14 May 2012

A New Way of Teaching

Again, I have been quiet for a while.  Now that I have read Siddharameshwar’s Master of Self-Realization, I am aware both of the strengths and weaknesses of the Advaita approach.

One strength is that it is a model that provides a complete ontology and epistemology about the human condition, focuses on what is important, which is self-realization versus other kinds of spiritual knowledge or of attaining siddhas, and provides the method of following or abiding in the I-sense, the I Am.

However, one weakness of Advaita (and Zen) is that it misses the human condition that still binds most seekers, and tries to cast it off rather than use it to energize awakening.  Traditional Advaita, at best, urges one to love one’s family and children, but to concentrate on the I-sense, follow it downwards into the depths of consciousness, to the deepest layer of consciousness, Turiya, and then even surpass that to utter silence, the Void of Voids.

The other even stronger weakness is that it is a simple-to-understand model with enormous power to gratify one’s thirst to know and to understand.  One reads Nisargadatta or Siddharameshwar, and immediately the mind halts and one feels awe. It is so easy to make the mind rest when it hears these deep truths.

Like Einstein’s General Theory, it is so beautiful, eloquent, and complete, one rests in a state of pure knowing.

Yet, this knowing is still of the mind.  It does not penetrate deeper into one’s consciousness to the deeper levels of Samadhi, or guide you through to the levels of knowing nothing, becoming nothing, wherein all knowledge is shed and you become simple and humble.

You see, the traditional Advaita is so powerful, just reading it generates profound states of understanding in some, with profound “opening” experiences, that one often feels they have gone all the way and have a complete understanding.  Very often they become very arrogant, filled with spiritual knowledge, which they begin to announce to everyone they know.

Thus is born the Facebook and other Internet gurus and also the guru-bashers, who smell the arrogance of knowledge, or the falseness of those who proclaim their utter purity and divine love.  One can feel that these teachers lack humility and a certain humanness and loudly proclaim an impersonal state, or of a divine and impersonal love for all.  One feels in their presence, the lack of the human touch, of mortality, and simple humility.  They are teachers, and everyone should listen to their truth, and believe their impersonal love is deep and true.

It is so hard for many to ever escape this trap of understanding and embodying an impersonal, universal love.

There is another way of teaching that I think is more powerful and without the weaknesses of Advaita.  I should also include Zen and Tibetan Buddhism with Advaita, because they beget similar problems as Advaita, and also miss the transforming power of human love.  You will not find love in Zen, believe me.

This other way is by direct transmission of transformative shakti, and also just being in the presence of the guru in Satsang and Darshan, being in the presence of truth and manifest love.

This is why I hung around gurus for many years, looking for truth in them which I felt I lacked.  This is why I spent 8 years with Robert, because I could feel it in him.  I felt his “beyond this worldliness,” and its draw was infinitely powerful.  To be around him and feel knowledge and knowingness drop away into the peaceful holding grace of nothingness brought such peace.  One can certainly feel the draw of the Great silence, the stateless state beyond even Turiya, which is the ground state of the Self, the feeling that core that penetrates through and permeates all other states of consciousness, like the waking, dream and sleep states, as well as the mind with all its knowing, and impulses, as well as the physical body, and even the awakening Shakti itself.

Yet, one always feels there is something lacking following this path, a feeling of love and the terrible power of love to twist and turn you into a thriving, flowering plant, or by its lack, into a shriveled leaf.  I am talking about human love, the love for another, which in its deepest form is really love of the Self, for itself, both in oneself, where the love arises and is felt, but also love for the Self that is felt and experienced in the “Other.”

I saw it in Robert. Robert was always seeking personal love because he said it grounded him and kept him in the world.  What he meant was that love of the self turned inward resulted in a Ramana, benevolent and impersonal, but love of the self turned outwards, brought a transformative power both to the guru and to those who loved him or her.

Yes, Robert loved me.  I could feel it all the time.  But he also sought the love of a woman to ground himself, to excite and energize that Self-layer of his, as well as energize the Self-knowing quality in the woman.  We men students were largely left out of the masculine/feminine transformation around Robert, and most felt the Void and beyond, which can become very, very dry.

I truly believe that one is OFTEN best served by having a guru of the opposite sex, for it can use human love as a transformative energy, a sort of conscious or unconscious Tantra.

I do not want to digress too much in this area, it is only an example of what I saw over 40 years of being around countless gurus: human love in all its forms is an essential part of the best sorts of transformation. It always will destroy the arrogance of knowledge that Advaita and Tibetan Buddhism can bring, as well as the Zen arrogance of knowing nothing.  Love, human love as between lovers, or the guru/chela, is humbling and transformative.

Therefore, I think there is a more powerful way of teaching than teaching Advaita or Zen or other forms of Buddhism, and that is direct transmission, outside of the teachings, through respect and love, mostly in silence, while being in the presence of the teacher—someone who has realized the Self.

I admit I totally pooh-poohed such a way of teaching in the past, because it lacked knowingness, understanding, and a method.  The only method was to be in the presence of the guru, and lacking that, of a highly evolved lover.

This is the model of Muktananda and currently, Amma, the hugging guru.

I saw Amma several times before I met Robert and felt nothing from her, but I saw the profound impact she had on many.  I dismissed her and her approach then as not for me.  Also, for me, Muktananda was the same:  a silly old man with no particular teachings, or anything else going for him, but who also had an enormous impact on thousands of students through his shakti.

But I see the trap of knowledge and knowingness so easily sprung on Advaita and Buddhist students, which I have seen at work in our own Sangha. Thus from now on, I will emphasize “Truth” less, and the need for love, both personal and impersonal, and for physical presence, more, much more.


  1. I think everybody wants that – it is our deepest nature, we are Love and we continue to project and seek it out there. We are simply seeking ourselves - the LOVE that we are.

    As you say, even Robert Adams did that when engaging with women and with you as a friend.

    If we are to live and manifest as human beings that is what we begin to do – project our love in others and seek their reflection, their love for us.

    Many speak and preach about enlightenment but very few speak about the intimacy of a relationship that allows the human love to grow so much that it becomes a beautiful flower, the lotus of self-realization leading to saintly personhood/human-hood. This is what being truly human means – to love so greatly, so completely. That is the guru-devotee relationship. Very few understand this. It is a very deep, but also very secret teaching because it is dangerous. How many have had that guru-chela relationship themselves? This relationship contains the gems of existence – love for the guru that is grace, humility and worship. And those lead to service, for we see it in every human being we meet.

  2. wow ed, it's so painfully true what u say. i've felt that for a while too. advaita is a wonderful head trip, but the core, the Heart is untouched. i've found myself

    on this strange human relationship, failing, misery, path that seems to, in a strange way, work. yes, human relationships, vulnerabilities, stickiness.... it's my way.

    i've also found power in the christian church (an open, non crazy-evangelizing-wing-nut denomination, hahaha)

    i want to give and receive love. if i have a drop, i want to give it away. fill up, give, fill up more, give more....

    the joy of blessing people, dat's my way. :)

  3. I don't know how things are done today, but at one time, monks in her ashram were required, on a daily basis, to meditate for eight hours, recite the 1000 names of the Divine Mother, perform several hours of seva, and practice japa whenever possible. This focus on intense sadhana doesn't come out in the superficial materials available online because these things are for the masses rather than for serious devotees.

    Amma used to give Krishna Bhava (darshan as Krishna) in addition to Devi Bhava (darshan as the Divine Mother). She stopped Krishna bhava in 1985 because she said it put her into a completely impersonal state in which there were no others, and there was no world, so compassion couldn't be expressed. As with Robert, the "personal love" seemed to be necessary to keep her grounded here.

  4. Great post Ed.

    I've noticed recently the tendency to explain away love, squelch it, withdraw from it...all in the name of Truth, knowledge,understanding...

    I see that just as I used religion as a pacifier to calm the deep longing of my heart to really, really Love someone, I also do the same thing with spirituality.

    It seems that both of these can be great tools to silence the experiences that the heart is longing to have, especially when those experiences defy the conceptual world of do's and don'ts, shoulds and shouldn'ts.

    At some point, and it has been reached here, not even the most severe beliefs can silence the heart's longings.

    The greatest ecstasy that I have ever felt was in the sweet surrender to another. The type of surrender that gives them the power to destroy you, while you trust that they won't. The heart is always willing to take this risk, but the head can seem superior in its reasonings and logic against it.

    It's scarey, no doubt about that.
    So scarey even, that I find myself almost afraid to really 'feel' again. This fear has snuck up on me like the fucking ghost of Christmas past.

    It takes courage to keep the heart open, especially when the hurt has been severe.

    Many thanks.


  5. This is R, adding to my previous post.

    The heart enlarges and has a greater and greater capacity to Love when we allow ourselves to be completely vulnerable (allowing the heart to express itself, not knowing what the response from the other will be)

    When we realize that vulnerability, though risky, is way more valuable than avoiding the possible pain, we will be more and more willing to take that risk.


  6. You have a strange habit of teaching things, disavowing them dramatically, and changing direction. I find it alarming, to be honest.

  7. Ah, Anonymous,

    The mind wants something fixed.

    I think the disavowing and changing directions is brilliant.

    The teaching or rather spiritual knowledge is the hardest knowledge to let go of.


  8. Hmm...
    At least to me Truth serves as the destroyer of egotistical tendencies, imaginary world, many pictures about oneself, etc. Then, what is left is Love. Though, love is always there, but somehow that imaginary world blocks seeing... it may sound 'easy', but this is quite difficult to articulate.
    To be in Gurus presence is without doubt the best practical approach to spirituality. Everything other is something one practices while there is no Guru around.

  9. "Truth will set you free" -Jesus

    And when there is a little bit of 'free', can love flow and wash. =D

  10. Dear Edji,

    Once again, thank you for the teachings that help keep the mind from finding an easy foothold to call truth or belief in anything transient. It is a difficult teaching, but so beautiful.

    How quickly the mind tries to crystallize thought and make it a teaching or method and label it Advaita, Zen, Christianity, Sufi or whatever, when those are temporal anamolies and are therefore not real. They are real only in the world of appearances.

    I do not know how to define love except that when I pay total attention to another, be it a squirrel, plant, rock or person that feeling must be it. Sometimes I am conscious of seeing others as me in their circumstances and that is probably it also.

    As my mind keeps coming back to you and your teachings, there is an indescribable energy. I basque in that.


  11. Love is the fuel for selfenquiry. Without love advaita becomes mental arrogance. Edji are you presenting a new teaching? A new bhakti approach? In my experience is looking outside for real love always ending in desilliusion. Therefor with all respect and love i will proceed the direct path of selfenquiry. Tought by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharshi.

  12. Love for another can be love of the Self for the Self. It all depends on the depth of the love and the person's openness. Otherwise it can be merely a physical thing.

  13. Dennis, notice Edji here is talking about loving the guru, a self-realized person and being in his proximity. Then loving is like loving the self.

  14. Ramana's grace continues to permeate the ethers of the seeking consciousness even today.

    "In Talks with Ramana Maharshi" there are several dialogues with seekers where he acknowledges that while pure self inquiry is a direct route, there are differences in individual jiva (souls) consciousness. According to one's disposition, karma yoga, Bhakti or others may be requisite. He informed that all paths lead to self-inquiry.

    At least I feel that our various stages or disposition are also being addressed through Edji's teachings.

    Another account re: Ramana was when someone came to him from Gandhi's ashram and asked if there was anything he could report back to Gandhi. Ramana replied: (paraphrase), "tell him the love there is the same love here".

    Can we qualify grace and love of one teacher from another, when that love is of the Overself? Is that not the same love?

    Although the mind today is no different from the mind of thousands of years ago with all of the confusion and delusional stuff, can we not expect teachers to come forward to help us by pointing the way back to the Self even today?

    We are graced to have a living teacher and embodiment of love and grace in Edji that speaks our language and patiently points the way toward the Self and liberation from conditioned thinking.

    1. Thank you, 'anonymous' wellknown! Ohm namah Shivaji. Ohm paramatman. Thank you Edji, Love from Nepal

  15. Will there be Satsang this weekend? If so please post a link with instructions on how to connect. Im not used to the new format.\

    - Isaac

  16. Where does human love exist?

    In duality?

    Therefore projecting love the opposite must also take effect. The balancing of duality must come to pass. Such is the world and its manifestations.

    Someone has to be projecting. The ego thinks it is projecting. The question must return, "Who am I?" And to follow it through.

    Robert is LOVE. Robert did not need to LOVE he was totally its essence and therefore everyone felt their Self when with him. He is here now!

    It seems one is still seeing Robert from a human perspective. Afraid to let go of human qualities. Robert was totally beyond that.

    The point of view of the writing is what is seen from a personal ego or as a human being. When one sees from THAT all these writings become irrelevant.

    Silence IS.

  17. All the anonymous replys, like silence IS, anonymous etc are parrot like comment to me. Show your real face and tell us your experience beyond all 'beautifull' words. Words, words, words, abouth what is ego love, what is human love, real love, how Robbert was looking at the world. What is there to hide. Stop this anonymous parrot facebook like teaching pleace and show your real 'face' thank you! Dennis, Nepal

  18. To Dennis,

    If you cannot see and feel the REAL, what would you like me to do?


    Silence IS.

  19. I will NEVER claim to know the REAL. Yes being silent is my highest aim. But nobody tells my what to do. Some can suggest but there is no autority outside of me.
    Love from Tibet, dennis

  20. HA! I sense that some nothing happened to deepen your awakening, and it is BEAUTIFUL.


  21. To Dennis,

    The answer for you is between the words not in them. Look again.

    Silence IS.

  22. Dennis said, "Stop this anonymous parrot facebook like teaching pleace and show your real 'face' thank you!"

    I agree with you 100%.