27 March 2014

The Presence of Swami Chetanananda

When I met Robert Adams in 1989, I was not looking for a teacher.  I had had it and was through with all the spiritual bullshit.

I had been with Muktananda, Dhyan Yogi, six Zen masters, met the Dalai Lama, Shakya Tenzin and many other Buddhist teachers from many traditions. I knew Carlos Castaneda from the Anthropology Dept. at UCLA where I worked for a time, and hadbeen with Muktananda for two or three years.  I was done, dry, defeated.  I had not a clue about anything, espesially the nature of the Self.

Then I met Robert.

The first time I saw him was in a small Satsang of seven people in a micro apartment in Beverly Hills. Watching him and hearing what he said that first time, I went to him after Satsang and said, "Where have you been my entire life?"

I was with Robert for eight years.  We were buddies.  He said I was not a devotee, but his friend, someone to talk to, to relate to and love as a friend.  He said he needed someone to talk to.

Six years after I met him, and after he moved to Sedona, I had two awakening experiences related on my website. The second Robert accepted as awakening, when I saw that Consciousness was everything, but I was beyond it as Witness, as Parabrahman. Consciousness just came to me like a cloud and left, but did not touch me.

Robert eschewed identification with the body.  He said always, "You are not real; your body is not real; the world is not real.  You do not persevere.  Be nothing and be free."

I clung to those teachings for many years, long after he died, and even established my first website totally dedicated to preserving and presenting his teachings.  Unfortunately, Robert's wife Nicole, and her chosen cohorts created the Robert Adams Infinity Institute, the vehicle by which they created a lie about she and several others being 40 year students of Robert and his only true successors.  Multiple threatened lawsuits over the years forced be to take down all of Robert's photos and transcripts, and in a sense, freed me from Robert allowing me to develop my own teachings.

Since Robert I have moved on.  Robert only talked about ignoring the body and the world as unreal in the sense that all objects were always changing, and no object could bring lasting happiness because they all disappeared, whether one's own body, family, wife/husband, career, etc.

However, I saw in myself and in others who had been with Robert, that one can tend to dwell in a peaceful void that gradually grows emotionally colder and colder and more distant.  Many of Robert's students who I had known, committed suicide.  They dried up altogether and did not want to live in a world of constant comings and goings of people who died or left them.  They lived in a void with only a few sparkles of life.

Then in 2009 or 2010 I met a woman and fell in love.  Because my body and mind were empty, and I knew the Void well as well as the light of Consciousness that illumined the Void, within less than two years I deeply experienced the energetic Body, AKA the Subtle Body, which quickly led to repeated experiences of the Self.  This Self arose within me because of my love and revealed itself to me in unimaginable experiences of joy, bliss, humility, grace, and light, as well as seeing that this Self was firmly rooted in God, and I was the embodiment of God in my sentient form, the body that Robert said did not exist.

I can truly say that traditional Advaitins alive today, and well as most Zen and Hinayana Buddhist teachers are mostly bereft of love.  But the love I felt was far more energetic, far more compassionate, far more passionate such that my body, my sense of presence, and my heart were entirely opened and filled with fire and life.  

And so it has continued, ever deepening my love and my sense of power, or Shakti, coursing through my body and my sense of presence, bursting me in energy and increasing love until most of my old students dropped away and new ones came that loved Love more than the emptiness of Zen and Advaita, no matter how peaceful. Peace without the wetness of love leads to a total drying out.

About five years ago my friend Swami Shankarananda came to Santa Monica along with two others from Muktandna's lineage, Swami Chetanananda and Brother Charles.

At that time I was missing Robert a lot.  I felt a deep sadness at the lack of his presence in my life.

At one point, Chetanananda talked about hos he missed his own Guru, Rudi.  Tears came to his eyes and his sorrowful look and soft voice penetrated my heart, and I loved Chetanananda instantly.

Later I saw a video of these same three teachers along with Andrew Cohen talking about the life problems of teachers.

You see, everywhere it is common to hear about the troubles of students with teachers and of alleged student abuse, but it is very rare to hear stories of how teachers "suffer" as a result of having students. Teachers are real people no matter how deeply realized, and learn from students and get cooked by students as readily as students get cooked by mates in an ashram or by the guru.

Two weeks ago I finally met Chetananada face to face along with my student Charlie, who is staying with me.

We had the greatest time together.  He is a large man filled with physical and spiritual power.  I felt both like a brother and a child in his presence.  What immense power and love.  I felt I had finally met a man with more spiritual power than myself, which was comforting and relaxing in his presence.  Charlie was equally moved.

Swamiji has a large ashram in Portland Oregon on 5.5 acres of land with 80 residents sitting in a community of one to two thousand students living nearby.

As a very successful businessman in other areas, such as founding bakeries, trading in art and antiques as well as Eastern Art and exotica, he does not need any money from teaching.  He said making money should be separate from spiritual teachings which are purely a love offering.  Such teachings should not be shackled to the artificial structures of money and capitalism.  This is exactly what I thought, Robert thought, and as did Ramana and Nisargadatta.

A few days ago Deeya met Swamiji in one of the most touching and enheartening meetings I have ever seen between two people.

At first she was reluctant to leave the car saying the prospect of meeting Chetanananda felt overwhelming; she felt something powerful, incredible was about to happen, and wavered in coming. 

So, I went to meet Swamiji who was waiting for us, talked to him a minute about Deeya, and turned around to see her out of the car, walking slowly towards us in the most beautiful orange  dress, carrying a dozen orange roses as an offering.

I went into Swamiji's house so that Deeya could have a private meeting with Swamiji in the driveway.  Soon I heard Deeya sobbing loudly, shaking, embracing Swamiji for maybe five minutes, overcome with joy at being held by him, holding him with joy and love. 

I can't tell you how much I was moved by her beautiful surrender and his gracious embrace.

After a brief minute Swamiji gently led her to the chair next to me, where he gave her an orange shawl because she was shaking slightly in the chill air.

Soon one of Swamiji's own angels, Gretchen, brought us all coffee and later food.  He called her the best yoga teacher he ever met and I quickly promoted her to the greatest yoga teacher alive.

The next three hours we were both astounded by his openness, love, and generosity. We both left stunned by Swamiji love and power, as well as encyclopedic knowledge of the Hindu scriptures as well as most contemporary spiritual teachers.

My heart was opened as far as it had ever been.  I loved how gently Swamiji treated Deeya, as well as his advice to me which was, "Stop arguing with people on Facebook and elsewhere. Just open your heart to all, be yourself.  Those who are ready for you will feel it, see it." Instantly I got the message so many had been telling me over the years. Shut the fuck up!  Just love people and relate to them from your open heart.

Both Deeya and I have such gratitude to have such a man as Swamiji in our lives.  I have felt an increased movement away from Robert's Advaita 
to Chetanananda's life-affirming Tantra, exactly what I have been teaching for the last few years since my love awakening, now sustained by my love for Deeya and others in the Sangha, and their love for me.

In Swamiji words, the body is the body of God, His temple so to speak, and the Chakras are His angels.  Love God, love each other, love yourself.  Everything else is everything else.


  1. Wow! That was really moving, Edji! Brings tears to my eyes. Thank you as always for your direct honesty and humility.
    Love, rich

  2. Ed, I wonder if the title of your blog has gone past its expiration date?
    Given your own changes, perhaps "It's Real, But Not in the Way You Think It Is", or "Only Love is Real" would be more accurate.

  3. I care little about other Guru's, Edji you are the only one important to me. You are my Guru. I bow to you.

  4. I watched the three teachers along with Andrew Cohen-interview-talking about the life problems of teachers. Edji, just the stuff and problems and shit that I put upon you is more than any human could bear. Only a Self Realized being could stand up to such an onslaught from dozens of devotees again and again. You are truly Lord and Master.

  5. What a crock of shit. The blind leading the blind in a dance of mutual destruction. The power hungry and the weak who need to be ruled...what a pair!

    Gonna have to inform my friends to no longer bring this vileness to my attention because I just ain't too good at keeping my mouth shut...thankfully!

    1. It would be a great welcome not to see your always disturbing, criticizing and never positive comments any more.

  6. Lila, it is a great shame that your love for me has transmuted into such pain and vile. The vile you see Lila, is yours alone; one with which you cloak much of your external world.

  7. No pain at all Ed. I just find you so called gurus disgusting. And for the record, what I felt for you was not love... You are a fraud and it saddens me that people are gullible enough to buy into the ignorance that you so generously dole out to them.

  8. Lila, I wish the love you claim to have for yourself were real and true. If it were you would not have disgust for me or other teachers. If anything, your suffering appears to be deepening.

    That you can call the Vedas, Tantra, or Bhaktic teachings ignorance only shows something is unresolved in you and is hurting you.

    More than anything I wish you could see a GOOD psychotherapist to address your disavowed hurt and anger. I spent most of the 1980s in psychotherapy, and suggest you look into it rather than continuously congratulating yourself on how wise and self-loving you have become.

  9. Ed, I would write out an Intelligent response to the dribble that you wrote abov but you don't have the capacity to hold it so it's an utter waste of my time.

  10. I didn't know Lila but saw her post quite often some time ago. She sounds like a jilted lover whose expectations about radical or even partial transformation got dashed rather painfully. Not there was anything necessarily wrong with the expectation except that if it came with the AGENDA that she'd then turn into something perfect because of her commitment, she inevitably set herself up for this kind of disappointment.

  11. Lila, You are a beautiful soul and I might say right on the path. My path right now like yours is also one of tremendous anger and fear and depression which I am totally feeling and which is going to run me over like a fucking steamroller. And I take it out on others.The only way I can even hope to get through this is with the help of alternative medicine and psychotherapy and now anti-depressants .
    One of the free download books that is helping me at the present is Spiritual Cannibalism by Rudi

    There is a door at the bottom of all this anger and depression and I have to live in this shit until that door opens and I accept the totality of this as my own.
    Oh, I have cussed out Edji, telling him that I hate his guts...how he puts up with me??? But he holds that mirror up so I can see the darkness that needs to be swept away.
    Lila, feel it and feel it some more and allow other people to help you get through this. You may think, like I do , that you are really far away from awakening but I think your feelings are a confirmation of how close you are. Even your picture radiates a very powerful Love....this is your test to enter another realm....another dimension. LOVE

  12. Lila do you think your comments are no waste of time ?

  13. I more have the feeling there is a little hurt and now rebelling child in her.

  14. As a couple of young yoga-hippies in the 1970's, Bloomington, Indiana, my husband and I met Michael Shoemaker and Rudi, though we were not among the members of his ashram. When our son was born at the end of 1973, the three of us visited the Rudra art shop to see the lovely art that we had heard Michael, Chetanananda, had inherited from Rudrananda. He held the baby and inspected the bottoms of his feet and hands. He then told me something about the baby, that I will keep private, and gave me a lovely painting off the wall, of what I always called a blue Krishna. There is a picture of us in Bloomington 1973, in my blog entry "Retell My Life, But Leave Out All The Sad Parts". Not long before Rudi died, we went to a "lecture" he was giving. When it ended he walked off the stage, came up the aisle and straight into my arms and then into my husband's. So Cool!