28 June 2010

Dear Everyone,

I wanted to thank you for the many generous donations I have received during the last six months, which I use to support work on this site, but even more so, to help animals in the Los Angeles area. Usually this money goes to pay for food and medical help for homeless cats living on the streets of Los Angeles, either those I take care of, or those being cared for by other colony managers in the area who themselves, are usually stretched beyond their means because of their love for animals. There are an estimated 2 million homeless cats and dogs on LA’s streets, and over 60,000 a year killed in Los Angeles City and County shelters.

I have dedicated my life to saving and helping these animals and also helping seekers find understanding and peace. Your donations are incredibly helpful in completing these tasks.

I have been blessed/cursed by an inability to ask for money or sell things. Robert, Ramana, Nisargadatta and all the great ones really didn’t want to handle money. What came to them was through spontaneous giving by students and devotees. Robert used to say this was the tacit agreement between devotee/student and the teacher. The teacher took care of your spiritual life, and the student took care of the teacher's needs. (Of course, Robert used to directly ask his closest followers for help when he needed it, but not the general public or seeker.)

In Eastern culture, the seeker understood that escape from suffering and finding release was the most valuable thing to them, and therefore, they took care of all the teacher's needs. In the West, most students are just curious about the teachings, and are not dedicated to awakening. Spirituality is just another research area for them among many.

None of the great ones offered $300 or $3000 weekend workshops, multiple books, CDs, incense, clothes, Satsang or individual audience fees. Mostly they did fine though because their students, along with God, or God through them, provided whatever is needed.

I now sell one book on this site, the story of Rajiv’s awakening, for for some who inquire, additional items of Robert’s teachings.  But I do so only with great difficulty. 

Money--commerce--is a contaminant of the teachings. The teachings are how to transcend the world, life and death, and money is 100% keeping you in this world, much as emphasis on physical health increases attachment to the body. It is truly, truly difficult for me to sell things.
Therefore I earn money editing medical reports and from donations from readers, and now a bit from “selling” stuff.
I would much rather respond to the 20 emails a day I get from students requesting practice advice and taking care of animals. I don’t have that luxury and need to spend much time working.

As it is there are many, many free downloads at the itisnotreal.com website, including Hunting the I, Autobiography of a Jnani, most of Robert's transcripts, and now the complete dialogues with students over the years.

If you find these publications of value, or you value the responses to questions about your practice, or you want to contribute to supporting my animal saving work in Los Angeles, please donate something.
Thank you very much,



  1. I sent you a little money for your cats. I'm glad you can help them.

    Though I am strongly opposed to (and yet, also don't really care about) spiritual teachers soliciting large sums of money to support luxurious personal lifestyles, I don't have any problem with you accepting donations to help cats. For reasons I have mentioned earlier, I think it's generally best to avoid any quid pro quo exchange in which money is given for spiritual advice or materials. As with anything, however, it depends on the context.

    Not everyone is meant to throw all of their money away upon attaining enlightenment, as Ramana did (supposedly, he refused to even touch any form of money for the rest of his life). It was entirely appropriate for Robert to ask you for the $7,000 "investment" in his Nicole's sewing business. To the casual observer, this might appear like an inappropriate solicitation, but actually, Robert was helping you more than you helped him. When he took the check, he also took a big chunk of karma related to money away from you. He has a reason for everything he did. He could have been wealthy if he had wanted to but chose to live near the poverty line rather than become a commercial teacher.

    In the kriya yoga tradition, Babaji supposedly told Lahiri Mahasaya to ask five rupees from kriya initiates as a "sign of their physical purification of the five states of prana." The story goes that Babaji would use the money to feed yogi renunciates. Requesting a modest amount of money for initiation into a spiritual tradition may also help to weed out casual seekers who have no real commitment to pursuing it.

    It is, however, a slippery slope. There is a very fine line between a teacher accepting money for a legitimate reason and turning spirituality into a for-profit business. Even soliciting money for charitable causes can become problematic if people start feeling a compulsion to donate or start expecting something in return. And at some point, enough is just enough. A number of years ago, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was trying to solicit a billion dollars to train 40,000 meditators to bring lasting peace and harmony to the world. "I lack only one billion dollars to make a world - better world," he said. A little while later, he needed only a trillion for another project to save the planet. Well, that's just fine. Everyone and everything is in the right place.

    People should be generous and support their teachers without being asked. It is really shameful for legitimate, dedicated teachers -- enlightened or not -- to be put in positions where they are forced to ask their students for support when it should be quite apparent that they have unmet material needs. Some people who would never let a member of their family struggle financially seem to have no problem watching their guru undergo financial hardship. The guru-disciple relationship is the most intimate bond there is, and yet there are those who will loan one of their jerk relatives thousands of dollars for something unnecessary while their guru struggles to afford the basic necessities of life. A lot of students have their priorities really screwed up.

    Thanks again for the work you do with people and cats.

    Love and Blessings,

  2. "D" you have covered everything I had in mind to write. In fact you have written and expressed it more beautifully than I could ever have.

    Most Gurus do not ask for donation because they feel that the feeling to serve must come from within. On the other hand few other Gurus would even ask explicitly. It is normal for most to judge the Gurus on the basis of what Gurus ask. And those who ask explicitly are mostly judged on the wrong side. The Gurus know that. They are not fools to not realize that most will judge them wrongly. They risk their reputation but not for themselves but for others. This is part of their unconditional love where they sacrifice their own reputation, ego and everything connected to their human existence because they realize how insignificant it is. The love for others far outweighs the love for their own trivial egoic self and they are ready to be pelted and bruised for the higher cause. The cause is to look after others and share their pain as long as possible and to make all of us partners in such noble deeds so that we too could transcend the limitations of body and monetary greed. The habit to donate either by monetary means or through service is one of the most important lessons because we are sharing and relieving some part of pain of others suffering. Most do not realize that this is huge opportunity for us. The greed to accumulate money and richness is never fully satisfied. The will to serve could be either by donations (which is good) or by physically helping and providing through our own hands(which is best). Most will never realize how important this lesson is and many will forgo this lesson and later repent at the missed opportunity to serve in any capacity.
    It doesn’t mean we must absolutely empty ourselves because we have a family too to look after but we can always skip a fancy holiday or a luxury dinner and serve those in need. There is no small or large amounts of donation so do not shy to make any sort of donation to anyone needy. The Guru is imparting a lesson here, which is to get into a habit of serving. Later you will know that by serving others you were only serving your own self and by ignoring others you ignored your true Self. The pain and suffering of such ignorance will be unbearable later. You just can not separate others from yourself no matter what.
    Please Pardon me for this lengthy mail.

    Rajiv Kapur

  3. Dear Ed,
    First, allow me to say how deeply I respect who you are and the work that you do. It seems to me that you have been blessed with a depth of realization that most spiritual people can only dream of and not even that.

    So, thank you for being.

    Having said that, I just read your piece on money that you wrote on your blog and your words on money being a contaminant. My personal feeling is that all the levels of this world, business, politics, etc .... --- they all require to become spiritualized.

    Therefore, the attitude that money for Dharma is bad, regardless of who might have said it, strikes me as something that should be looked at.

    When Ramana and the other great ones lived, they spent the bigger part of their lives surrounded by people who RECOGNIZED them and supported them. They existed in a matrix that honored the sage.

    You live in LA, and you are surrounded by a matrix of deep, deep sleep and nobody recognizes that you spent 50,000 hours with meditation and have found things because of your super human drive .... TO FIND THINGS. With few exceptions, nobody honors your findings, because they don't have the ability to see it, nor has the surrounding society made it a point to honor the sages. We flush em down the toilet in utter ignorance.

    This thing about not taking money.... works if you are surrounded by people who voluntarily give it, and especially if there are some very wealthy donors who balance the poor people's inability to support. And there were often those wealthy ones.....

    The Dharma being shared in Asia ... is one thing. The Dharma being shared in the West .... is an entirely different animal. I flamingly disagree with this attitude of money is bad and should not be associated with the Dharma. And I disagree that a Dharma teacher should have to work at Walmart during the day, so that he can give the Dharma freely at night. That is just plain masochistic.

    With deepest and genuine respect for who you are, the realization alive in you, I also know that just because the Absolute might be alive in a person, it does not mean that person becomes infallible in everything they say or do. Not me, not you, not even Ramana. There still remains the programming of the Relative. Ramana chose to re-use old nails and the same thing might not have occurred to the Buddha. So, there are choices of how the Absolute presents itself through the individual.

    At one point I worked as an option trader and immediately 20% of any trade profit I made, we gave away. It was my wife's job to find people to whom to give the money to. (easy).

    We did that because we felt that money and Dharma needed to join. I still feel the same way.

    But, the attitude to money needs to change. It is not money that is bad. What is bad is greed. It is not the rich man who cannot enter heaven. It is the greedy man who cannot.

    It is because the wise man in the West will not receive support and honor from the surrounding society that he is forced to put a price tag on something that is priceless. Why? Because he too NEEDS TO EAT and pay the rent.

    There is nothing wrong with asking for a reasonable amount of money for what you do.
    I do, while always keeping open to say, if a person really has no money, they can come, because no money should never be a deterrent from people contacting the Dharma,
    Nuff said.

    Yours sincerely,
    Andreas Mamet

  4. It is so true.. Wish I had lots of money so that I can do a lot to change the lives so many living beings, the plants, the animals, humans..Whatever I can donate now may be too less.But my heart goes to all the needy and I wish realized masters like Edji are able to reach out to them through our small contributions..The mother in me is trying to reach out to all the needy..
    In tears,

  5. Language - like threading a needle with my elbows!

    Please forgive my ignorance and/or lack of propriety Sir as I describe what looks like a bio-local thought train., i. e., Internal dialogue running as: If there is/are indeed no doer(s) then is it possible for there to be an 'asker'? Is it even possible that I have, or that I will, 'donate'? Even a statement like, 'I believe [for the time being]' seems weird to me now.

    Language seems pretty screwy, inadequate and contradictory to me . . . as now this statement: What 'you're doing' is nothing short of heroic - with four and two legged creatures. Thank you for BEING Sir.

    In so far as I can tell, this-I appears to be 'some dude' that lives in a wee trailer in a copse of cedar at the frayed end of his tether doing what he can in the moment not to be harmful and perhaps be moderately helpful, grateful that YOU may be tugging at these heels!

    It is a blessing to appear to be a conduit through which conveyance of resource may flow. If I'm out of line here I reckon you understand this in a way I can only dimly imagine. I don't feel I have intended disrespect.

    I feel an incredible gratitude for you Sir and all that is happening through you.

    Thank you.

    Pranams Sri Edji,

  6. Dear Ed,
    Thank you for your honesty and directness in sharing your circumstance with us. Your website and blog stand as testimony to your extreme dedication and generosity toward both seekers and animals. May those who have been helped by you appreciate what you have given, and be inspired to gratitude and a consistent generosity in return.
    Many blessings to you.