Search & Read
False Gurus, Siddhis and Spiritual Goals
Jose: I’m a simple cook, and this person has appeared who seems to have the siddhi of mind-reading. When I overhear him talking to others it always seems that he quotes me or what my friends have said. I tested to see if he could read my mind by sharing personal information, and it always seems to affect what he may say to co-workers. Our own conversations are brief and mundane overall, other than a few. He holds the overall demeanor of a jerk but has shown great compassion also. My goals for my practice would be full enlightenment and the siddhis that he seems to have. I’m still not sure if he is my guru even though I asked him telepathically if he was, to which he shook his head yes, and if he would always be with me, to which he said yes, and if I would get everything I wanted in life, to which he shook his head yes also. I’m not sure if that’s true though. How should I approach this? How can I protect myself?
Sundari: You may be a simple chef, but you are no less the self. Special powers will not make you more so and seeking them is almost certainly going to pose a serious obstacle to moksa. If you are “seeking” enlightenment I can tell right now that you won’t find it, because you are what you are seeking. You will not find freedom in special siddhis or any other so-called “power” or experience. Nobody is more special than you, because there is only one principle and that is consciousness.
There is only one consciousness which pervades all life, one cannot become “more” conscious or “super” conscious. In fact you are experiencing consciousness all the time whether you know it or not because there is only consciousness. You cannot gain something you are. You can only lose your ignorance of your true nature as whole and complete, non-dual, limitless, unchanging, ordinary awareness, through self-knowledge.
Awareness is not something special. It is the most ordinary thing there is because it is ALL there is. If this is really a non-dual reality, which it is, how could there be levels to consciousness or a “special” kind of consciousness or powers that only some elevated souls attain? This idea is created by dualistic, sensation-starved and experience-hungry egos in the spiritual world that do not understand what non-duality means. Do not give your power to this person, it will take you nowhere. There is only one valid independent means of knowledge for awareness and that is the scripture, Vedanta. This person has no means of knowledge except his own (questionable) experience. Avoid him.
While it is true that many great teachers through the ages (especially in India) displayed remarkable and seemingly “extraordinary” powers, this does not make them SUPER conscious or “enlightened,” for that matter. Very often these kinds of people are identified with their powers and think they are special because of them. They are not. The idea that siddhis are special or important is a common misconception in the spiritual world. Most so-called “spiritual” thinking is based on the idea that you need a special experience to know the self or that enlightenment is something to gain. Siddhis usually cause or accompany a particular experience, but they will fade as the impact of the experience fades over time. All experience takes place in time, and therefore ends.
As stated, these “powers” do not have the power to remove ignorance, but they may inspire the seeker affected by the experience of the siddhis to begin self-inquiry. In this case, we call them a “leading error.” Siddhis or spiritual experiences of whatever kind do point to awareness, but only if the knowledge they are meant to impart is understood and assimilated in a qualified mind. Without the correct qualifications present, Vedanta will not make sense to you.
Often though the experiences created by these siddhis becomes an impediment to self-inquiry because seekers misunderstand them unless they are explained within the context of self-knowledge. The truth that all experience is pointing to is that all powers in the apparent reality belong to Isvara, not the jiva, even though Isvara and the jiva share the same identity as awareness. And they point to the knowledge that you, consciousness, or the self, are the knower of the experience. You are not the experiencing entity.
Siddhis do not take the place of self-knowledge. There is no greater siddhi than self-knowledge. That is your ONLY protection from ignorance. If you believe that unless you have the correct spiritual credentials, such as siddhis, you cannot claim to be enlightened, you are VERY wrong and this will keep you stuck thinking enlightenment is something special you must gain. But no experience is required to validate you, awareness, which includes siddhis of whatever nature.
Awareness is not exalted. It is ordinary – and it has no “powers”! All powers are part of the apparent reality, they are not real, meaning they do not last. “Real” is defined as “that which is always present and never changes,” which applies to nothing other than consciousness.
Commit to a proper self-inquiry, do not get waylaid by false “gurus” who have nothing but their own ideas to bandy about. It seems you do not understand the teachings of Vedanta and need to start at the beginning. We offer a free 12-month course on our website, many free YouTube videos and thousands of e-satsangs. You need to read James Swartz’s books, particularly The Essence of Enlightenment. For moksa, you need self-knowledge, and for that you need a qualified teacher and a genuine scripture. You need to be taught how to discriminate yourself from Jose, your reflection in the subtle body.
I suggest you follow the instructions we have carefully laid out on our website as to how to conduct self-inquiry. I have also attached a satsang on this important topic. I cannot emphasize enough that if you are interested in liberation, then subjecting the mind to self-inquiry into the true nature of reality is what you need, not more experience or special powers. Vedanta reveals to you that you are whole and complete, non-dual, unlimited, unconditioned and unchanging awareness, you need nothing to make you whole. You just have an ignorance problem that prevents you from fully appreciating your true nature.
~ Om shanti, Sundari