27 August 2013

How to Avoid Potentially Poor Teachers

You would not follow many gurus if you saw how they truly lived or were in person.

Most of you have ideas of how “advanced” or not so advanced spiritual people should live, and if they don’t, you shun them, and perhaps rightly so in many cases.  In other cases, you shun them to your detriment.

If you knew how thy lived, how they interacted with students and family REALLY, as opposed to their writings or Facebook posts, you would be confused or dismayed, because almost none comport themselves as you think they should.

You must remember they are not much different from you.  There are some differences, some major and some minor.  For one thing, they do not take the mind seriously. Thoughts are a very minor distraction and they do not take their own, or other people’s stories as real.

      Therefore, they tend to be less agitated than the beginning seeker who is driven by all kinds of emotions and ideas about what he or she should be doing.  They tend to spend more time alone, immersed in the fullness of their own emptiness, which can take the form of bliss, ecstatic energies, or sheer peacefulness.  That is, they can be quite boring unless you can feel their beingness.

But most of them, if they did not have robes or habitually wear white clothing or dohtis, would pass as very ordinary people, but sometimes with bizarre behaviors and mental qualities.

Some eat meat, like Nisargadatta and many Tibetan Lamas, some smoke, again like Nisargadatta and others, a great many indulge in sex with their students, many are sharp businessmen who milk their teacher status for recognition and money, some are frankly psychotic or manic depressive, some are alcoholics, some are frank liars who tell lies as easily  as maple leaves fall from trees in the fall.

     Some cheat on their wives and are never caught because they keep everything hidden and silent. Others cheat on their spouses and admit it. Some forceably abuse their students financially or sexually, and the list is long here. Many are “schizoid” meaning they avoid deep relationships out of fear of being destroyed by their intensity or the neediness generated.

Some get intensely angry and argumentative.  Some are mild mannered but withdrawn.  Some watch television too much in some people’s POV.  Some do almost nothing because they are lost in their own peacefulness or bliss.

     Some talk a lot and are very vulnerable about how they feel.  Others are very silent and secretive, and hide all sorts of things behind their silence, so much so it would curdle your toes to learn of what they do.


The only difference between a fake teacher and a real one is that they know who they are, both as a human being, but also as an incarnation of the divine in human form.  Many fake teachers have powers, siddhis, and can convey bliss to others, but still are not realized.

I will give you a few hints as to whom to avoid, or approach with extreme caution, and those who you can better trust.

1.  Avoid those who emphasize silence and are very secretive. They are probably hiding something. If they cannot share their hearts personally in private and in public, avoid them.  They do not allow themselves to appear vulnerable or open.  They do not want you to see who they really are as humans and instead erect a shield of guru specialness and “papal” invulnerability. And what they hide, if you found out, could curdle your toes.

2. Avoid those who speak often of love, but you do not feel it in their presence.

3. Avoid those who are too withdrawn or intellectual, and who talk of being above others and have special powers or status.  Some, like Da Free John and others talk about being an avatar, a divine incarnation, and hold themselves apart and above other teachers.  These teachers may have Shakti, but they are deluded.  In fact, every one of you reading this has the aspect in you of being a divine incarnation—everyone. A true teacher tries to show that to you in you.

4. Avoid very formal teachers who stand behind rituals, rankings, formality because that is likely all that they have.  A true teacher is very open to informality and engaging you at your level, unless of course, he or she feels you would be a poor fit for their style.

5. Avoid teachers that have complicated methods leading to progressive realizations, because they do not get to the heart of self-realization soon enough.  You could take forever to get anywhere, so methods should be aimed not at control, or focusing, but at self-realization in the moment, but not in the simplistic sense of just recognizing your beingness in the here-and-now as do the neo-Advaitins, for you will NEVER reach self-realization that way.

6. Avoid those who talk too much. They just gab and gab about useless things.  They do not have a clue.

Remember, there is absolutely no difference between you and any teacher except he or she knows who they are and are only interested in showing you that—or I should say that is their primary interest.  Gurus are human, but hopefully use their humanity in relationship to teach others to discover who they are.


  1. Yes..let out the truth, for the truth will free you.

  2. Edji, I don't want to hear your opinion, I just want to call your attention to this european master:

    1. I have rarely found Anyone who appears more fake than this man. A former rock star with half his website devoted to his rock stardom. With $110 charge for weekend satsangs and Darshan. With his cryptic silence and theatrical hand waving.

      I could be wrong, but on the surface this spells: Phony.

    2. Edji, what is your view on Adyashanti ?


  3. Ok, so now I've got a problem..Because this is my guru. In his presence there is tremendous energy and bliss as well as love!
    About the charge: the meetings there are always around 1000 people, so he must hold them in large halls, which are quite expensive to rent (especially in Switzerland).
    The only controversial point I can see, is, that he wants his students not to do any practice, he says that it anyway would always only be the ego that wants to become something.

    1. Well Charly if this is the case he is an idiot sorry to say There are only a few spiritual aspirants that do not need to do any practice and they are very mature people . Charly this is getting into the realms of the neo advaita movement which is shallow to say the least .You should be well aware that the spiritual world is not regulated so any idiot with a modicum of charisma and a wee bit of intelligence can baffle the ignorant into thinking that they are a special incarnation . I am speaking from the view point of Vedanta which is a science of self realisation and Charly Self realisation is not a special state it is simply who you are .Vedanta contends that we are identified with our ignorance and only knowledge will free you from ignorance you bring knowledge to the mind the buddhi which is the intellect not the ego. Ask this man what enlightenment is and see what he says or he might just give you one of those pathetic wise spiritual looks and possibly a wave of his hand .

      Vedanta will tell you that Self realisation is when your mind is Subtle enough to discriminate between whats real and whats unreal it is called Viveka and the mind NEEDS to be prepared for this subtlety ..

      When you have been around the ''spiritual world '' for a while you will not get seduced by people like this you can see right through their crap yet if you are still in ignorance it is very hard to tell .Charly sorry but I couldn't help myself be careful as this world is full of sharks.

      Ed is correct in saying this man is a phony he is playing a game.If you do your figures 1000 people at $150 a person that comes to a grand total of $150,000 dollars for a weekend , the way I live I could retire after one week and comfortably after 2.
      This man has a severe case of enlightenment sickness .Good Luck and Love to you .

  4. Have you seen the videos and read the interviews, Edji?

  5. Now, by accident, as I wanted to check out, if you wrote something about Adyashanti, I found a posting (from 4.Aug.2011)with a discussion about Gurus charging money.Very interesting.

  6. I felt his presence again, and for me there is no doubt any more, that he is genuine, money or not money.