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John: Hi, James.
You have not heard from me for some time now, but you are the only person – the only one – who has never lied to me. I consider you to be my best friend. I hope you know that.
Regarding Vedanta, I think I am a difficult case, much damaged by Transcendental Meditation [TM]. Ignorant as he was, Maharishi exploited my burning desire for enlightenment and sent me off in the wrong direction.
Thus every cell in my body has come to believe that a burning desire for enlightenment is the worst thing you can have! But the trouble is that I do have a burning desire for enlightenment. I literally cry from longing, just by thinking your name or remembering any word of yours.
A burning desire should be the platinum card for Vedanta membership, but in my case, it makes me at war with every cell in my body! (a likely contributor to my Parkinson’s, don’t you think?).
I do not know what to do. I am completely clueless, at one level, that is. At another level, I do not care much about it, because what is a burning desire anyway? As you once said about the whole world: it’s a dream.
I simply love this us-mahavakya of yours. It comes to me in my worst hours. I sense it could be my raft of knowledge, given to me by my best friend.
James: Dear John, obviously you can’t do anything about the physical pain, but you can do something about the mental pain associated with your desire to be free. But first you need to get rid of the idea that Maharishi led you astray. It is victim psychology. My wife calls it “woundology.” What happened with TM is no longer relevant. It is the distant past. Now that Isvara has led you to Vedanta, you can practice discrimination and keep your mind clear. It is very important that the mind has noble work, and self-inquiry is noble work. As your friend, I encourage you do your sadhana. I love you.