19 September 2012

The "Path"

Rajiv, my spiritual son, posted on his Facebook page, that there are some who believe that the experience of ecstasies and orgasms are the final stage on the spiritual path.  I think he was referring to what he thinks I have been teaching.  He then offers a capsule view of classical Advaita.

I wanted to clarify what my view is and responded as follows:

Rajiv, I think very few believe ecstasies and orgasms are the end of seeking.  It is merely a sign of approaching a deeper level of one's self.  In Siddharameshwar’s rubric, it would be qualities of the Turiya state leaking through the conscious mind and body.  Following that bliss leads to a deeper abiding in the I Am, Turiya, and one day, that deepest level of self “arises” in “you,” revealing to the mind and small you, your total glory and base as Turiya.

The bliss/ecstasies/orgasms are merely a path to I Am, and love and ecstasies are qualities of I Am.

Yet even that experience requires a base, the principle that knows, of which we can say nothing, but only be it.  This is the real awakening, knowledge of knowingness and the knower.

My position as a teacher is a recognition that very few will ever get this knowledge as an experience; it will just be a cognitive knowing, for rare is anyone who penetrates all the dharmas.

I recognize further that the vast majority who pursue spirituality and religion, do so to escape their own suffering, emotional suffering of loss, loneliness, anger, fear, insecurity, etc.  Thus spirituality for them is a form of escapism, like into CONCEPTS of “no separate self” for the Neo-Advaitins, the EXPERIENCE of “emptiness” and the “void” for Buddhists, and various mind-still meditations like Japa, watching the breath, etc., which is to take one’s awareness away from one’s pain and suffering, to attend to something else.

My point of view is that Siddharameshwar and Ramana make a mistake by just focusing on Turiya and Turiyatta, the “highest” state, and that which lies beyond states.  The physical and emotional realms, the mind, the blisses, and the causal body of unconsciousness are all part of the incarnated Self that makes up you and me.

Everything is Self, not just Turiya, and needs to be accepted deeply and even celebrated, rather than just an endless seeking of Turiya and Turiyatta.

So, the “Path” I advocate is that you have to start where you are and go in both directions from there.  If you are suffering from depression, anxiety attacks, out of control emotions, one needs to procede differently than someone who has dwelled in emptiness and pure beingness for a long time, and who feels sort of dry and emoty of emotional juice or love.
The former requires some sort of psychotherapy depending on personality style, and possibly medication.  Meditation might focus on just observing the body and emotions, splitting off part of yourself as a personal, ego-level witness.  While I encourage the person lost in emptiness to look for the I-Am sense in that emptiness, to abide there, to love the I Am.  That wil awaken the emotional energy allowing one to go deeper.  Hopefully one encounters then an external trigger, a guru, a lover, one’s own personal Beloved that accelerates the building of love and blissful energies that further drive ones opening.

Therefore, there is no one path for all. One’s path depends on where one starts and what is the area of highest personal distress.  Is it loneliness or dryness, or is it out of control raging emotions?  Or is it a search for the ultimate, the unchanging, the absolute?  Is there a burning personal question or quest, such as a search for God or Truth. These will later be seen as imaginary and illusory, but they can drive one’s efforts for a long, long time.   

So, I like to picture “the path” not as a linear and sequential process such as outlined by Siddharameshwar where everyone is on the same path, but more like the metaphor where you are a billionaire who has just purchased a hundred or a thousand room spiritual mansion, and each room is a miracle of inner and out riches, like a museum containing precious objects for oe to touch, hold, sense and love.  It really does not matter where you begin, for you have to begin where you are.

And, this is your mansion; no one has owned it before you.  Therefore all maps by all other house owners are useless to explore your new house.  It is up to you to explore this mansion, maybe with a teacher who holds your hand an walks with you.  Not that this teacher has explored this house before, but he has explored many others, and though he does not know what lies behind the next door in your house, he has seen similar rooms and contents before during his own explorations, and if you are lucky, you get to take your teacher into an entirely new room neither of you have seen before and both can be equally amazed by the contents.


  1. I must confess, I think it's good that there are those in spirituality who have the guts to bring into question, whether it be via criticism or whatever means necessary, any and all teachers and teachings. It is so easy for an aspirant to get 'stuck' in someone's else's concepts about their awakening. A cold splash of water in our faces from time to time can wake us up from our conceptualized spiritual naps. Everything in this dream is a target for criticism and those who hold their dream treasures the tightest will have the sorest fists.

    You should see the nail marks in my hands...:)

  2. I don't care if it's Ramana, Siddharameshwar, Nisargadatta, Robert, Ed, whomever. Ultimately anything that can be communicated with words is at best a theory, and theories are always incomplete. If you can't allow for the possibility that what is being stated is not the complete truth, then you're no better than a garden variety Jesus Freak.

    1. "then you're no better than a garden variety Jesus Freak."

      What a load of crap.

      Really gave the what for to some great sages, yeh? Then even the Jesus freaks got a poke in the face. The rest of what you wrote sounds like the same kind of theorizing you criticize with such disdain.

      All of which makes you come off like a puffed-up, garden variety snob.

  3. Lila u need to understand that what you call as "concept free" is also another concept. As long as Lila exists, there will never be truly a concept free understanding for the faculty you use is the same mind just that the words have changed -- from that of Ramana to Edji or some other teacher. You or Waldo may want to deny that and say it is your understanding but the fact is its still someone words. It always is. That is why words can never bring freedom because the one understanding them is still Lila Sterling or Waldo-- the primary concept. Do you see that? The question now remains is how does one achieve that because to realize that one must necessarily be completely absent. The answer is one needs to shift attention from all words spoken (no judging, criticism or analyzing) and bring attention to the ONE trying to understand these words-- the Subject. When that happens there is acceptance of everything around for the focus now has shifted only to the point of origin-- the subject. Now to to go even beyond that point where the subject "I" too is missing requires no other qualification except unconditional surrender and faith in ones Guru who then redirects that to ones inner Guru where all illusion finally disappears. If surrender is absent one may be deluded that he is free but he is still trapped within his own ego/mind and all he is seeing is just another mental understanding projected on it. LOVE, Rajiv Kapur

    1. Yes. Rajiv amazing clarity. It is exactly as you say.


    2. Rajiv, thanks for what you shared above, except no where did I use the terminology 'concept free.'

      I personally don't have an a problem with concepts, they certainly can be useful to get one to a certain point, and even when they are dropped they are still useful to guide others just as you have done above.

  4. I intuitively feel what you say is right, Edji. Thanks for saying it. I recognize the truth from my own experience; it also makes me feel better that I recognized I was miserable earlier in my life and actively sought help, rather than to suppress or try to "fit in" with consensus reality until I grow old and die. It took me so much work to learn to love myself and take care of others, and to accept love from another, that I never felt fully comfortable with the Advaita "stick it to 'em" line that is sometimes espoused about people in one's life. (As in, "The world isn't real and those who don't turn within are deluded, so just leave them to their own devices and become non-functional.")It's harder to tolerate the perceived ignorance and selfishness of those you love and serve, but far more rewarding to remain centered in the Self when dealing with them, which opens possibilities for experiencing "new rooms" in both your own and their spiritual mansions as your preconceptions and rigidity are challenged, like you said. Keep on goin', Edji. Keep on truckin'.

  5. Edji, as I keep insisting, your presentation of the seeming nature in movement of the Self is more and more clear and powerful. Thank you.

    Rajiv and Mathew: Thank you. Powerful assessments. And true.

    Fellow friends: I find metaphors helpful:
    If I use a compass and plan a walk for a thousand miles to my projected destination and I plan only two degrees off my course, I am still, in the end, I am still way off. I feel most would feel I was competent with a compass, that I tried, stuck with it, and walked those thousand miles. I have gained an understanding, have much to share but I remain way off. And my destination, the temperate rain forests of the NW, is not the sand dunes or Oregon where I would have likely ended up. Thought is never right, never accurate and never you.

    No movement and no resulting identity no matter how empty, no matter how intense or expansive touches the Self. Nothing defines it, contains it. Self stands apart from Satchitananda, all being and non-being: yet in devotion notices reflections of the Self in all. this is liberated understanding, as apprehension; not of experience, not of thought, not of process, not of any sensation. bodies don't wake up and thoughts never get it right.

    Take care,