21 December 2013


One myth of the spiritual marketplace is that a seeker gets the guru they need.  Another is that they get the guru they deserve.

This is magical thinking, that there is some divine guidance or infallible inner guru that no matter how stupid, uneducated, uninformed, or tortured a seeker is, God or the totally obscured inner guru will inevitably guide you to the right teacher for you at that moment.

In real life we lack in depth knowledge about any teacher, as well as an economic or family ties freedom to seek gurus far out of our neighborhoods.

Often the “truth” about a teacher does not come out until some supposed, politically incorrect action is exposed or a scandal breaks out, such as with Osho, Muktananda, Adi Da (Franklin Jones), Jim Jones, the Hari Krishna organization, Amma, or most any Zen master. 

Then we judge the teacher based on the common morals of the time as well as his or her books, newsletters and Satsangs.

There is no perfect information, there is no equal access to all teachers.  Even the most famous teachers with a dozen ashrams have limited access to getting the feel of the teacher because he or she is rarely seen.

Then too there are common trends in the spiritual marketplace that tend to last ten to twenty years, such as Zen in the 1970s and 1980s, followed by Vipassana and Tibetan Buddhism in the 1980s and 1990s.  Now the fashion is Advaita and neo-Advaita.  

These fads dominate the spiritual marketplace’s “airwaves,” and cultural artifacts, such as the spiritual choices of Tom Cruise, Oprah, Richard Gere, and like create waves of imperfect, filtered information.

Actually, it is a completely random crapshoot as to the teachers you end up with.  Were they available to you when you were seeking at age 16, 20, 30, 40, etc.?  Did you have any idea of what you were seeking at any of those ages? Are you lazy and not too intellectually bright and you jump to the do-nothing teachings of the “pointers” or neo-Advaitins?  Are you meditation inclined, so flocked to Zen or the Tibetan Emptiness meditations?  Have you a Christian background and therefore buy into the ways of sacrifice and prayer, and then into, for example, into Bernadette Roberts, and then into Zen from there?

Having no clear idea of that which you seek, from undefined terms of enlightenment or awakening, wandering from teacher to teaching that is available to you at the time, how can you expect that you always have the perfect teacher for you or the one you deserve?

In actuality, you have the one you have.  In other words, you have what is.  No more can or should be said.

As general guidelines, I would avoid very famous teachers because a seeker will have very little access to the teacher.  At best you will have direct access to the organizations leaders, who are not the reason you came to that teacher.  Osho and Muktananda had tens or hundreds of thousands of students who rarely saw either of them, and in fact became embedded in the vagaries of the organizations and the many sub teachers.

I would avoid like a plague any teacher who toots his or her own tune too much such as Da Free John, or those who claim to be the voice of God.  Here you are dealing with manic depressives, schizophrenics, or potentially malignantly narcissistic personalities, and you will potentially fall under their sway and follow them all the way to hell.

I have met very few teachers that I would consider “worthy” who made excessive claims for themselves.  Most were down to earth, accessible, friendly, and truly loving.

Also, you really need to know what you are seeking.  If you seek peace, rest, “transcendence,” there are a myriad of ways from Vipassana, to Ramana’s and Nisargadatta’s Advaita, Tibetan Zen, Buddhism and Taoism in general.

If you desire true Self-Realization I recommend a Bhaktic path that emphasizes feelings, emotions, and other inner movements, but without the hard analytic mind of Vipassana or Advaita.  I think Christianity and Sufism based on service, devotion, love, etc., can end in Self-Realization and finding the unity of one’s inner Self with the divinity of God.

By Self-Realization, I don’t mean the rather dry transcendence of Ramana or Nisargadatta’s final state, but the Self-Realization of the early 1938 Nisargadatta that was filled with devotion for his guru, chanting Bhajans, and loving introspection of his own inner Self through resting in his I Am sense.  

This results in an explosive eruption of pure Jnana, knowing truth, and at the same time, an explosion of “divine” energy within you, that is the Life Force, or Shakti of all sentient beings.

With this kind of awakening, there comes a knowing of who and what you really are for the first time in your life, and a feeling of having the centeredness and immobility of a mountain combined with a flow of love that totally dissolves your chest and being in utter relaxation and surrender to that inner power.

Here is a well-hidden secret: The good teachers don’t want to have many students because it kills access.  Also, a real teacher will cause you a lot of pain, sometimes deliberately, but mostly because he has to destroy your illusions, emotional attachments, or lifestyle choices, which will cause pain.  He will cook you in many ways, and he only wants those who will stick with him (or her) to the end.  He or she seeks those who join in a spiritual marriage, which is sexless, yet a permanent bonding.  You will know this teacher and he or she will know you instantaneously.


  1. Another set of incredibly honest, blunt (I love it!) statements of someone that has the guts to say it like is. Jai to Edji (Jai is an abbreviation to Jayam (Victory, Goodness, All Good things, No Obstructions).

  2. Damn Right! And that is Exactly why I am your steadfast, constant, loyal, faithful and true devotee and very very blessed to have you as my Father. Roast me and I'll still Love you more that I have ever Loved anybody. steve

  3. There were other anonymous comments. Please add an identity and repost.

  4. Thank you so much for this blog!

  5. Do being a guru, by all means, if you feel the need; get the students you want, the friends and supporters that you feel you need, but where is the need or usefulness of invalidating or repudiating Ramana, Nisargadatta or Robert's teachings?

    It feels a bit like a moth fluttering about criticizing the eagle in its high flying arc for being aloof and missing out on the splendor of the porch light. what's strange is how you associate with these teachers who were real jnanis when it suits your need, for example to collect donations ("support Robert's work"; your references at being the continuation of the "shared lineage"), but later you attempt to chop their head's off at other times when you're doing being a guru; it's like you're trying to validate your own teachings by criticizing those were really jnanis; ie, the gold standard.

    why? i think what you have to say is interesting enough and can stand on its own two legs without chopping off heads.

    they (Ramana, etc) were the real thing. to say that they missed out on something feels a bit absurd. you can embrace your feelings, your love, your relationships - en fin, your new approach to the Self without criticizing the greats. the thousands of gurus who claim they have reached some final emptiness or realization of the absolute have not necessarily realized what Ramana spoke of.

    the greats never tried to build anything. the people collecting donations and building organizations are attempting to leverage their teachings for the acquisition of some form of cultural, social and/or financial capital. in this context, the legitimization of one's own teachings seems to happen through discounting or, conversely, the teachings of one of the real jnanis. But in the end, as David Godman states, none of these people have truly realized and it's a sort of fraud.

    so much better if people would stop doing being gurus and just talk from their hearts without any pretensions of being realized or identifying with a guru status. there's more than enough 'enlightened' people talking now.


  6. Trevor, how extraordinarily opinionated you are, yet having opinions about Robert's teachings is blasphemy.

    Who better than to stating that Nisargadatta "added (unnecessary elements) to Ramana's teachings (namely a separate witness)?

    If you think those three are the complete measure if truth you are totally mistaken. Even these three disagreed with each other.

    Yet you would rob me of my voice to say I disagree with Robert's message of ignoring the world, and using his method of self-inquiry?

    I saw be aware of the world and your self, and do so lovingly.

    Is that such a betrayal Trevor?

    I would be betraying Robert even more as I watched more and more people sink into emptiness and sometimes suicide lost and dead within the Void, never having found the bliss.

  7. Is there someone still there thinking they are responsible for everyone that sinks into emptiness or suicides. That is a tremendous ego - isn't it? Who died and made that one boss?

  8. Hmmm. I guess al lthe 140,000,000 Mahayana Buddhists in the world who vow to save all being, each have a tremendous ego.

    Yours is just another anonymous cheap criticism using the term "ego" as a swear word. Cheap shot.