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No Need for the Presence of the Teacher
Mark: Dear Sundari, I would greatly appreciate if you could refer this question or at least its essence to James.
My name is Mark, I am 52 years old and live with my wife and two young children. I have been seeking for the last 17 years. I spent some years following the teachings of Osho, taking Osho’s therapy groups and meditations.
Sundari: Hello, Mark, thank you for your email and acknowledgement, much appreciated by both of us. I read it to James and we both enjoyed it very much.
Mark: Two years ago, I started paying increasing attention to non-dual teachings, listening on YouTube to Gangaji, Ekhart Tolle, Mooji, discovering one teacher after another, reaching dead ends and constantly looking for teachers that sounded more accurate and more practical. Several months ago, I ran into Ruper Spira’s videos, which I found extremely clear and helpful in establishing the understanding that I am awareness.
Then two month ago I ran into James’ videos. The profundity, scope and accuracy of the teachings he is conveying is so much more pervasive than any other non-dual teacher I encountered. The teaching is so systematic and logical, reasonable, it “feels” right. As opposed to other teachings that leave much to be desired, James provides more answers than questions. With other teachers, after 10 hours of videos I felt it’s all more of the same. With James there are all the time new concepts to grasp or old concepts to assimilate deeper. I am now just starting to learn about the practices of the different yogas. How to practise Vedanta?
Sundari: You are blessed indeed to have found James and ShiningWorld. He is my teacher, and though I am his wife, I can say with confidence that there is no better teacher alive today, if you are ready to have the whole picture explained and qualified to assimilate what that means.
Mark: But still I have a question. ☺
I feel I finally found a proper teacher. With hundreds of hours of videos on your website, I feel that I can go a long way just by listening to these videos. Listening to recorded satsangs work well for me.
My question is, how important you think it is that I will physically attend a seminar with James? I know James does not give importance to shaktipat and “energy,” etc. which makes perfect sense to me, and the audios and videos are not books, they transfer all of the teacher’s voice nuances and his interpretations. It’s almost like sitting in the room with the teacher, and I am listening daily to his videos, at least one session per day.
I am sure I will enjoy the company, the atmosphere, etc. of a face-to-face seminar, but I wonder if you think I will gain substantially more, if it’s crucial to physically attend a seminar as opposed to just listening to the videos.
I would love to hear your and or James’ opinion.
Best regards and thank you to and James for this treasure of knowledge served in a manner that a Westerner can so easily digest.
Sundari: Although it is beneficial to be in the presence of a qualified teacher, there is no real boundary between you and the guru, because a guru literally means “one who dispels the darkness.” In doing so, the guru reveals that the Self is the only guru because this is a non-dual reality.
Ignorance does not reside anywhere specific, nor does knowledge, so whether we are physically with you or connecting via technology, we wield the knowledge in the same way because we are qualified teachers of Vedanta. This is our service to Isvara.
We see you as the Self, as non-different. Vedanta is a teaching tradition based on friendship and equality. If the mind is prepared and qualified and you are firmly dedicated to Self-inquiry, Self-knowledge will do “the work” of removing ignorance.
You do not need to lean on a genuine Vedanta teacher, and if you do, we are not doing our job. We are here to wield the teachings for you; we are just mouthpieces for Isvara, for the Truth. It is not our truth or based on our experience, although it confirms both. We do not want disciples or followers, because we do not teach the ego, we teach the Self.
We are all here to help you with any questions that arise, but no teacher can remove your ignorance. Only Isvara can do so. James and I have taught thousands of people around the world and helped many find moksa, most of whom we never meet.
BUT we cannot do “the work” of Self-inquiry for you, nobody can. It takes a burning desire for freedom to commit to Self-inquiry. As James is fond of saying, Vedanta is the court of last appeal for those fortunate souls whose karma prepares them for moksa, freedom. And there is one more factor to consider, grace.
It is only by the grace of Isvara that anything happens, and grace is earned. It sounds like you have the most important qualifications of all, mumukshutva, burning desire for freedom, faith in the teachings, discrimination and dispassion.
Feel free to write to us any time if you get stuck, we are here to serve you.
~ Om, Sundari