F.: It should be seen, therefore, that (via the Advaita Teachings) you are being invited to discard all of the warped and perverted and insane teachings set forth by “holy” men and by all others. Some have asked, “But how am I to know if an Advaitan Teacher in not warped or perverted or insane?” and that question should be asked. First, you will not be asked to give away a percentage of your money for life or to make extravagant donations to “the latest cause,” to satiate the teachers’ sexual proclivities, to attend meetings or services for life, or to accept unquestioningly any pointers that the teacher offers.
If the teachings are twisted to encourage any of those four, leave. Find another teacher. Reliance upon the teachers’ words should only happen after evidence has demonstrated that the teacher is offering un-self-ish, sane and rational pointers instead of magical thinking and self-serving concepts. Then only should the teachings be accepted. Another test is this: the message will always be about getting rid of, never about accumulation. Stage Four of the Five Stages to Full Realization (discussed in THE ESSENCE OF THE TEACHINGS) is the de-accumulation stage that must happen if AS IF living is to follow. A sure evidence that Realization has not happened is a continuing desire, and the desire to accumulate is a doubly-strong warning.
A final point on this subject of guru-selection: the Realization process is not psychotherapy, though many nowadays try to use it as such. Yes, there might be some psychological concepts/thorns that can facilitate the removal of thorns before all of the concepts are tossed. But another problem is being seen lately among many seekers that should be noted: though AS IF living in the relative existence happens post-Realization, dissociative disorders and attachment disorders should not be mistaken for the non-attachment that accompanies Realization. Yet that is happening. Realization is not about "escapism" or "surrender" or "denial." "Giving up" belief in illusions or "giving up" attachment to worldly "stuff" is not about "giving up" on the relative existence.
And guess what, Larry: that/That is all there ever was to begin with! This is the point to grasp. Suppose you approach a grocer and say, “I’d like to have some broccoli,” whereupon he hands you some broccoli. How insane would it be for you to look at it and then say to the grocer, “No, this is not broccoli—this is stalks and florets and stems and heads. I want some broccoli.” If he were to suggest that you are perceiving wrongly and are mistakenly believing that the various parts that you are labeling are something different from the whole “broccoli,” then you would likely think him insane.
That is the way it is with this understanding: a few have Realized and know “it’s all broccoli and nothing but broccoli” so to speak, but most persons will imagine all kinds of separate parts and will never come to understand that “it’s all just broccoli, period.” So it is. The invitation for you is to forget about trying to accumulate a body of knowledge and try to understand instead. What you think you see, you are seeing in error. Any knowledge that you cling to, you cling to in error. If you study broccoli until you know more about broccoli than any other person on the planet, it will not change the taste of the broccoli or the chemistry of the broccoli. Therefore, Larry, why not just eat your broccoli and then relax? Please enter the silence of contemplation.