20 February 2010

From some of the remarks from people who write to you, it seems an error that some make is they read a particular book or listen to a particular teacher for a short time and overgeneralize what they read or hear. 

Papaji is probably one of the most misunderstood advaita gurus.  His primary teaching was to sit at his feet and surrender to the sage / the Self.  He never, 
never, advocated that everyone drop sadhana en masse.  He did direct some people to stop practicing pranayama or other techniques that he felt had served their purpose with those particular individuals.  To others, he recommended a wide variety of practices, in each case, based on the maturity of the student.  He prescribed everything from self inquiry, devotion and seva to painting and dancing.  He would tell one person to do one thing and another to do the exact opposite.

All good teachers personalize their message to each particular student.  Ramana was no different.  He once told a woman who had left the Catholic church to return to it and worship Christ.  She apparently followed his advice, with good results.  People who read something that Papaji or some other guru said to one individual or within a certain limited context and think that this advice applies universally are mistaken.

The best, most effective teaching is the one that will help the student in question to introvert the mind and drop all of their erroneous beliefs.  That is why it is important to have living, breathing teachers like you, Ed.  You give general guidelines and signposts to follow but also address the individual needs of each student.  This is good.  The world could benefit from fewer books lecturers and more realized teachers.


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