I have heard it said that 71 people awakened under Ramana during his 50 years of teaching. Considering that he had tens of thousands of students over that 50 years, we are talking of a “success” rate of maybe 1 or 2 out of a thousand.
Papaji, on the other hand, turned Raman’s teachings upside down, completely lowered the criteria for claiming awakening, and declared hundreds as awakened or teachers.
Robert was even stricter than Ramana, claiming that you could count on the fingers of two hands all the enlightened beings in the world.
From my experience, I have seen very few students with the openness or fortitude and courage necessary to become an actual teacher, rather than just awakened.
So many are just totally adverse to feeling negative feelings that they will never awaken.
Many, even teachers, want to wrap themselves in peace, or love, silence, or emptiness and wrap their students into this same bubble, which gradually becomes an absence of any negative emotion, and they feel this is an awakening of some sort.
It is not. It is an Advaita escape into silence or emptiness with a bit of forced love, and Facebook lovespeak.
For you will never find God’s love, the hyper-human, all encompassing, all-liberating, explosive love, that is true freedom, without owning the flipside hell of hate, anger, jealousy, possessiveness, fear and periods of deadness known as the various Dark Nights of the Soul, where one loses God and love.
Now, no one under a real teacher has an easy time unless, like Robert, they were already awakened.
Real teachers, those who can shock you into awakening are not placid Ramanas who you sit around for 40 years until 1/10th of 1% awaken.
Real teachers are tigers, even those who appear loving, accepting and open on the surface, to the general public and casual satsang goer.
People ran from Robert because he burned them. Students wanted to be around his quiet, peaceful exterior, thinking this is where they should be and this is the goal.
But Robert was always in the background stirring up dissent between people and denying whatever they believed was true. He burned students. He always referred to Yogananda, who asked him after he had been with Yogananda for a while, “Will you still love me and stay with me no matter what I do?” Robert said yes, even while wondering what Yogananda had in mind of doing.
Yogananda would treat each student differently, depending on circumstances and what they needed to get a bit more humble and loving.
Other great gurus that I have been around were the same. Everyone close to Muktananda was terrified of him, of his explosive personality, yelling, berating and apparent anger at one moment, and then the blissful, laughing guru of another moment.
Ama, the supposed perfect guru terrifies her own monks. I remember one talk by her right hand monk, given maybe 25 years ago. He said something like, “You people out there who only see Ama once a year, or maybe come to satsangs weekly, see only peace, love and compassion. But try being around Ama every day. She burns you with emotionality and demands of physical and emotional endurance that few can tolerate.
Seung Sahn Soen Sa, perhaps the most famous of the first generation of Asian Zen masters was really ruthless and unconcerned with many of his monks. He would scream at monks, supporters, abbots and lay people insiders as much as speak softly. When I was in Korea, I was told that one who interfered with any of his major supporters would have their balls cut off.
Of course one needs only to look at one photo of Nisargadatta to see what a no-nonsense guru he was, and how intolerant he could be with casual seekers or those full of themselves. He ate students alive.
Yet most of the students that have come to me, except those who were true bhaktis, were runners. They would run at the slightest sign of what they considered “disrespect,” or anger, calling me abusive. Rather than face and express and “process” their reactions, they would run. Often they ran to Rajiv because of his “respectful silence,” or they ran to Deeya, because of Deeya’s uncanny ability to radiate peace and love.
A few found a new book to read which suddenly made sense to them after being around me, because being around me, nothing made sense any more. The new book gave them something secure to hold onto, and then they began arguing with me based on their three years of experience, as to whose teachings were better, more universal, or truer.
Now, if you really want to feel positive and even happy for a period, perhaps even be blissful for long periods of time, go to Facebook with its ever flowing hearts, soft-speak, pleasant-speak, and beautiful, uplifting poetry, and sometimes even uplifting poetry about struggling.
But you will NEVER find awakening in such shallow emotionality. You see, most people in spirituality are running from emotions, whether of anger, fear, jealousy, paranoia, either towards emptiness, silence and peace, or towards internal energies, bliss Kundalini, and love. This is what Facebook teachers mostly talk about. A few talk about the need to do shadow work concerning your own hatred, judgmentalism, jealousy, authoritarianism, etc. But not many talk about the plain day to day pain or the suffering they feel, the deadness, depression or anger.
You see, the way I teach is to own that anger, depression, sadness, hatred, jealousy, feel it 100% to incorporate that emotional energy into your practice which makes you come alive. And on the other side of all strong emotions is a river of bliss. Pass all the way through the emotions you are rejecting and you will find increased life and bliss.
You are either a sticker or a runner. Runners may become stickers once they are fed up with running, avoiding, and superficial kindness, acceptance, and good feelings, and are ready to dive into the darkness and pain inside. Don’t fear the pain. Don’t fear depression. Don’t fear loss. Don’t fear separation. Don’t fear your own anger and hate. Dom’t fear jealousy and neediness. Fully accept your complete humanity, not just a fragile, good feeling emptiness or forced positive self-talk.
THEN you will be able to feel the real depths of transformative, divine love. This kind of love is rare and very scary at first. I have heard it said that most people never allow themselves to feel even 10% of the love for another they could feel from fear of the intensity of this kind of love.
In addition, you have to abandon any idea you have ever read about in spirituality and fight the urge to read new books looking for new teachings and concepts. You know, it is the hardest thing to escape past spiritual learning, and even harder to cast off the personal opinions you have had as to who and what you are. These are best lost by dwelling in emptiness for a while, seeing no purpose, no meaning, no truth in any concept. The old story of coming to a teacher: come with emptiness; come with an empty cup, with receptivity, and not as a challenge.