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The Guru Is Not Your Mommy or Daddy
Seeker: Dearest James, with great joy I have received your last email comments.
I think you are right, I have a devotional temperament and it seems that fortunately (and with the help of my Vedanta teacher) I have developed a discriminating intellect so that my devotion is no longer a blind or needy one.
Your analogy of respect/admiration as the attribute of love or devotion towards the self in the form of a teacher also implies that a discriminating mind is necessary in order not to be manipulated and misled nowadays in the spiritual market place.
This play of love towards you, the teacher, made me recall the 10 years of association with my first teacher, Osho Rajneesh. I have no complaints or regret about it because I know that Isvara is always right and the jiva always gets the guru that he/she deserves, but my motivation was wrong.
The love I felt for him was a sentiment based on my own need for love and validation, not necessarily on an appreciation of his qualities. It was a sentiment that produced a blind faith that would compel me to do anything he would suggest. I needed a father figure to give me some direction in life and provide me with an environment where my strong vasanas of inadequacy, survival and anger could be expressed and largely exhausted.
James: If the guru for you is a big mommy or daddy who tells you what to do, you are nothing but a child with an adult’s body. We never tell you what to do. We show you who you are, give you tools to realize it and support your inquiry.
Seeker: The love and devotion I feel towards you is not based on the need for validation, but as you well said, it is the fruit of the sense of respect and reverence I have towards your wisdom, the body of Vedanta knowledge, that you have so well-assimilated.
You are not a person and so I am not either. It all comes down to knowledge in love with itself, and this fragrance of love-bliss once it manifests in duality.
I am attracted towards you because this association with you produces wisdom and self-confidence. It produces a purer mind and the subsequent peace, love, fullness and contentment of the natural state (it is so difficult to avoid experiential words such as “natural state”). There is nothing more peaceful, joyful and lovable than to be associated with you. I love you.
Still on the subject of love, yesterday I remembered that about a year ago I wrote "Wisdom is to know that I am like space; nothing can touch me. Love is the impulse I have towards an object appearing in me as space; I become the object and the object becomes me.” If I would rephrase this quote today, I would add an “appears to.” It would say “…I become the object and the object appears to become me.”
The whole business of love seems to boil down to attraction-repulsion towards objects and the result of those forces.
If it attracts me, it means I like it! If it attracts me a lot, almost like a fascination, it becomes what we call love. But the experience of love-bliss comes only if we get our object of desire. We go towards the desired objects because they indirectly produce a temporary sattvic mind in which love or bliss can be experienced as the self in its natural state. But as we know, attraction and repulsion both produce agitation in jiva's mind and the inability to experience peace, love and bliss.
It also implies that the definition of love as conscious attention presented by Vedanta (which I used to struggle with) is totally accurate since we definitely give our full, undivided attention also to objects repulsing us. We want to run away from those objects, since such objects produce a sense of agitation in jiva's mind, and likewise the inability to enjoy the bliss-love which is otherwise reflected in its pure satvic mind.
But the repulsion we feel towards an object is meant to (sooner or later) stabilize jiva’s mind once the threatening object is neutralized or kept at a safe distance. But jiva's experience while running away from the undesirable object is fear, discomfort and agitation. We are again talking of pure rajas and one’s total inability to enjoy the clear reflection of what we call bliss or love, which is only possible in the mind free from attraction and repulsion. But once the threatening object is totally and surely avoided, the happy jiva experiences again its own natural bliss.
As you often say, all conscious attention towards objects is only and all for the sake of the love and enjoyment of the self!
Talking now of Isvara, it seems that the big boss does not seem to be amenable to our recent plans. Was it not for the knowledge and the daily application of karma yoga, my wife and I would experience frustration and agitation for the inconvenience Isvara has presented us.
James: I can’t think of anything to say about these words. They speak eloquently for themselves.