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Seeker: Dear James, many thanks for your clarifying satsang treatment of this topic and being so encouraging in general. I love the idea of everything coming from Isvara, what we like or want and what we don’t, and accepting it all as a great gift. That really takes a big load off and makes me feel insanely happy because that’s just the way it is. It’s such a torture believing this illusion of control, isn’t it? I just visited with some people who still have second-hand contact with Andrew Cohen, and it sounds like he is very lost right now, but doesn’t know it. Your kind and true description of him as someone who does not understand who he is has helped take all the charge and sting out of it for me and given me a practical understanding that has enabled me to truly move on, so I thank you deeply for that.
What you said about actualizing the vision of non-duality in daily life by examining the relationship between mind, world and self from moment to moment, all the time, is captivating my attention. That there is a whole methodology to do so is astounding to me. Right now I’m just trying to absorb as much information as I can by pickling my brains in the audio, video and writing at ShiningWorld. I read your book twice. Some of the concepts are very subtle and my brain is at once flooded with bliss and there is also an awareness that I’m missing out on understanding because of that and need to keep imprinting it all like a baby duck. Just trying to keep it cool right now and keep my eye on the ball.
James: I’m so happy that Vedanta works for you. You paid your dues and Isvara gave you what you needed. The whole point of Vedanta is to put you, not the guru, in the driver’s seat. And the beauty of Vedanta is that although you need a guru, you have an impersonal means of knowledge that allows you to evaluate the guru dispassionately. If a person is qualified it does not take very long for them to understand who they are. And from that point on there is no seeking – the doubt has been erased by the means of knowledge. From that point on it is only a matter of actualizing the teachings for your jiva, seeing to it that she is really happy.
The way Andrew and the Neos do it is based on an unhealthy understanding of the parent-child archetype, which is more suitable for primitive religions than for enlightenment. Parents should start weaning their children the day they are born. They should not “need” the child. Most of these modern gurus never worked that out. They need the attention, which means they didn’t get enough love when they were young. Love from others is crucial to their self-esteem. The way he abused women is probably related to resentment toward his mother, etc. He is actually quite a primitive person emotionally: the anger, grandiosity and conceit. They also need to feel like they are in control, which means they have self-esteem issues. And they need to feel big, so they make others feel ignorant, like a child.
In our tradition, the archetype is friendship, a relationship of equals. We have nothing to gain, because we are self-satisfied. And we are smart because we don’t want the responsibility for the teaching on our shoulders. In Vedanta the scripture is Isvara. It is Isvara’s teaching. It has nothing to do with the teachers. As teachers we just dispassionately work the levers and we are indifferent to whether or not people “get enlightened.” We leave it all to Isvara. So there is no stress on us. Everything is handed over to Isvara and we are like fat happy babies sucking on the lollipop of truth.
In any case, I’m sure you will work it all out on your own now that you have proper guidance, but if you have questions write to me, Sundari or one of the other teachers and we will try to help.
~ Much love, James