaws in my approach. What approach doesn't have flaws? However, I'm sticking to mine as it's what has appeared to work for me.

Is it really his fault if he sees dead Gurus?

It's his fault if he teaches that to others rather than keeping it within the purview of his subjective experience.

Rationalizing your denigration of him by pointing to big time spiritual narcissists and frauds like Kalki is just lame

I'd say it's lame to say I'm denigrating him. I'm just saying he may be shooting himself in the foot if he's trying to help his students come to self-realization.

and I think you know that, even if you're not about to admit it in public.

Not really. I mean, I'm lame all the time, but not in this particular case, insofar as it's the Kalkis of the world that require me to step on a few Bharats every now and then.

You said before that you don't believe in the Self. Now you say you do.

I don't believe in my truck either, because it's sitting right there in the window, outside in the parking lot.

isn't this “Self” just as superstitious a belief as the notion that you can see dead Gurus?

The Self is available as an awareness of itself at all times. Dead gurus are not, at least to me.

Please, show me this Self, and then we can both say it isn't a superstition on your part.

Touché, BY. I cannot prove the Self anymore than you can prove dead gurus.

Until then, you are just showing preference for one superstitious belief over another.

Except that it's not really belief as I employ the word.

Also. You say that subtle things are generated by us, but you also say you are not a materialist. What non-material things exist then, that aren't generated by ourselves?

The Mahashakti.

Why would I need to [jump off a highway bridge into 65 mph traffic] to see that the material world is mind-generated?

You wouldn't. You'd do it to see that the world has effects seemingly outside the mind's power to generate. This is opposed to the so-called subtle world, where pretty much all that we see is mind generated.

It was my illustration of the different classes of phenomena, physical vs. subtle.

BTW, have you ever actually seen or experienced anything outside of your own mind?

No, but that doesn't mean I can save myself from being rendered into strawberry pancake roadkill by the truck.

 
At 1/14/2008 11:07 AM, Blogger gregory said...

waaay baack up the thread is a great thought... that all spiritual experiences are from the placebo effect...

man, do i love that one

 
At 1/14/2008 11:27 AM, Blogger jody said...

all spiritual experiences are from the placebo effect...

It explains why all religion works across all the thousands of ideologies, many seemingly in direct conflict with one another.

It's not what you believe, it's how you believe it.

 
At 1/14/2008 1:37 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Jody wrote...
I've found that spiritual life can be vivid and transforming without resorting to superstition. So, I reject the superstition as superfluous.

For me personally, I'm often not comfortable believing or championing superstitions. There are lots of folks in the spiritual subculture (teachers and students) who make these superstitions central to their practice. There were times in the past when I wondered whether I could even pursue practices like meditation and inquiry without embracing these group-think superstitions.

That's why it's so important to me, this idea Jody expresses that "spiritual life can be vivid and transforming without resorting to superstition". It means I can explore the great questions of life without rejecting my common sense, critical thinking, bullshit detector. To say the superstition is "superfluous" doesn't mean it's awful for others to believe what suits them. It means that believing in superstitions isn't mandatory for people like me, whom it doesn't suit.

I try to find my own way to inquiry into the great mystery, a way that's not hindered by my inability to believe in superstitions. It's good for people to know that this alternative exists: we can explore our true nature without burying or denying our intelligence.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 1/14/2008 2:50 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

the difference between subtle and what? unsubtle Phenomena ? it's only a matter of degree, if that. so contacting the self through a picture or a vision what's the diff? People have been lead astray by all sorts of things , words , symbols , pictures, . not all pictures are occluding , not all spiritual phenomena are occluding.imo
to categorize all of a type of phenomena as occluding don't seem right.
jody , i really have kind of a fondness for you , i love the way you stick it to all the goody two shoes yogoids. but if you try to take the spirit out of spiritual, or bust every teacher that doesn't fit within your, how shall i say , rigid guidelines ya'll are gonna break!
perceiving subtle phenomena is normal for some people, heck most people have some of this ability , you can't talk them out of it, or protect them from it, or keep some from being occluded and fascinated by it , some day they are going to see it don't mean shit compared to any thing else. I think it's just the continuum of stuff that beings evolve through.
if you are a Vedantist then you know the real self can't die, i assume we are all expressions of that self, so whether you are a subtle or not so subtle body is there a big difference?

 
At 1/14/2008 2:56 PM, Blogger jody said...

i assume we are all expressions of that self, so whether you are a subtle or not so subtle body is there a big difference?

From the regard of the Absolute, there is no difference. But we're nominally folks in bodies throwing words at one another. Additionally, we've identified all kinds of different classes of phenomena. So, I'm going with the physical vs. subtle distinction, and I'm saying most everything that happens in the subtle is projected rather than detected.

Am I little more than a D.Q. tilting at windmills? Yes. Is that going to stop me from presenting my ideas as they've arrived in my life. No.

 
At 1/14/2008 7:52 PM, Blogger gregory said...

on use of the word superstition...

my opinion, our entire consensus reality is a superstitiion...

 
At 1/14/2008 7:57 PM, Blogger jody said...

our entire consensus reality is a superstitiion...

That's a common conceit, but the truck going 60 is going to put an end to that thinking.

 
At 1/14/2008 8:11 PM, Blogger gregory said...

yeah, i often use the line, "if i drop a rock on your toe, i wont feel it" when people talk the stuff of we're all one... and i knew this would be your reply, even had the thought formulated to counter it before you could give it, but was too lazy to write it out...

physical reality has its splats, no doubt, but we are talking about mind and its concepts, prior to the Great Splat of Ending..... beliefs are so relative and arbitrary that they can only be superstitions... you and i might get out of the way of the truck, might throw ourselves in front of the truck, might not even see the trucks, villagers between here and the next town are totally oblivious to trucks..

i raise my fist here, it has no meaning, in the bronx i would be splot, in italy i would be the focus of anger

i would suggest to you that you see it as more than a conceit, it lets the burden of point of view become lighter, allowing awareness to expand

 
At 1/14/2008 8:28 PM, Blogger jody said...

i would suggest to you that you see it as more than a conceit

It's all one big conceit, yet some conceits are more useful than others. Like Stuart, I'm not willing to give up the conceit of looking at something with a critical eye.

 
At 1/14/2008 8:34 PM, Blogger jody said...

Many jokers have had whole careers based on their "special" relationship with a Guru.

These sort of folks are coming at gurus all the time. I was one of them. By claiming to communicate with and receive life advice from a dead person, Bharat sets up a groove for the devotees to fall in as a part of their plan to get close to the guru. It's up to the guru to filter for what's made up, and in this case, it most likely all is. Why even introduce the idea when it has nothing to do with yoga and meditation, imo.

 
At 1/14/2008 8:52 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

when people talk the stuff of we're all one...

well are we or aren't we? or are we bad little outcasts, doomed to defend our ideas? maybe so.

But we're nominally folks in bodies throwing words at one another.

nominally, that's right.
and yes we all have our preferences and biases, but I'm gonna spend my life pushing that edge beyond what I'm comfortable with, going where ever that leads.

 
At 1/14/2008 9:03 PM, Blogger jody said...

I'm gonna spend my life pushing that edge beyond what I'm comfortable with, going where ever that leads.

I don't think any of us has much choice in the matter, no matter how much we fool ourselves thinking we can direct our lives at all.

 

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