Upaya and Crazy Wisdom – Devices Used by Enlightened Mystics

Osho has talked about devices that he used to help people come out of their unconsciousness. A device can be a lie, a strange behavior or anything else that is employed by a Guru; A device thus employed can even give an impression to people that the Guru is not enlightened. Also, the same may be used by a fake Guru to justify his actions. This gets very tricky and adds to the difficulty of recognizing an enlightened person.

Let me quote from the Wikipedia article about it so that you can understand how a device works:

Upaya (Sanskrit: upāya, expedient means, pedagogy) is a term used in Mahayana Buddhism to refer to an aspect of guidance along the Buddhist Paths to liberation where a conscious, voluntary action is driven by an incomplete reasoning about its direction. Upaya is often used with kaushalya (कौशल्य, “cleverness”), upaya-kaushalya meaning “skill in means”.

Upaya-kaushalya is a concept emphasizing that practitioners may use their own specific methods or techniques that fit the situation in order to gain enlightenment. The implication is that even if a technique, view, etc., is not ultimately “true” in the highest sense, it may still be an expedient practice to perform or view to hold; i.e., it may bring the practitioner closer to the true realization in a similar way. The exercise of skill to which it refers, the ability to adapt one’s message to the audience, is of enormous importance in the Pali Canon.[1]

This doctrine is sometimes used to explain some of the otherwise strange or unorthodox behavior or ‘crazy wisdom‘ (Tib.: yeshe chölwa) engaged in by some Buddhists and exemplified in the conduct of the Tibetan Mahasiddha. Skillful means may theoretically be used by different buddhist groups to make many seemingly proscribed practices, such as violence, theft, and sexuality be employed as skillful. The use of harsh violence to one’s disciples has occasionally been used as a way of opening their eyes to the nature of self and suffering; an example is the story of a Zen priest who ended a conversation with a disciple by slamming shut a door on the disciple’s leg, fracturing the leg and, according to the story, causing a deep insight in the disciple. There are a number of other stories of Buddhist saints and bodhisattvas taking part in fairly eccentric and unusual behaviors in the practice of skillful means.

In the book ‘I am That’, Osho gave an answer to a question from seeker, where he explains how this works:

OSHO,

CAN AN ENLIGHTENED PERSON BE WRONG? THIS REFERS TO WHAT YOU TOLD US ABOUT
J. KRISHNAMURTI, WHO KEEPS ON SAYING THAT ONE DOES NOT NEED A MASTER, WHICH
IS ACTUALLY NOT RIGHT PLEASE COMMENT.

Prem Pantha,

AN ENLIGHTENED person can never be wrong. Neither J. Krishnamurti is wrong, but he never considers the situation in which you are. He considers only the space in which he is, and that freedom is part of enlightenment.

The enlightened person has reached the highest peak of consciousness; his abode is on Everest.

Now it is his freedom to speak according to the peak, the sunlit peak where he is, or to consider the people who are still in the dark valley, who know nothing about the light, for whom the peak of the Everest is only a dream, only a perhaps”. This is the freedom of the enlightened person.

Krishnamurti speaks in terms where he is.

I speak in terms where you are, I consider you, because if I am speaking to you, you have to be taken in consideration. I have to lead you towards the highest peak, but the journey will begin in the

dark valley, in your unconsciousness. If I talk about my experience, absolutely inconsiderate of you, I am right, but I am not useful to you.

An enlightened person is never wrong, but he can be useful or he can be useless.

J. Krishnamurti is useless! He is perfectly right; about that there is no question, because I know the peak and what he is saying is certainly true – from the vision of the peak. Those who have arrived, for them the journey becomes almost a dream phenomenon. For those who have not arrived the journey is real, the goal is just a dream. They are living in two different worlds. When you are talking to a madman you have to consider him; if you don’t consider him you cannot help him.

Once a madman was brought to me. He had this crazy idea that one afternoon when he was sleeping, a fly has entered his mouth. And because he used to sleep with open mouth, nobody can deny the possibility. And since then he was very much disturbed because the fly was roaming inside him, jumping inside him, moving in his belly, going to his bladder, circulating in his bloodstream, sometimes in his head, sometimes in his feet. And of course he could not do anything because he was continuously occupied, obsessed with the fly.

He was taken to the psychoanalysts and they said, “This is just in your mind – there is no fly! And no fly can move in your bloodstream, there is no possibility. Even if a fly has entered it must have died! And now six months have passed; it cannot be alive inside you.”

He listened, but he could not believe it because his experience was far more solid. He was taken to the doctors and everybody examined him and they did everything, but finally they will say, “It is just a mental thing. You are imagining.” He will listen what they were saying, but he could not trust because his experience was far more certain than their words.

His family brought him to me as a last resort. The man was looking very tired because he was being taken to one person, then to another, then all kinds of physicians – allopaths and homeopaths and naturopaths – and he was really tired. In the first place the fly was tiring him, and now all these “pathies”, medicines. And everybody was insulting him – that was his feeling, that they were saying that he was just imagining. Is he a fool or he is mad, that he will imagine such a thing? They were all humiliating him – that was his feeling.

I looked at the man and I said, “It is so clear that the fly is inside!”

For a moment he was puzzled. He could not believe me, because nobody has said that to him – because nobody has considered him. And they ALL were right and I was wrong – there was no fly, but the madman has to be considered.

And I said, “All those fools are just wasting your time; you should have come first here. It is such a simple thing to bring the fly out; there is no need to bother. Medicines won’t help – you are not ill.

Psycholanalysis will not help – you are not crazy.”

And immediately he was a changed man! He looked at his wife and said, “Now what do you say?

This is the right man,” he said, “who really knows. And all those fools were trying to convince me that there is no fly. It is there!”

I said to him that, “It is simple – we will take it out. You lie down.”

I covered him with a blanket and told him to keep his eyes closed and “I will do some mantra, some magic, and we will bring the fly out. You just keep quiet so that the fly sits somewhere. Otherwise the fly is continuously running – where to catch it?”

He said, “That looks logical. I will keep absolutely still!”

And I said, “Don’t open your eyes. Just remain silent, breathe slowly, so the fly settles somewhere, so we can catch hold of it!”

Then I rushed into the house to find a fly. It was a little bit difficult because for the first time I was trying that, but finally I succeeded – I could get a fly in a bottle. And I came to the man, I moved my hand on his body, and I asked him, “Where the fly is?” And he said, “In the belly.” And I touched the belly and I said, “Of course it is there!” And I convinced him that I perfectly believe in him and then I uncovered his blanket and showed him the fly.

And he said to the wife, “Now see! And give this bottle to me; I will go all to those fools and take all the fees that they have taken from me! I have wasted thousands of rupees, and all that they did was they told me I am mad! And now I don’t feel the fly anywhere, because it is in the bottle!”

He took the bottle, he went to the doctors.

One of the doctors who knew me, he came to see me. He said, “How you managed? Six months a fly can live in the body? And that man has taken his fee back from me, because he was making such a fuss that I said, ‘Better give it back to him!’ And he proved that he was right!”

I said, “It is not the point who is right.”

Gautam the Buddha defines truth as “that which works”. This is the ancientmost pragmatic definition of truth: “that which works”! All the devices are truth in this sense: they work; they are only devices.

The Buddha’s work is UPAYA; UPAYA exactly means device.

Meditation is an UPAYA, a device. It simply helps you to get nd of that which you have not got in the first place – the fly: the ego, the misery, the anguish! It helps you to get free of it, but in fact it is not there. But it is not to be told…

And Krishnamurti has been doing that: he has been telling crazy people that the fly does not exist and you don’t need any doctor. I say to you: the fly exists and you need the doctor! Because just by telling to you that the fly does not exist is not going to help you at all.

For thousands of years you have been told the ego does not exist. Has it helped you in any way?

There have been people who have told, in this country particularly, that the whole world is illusory, MAYA, it does not exist, but has it helped India in any way? The true test is there: whether it has helped, whether it has made people more authentic, more real. It has not helped at all. It has made people more deeply cunning, split, schizophrenic; it has made them hypocrites.

All the religions have done this, because they don’t consider you. And you are far more important than the ultimate truth, because the ultimate truth has nothing to do with y ou right now. You are living in a dreamworld; some device is needed which can help you to come out of it. The moment you are out of it, you will know it was a dream – but a person who is dreaming, to tell him that it is all dream is meaningless.

Have you not observed in your dreams that when you are dreaming it looks real? And every morning you have found that it was unreal. hut again in the night you forget all your understanding of the day – again the dream becomes real. It has been happening again and again: every night the dream becomes real, every morning you know it is false, but that knowing does not help. In the dream one can even dream that this is a dream.

And that’s what has happened in India: people are living in maya, deeply in it, and still talking that “This is all maya.” And this talk too is part of their dream; it does not destroy the dream. In fact it makes the dream more rooted in them, because now there is no need to get rid of it – because it is a dream! So why get rid of it? It does not matter.

In a subtle way all the religions have done this: they have talked from the highest peak to the people for whom that peak does not exist yet. The people are living in darkness, and you go on telling them that darkness has no existence. It is true – darkness has no existence, it is only the absence of light – but just by saying to people that darkness has no existence is not going to bring light in.

That’s what Krishnamurti is doing; it has been done by many people. Nagarjuna did it – Krishnamurti is not new, not at least in the East. Nagarjuna did it: he said, “Everything is false. The world is false, the ego is false, nothing exists. Because nothing exists you are already free. There is no need for any meditation, there is no need for any Master. There is no need to find out any device, strategy, technique, because in the first place there is no problem. Why go on looking for solutions? Those solutions will create more problems; they are not going to help.”

Nagarjuna did it; before Nagarjuna, Mahakashyap did it, and it has been a long tradition. Zen people have been saying the same thing for centuries. Krishnamurti never uses the word “Zen”, but whatsoever he is talking is nothing but Zen – simple Zen.

Zen says no effort is needed, nothing has to be done. When nothing has to be done, what is the need of a Master? – because the Master will tell you to do something. Nothing has to be done – what is the need of the scriptures? – because the scriptures will tell you to do something, to know something. Nothing has to be done, nothing has to be known. You are already there where you are trying to reach.

And I know this is true, but to talk about this ultimate truth to people who are living in tremendous darkness is futile .

Prem Pantha, no enlightened person can ever be wrong, but only few enlightened persons have been of help. The majority of enlightened people have been of no help at all, for the simple reason because they never considered the other.

In fact, George Gurdjieff used to say, “Don’t consider the other.” It was one of his basic teachings:

“Don’t consider the other. Just say what is absolutely true.” But the absolute truth is truth only when experienced; people are living in relative truth.

My approach is different from Krishnamurti’s. I know that one day you will come to that point where nothing is needed – no Master, no teaching, no scripture – but right now the scripture can be of help, the methods can be of help, and certainly a living Master can be of immense help.

The function of the Master is to give you that which you already have and to take away that which you don’t have at all.

 – From ‘I am That – Talks on the Isha Upanishad’ by Osho

Christian Trinity and Vedanta

As I began to learn about the mystical teachings of Christianity, it was pretty clear to me that the essence of the true Christianity is same as the orthodox schools of Hinduism. But I was searching for an explanation of  Christian Trinity in the mystical context and I finally found the answer from the Indian Yogi ‘Paramhamsa Yogananda’.

Let me first quote the description by Paramhamsa Yogananda:

“When Spirit manifests creation. It becomes the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Ghost, or Sat, Tat, Aum. The Father (Sat) is God as the Creator existing beyond creation (Cosmic Consciousness). The Son (Tat) is God’s omnipresent intelligence existing in creation (Christ Consciousness or Kutastha Chaitanya). The Holy Ghost (Aum) is the vibratory power of God that objectifies and becomes creation. Many cycles of cosmic creation and dissolution have come and gone in Eternity (see yuga). At the time of cosmic dissolution, the Trinity and all other relativities of creation resolve into the Absolute Spirit.”

–  From http://www.yogananda-srf.org/glossary/Glossary_T_%E2%80%93_Z.aspx#.WMh2dFV96M8

Before we start on further explanations, I would suggest you to read my post on repentance to understand how Bible has lost some of it’s original meaning in the translations and has been misinterpreted.

trinity

Now, we can derive clear-cut explanations for each member of the Trinity:

Father

He is pretty easy to explain. Father is popularly known as God by Christians; The Hindu term for the Father is ‘Sat’,  a Sankrit word which means ‘Truth.’ Even though truth is neither male nor female, it is personified as a male so that the Holy Spirit can be personified as female. Both of them make the Yin and the Yang or Shiva and Shakthi.

Holy Spirit

This is the aspect of God that is active in creation. It is the vibratory power or force of God.

In the Bible, the word ‘spirit’ has been translated from the Greek word ‘pneuma’, which actually  has several meanings: spirit, breath and wind. The exact word for it in Hindu tradition is ‘Prana’, which means ‘life force’ or vital principle. It is the cosmic energy, permeating the universe on all levels. That is why it is also known as ‘Shakthi’, the mother. It is close to the term Maya in Vedanta and Prakriti in Sankhya. Sankhya and Vedanta are two of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism.

This Shakthi has a symbol called ‘Om’. The same sound has been translated into ‘Amen’ and ‘Ameen’ in different religions. Om is also called as pranava. It is interesting to note than both pranava and prana come from the same root.

Another Sanskrit term for this holy spirit or pranava is ‘omkara’. The word has two meanings: ‘beginning’  and ‘female divine energy’.

So, ‘Omkara’ is a word, in fact ‘the Word’; and it means ‘beginning’.

Now,  if you read the following Bible verses after understanding this last statement, they will perfectly make sense:

John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

The following Bible verse is another example:

“These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” – Revelation 3:14 

Son

We have understood the Father and the Holy Spirit, the creator and the creative force. The Son is nothing but the cosmic intelligence or cosmic consciousness.

The consciousness of every individual is one with the cosmic consciousness. But Jesus knew the truth perfectly well while others are ignorant about this, which makes Jesus a special Son of God. (the phrase ‘only begotten’ is translated from the Greek word ‘monogenes’ which actually means special or unique)

The Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father can be put together in one Sanskrit manta ‘Om Tat Sat’

Now, we get to the core message:

The Father is God. (Matthew 6:8, 7:21, Galatians 1:1)
Jesus is God from the beginning (John 1: 1-18)
The Holy Spirit is God (John 15:26, Mark 3:29, 1 Corinthians 6:19).

So, these three are  the three aspects of one ultimate reality! There is no three, there is no two, there is only one!

This is the core teaching of Advaita Vedanta as well. The ultimate reality is defined as self-existent awareness, limitless and non-dual.

 

James Swartz – A Review and Critique by a Seeker

I recently stumbled upon the website http://www.shiningworld.com and went through some of the articles by James Swartz, an old guy who is teaching the age old Vedanta and claiming himself to be enlightened. There are many so called enlightened teachers in the West who are offering satsangs, courses and retreats and James Swartz is one of them. But he is not teaching neo-advaita (and  I dont think neo-advaita is really helping people towards realizing the Self either.. That is just another big joke); He is teaching the traditional Vedanta and he was a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda in India.

I usually don’t write long articles or posts criticizing the spiritual teachers and questioning their enlightenment. I am completely aware that trying to find out if somebody is enlightened is not going to help me towards my own liberation. But this post is somewhat like a question; I am not saying any conclusive statements about his enlightenment. I just find it questionable. Even though this post is not going to help me towards my liberation even a little bit, I don’t care..

I also want to stress on the fact that a person who is not enlightened cannot really help others towards realization; It will be like a blind man leading other blind men. At the same time, one must be aware that if he or she is a true seeker and have a real thirst to know the truth, being with a false Guru or unenlightened teacher is not going to be a problem. But most of the time, in reality, the people who get stuck with unrealized teachers don’t make any progress at all but fall under the illusion that they are getting some valuable help towards spiritual enlightenment.

Also, there is also a well known saying: A Guru will appear when a disciple is ready. You don’t have to really search for an enlightened person to guide you. It will automatically happen.

But, there are people who get impressed with the talks of so called enlightened people who are not really enlightened. And, usually, there is really no way to tell if a person is enlightened or not; Only a true liberated person can recognize another liberated person. But there are some signs which may indicate that somebody is not enlightened. In this post, I am going to talk about those signs that I have observed in James Swartz’s teachings and attitude.

Also,  Vedanta just read as a piece of theology is not going to offer much help. In India, so many books are published on Vedanta and thousands of people read them. All that reading doesn’t make much difference in their lives, except that their egos may feel good because now they know something that others don’t know. There is also a good feeling that generally comes from knowing things and committing them to memory, which is not in anyway going to offer lasting fulfillment in a person’s life. But if there is no transformation at all, then not only Vedanta, any doctrine will become a bunch of concepts and ideas in people’s mind, strengthening their ego further. So, there needs to be a presence of a realized Guru to guide the people.

Now, Let us get back to James Swartz. The first thing that I want to talk about is the enlightenment quiz that he has in the website. It has 34 questions and just by answering the quiz, he says, will give you an idea if you are enlightened or not.Here is the quiz: http://shiningworld.com/site/index.php/resources/enlightenment-quiz

Before I came across this quiz, I had read a few articles written by James and also watched a couple of short videos. Then I answered the quiz and scored 87, which means that I am enlightened. But this seems to be a big joke and utter nonsense. If you are a little intelligent and if you read some of his articles, you can score above 90, especially if you are good in answering quizzes. The quiz only tests your ability to understand things and your memory. Why would a real enlightened person will have such an unnecessary and misleading quiz in his website?  James also says in an interview that he comes to know about at least a number of enlightened people every year based on this quiz. (The Quiz doesn’t really have an interactive form where people can submit the answers. The results of the quiz are not stored in the database. So, I assume he says that based on the emails he might be receiving from people who answered the quiz with a score more than 80 or 90.)

Also,when it comes to the usage of words, each and every person might use a word in different sense. For Vedantins , everything is Self but for Buddhists, there is no self at all. So, even if somebody who is truly enlightened takes the quiz, he still might not pass the quiz because he might be using the words mentioned in the quiz in a slightly different sense.

I found a lot of criticisms by James Swartz against Osho. But a lot of things he says about Osho is completely incorrect. For example, here is one passage where he talks about Osho (from http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/trad_neo/neo_vedanta_swartz.htm):

“The Neo-Advaita movement owes a considerable debt of gratitude to the teachings of Bhagawan Rajneesh who rechristened himself as Osho when his bad karma became unbearable.  Rajneesh perverted the tantric concept that the essence of every experience is Awareness.  Tantra is a very broad concept that applies to every conceivable kind of experience and insists that its practitioners enjoy the same qualifications as those practicing Vedanta sAdhana.  But Rajneesh focused his attention on the sexual aspect, not that much focusing was required, and opened wide the gates of tantra to tens of thousands of immature disaffected Western hedonists with his brilliant concept ‘Zorba the Buddha.’  Zorba the Greek was the literary creation of a Greek writer Nikos Kazantzaksis.  Zorba was not a bad guy but was he emotional!  He was the original party animal: lusty and enthusiastic in his pursuit of pleasure.  As is well known the Buddha was a holy ascetic.  By wedding the two ideas he provided a clever ‘spiritual’ justification for the unrestrained pursuit of pleasure in the name of spiritual growth.  Wags not unfairly called his sAdhana the ‘fuck your way to God’ path.  I was once told in all seriousness by a devotee that Osho ‘’gave us permission to do what society forbids us to do.”  When he died thousands of his disciples gravitated to a relatively unknown guru”

First of all, Osho didnt pervert the tantric concept. Osho has talked about all 112 techniques of Vigyan Bhairav Tanra, which includes various techniques and only about 5 or 6 techniques talk about sex. Many people misunderstand Osho as a sex guru and James is criticizing Osho based on the incorrect public opinion. Osho just taught a way to go beyond our unconscious cravings, including sex, by bringing awareness in what we do. But people understood it the wrong way and thought that Osho was preaching people to do more sex. That notion is completely wrong.

Osho’s main focus was awareness, not sex. Also, out of over 600 books of talks by Osho on various topics, there is only one book which talks about sex, which is called ‘From Sex to superconsiouness’. Even in that book, Osho teaches the way to go beyond the sexual desires by bringing awareness to it. When we become more and more alert and aware, the desires stop by themselves. In all the other books of Osho, he covers a wide range of topics from different traditions like Yoga, Zen, Vedanta, Buddhism, Christian mystics, Hasidism, Sufism and more.. He has talked about devotion, love, compassion, meditation and thousands of other topics and the talks about sex are not even 2% of them.

Also, his understanding of Osho’s concept of Zorba the Buddha is completely wrong. Osho said that it is not completely necessary to abandon the family, renounce everything and stay poor to realize ones true nature. He says that one can be rich both in the inner and the outer world. For example, King Janaka, the father of Sita in Ramayana was a realized being but he was the king of a whole empire. Osho simply says that one can be like Janaka or Zorba and can still realize their own self. Zorba is just a way to exaggerate his point on this. He picked up the extreme example of Zorba in a poetic way. In my opinion, when Zorba and Buddha is brought together in a man, he actually gets balanced in the middle. It doesn’t mean that he is asking to follow the way of Zorba. He is actually asking people to follow the way of Buddha without suppressing the part of Zorba who is in each and every individual.

To put it in one sentence “You don’t have to abandon the material world in the pursuit of spiritual world” is what Osho says.

Here is an excerpt from Osho’s talks:

“Zorba can sing, dance, enjoy food, drink, love. He will have a life, but he will not know who he is. He will not know the meaning of existence. He will never come to experience the deathlessness of life, the eternity of his existence — that he has been here always, and will be always; only forms change. He will never enter into his own center. He will always remain in the cyclone, very busy, concerned with everything except himself. And the center of the cyclone is the most ecstatic experience, the ultimate experience of human consciousness. Beyond that there is nothing; you have arrived home. But I don’t see that there is any problem, there is no contradiction. You can arrive home, you can be at your center — what prevents you from laughing? In fact, you should be the only one who can really laugh, can become laughter; who can really love, can become love itself — where the lover disappears and only love remains; one who can dance and dance to such abandon that the dancer is completely gone, there is only dance.

This is my effort:
To bring ‘Zorba the Buddha’ into the world.

 That will create a unity in you; your body and soul will have a unity. If you are one, you would like to dance in the open air under the sun. That will be your real prayer. Nothing is said, nothing is asked, but you are showing your gratitude to existence. Zorba the Buddha will not only destroy the split in man, it will destroy the split in society.

There is no question of escaping from anything. Every moment everything has to be enjoyed without any guilt, without any inhibition. But all the religions have been against it.
I proclaim with this manifesto a totally new sky for religious consciousness: the sky of completion, the joining of the inner and the outer, of the material and the spiritual, of Zorba and the Buddha.”

James is not only criticizing Osho but many other teachers. By the comments about Ramana Maharishi whom he doesn’t consider as a perfect teacher in spite of being a self realized person, James also implies that he is a better teacher than Ramana. He also devalues the way of Ramana Mahirishi’s teaching through silence. James believes that being in the silent presence of a master doesn’t have much value at all but many people know that there is a lot of transmission that happens from a master to disciple in pure silence. The transmission between Buddha and Mahakasyapa is a perfect example.

In an email by James to a questioner, he says the following:
(From http://www.shiningworld.com/site/files/pdfs/satsangs/Silence_versus_Words.pdf )

“The Vedanta sampradaya does not have a problem with Ramana’s moksa. In fact, it accords Upadesa Saram the status of an Upanishad. However, Ramana was not a teacher. He said so himself. He spoke to whomever was in front of him according to the understanding of that person. So there are apparently contradictory statements in his “teaching.” Statements made at different times to different people do not mean that the person that uttered them didn’t know who he or she is. Nor does it mean that either statement is untrue, given the context. But when you put them together they seem to contradict each other. So there should be a way to resolve these apparent contradictions. Ramana’s apparently contradictory statements are the words of a jnani, which can be resolved with reference to Vedanta’s teachings. Many people are confused by Ramana’s statements, not because Ramana was confused.”

This clearly shows that James is trying to stick to an organized teaching where as a true enlightened master will really talk to a seeker according to his level. What is the use of reading some mere information and committing them to memory from an organized teaching alone? I am not devaluing Vedanta, but I am saying that a generalized organized teaching alone is not going to be of much help unless there is a realized Guru  available to impart the teaching according to the level of the seeker. James may say that he is already doing that, but from what I have observed he only seems to give more importance in just the load of information alone. In fact,from what I have seen, a realized Guru gives an organized teaching only a secondary importance. A realized Guru always speaks from his own authority and he only uses the information available in an organized teaching as an additional device. James’s interest in criticizing other teachers and putting them down as not perfect teachers simply shows that he is trying to make himself superior, though he doesn’t directly say that.

While James Swartz dismisses most of the so called spiritual teachers as self-deluded (May it is true, but I am pointing out that his desperate interest in doing this only shows his interest in showing himself superior), he himself has authorized some of his students to teach and declared them as enlightened. I think it is very easy to convince James that you are enlightened, you just have to parrot what he says but show some confidence on what you are saying and act as if it comes from your own understanding. If what you say agrees with what he says, then James Swartz will probably declare you as enlightened. Because, from what I have observed, how much of what you say is aligned with traditional Vedanta is the only criteria that he will use to decide if you are enlightened or not. His enlightenment quiz is a perfect example for that.

I also came across something from Ted Schmidt, one of those guys who have been declared as enlightened by James. In that excerpt, Ted comments about J.Krishnamurti and Ramesh Balseker. While I doubt Ramesh’s enlightenment, I don’t have any doubt that J.Krishnamurti is a liberated person and he is also a great orator who has been admired by a lot of people for his clarity and wisdom.

Here is what Ted Schmidt says about J.Krishnamurti and Ramesh Balsekar:

“I am familiar with both of these teachers, but to be honest, it has been quite a while since I last delved into their teachings, so I cannot really give you a comprehensive critique of either. I can say, however, that while both gave voice to the non-dual nature of reality, neither employed a teaching methodology that systematically unfolded the implied meaning of scriptural statements or utilized any of the traditional prakriyas (i.e. methods of inquiry) to guide one through a logical analysis of one’s own experience by means of which all erroneous notions concerning it would be laid to rest and the irrefutable truth of one’s essential nature would stand revealed. In addition, neither offered any practical means of preparing the mind for the assimilation of self-knowledge. To the best of my recollection, both Krishnamurti and Balsekar repudiated the necessity for spiritual practice as a result of their confusion concerning the nonreciprocal relationship between paramarthika satyam, Brahman’s non-dual being (i.e. pure, limitless awareness) and vyavaharika satyam, the seemingly dualistic apparent reality of which Brahman, pure limitless awareness, is the adhishthanam, the substrate. Though the apparent reality is entirely dependent on pure awareness for its existence, pure awareness is entirely free of and uninvolved in the apparent reality. Moreover, in terms of the law of karma, the whole purpose of the apparent reality is to provide an arena in which limited entities execute limited actions and enjoy limited results. Thus any attempt to impose such principles as limitlessness, attributelessness or actionlessness on the limited entities that exist within the dualistic context of the apparent reality, whose very existence is defined in terms of distinguishable attributes and discrete actions, is completely untenable. In short, in their best moments both Krishnamurti and Ramesh Balsekar spout the highest truth, yet fail to provide any viable means of assimilating it.”

This again shows the same interest of their whole group in putting down other teachers, especially people like J.Krishnamurti. Ted goes on saying that J.Krishnamurti had a confusion in understanding absolute reality and relative reality. While I agree that much of J.Krishnamurti’s teachings were from absolute point of view, I won’t agree that he had a confusion on absolute and relative reality.  J.Krishnamurti did uncover the true essence of meditation and taught people to be aware of their body, mind and emotions which is helpful for modern men. In fact, the world has changed so much in the last thousand years  and people’s mind have become more complicated. In the modern world, J.Krishnamurti’s teaching of bringing awareness to our everyday life can be much helpful than the practice of Sravana, Manana and Nidhidhyasana of traditional Vedanta.

I have gone through many other criticisms of the spiritual teachers by James and his group, and as far as I have read, they have not accepted anybody, not even a single person as a perfect ‘teacher’ and they always criticize about how incomplete the teachings are.. (They probably accept all the Vedanta teachers who just repeat the teachings of Vedanta as it is  as complete teachers) Do they mean to say that James, his Guru and his authorized teachers are the only people who give out perfect and complete teaching? All I find in their way of teachings and satsangs are deep theoretical discussions and Sanskrit jargons. They are trying to create pundits and scholars but not enlightened people.

I also went through some excerpts from James Swartz book “How to attain enlightenment?” and he has given the same criticism about Osho and many other teachers in his books. He brings up those criticisms whenever he finds a chance.

It is very much appropriate to quote a message from Ramana Mahirishi here:

“The scriptures serve to indicate the existence of the Higher Power or Self and to point the way to It. That is their essential purpose. Apart from that they are useless. However, they are voluminous, in order to be adapted to the level of development of every seeker.
As a man rises in the scale he finds the stages already attained to be only stepping stones to higher stages, until finally the goal is reached. When that happens, the goal alone remains and everything else, including the scriptures, become useless.The intricate maze of philosophy of the various schools is said to clarify matters and to reveal the Truth, but in fact it creates confusion where none need exist. To understand anything there must be the Self. The Self is obvious, so why not remain as the Self? What need to explain the non-self? I was indeed fortunate that I never took to it (i.e. philosophy). Had I taken to it I would probably be nowhere; but my inherent tendencies led me directly to inquire ‘Who am I?’ How fortunate!”

It is clear that much of scriptural knowledge, even though intended to serve as tools, always end up creating more confusion. Ramana Mahirishi also says how fortunate he was in not learning those. While James claims in most of his talks that he is also not trying to give a philosophy, he is actually giving more importance to the theoretical knowledge about reality.

One thing that really convinced me to write this post was a discussion that I had on an online forum with a person who is learning from James Swartz. I was surprised to see how much influence James has made on her because all her discussion reflected the same attitude that James has:  Finding faults with words and usage of words, finding faults in spiritual teachers etc. The worst thing was, she had the same prejudice against Osho. Whenever I posted something that was said by Osho, she kept posting stuff that said something against Osho. When I asked her why she was doing that, she said she wants to help people by asking them to be wary of Osho’s teachings.That was something that I couldn’t accept because Osho has done extraordinary work in explaining each and everything about spirituality in detail and he has also brought out the real essence of all the major spiritual traditions in the world.

You might argue that Osho also criticized many spiritual teachers. But his criticism was really based on his genuine interest in shattering the false beliefs that people had and leading them in a proper way towards enlightenment. He didnt do it out of hatred or to assert his superiority but he did that out of his compassion on people. He has spoken positively about authentic spiritual masters like Ramana, J.Krishnamurti, Buddha, Mahavira, J.Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff, Kabir, Nanak, Meister Eckhart, Jesus Christ, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Patanjali, many popular Zen masters and the great sages of Upanishads.  Also, my post is not about whether criticism is right or wrong but the intention behind the criticism and the discrimination between a real enlightened person and a fake one.

To the students of James Swartz: You may feel impressed not because James Swartz is impressive but Vedanta is impressive. (James Swartz might be a great guy, I am not against him but I just want to give you guys something to think about). Vedanta is still new to the Western world but it is an age old tradition in India. But if you are really interested in ending your suffering and knowing your true nature, you need the presence and guidance of a true enlightened master and not just somebody who thinks he is enlightened. It is possible to walk in the path without any Guru, but it is very difficult. It is going to further complicate the process if you are in the hands of somebody who has not yet made it.

I have no doubt that James is an excellent writer. He speaks a lot of things with great clarity which shows that he has taken his time to read many scriptures. That is the only advantage that he has over the other people who call themselves as enlightened. He can help you to learn stuff and become well versed with Vedanta and its scriptural base but I really doubt if he could help you towards your enlightenment.

Path of Samadhi and Pragna – Talks by Sadhguru and Osho

As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, there are many similarities between what Osho said and what Sadhguru said. Here is another example of such similarity, where both men say that there are only two paths in spirituality; the path of Samadhi and the path of Prajna. Both men use the same examples for the two paths, Ramakrishna and Buddha respectively.

This clears many things up for spiritual seekers. And also, It is very good to read both explanations which makes things more clear.

First, Let us look at Sadhguru’s talk about Samyama:

Now, when we say Samyama – It is a state where your awareness has reached a point – where you clearly know – when I say “Know”, knowing is always thought in terms of “Oh! I – Know”. It is not that knowing, you are fully aware that you are not the body, you are not the mind, you are not the world. Your body is separate, the mind is separate – these are the three things that you are always getting identified with. You get identified with the body, the mind, the surroundings around you – this is the trap.

If you are in Samyama, the body will be there, mind will be there, world will be there but you are not part of all these three things. If you are free from all these three things, there can be no suffering. If you are in the body, body can suffer, if you are in the mind, mind can suffer, if you are in the world, world can make you suffer. If you are not in any of these three things, you are outside of these three things, this is your Mukthi – That is the aim of Samyama. It is the height of awareness, where your witnessing has separated everything. If your witness is sharp enough – it will slice off the body, it will slice off the mind, it will slice off the world – it will leave you free from all these things. In what way it is connected to Samadhi? It is not connected to Samadhi. It is a way of bypassing all Samadhis.

Fundamentally, on any Spiritual path, there are only two types of spiritual processes in the world – the path of Samadhi and the path of Pragna. Pragna means the path of awareness; Samadhi means the path of dissolution. Samadhi – there are various types of Samadhis. Mainly in the tradition, they classify Samadhis into 8 forms, some 14, some 18 and it goes on. Samadhi is like a prize – it is a gift nature gives you for doing so much Sadhana. Now, nature gives you a break – when you are in Samadhi, you are blissful. You are free from everything. Nature offers you a bottle of drink and says, OK, you have done so well, so drink this and be happy. So drink this and you are fine for sometime, but once you come back, almost everything is the same. It leaves you transformed to some extent, but still you are not free from everything. However, whichever Samadhi you are going through, it is the same. All Samadhis we are talking about, 8 or 16 or whatever type – they all belong to Savikalpa or Savi Tarka Samadhi.

All these things involve certain qualities – they are good. It is just like by doing good Karma, people go to heaven. Heaven means it is a small escape that a man has in the process of life and death because of good karmas, he gets a break, where he is blissful. Different levels of bliss are available; there are different levels of heaven – different grades of heaven. You want to call it as heaven or different dimensions of life or different levels of consciousness, whatever. Samadhi is one more heaven. When you are alive, nature gives you a little bit of heaven because you have been so good, this is a prize offered to you. But a person who is in a hurry to reach the goal should not take these Samadhis. Samadhis are very beautiful, very transforming. Also very transforming for the atmosphere. It is beneficial for people around us when we go into Samadhis. The whole atmosphere gets charged because one person is in Samadhi, as many of you have witnessed.

But, I would not consider even the Samadhi state as real growth – it is only a prize that nature has offered to you. If you want you can enjoy it or you can just leave it and go on. Initially, these prizes that are being offered to you are precious to you. But as days go by and everyday you start getting prizes, then prize becomes meaningless. The first medal that you got in school or college, that is very valuable, you put it in the showcase. Suppose you become a big sportsman and you get thousands of them, then all over your house it will be there. You will throw it somewhere and go because you got many and the same happens to this also. A person who earns too many Samadhis, after sometime does not want any more Samadhis – that is one way. Or another person who is going on seeking more Samadhis, wants to remain there for longer and longer. Deep attachment will arise to this state that you want to be in this state always, because it is blissful. It is like being in the lap of God. It is like going back to the lap of existence where nothing can touch you, where you are free from everything. It is like a child getting addicted to the mother’s lap – that is the Samadhi state.

A person who is walking in the path of Pragna wants to bypass Samadhis. The path we prescribe for people is Pragna, but this person’s (Sadhguru) presence becomes Samadhi. That is what is happening here. What is happening here now, in the normal sense, you cannot categorize it in any way, you cannot describe it in any particular way because so many things are mixed up here – which is not usual, which is not normal in any other place. This you can see because the path we have chosen is scientific in a particular way, but this person (Sathguru) presence is of a totally different nature. This person speaks one way but his presence is completely different. Because of this contradiction the possibility of growth is much better, at the same time the possibility of confusion is also much greater – because the situation is like that.

If you talk to this person (Sadhguru), he talks very logically. Everything he speaks, nobody can deny, because it is pure logic, nobody can disagree with us – isn’t it? But fundamentally what I do with my energies is not at all logical, it is totally illogical – these two things are diametrically opposite, these are two different paths. Normally one person does not follow these two paths at the same time. Here we have chosen both because our energies come from one source but our understanding comes from the present society’s needs.

Today, if we do not talk science, you cannot do what we are doing. But if you do not carry these energies, you still cannot do what we are doing. So this is a combination of these two things – we are not consciously mixing how much of this, how much of that, we have just allowed them to flow whichever way it flows. Let Shiva decide, we are not deciding. Whichever way it flows, that way it flows. But this is a rare situation here two things are happening at once – where Samadhis are possible and the highest state of Pragna is also possible. But our focus, our work is toward Pragna – our work is towards awareness and not towards Samadhi, but Samadhis will invariably happen in this place because our energies are like that.

When we are talking about Samyama, that level of awareness – it is a way of bypassing all Samadhis. I am not saying Samadhi is bad, it is a beautiful state to be, it is a wonderful thing to happen to any person. But when a man is in a hurry, he does not gather his prizes and go. Suppose your house catches fire, now you are not concerned about gathering your this, that and all. Whatever is life saving, that you gather and run or you do not gather anything – you just run. With clothes or without clothes, you run, because life is of paramount importance and everything else is secondary. Right now, the situation is like that. We do not bother to gather these prizes, otherwise we can gather many here – many prizes have come our way. We can very easily gather, we can go into Samadhis, enjoy and attract more and more people. We do not have to teach yoga, so much of your breath you do not have to waste. You do not have to build this ashram, people will come and build a huge temple for you, everything they will do. With Samadhi, nature gives you a prize, society also will confer prizes upon you.

With Pragna it is not like that, but it is a path on which one can steadily progress. There will be no distractions – it is little round about but it is steady. Fundamentally why these two things have been separated is – see, whatever process of growth that we do is ultimately to dissolve the nonsense we have gathered in our unconscious mind, in the form of karmas. In Pragna, all these unconscious layers are made conscious – you take it into your conscious and dissolve. That is something you do out of your awareness – this is “Being a light unto yourself”.

Now in Samadhi state, you go into the state of unconsciousness where you reach the very bottom of unconsciousness, you do not bother to dissolve them. Normally people who are walking in the path of Bakthi are the people who go into Samadhi states very easily. Now he has not taken on himself, he has said everything is Shiva, everything is somebody. So in his unconscious, simply because of the intensity of his experience, he moves to the very bottom, he reaches to the other side unconsciously.

Pragna is a much longer process, much more laborious, but here you know whether you are walking forward or backward. One step backward, and immediately you know – it slaps you and tells you. In Samadhi path, you do no know whether you are going forward or backward. After a long time you look back and see only then you know. Till then you really do not know whether you are really progressing or retarding. On the path of Samadhi your dependence on whatever – your Guru, your ideal or deity is too much. On the path of Pragna your dependence is little.

So, for today, for modern day people, for modern minds, Pragna is a better way. If you want examples, for Pragna and Samadhi, two great masters have walked these paths. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the Samadhi path and Gauthama Buddha, the Pragna path.

Here is the Osho’s version from the book “Nansen : The point of departure”:

Before we go into the answer of Obaku, you have to understand the meaning of samadhi and prajna. 
It is a very intricate and complex question. Samadhi can be understood watching Ramakrishna. That 
will give you the basic symptoms which can be observed from the outside. 

Ramakrishna used to go into samadhi for hours. Once for six days he was in samadhi. And samadhi 
to him and to his followers - and there is a great tradition from Patanjali, five thousand years old, 
which believes in samadhi - means to become perfectly unconscious. To every outsider he was 
almost in a coma; to the psychologist he had gone deeper into the unconscious layers of the mind. 
And there was no way to bring him back. 

Automatically, whenever his consciousness surfaced again, he would become aware. And whenever 
he came out of this samadhi, this deep coma-like unconsciousness, he would weep and cry, ’’Why 
have you taken away that great beauty, that great bliss, that great silence that I was experiencing. 
Time had stopped, the world was forgotten, I was alone and everything was at its perfection. So why 
have you taken it away?” He was asking the question to existence. ’’Why don’t you let me continue 
it?” 


Now, Buddha himself would not consider it a samadhi. His samadhi means prajna, and prajna 
means awareness. You have to become more and more conscious, not unconscious; just two 
polarities, samadhi and prajna. Prajna is perfect awareness of your being. And samadhi in 
Ramakrishna’s case means absolute oblivion. Nobody has gone into the deeper search for what 
exactly is the difference deep inside. 

Both talk about great blissfulness, both talk about eternity, truth, beauty, goodness as their ultimate 
experience. But one is completely unconscious - you can cut his hand and he will not know - that 
much unconsciousness; and Buddha is so conscious that before sitting on the floor, first he will look 
to see if there is any ant or anything that may be killed by his sitting there. In his every act he showed 
immense awareness. 

I have told you the story that one day passing through a street in Vaishali, a fly came and sat on 
his head. He was talking to Ananda about something. So just automatically the way you do it, he 
simply waved his hand. Then he suddenly stopped talking to Ananda and again waved his hand. 
Now there was no fly. 

Ananda said, ’’What are you doing? The fly has gone.” 

He said, ’’The fly has gone, but I acted unconsciously. I waved my hand automatically like a robot. 
Now I am moving as I should have moved, with full consciousness, awareness.” 

So these seem to be two polarities. Both have become a point of great debate as to who is right, 
because the experience they talk about is the same. My own experience is that mind can be crossed 
from both ends. One tenth of the mind is conscious, nine tenths of the mind is unconscious. Just 
think of mind: the upper layer is conscious and nine layers are unconscious. Now mind can be 
passed from both the ends. You cannot pass from the middle, you will have to travel to the end. 

Ramakrishna passed the mind by going deeper and deeper into the unconscious layers. And when 
the final unconscious layer came, he jumped out of the mind. To the world outside he looked as if 
he was in a coma. But he reached to the same clear sky although he chose a path which is dark, 
dismal; he chose the night part of consciousness. But he reached to the same experience. 

Buddha never became unconscious in this way. Even walking he was stepping every step 
fully conscious and gracefully, every gesture fully conscious, gracefully. He transformed his 
consciousness to such a point that unconscious layers started becoming conscious. The final 
enlightenment is when all unconscious layers of the mind have become conscious. He also jumps 
out of the mind. 

Both samadhi and prajna are no-mind states, going outside the mind. So the experience is the 
same but the path is different, very different. One is the white path of light that Buddha followed; one 
is the path of darkness that Ramakrishna followed. And it is obvious that the people who cannot 
understand both, who have not followed both the paths and come to the same experience, are going 
to debate and discuss to no end. 

One will say that Ramakrishna’s samadhi is a coma, that he has lost consciousness. Another will 
say that because Buddha never goes into Ramakrishna-like samadhi, he does not know anything 
about samadhi. But my experience is, both know the samadhi, both know the prajna. Ramakrishna 
first knows samadhi and out of samadhi prajna is born. Buddha knows first prajna and then out of 
prajna samadhi is born. It is only a question of understanding that existence is always contradictory, 
made of opposites - night and day, life and death. 

Ramakrishna’s path is of unconsciousness. Nobody has deliberately considered the point. And 
Buddha’s path is of pure light, of continuous awareness. Even in sleep Buddha sleeps consciously.

Akshi Upanishad – Seven Steps to Samadhi

Akshi Upanishad is one of the minor Upanishads in Hinduism, which lists seven major steps to Samadhi. A detailed commentary on this Upanishad was given by Osho, which has been published as ‘Vedanta – Seven Steps to Samadhi’.

The following is the translation of the second part of the Upanishad, the major part, which deals with all the seven steps leading a seeker towards liberation, as it appears on the book by Osho:

surya_the_hindu_sun_god_asian_art_museum_san_francisco

Image source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akshi_Upanishad#/media/File:Surya_the_Hindu_sun_god_Asian_Art_Museum_San_Francisco.jpg

 

Step 1-Yog

The sun god said:
I shall now explain to you this most rare knowledge, upon the attainment of
which you will become free while yet dwelling in this body. See in all beings
the Brahman, who is one, unborn, still, imperishable, infinite, immutable
and conscious; so seeing live in peace and bliss. Do not see anything except
the self and the supreme. This state is known as yoga.
Rooted thus in yoga, carry out your deeds.

The mind of one who is thus rooted in yoga gradually withdraws
from all desires, and the seeker feels blissful while engaging himself
each day in meritorious acts. He has no interest whatsoever
in the contrary efforts of the ignorant.
He never betrays the secrets of one to another;
And he occupies himself solely with lofty deeds.
He performs only such gentle acts as do not disturb others. He fears sin and
does not crave any self-indulgence. He utters loving and affectionate words.
He lives in the company of saints and studies the scriptures. With complete
unity of mind, speech and action he follows them. Seeking to cross
the ocean that is the world,
he cultivates the above-mentioned ideas. And he is called a beginner,
one performing his preliminaries. This is called the first stage.

Step 2- Vichar bhoomika

Now follow the traits of seekers of the second stage,
Called the stage of thought.
He lives in the care of learned men who explain best what
listening, remembering, right conduct, contemplation –

dharana – and meditation are. Having acquired knowledge of such
scriptures as are worth listening to, he efficiently discriminates
between what is duty and what is not, and he knows well the division
between a word and the thing it symbolizes.
His mind does not suffer from an excess of conceit, pride, greed and
attachment, although externally they are apparent to some extent.
He gives up his external impurities as a snake casts off its slough.
Such a seeker acquires the actual
knowledge of all these things with the grace of the scriptures,
the guru, and the sages.

Step 3 Asansarga

After this the seeker enters the third stage of yoga
which is known as nonattachment. He fixes his mind unwaveringly
on the meaning of scriptural words.
He lives in the monasteries, ashrams, of saints well established
in austerities. He occupies himself with the discussion of the
scriptures and sleeps on a rocky bed. Thus it is that he lives his life.
Because he has attained peace of mind, the man of good conduct
spends his time in the enjoyment of pleasures that come naturally to
him from his excursions into the forest.
He remains detached however, from the objects of desires.
Through the ritual of meritorious deeds and the cultivation of right
scriptures, he attains that clarity of vision which sees reality.
On completing this stage,
the seeker experiences a glimpse of enlightenment

There are two kinds of nonattachment:
The ordinary and the sublime.
That attitude of nonattachment to the objects of desire in which the
Seeker knows that he is neither the doer nor the enjoyer,
Neither the restrained not the restrainer, is called ordinary
Nonattachment. He knows that whatever faces him in this life
Is the result of the deeds of his past life.
Whether in pleasure or in pain, he can do nothing.
Indulgence is but a disease and affluence of all kinds a storehouse of
Adversity. Every union leads inevitably to separation.
The ignorant suffer the maladies of mental anxiety.
All material things are perishable, because time is constantly
Devouring them. Through the understanding of scriptural precepts,
One’s faith in material things is unrooted
And one’s mind freed of them.
This is called ordinary nonattachment.


When thoughts like: “I am not the doer, my past deeds are the doers,
Or God himself is the doer,” cease to worry the seeker,
A state of silence, equilibrium and peace is attained.
This is called sublime nonattachment.

Step 4 Swapna

The first stage, to which contentment and bliss
Impart sweetness, springs from the innermost recesses of the seeker’s
Heart, as if nectar has issued forth from the heart of the earth.
At the inception of this stage the innermost recess
Becomes a field for the coming of the other stages.
Afterwards the seeker attains the second and third stages.
Of the three, the third is the highest, because on its attainment all
The modifications of will come to an end.
One who practices the three stages finds his ignorance dead,
And on entering the fourth stage
He sees everything, everywhere, equally.
At that moment he is so strongly embedded in the experience of
Nonduality – advaita – that the experience itself disappears.
Thus, on attaining the fourth stage
The seeker finds the world as illusory as a dream.
So while the first three stages are called waking ones,
The fourth is dreaming.

Step 5 Sushuptipad

On the attainment of the fifth state, the mind of the seeker ceases,
like clouds in an autumn sky, and only truth remains.
In this stage, worldly desires do not arise at all.
During this state all thoughts of division in the seeker are stilled
and he remains rooted in nonduality.
On the disappearance of the feeling of division, the fifth stage,
known as the sushuptapad – sleeping –
draws the enlightened seeker into its nature.
He is perpetually introverted and looks tired and sleepy,
even though externally he continues his everyday activities.

Step 6 Bhavshunya or JivanMukta stage

On the accompaniment of this stage, the desire-free seeker enters
the sixth one. Both truth and untruth, both egoism and egolessness
and all sorts of mentations cease to exist in this state,
and rooted in pure nonduality, the seeker is free from fear.
As the entanglements of his heart dissolve, so all his doubts drop.
This is the moment when he is completely emptied of all thought.
Without attaining nirvana, he is in a nirvana-like state
and becomes free while yet dwelling in the body.
This state is like that of the motionless flame of a lamp.
and then comes the seventh stage.

Step 7 Videhmukta

In this seventh stage, the stage of videhamukti,
liberation while living in the body is achieved. This stage is totally silent
and cannot be communicated in words.
It is the end of all stages, where all the processes of yoga come to their
conclusion. In this stage, all activities – worldly, bodily and scriptural –
cease. The whole universe in the form of the world – viswa,
intelligence – prajna, and radiance – tejas, is just aum.
There is no division here between speech and the speaker.
If however any such division remains, the state has not been attained.
The first sound ‘a’ of aum, stands for the world,
the second ‘u’ for radiance and the third ‘m’ for intelligence.


Before entering samadhi, the seeker should contemplate on aum most
strenuously, and subsequently he should surrender everything, from gross to
subtle to the conscious self. Taking the conscious self as his own self,
he should consolidate this feeling: I am eternal, pure, enlightened, free,
existential, incomparable, the most blissful Vasudeva and Pranava himself.


Since the whole visible world comprising a beginning, a middle and an end,
is sorrow-stricken, he must renounce everything
and merge into the supreme. He should feel that he is blissful,
taintless, without ignorance, without appearance,
inexpressible in words, and that he is Brahman,
the essence of knowledge.

Do Enlightened/Self Realized People Get Angry?

People have so many different ideas about how an enlightened person must behave. Some have an image of an ascetic begging in the streets; Some may think that enlightened person should always behave like a Buddha, warm and kind. People have different opinions, ideas and measuring scales and they think that they can recognize an enlightened person using these ideas that they have in mind.

Before I jump into the discussion about enlightened people getting angry, let me give you an excerpt from one of the talks from Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev regarding what I said:

“When you sit in front of a living Guru, you have many problems, judgments, likes and dislikes, because invariably you end up looking at his personality. People have left their Gurus for all kinds of frivolous things. This happened with J. Krishnamurti, a realized being and very wonderful man. There was a certain lady who was very close to him and deeply involved with his work. She was always around him and traveled to many places with him. Once when he was in Amsterdam, Holland, he went into a shop to buy a tie for himself. He was so meticulous about choosing a tie, because he was very conscious about everything and also what he wore. He could throw the tie away if he wanted to, but when he wears it, he wants it to be in a certain way. So he went into the shop and spent nearly four hours picking out one tie. He pulled out every tie in the shop, looked at it, put it on, and then said, “No.” It took him four hours to select just one tie. This woman watched and watched and watched, and as minutes passed, in her mind his enlightenment receded. She thought a man who could be so concerned about what kind of tie he wears couldn’t be enlightened, and she left him. Many such stupid things are done because of your judgments.”

– From http://www.dhyanalinga.org/difference_qa.htm

The above example from J.Krishnamurti’s life has also been said by Osho. In this post, I have also included the talk where Osho quotes this incident. Osho says that the lady then came to him to take sannyas but Osho refused to give her sannyas because of this.

Now, let us move on to the question “Do Enlightened/Self Realized People Get Angry?”

The answer is “Yes”..

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has talked about Sadhguru Sri Brahma who he was in his previous lifetime. He was not nice to people at all.

“Sadhguru Sri Brahma was not a nice guy. He never called anyone by name – he only said, “Eh!” “Eh” was the one name for everyone. People were terrified of him, just because of the way he was. But at the same time, they loved him immensely. That is the beauty of contradictions.”

“People saw him as godlike, but they were terrified of him, because he seemed to be always angry. He was not angry with anyone – he was simply ferociously intense. Sadhguru Sri Brahma was like fire – simply on.”

From http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/history-of-yoga/sadhguru-sri-brahma-seventh-hill/

Another example would be none other than J.Krishnamurti. Here is the excerpt from ‘The Book of Wisdom’, a collection of talks given by Osho between 11/02/79 to 10/03/79. As I said, Osho also talks about the same incident, Krishnamurti buying a tie in a mall:

“Seeker:  You have said that Krishnamurti can get angry. How is that possible, as in enlightenment there is no one there to be angry?

Osho:   Henk Faassen, in enlightenment there is nobody there to get angry, and there is nobody there not to get angry either. So whatsoever happens, happens. Krishnamurti does not get angry the way you get angry. Everything with an enlightened person happens on a totally different plane. His anger comes out of his compassion. Your anger comes out of hate, aggression, cruelty. He becomes angry — sometimes he starts pulling his hair out, he hits his own forehead — but out of compassion.
Just think, for fifty years or more he has been teaching a certain kind of truth to the world, and nobody understands him. The same people gather each year to listen to him — the same people.

Once he was talking in Bombay… somebody reported this to me, and the person who reported it to me is an old lady, older than Krishnamurti. She saw Krishnamurti when he was a child, she has seen him and listened to him for fifty years. And because she is a little deaf, very old, she sits in the front on a chair. And for fifty years Krishnamurti has been saying that there are no methods for meditation, that meditation is not needed at all. Just be in the present and live your life, that’s enough meditation, no other technique is needed….

For one and a half hours he poured his heart out, and at the end the lady stood up and asked, “How to meditate?” Now, what do you suppose he should do? He hit his head.

This is not your anger. This is so unbelievable! He is tired of this lady, but this lady is not tired of him. She comes to every talk to listen to him, and asks the same stupid questions.

When I say Krishnamurti can get angry, I don’t mean, Henk, that he can get angry like you get angry. His anger is out of compassion. This situation is unbelievable! He wants to help this lady and he feels so helpless. He tries this way and that. His message is very simple, singular, one-dimensional. For fifty years he has been saying only a single word. In essence his whole teaching can be printed on one side of a postcard. He has been saying it in as many possible ways as one can invent, but it is the same citadel that he attacks from the north, from the south, from the west, from the east. And still people go on listening to him and go on asking the same old foolish questions.

He certainly gets angry. And when a man like Krishnamurti gets angry, he is pure anger. Many in India have felt very disappointed with Krishnamurti because he gets angry. They have a certain concept that a buddha should not get angry. They go with a prejudice. And when they see that Krishnamurti can get angry, they are disillusioned, “So this man is not a buddha, he has not become enlightened yet.”

I say to you that he is one of the most enlightened persons who has ever walked on this earth. Still he can get angry, but his anger comes out of compassion; it is condensed compassion. He cares about you, so much so that he becomes angry. This is a totally different quality of anger.

And when he becomes angry he is real anger. Your anger is partial, lukewarm. Your anger is like a dog who is not certain how to behave with a stranger. He may be a friend of the master, so he wags his tail; he may be an enemy, so he barks. He does both together. On one hand he goes on barking, on the other hand he goes on wagging his tail. He is playing the diplomat, so whatsoever the case turns out to be, he can always feel right. If the master comes and he sees that the master is friendly, the barking will stop and his whole energy will go into the tail. If the master is angry with the intruder, then the tail will stop completely, and his whole energy will go into barking.

Your anger is also like that. You are weighing up how far to go, how much will pay; don’t go beyond the limit, don’t provoke the other person too much.
But when a man like Krishnamurti becomes angry he is pure anger. And pure anger has a beauty because it has totality. He is just anger. He is like a small child, redfaced, just anger all over, ready to destroy the whole world.

That’s what happened to Jesus. When he went into the great temple and saw the moneychangers and their tables inside the temple, he was in a rage. He became angry — the same anger that comes out of compassion and love. Singlehanded, he drove all the moneychangers out of the temple and overturned their boards. He must have been really very angry, because driving all the moneychangers out of the temple singlehanded is not an easy thing.

And reports say — I don’t know how far they are right, but reports say that he was not a very strong man. Reports say that he was not even a very tall man; you will be surprised, he was only four feet six inches. And not only that — on top of it he was a hunchback. I don’t know how far those reports are true, because I don’t want to go to court! But it is there in the books, ancient books, very ancient books.

So how did this hunchback, four feet six inches high, drive out all the moneychangers singlehanded? He must have been pure rage!
Indians are angry about that. They cannot trust that Jesus is enlightened — just because of this incident.

People have their prejudices, their ideas. Rather than seeing into reality, rather than looking into an enlightened man, they come ready with so many concepts, and unless he fits them he is not enlightened. And let me tell you, no enlightened person is going to fit with your unenlightened prejudices; it is impossible.

It happened, a lady came to me. She had been a follower of Krishnamurti for many years, then a small thing disturbed the whole thing and the whole applecart was upturned. The thing was so small that I was surprised. There was a camp in Holland where Krishnamurti holds a camp every year, and the woman had gone there from India. Nearabout two thousand people had gathered from all over the world to listen to him. The next morning the lectures were going to start, and the woman had gone shopping. And she was surprised, Krishnamurti was also shopping. An enlightened person shopping? Can you believe it? Buddha in a supermarket? And not only that — he was purchasing a necktie. Enlightened people need neckties? And not only that — the whole counter was full of neckties and he was throwing them this way and that, and he was not satisfied with any.

The woman watched, looked at the whole scene, and fell from the sky. She thought, “I have come from India for this ordinary man who is purchasing neckties. And even then, of thousands of neckties of all colors and all kinds of material, nothing is satisfying to him. Is this detachment? Is this awareness?”
She turned away. She didn’t attend the camp, she came back immediately. And the first thing she did was to come running to me, and she said, “You are right.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
She said, “You are right that it was useless wasting my time with Krishnamurti. Now I want to become a sannyasin of yours.”
I said, “Please excuse me, I cannot accept you. If you cannot accept Krishnamurti, how can I accept you? Get lost! … Because here you will see far more disappointing things. What are you going to do with my Mercedes Benz? So before it happens, why bother? What are you going to do with my air-conditioned room? Before it happens, it is better that you go and find some Muktananda, etcetera. You have not been able to understand Krishnamurti, you will not be able to understand me.”

People like Krishnamurti live on a totally different plane. Their anger is not your anger. And who knows that he was not just playing with those ties for this stupid old woman? Masters are known to devise things like that. He got rid of this stupid old woman very easily.”

– From “The Book of Wisdom” by Osho

To conclude, it is not possible to find if somebody is enlightened based on their outward behavior. Some of their behavior may come from their genetics, as they still live with the same body after enlightenment.

The Presence of a Master or Guru

When you are on a spiritual journey, you are very lucky when you find an authentic Guru who can guide you. If the Guru is not realized himself, it is like a blind man guiding blind men, which has been used as an example by many masters. But if you do happen to find a real Guru, then his presence helps you more than what he actually says by words. His very presence acts as a catalyst.

In our Indian tradition, we have been so fortunate to have many realized beings like Ramana Maharishi, J.Krishnamurti, Ramakrishna, Osho and thousands of realized beings who lived many centuries before, like Buddha, Shankara and Mahavira. We are also very lucky to have Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a realized mystic and yogi who is alive with us today. With his tremendous work , wisdom and vision, he has also consecrated Dhyanalinga, which has the same power of a Guru’s presence.

What is so special about being in the presence of a Guru or Dhyanalinga? Here are some excerpts from Osho and Sadhguru:

BELOVED OSHO, SITTING WITH YOU IN DISCOURSE AND HEARING YOU TALK ABOUT ENLIGHTENMENT AND SILENCE, I FEEL IMMENSELY BLESSED, SOMETIMES ALMOST TOUCHING THIS SPACE OF COMING HOME, AND SILENCE COMES TO MY MIND. BUT AS SOON AS YOU LEAVE THROUGH THE DOOR AND THE MUSIC STOPS, IMMEDIATELY THE CHATTERING INSIDE STARTS AGAIN. FOR ME IT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO BECOME SILENT WHEN I AM MEDITATING ALONE, BUT SO EASY IN YOUR PRESENCE. IS THIS NATURAL IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A MASTER AND A DISCIPLE?

Deva Anuragini, it is very natural. Being in the presence of a master, silence happens on its own accord. Just as in the deep Himalayas, where the snow is eternal and the silence almost ancient… just sitting there under a tree, you start feeling, falling in tune with the immensity that surrounds you.

To be in the presence of the master is even more deep-going. Because what is the meaning of being in the presence of the master? It is being with someone you love, someone you trust; someone with whom you are ready to go into the unknown. Being in this climate, you forget your trivial matters; and forgetting comes easy, not by your effort.

The master is silent and silence is contagious.

His heart slowly slowly brings you also into a synchronicity. You start beating with his heart, in the same rhythm.

This is a beautiful experience in itself, but it is only a lesson on the path; it simply gives you a glimpse. Silence has to come to you in your aloneness, then it is your own. Otherwise, silence in the Himalayas belongs to the Himalayas; you are simply overwhelmed. And the silence in the presence of the master belongs to the master; you are simply touched. That’s why, as soon as you are left alone to yourself, your old mind is back; it has just been waiting by the side. It comes with a vengeance.

You have to understand one thing: that the presence of the master simply gives you an indication that you are capable of silence, that mind is not your master. That it is not an impossibility; that you can have a little taste of it. Whilst being alone, remember it: that the mind is just a servant mechanism.

Watch it; it is very ancient, and your silence is very new. Your silence is almost like a roseflower and your chattering mind is like a rock, very ancient, very old. It can crush the roseflower at any moment unless you are aware, unless you learn one lesson — that mind may go on, yakkety-yak, chattering, but you should not become part of it.

Certainly you are not the mind, just as you are not the body. You are within the body, within the mind, but your center is separate from the cyclone. It has a totally different quality to it. Silence, stillness is just natural to it; it is its flowering

             – The Invitation, Chapter 6 by Osho

BELOVED OSHO, IN ALL THE YEARS WITH YOU I FELT MEDITATIONS SIMPLY ‘HAPPENED’ TO ME. THEN IN THE LAST TIME WHEN I WAS AWAY FROM YOU I FELT THIS WAS NOT ME, BUT YOUR GRACE OVERFLOWING TOWARDS ME. FOR THE FIRST TIME I SAW THAT I NEEDED TO GIVE MEDITATION A PRIORITY IN MY LIFE OR IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN. NOW, MELTING IN YOUR PRESENCE AGAIN, EVERYTHING I COULD EVER DESIRE IS HERE.OSHO, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DISCIPLE WHEN ONE IS WITHOUT THE MASTER?

There are only two possibilities when the disciple is not with the master.

One is that he goes back to the zero where he had been before he met the master.

The second is, seeing that if without the master things that were happening in his presence are not happening, it simply means that his presence has not become an intrinsic part of your being.

The master need not be outside you.

In fact, he is always inside you, and if you can remember it – ”The master is inside me”…. And the master is not asking much, just a small place, a small bedroom with an attached bathroom.

Once you start feeling yourself as carrying the master within yourself, everything that was happening in the presence of the master not only continues but grows a thousandfold. Because it was the master outside, there was a distance. Now there is no more distance; even the distance has disappeared. You are not alone.

It is only a question of how much you love, of how deep is your devotion, of how great is your disciplehood.

   –  The Osho Upanishad, Chapter 27

Last night you spoke of satsang and the importance of the disciple’s proximity to the guru. Does this mean physical proximity? Is the disciple who lives at a great physical distance from the guru at a loss?

Yes and no! Yes, a physical closeness is necessary in the beginning because you cannot understand anything else right now, as you are. You can understand the body; you can understand the language of the physical. You exist at the physical, so yes, a physical closeness is necessary – in the beginning.

And I say no also because as you grow, as you start learning a different language which is of the non-physical, then physical closeness is not necessary. Then you can go anywhere. Then space doesn’t make any difference. You remain in contact. Not only space, but time also doesn’t make any difference. A Master may be dead, you remain in contact. He may have dropped his physical body, you remain in contact. If a trust happens, then time and space both are transcended.

Trust is the miracle. You can be in closeness with Mohammed or Jesus or Buddha right now if trust is there. But it is difficult! It is difficult because you don’t know how. You cannot trust a living person, how can you trust a dead? If trust happens, then you are close to Buddha right now. And for persons who have faith, Buddha is alive. No Master ever dies for those who can trust. He goes on helping; he is always there. But for you, even Buddha is there physically, standing behind you or in front of you, just sitting by your side, you are not close to him. There may be vast space between you. Love, trust, faith, they destroy space, time, both.

In the beginning, because you cannot understand any other language, you can understand only the language of the physical, physical closeness is necessary – but only in the beginning. A moment will come when the Master himself will send you away. He will force you to go away because that too becomes necessary – you may start clinging to the physical language.

Gurdjieff almost always, all his life, will send his disciples away. He will create such a miserable situation for them, then they will have to leave. It will be impossible to live with him. After a certain point, he will help them to go away. He will force really them to go away, because you should not become too much dependent on the physical. The other, the higher language, must develop. You must start feeling close to him wherever you are, because body has to be transcended. Not yours only, the Master’s body has also to be transcended.

But in the beginning it is a great help. Once the seeds are sown, once they have taken root, then you are strong enough. Then you can go away, and then you can feel. Just going away, the contact is lost – then the contact is not much importance. Trust will grow, further you go away. Trust will grow more, because wherever you are on the earth you will feel the Master’s presence continuously. The trust will grow. He will be helping you now through hidden hands, invisible hands. He will be working upon you through your dreams, and you will feel constantly, like a shadow, he is following you.

But that is a very developed language. Don’t try it from the very beginning because then you can deceive. So I will say, move step by step. Wherever trust happens, then close your eyes and follow blindly. Really, the moment trust happens you have closed your eyes. Then what is the use of thinking, arguing? Trust has happened and trust will not listen to anything now.

Then follow and remain close unless the Master himself sends you away. And when he sends you away then don’t cling. Then follow. Follow his instruction and go away, because he knows better. And what is helpful he knows.

Sometimes, just near the Master, it may become difficult for you to grow – just like under a big tree a new seed will have many difficulties to grow. Under a big tree, a new tree will become crippled. Even trees take care to throw their seed far away so that the seeds can sprout. Trees use many tricks to send the seed away; otherwise they will die, they fall down just under the big tree. There is so much shadow. No sun reaches there, no sun rays reach.

So a Master knows better. If he feels that you should go away, then don’t resist. Then simply follow and go away. This going away will be coming nearer to him. If you can follow, if you can silently follow without any resistance, this going away will be a coming nearer. You will attain a new closeness.

–  Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1, Ch 2, Q 5

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev talks about the presence of a master:

Questioner: To grow spiritually, is it necessary to be in the physical presence of a Guru?

Being in the physical presence of somebody is needed because your perception is still so dependent on what you hear and see. Unless you see with your eyes that there is somebody sitting there, your perception does not open up.

Many people are actually not mature enough to be in the physical presence of a Guru because if you are in the Guru’s physical presence, your judgments about him will not stop.

You will watch the way he eats, the way he drinks, the way he speaks, the way he mixes with people, what he does, what he does not do. From this, you will helplessly form opinions. The more opinions you create within yourself, the less receptive you become. This is one reason why a lot of Gurus always kept themselves out of reach of their disciples. Once in a way they appeared but the rest of the time, they were only available to two or three people around.

They did not do this because they had an allergy for people or because they thought they were too big to mix with people. It is just that, this was their device. They knew, if people ate, slept and walked around with them normally, people would miss their whole aspect and would just get entangled with the Guru’s personality.

So being in the Guru’s physical presence can be a blessing but can also be a big barrier because then, you will helplessly make your opinions about him and miss the whole dimension of who he is.