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Big Eternal Tar Pits of Gunk
Rachael: Hi Ram, I’m bottoming out on yet another guru (and this one I invested quite a lot in; he’s the one in New York I went to India with and otherwise spent way too much money on, though at least I didn’t sell the farm and abandon my kids and move to the ashram and otherwise do everything he wanted). It’s finally starting to sink in, what you’ve been teaching all these seven summers I’ve been with you!! Thank you!
Ram: You are most welcome, Rachael. I figured that you would see the light about this guru thing sooner or later. I am not a guru according to the conventional definition. The scripture is the guru. I don’t have anything personally invested in the teachings because they are not “my” teachings and I never feel that “I” am teaching. Isvara teaches through me and Isvara is non-attached, so the teachings are always clear and the same.
Rachael: I know I often argue with you in class, generally about some version of how I thought we had to transform everything in us, and you’d insist we don’t. Well, this teacher gratified my Virgo self-perfecting aspirations big-time. It took me nine months to see that he’s charismatic and all nice and supportive so long as you think he’s wonderful, but a holy mean terror when you start questioning. Plus it just doesn’t work to transform everything about oneself, it just mires everyone in big eternal tar pits of gunk while you feel as if you are doing something because of all the intense sensations and emotions.
Ram: That’s right, Rachael. As you know, Vedanta says that the idea that you need fixing is based on a misunderstanding of your nature. You are awareness and awareness is not defective in any way. The jiva is, of course, defective, but you don’t have to take the jiva to be yourself either because you did not create it – Isvara did. So on both accounts there is nothing to fix about yourself. Having said that, you may have to do a bit of work on your subtle body to get to the point where you can understand this fact. It seems you have finally cleared your understanding of this misunderstanding. Good for you. This is not to say that the jiva couldn’t use some work but the work should not be done by the jiva. This may sound a bit silly, but what I mean is that if the jiva understands that he or she is awareness in the right way, this knowledge will automatically and gradually transform the jiva, i.e. remove the erroneous notions that manifest as dysfunctional behavior. So the transformation takes place independent of the jiva’s actions. If the jiva has any doing to do, it is to persist in inquiry, applying the teachings on a constant basis. So indirectly the jiva is responsible for its transformation. But there is a danger in seeing spirituality as transformation of the jiva because the jiva is never going to be perfect. If you have this critical, perfectionistic tendency, you will never be satisfied with your jiva. With every improvement in the jiva’s experience another unseen imperfection arises, and off the jiva goes to remedy it. It never ends. So this is not the way to go.
Rachael: I’m appreciating you very much now. Thank you so so much for all the generous time you spent in Portland; sure do miss you this summer. I’m appreciating your endless patience and strong stance from which you never deviated without being mad and controlling about that (the way this teacher, and actually I too, get when people persist in not believing us).
Ram: Well, it is never about believing me. It is about trusting the logic of the scripture. A proper teacher will never expect you to believe what he or she says – or to do what he or she says. If you have a doubt about what I say, then check the scripture and discard what I say if it does not stack up. Or if it doesn’t stack up, ask me and I will try to provide an explanation that makes sense. You always have to trust your own common sense.
Rachael: I’m still not getting how to move from the place of knowing that who we are is awareness to KNOWING that who we are is awareness at a core actual, real, absolute level. But I suppose that’s more likely to happen if I stop fighting it and insisting on the other.
Ram: Yes, it is. The belief that you have now seen through has been standing in the way of assimilating the knowledge of yourself as awareness. It is only a matter of time until the penny drops.
Rachael: It’s so awesome that you’ve moved from being a guy who taught in coffee shops (or whatever they are in India) and had to do odd jobs to survive to being a wonderful successful teacher with a vibrant full measure of recognition, love and success. I hope it is all going wonderfully, and hope to see you for at least a little bit here in August. And I hope Sundari is well and that you both are wonderfully healthy!
Ram: God is great, Rachael. I never sought success. I just followed my nature and left the results to Isvara. Yes, everything is going on wonderfully. I am actually quite surprised at how many people are benefiting by Vedanta. The seminars are packed. The website is a huge success. The teachings are spreading out all over the world. I get frequent emails from people I never met who tell me that the seeking has ended and their lives are lining up with the truth. It is quite extraordinary.
Anyway, I hope we see you this year. You are welcome to come and visit us in Bend if you wish. In any case, don’t be a stranger. Trout Lake should be fun – quite a few interesting people will attend. Take care of yourself, Rachael. I love you.
Rachael: Thank you so so much, Ram! That really helps. I’m kind of traumatized by the other guy – again. Much appreciate your kind and clear words! The “only a matter of time until the penny drops” sounds so good – sure hope that is true!!
Please have great travels and classes; I can’t believe your energy. I will check in with you sometime this summer. Love to Sundari; she is so wonderful.