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Physical Proximity to a Teacher Is Not Necessary for Moksa
Kassiem: Hi, Sundari. My name is Kassiem. I am from Istanbul.
Sundari: Hello, Kassiem, good to hear from you, thank you for writing to us.
Kassiem: I have come across Vedanta a couple of months ago. James was here years ago. Ayse, who organised the event for James, suggested to me to look into Vedanta and James. At the time I was listening to Mooji and Adyashanti. I have started with listening to the Berlin talks and it really resonated. At the moment I am reading The Essence of Enlightenment, listening to the Berlin talks over and over, reading the satsangs and have just started studying Greg Goode’s The Direct Path. I am also listening to Rupert Spira.
While reading the qualifications, the need for a teacher part had been raising some issues for me. Since James says that knowledge needs to come through a teacher, I find myself observing the fear of not being able to find a teacher here in Istanbul. Can a teacher and a student work through exchanging writing? Could you please help me on this? Thank you very much.
Sundari: You are fortunate to have met James and to have found your way to the material available at the ShiningWorld website. There is no better teacher of Vedanta than James, although there are other good ones, such as Swami Dayananda and Swami Paramarthananda. Greg Goode and Rupert Spira are good teachers, but they do not offer the whole means of knowledge, which falls short if your goal is moksa. They are both good people and genuine people, but they are not fully qualified Vedanta teachers. James is the only qualified Vedanta teacher in the West that has formulated the whole of Vedanta means of knowledge into a methodology, which he has passed on to others to teach, like myself and the other ShiningWorld teachers. The problem with switching from James to teachers that are not fully qualified to teach Vedanta is that you could get confused because some of the statements they make are not backed by an independent means of knowledge. Or they do not teach the whole methodology. It is not to say that these teachers do not have their place, of course they do. It all depends what your goal is.
James has helped many people worldwide attain moksa, most of whom he never gets to meet. Many of them we never even hear directly from. James has had a huge impact on countless people and because he is a genuine lineage holder in the Vedanta sampradaya, the teaching is not his. We are in service to the truth, just a voice for awareness. All of the teachers James has taught teach the correct way and all of us have offered the same service James does to those who write to us. It obviously does help to be in the presence of a teacher, but it is not essential. If the mind is qualified to hear the teaching, it will not make much difference if you are physically present with the teacher or not. If the mind is not qualified, being present with the teacher will not make much difference either. The unavoidable starting point is the qualifications for moksa, as you point out. Next is finding a qualified teacher to teach you. You have found one. You can write to him, to me or any of the ShiningWorld teachers. We teach by e-satsang and by Skype.
Think about this: the only place you ever experience anything (no matter what it is or where you are physically) is as a thought in the mind. You have a thought that you need to be physically present with a teacher for the teacher to be effective. Who is the knower of that thought? You, awareness. So does it make any real difference if you are talking to James (or me) via cyberspace or through physical contact? It is all the same, is it not? Whatever you hear either way has to be processed through “your” intellect. How you hear what we have to say depends on the qualifications present in the mind. The mind has no location and neither does consciousness, because consciousness pervades every atom of existence. So because this is a non-dual reality and there is only you, the self, this conversation and all conversations are only ever the self talking to itself. The MOST important factors are whether or not the qualifications are present and of course if the teaching is a complete, valid and independent means of knowledge. Although the teacher has to be qualified to teach and wield the knowledge, how this is done is not important.
We can definitely teach you, no matter “where” you are because you are non-different from us and as awareness you have no special location. Feel free to write to us about your doubts – but make sure you also read the e-satsangs at the website before you write to us. We are only too happy to help you, but it is essential that you do the “work” yourself. Keep reading the book, watch as many of James’ teaching videos as you can. Use the search function at the website to find answers; every question you could possibly come up with has been extensively covered in every way possible. If you get stuck, write. We will guide your inquiry.
~ Namaste, Sundari