Wednesday, July 18, 2007

THE FOUR METHODS FOR TEACHING ADVAITA VEDANTA, Part Three

FROM A SITE VISITOR: [Please see yesterday’s entry for the visitor's comments.]

F.: Several distinct differences in the Direct Path Method of teaching Advaita as opposed to the other three methods have been shown. During "floyd's" years of seeking, truth was sought by use of the other three methods (along with a host of religions and philosophies and ideologies and yogas and cult-like spiritual programs) but Realization did not happen. Religious and/or spiritual persons reported that “one must retreat into the soul” when the vicissitudes of the relative existence leave one feeling torn apart, but what is a person to do when even the so-called “soul” seems to have been torn asunder as well?

In the last month alone, issues have been raised during satsanga and e-mails have been received about: a pending divorce; about sex problems and in-law problems showing up now as marriage problems; about problems at work; about problems in “self-help” groups; about a spouse who just died; about problems with a child; about what seems to be an inevitable bankruptcy; about a disabled parent; about problems stemming from addiction; about abuse of several kinds; and about suicidal thoughts, to name a few. So what is a person to do when even the so-called “soul” seems to have been torn asunder as well?

Sometimes, reporting to an emergency room or a professional therapist is the immediate step. Beyond that, for those seeking the cheap answers in groups or the magical answers in church, they may be required to continue the search and to transition beyond the traditional religions and spiritual programs and ideologies with all their contradictions. And a few who continue as dedicated seekers might find a teacher who can guide them along the “path” to Full Realization. Realization in the case of this speck of consciousness came (a) after a vision, (b) after receiving Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s pointers as offered via the Direct Path Method and as offered in the fashion that he used at the end of his “teaching career,” and (c) after understanding the nisarga yoga approach.

[Note: Realization did not come even after multiple readings of I AM THAT. During the early days of Maharaj’s teaching when those dialogues were recorded, he was moving toward use of the Direct Path Method but it can be seen that he was also blending in some use of the Traditional Method. Later, he began using the Direct Path Method more exclusively, occasionally tossing out pointers that had a straight-forwardness that some might now liken to the “Neo-Advaita” Method. Therefore, it was his later sharings—along with a clarifying vision that came one afternoon—that helped remove the final obstacles to Realization.]

Some of the other differences in the Direct Path Method and the other three methods include these:

Contrary to the Traditional Method, the Direct Path Method advises seekers to receive pointers from a guru/teacher, to take those into consideration, and then to find truth via the inner guru (as opposed to studying any texts considered “holy”).

Contrary to the Neo-Vedanta Method (which offers flowery pointers that have the effect of encouraging followers to adopt more concepts and identities) the Direct Path invites seekers to forfeit concepts and identities. One method blows smoke; the other blows away the smoke.

Contrary to the Neo-Advaita Method that says, “Why don’t you just get it? Understand it’s all illusion. Now you can go,” the Direct Path Method teacher offers other pointers and guides seekers through the steps that most require in order for Realization to happen.

Why? Direct Path teachers agree with the Neo-Advaitins that (a) yes, it’s all illusion and that (b) once Realized, there is no do-er and thus nothing more to do; however, the Direct Path teacher understands the high levels of programming and conditioning and enculturation to which most persons have been subjected. The Direct Path teachers understand how such high levels of distortion remove the ability of persons to see clearly and that merely inviting persons to see clearly does not result in their seeing clearly.

Direct Path teachers are occasionally trespassers—though invited tresspassers—into their protégés’ pain. In such cases, some other teachers using one method might quote scriptures; those using another method might offer lofty or inspirational platitudes; teachers of a third method might suggest minimizing or ignoring the whole business; but the effective Direct Path teacher will understand the psychological structures that result from trauma and warped programming which can cause pain. That teacher can uncover the true source of that pain so that the source can dissolve. Then, the dissolution of the pain can follow.

The adept Direct Path teacher—being both consistent and persistent when persistence is indicated—is able to guide protégés through the deconstruction process that eliminates the “mind” which houses belief in lies and illusions and concepts and personas and that is the seat of mental and emotional pain. Eventually, it is possible that the effects of the psychological structures that result in personality disorders (and which also generate turmoil and pain) can be eliminated via the Direct Path method to Full Realization. For some, of course, professional treatment is required.

Yet unlike the Neo-Advaita teacher’s “just-believe-this-only” approach, the Direct Path teachers know from experience that the obstacles that block the pure consciousness from seeing the levels to which the consciousness has been corrupted must be removed before the pure consciousness can be witnessed (by itSelf) and before Truth can be known.

Finally, the form of Direct Path teaching which was used by Maharaj near the end of that manifestation as well as the form of Direct Path teaching that is used on the site could both be considered “less Advaita Vedanta” and “more Advaita.” Maharaj would eventually advise visitors to forget the concepts they value and quote because they were written in a so-called “holy book” and to find, instead, what they already know within but that is “hidden” from consciousness by the miasma of ideas and beliefs and concepts and other lies that are blocking their realization of truth. Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)
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