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Purify the Mind If You Want to Teach the Self
Seeker: Dear Ram, thanks for hurling back at me a lot of the jumbled thoughts in my mind, a good lesson in thinking very carefully first and then writing, and also an effective highlighter of confused issues.
Ram: When you know who you are the only thing left is to tidy up the mind, assuming you believe it needs tidying. I’ve met many mahatmas, Indian and Western, who never finished the job. One, a friend’s guru, had so many bizarre ideas it kept me in stitches for hours. My friend “felt” his presence and intuited his enlightenment, but the relationship was a source of immense confusion because she thought that she had to take on board all his cockamamie ideas if she was going to free herself. It was clear to me that to amuse himself and relieve transcendental boredom he zipped around the inner cosmos visiting various subtle planes enjoying interesting and bizarre experiences – and that his “teachings” were just a recapitulation of his experiences. He was enlightened but he was a lousy guru because he was completely unconcerned about her confusion. He did not bother to teach lesson number one: that no particular experience is necessary for enlightenment.
Perhaps he thought that a ray of his shakti was going to magically enlighten her. She did have many experiences with him but the relationship was ultimately not helpful, except to show her that enlightenment and gurudom can have nothing to do with each other. Had he purified his mind and had he learned a time-tested and impersonal means to communicate self-knowledge, he would have been useful to her. She finally moved on.
Another kind of jnani develops his or her “own teaching” which involves translating the “experience of the self” into some sort of intellectual language. But this can also be very confusing. It may help steer entry-level people in the “spiritual” direction but is rarely a vehicle for enlightenment because it is so personal and idiosyncratic.
I am lazy and don’t have enough vanity to invent “my” teachings, so I just let Vedanta do the talking. The rishis already developed and refined a very effective means of enlightenment based on experience, logic and reason, one that requires nothing more than an open, mature, discriminating mind.