Saturday, May 19, 2012

PART NINE: SO WHY DO YOU SAY THAT THE RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL STEPS ARE ONE OF THE SEVEN STEPS?

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[To new visitors: As with Maharaj, the intent here is not to try to turn seekers into "Super Religious Persons" or "Spiritual Giants." Ultimately, it can be seen that those, too, are just roles. Here, there are two invitations: (1) to use religion or spirituality as nothing more than a plane that can carry You to the Your Destination and (2) an invitation to then exit that plane and abide for the remainder of the manifestation in a Nisarga (natural) fashion, marked by freedom and peace and by enjoying the relative existence fully, relishing all of its available pleasures and bliss rather than merely sitting on the plane for the remainder of the manifestation.]

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VISITOR: [Received 17 May 2012] So why do you say that the religious or spiritual steps are one of the seven steps? And why did Maharaj talk so much about spirituality but tell people to "Just give up spirituality"?

F.: [Continued from yesterday] The query also calls for understanding "level-appropriate answers." While it might seem that Maharaj often contradicted a message offered in a previous session, the fact is that a Realized teacher can listen to a few comments from a seeker and know exactly where on "the path" that seeker is located (and "stuck").

In such cases, any pointer offered is nothing more than a tool that can be used, temporarily, to facilitate that seeker's movement to the next step; thus, to a seeker who was stuck at the second step, Maharaj would share pointers about spirituality, intended to move the seeker to that third-step level.

If a seeker was at the third step and bogged down with the playing of religious and / or spiritual personas, then Maharaj would share pointers intended to move that seeker beyond that level and to the fourth step of seven on the "path" to Realization.

Maharaj never varied from his use of the Direct Path Method of teaching. When some see a variance in his message over the decades, that variation was a result of his changing the type of yoga that he used in combination with his teaching method. As discussed in detail in the book "Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and His Evolution," he did shift many times over the years from one yoga to the next before he settled on offering nisarga yoga pointers only.

So, yes, Maharaj did change the direction of his pointers as his message shifted over the years until settling fully into the sharing of nisargan pointers alone.

Maharaj also underwent a "relative evolution" as well before he Realized and began teachings. For the sake of entertainment mainly, but also for the sake of encouraging seekers, it shall be shown

(a) how totally lost in the dream / nightmare Maharaj was prior to Realization; (b) how, after moving to Bombay (Mumbai), he seemed to be the type who would never be free of the effects of acculturation and accumulation; and (c) how those who feel they are so "lost" that they will never Realize should never feel it is beyond their reach. Consider:

Maharaj, as a child in the natural setting of a farming community, certainly had intimations of his Authentic Self, but after moving to the city, he bought into the "accumulation" message of the urban society and was as driven to "succeed" as anyone who has ever been indoctrinated into the warped values of a culture of amassing and collecting and hoarding.

Again, note that if one as absorbed in the play that was happening on the stage of the Theater of the Lie as Maharaj was can nevertheless break free, and if one as involved in his lead role in the play called "The Dream of the Planet" as Maharaj was can nevertheless break free, then anyone with a potential for being restored to sanity can do the same.

After moving to the city, Maharaj (originally, "Maruti") joined a private firm as a clerk, but he had to leave it because of what they called his "independent temperament" (a trait of the Type Four Personality, the type that provides the greatest impetus to seek the Real Self).

Yet he showed two major traits of the Type Seven Personality as well, including adventurism (such as, leaving the city and going into the wilderness and abiding in the "forest dweller stage" for a time) and a propensity to develop a full-blown addictive personality, which he did.

As the stresses of city-life began to take a toll, his drug of choice / no-choice became nicotine. Like the drunk who opens a bar, Maharaj opened a small bidi (bheedi / beedi / Indian cigarette) shop in which he sold several varieties of hand-rolled tobacco as well as stimulants (such as the areca nut / betel nut / "paan," which, in ready-to-chew-pouches, was called "supari"). He also sold lottery tickets.

The reputation of his tobacco and stimulant products allowed for high sales and the opportunity to open a second shop. His efforts allowed him to expanded his business and he soon bought a third shop. He was on a roll as he assumed and played the roles of "The Entrepreneur" and "The Highly Successful Businessman."

Then he opened a fourth and a fifth and a sixth shop, accumulating, accumulating, accumulating. After opening a seventh and an eighth and ninth bidi shop, he married.

Using the money he was accumulating, he decided to expand into other lines of business as well. He opened a tenth shop, a cutlery shop, and when that - along with the income from his bidi shops - provided considerable profits, he use his accumulated funds to open an eleventh shop, one that sold ready-made garments.

He was by nature very wise in terms of money, and when profits came, he saved considerable portions of what his businesses earned. Then he started production of different kind of bidis, and his bidi businesses became even more lucrative as his cigarettes - with a rapidly-expanding reputation - were in high demand. Then he opened a twelfth shop, that one selling cloth. Many women became interested in this charming, successful businessman, and in 1924 he married.

They had a child, another child, and another child. Expenses began increasing, but at that point - with nine bidi shops, a cutlery shop, a ready-made garments shop, and a cloth shop - he had more than enough income to sustain the family and still save money, but he wanted more.

So he opened a tenth bidi shop, had another child, opened an eleventh bidi shop, had another child, and opened a twelfth bidi shop. He also at that time invested money in some real property that he acquired in Konkan.

By then, he was trapped in the go-do-zoom pattern of "The Accumulator," operating fifteen profitable shops in Bombay. He was also burdened with the inconsistency - dare one even say, the "duplicity" - of living in an accumulative manner while talking about religious and spiritual and metaphysical and other topics to those who came his way, even as those topics often dealt with de-accumulation.

So charming and so entertaining, and - yes - so versed was he in the popular religious and spiritual and philosophical subjects, which many in his culture were interested in, that people began spending time in his shops, listening to his talks on those topics referenced above.

He seemed to have it all: his wife, Sumatibai; four children; large sums of money coming in from twelve of the most popular bidi shops in his area as well as from a cutlery shop, a ready-made garments shop, and a cloth shop; investments in real property; and admirers who would visit him in his shops and listen to his talks for as long as he would allow.

Yet none of that was able to "make" him happy. Can you relate?

He began dealing with employee issues as he needed reliable people to serve as managers of his shops and to serve as salespersons; he was dealing constantly with suppliers and deliveries and with unreliable sources of his expanding merchandise; with late deliveries or skipped deliveries; with wife issues; with children issues; with bookkeeping issues; with traffic issues; with weather damage; with bill collecting and bill-paying; with inventory issues, transferring merchandise from stores that were selling less at some times to stores that were selling more; with maintenance for his many shops; etc. Can you relate? (The question? "Hey, M., are you having fun yet?!") Then, more trouble at home began.

His wife, a religious woman, was quite content when Maharaj was bringing in plenty of money and talking mainly about the traditional Indian dogma to which she was attached. Eventually, though, she became very unhappy with the life Maharaj was leading as he began to turn away to some degree from the traditional Indian religion and its dogma and it multiplicity of gods and goddesses; as he focused more on the non-duality message; and as he began to give less and less value to excessive work and to the excessive accumulation of large sums of money. (Again, can you relate?)

Eventually, he left it all - his family, his businesses, his friends - driven to seek by an inner sense of emptiness and an inner sense of not being true to Self. By the time he returned, only one of his fifteen shops was still operating, his son having run that shop in his father's absence. He began inviting visitors to the loft, but found that he had to deal mainly with religious topics in order to follow the order of his guru and draw people to the loft.

Meanwhile, his wife was becoming more and more discontented with him. He was no longer bringing in large sums of money, and she knew that, privately, he was no longer buying into the dogma of India's traditional religion even though his talks still dealt with that and its "spirituality"-based message.

A few days before his wife's death, she told her husband that she was tired of her life and wanted to die. She could not adapt to the changes that has occurred as Maharaj "evolved," as he earned less money, as he really bought more into non-duality in place of the popular dogma in India. All his attempts to console her were of no avail, so one day when she stated that she wanted to die, Nisargadatta said, "If that is your wish, let it be"; she passed away a few days thereafter.

His relations and disciples found him very different from what he used to be like, yet it was not because sorrow had touched him. After he had "lost" his wife and businesses and also his property in Konkan, one of his friends tried to console him "over the tragedy that had overtaken him." Having shifted into a de-accumulation mode, Maharaj smiled and said as one truly Realized, "One must be lucky to be the recipient of such calamities and must welcome more such calamities."

It was between 1942 and 1948 that one of his daughters, his wife and also his mother all died.

As for the shift in his teachings, it would not be until westerners began coming to the loft - seekers who had no attachment to the gods of goddesses being worshipped by India's religious masses - that he became somewhat bolder in presenting pointers that dealt less with religious dogma and spiritual principles. In his last years, as seekers asked about the difference in his later message that invited them to abandon all religious and spiritual role-playing vs. his spiritually-based talks in the book I AM THAT, he told them to ignore the content of that book ... that its message was for that earlier time only and that his message at the end had a different focus.

With the arrival of Westerners, he began to share less about religion and more about the version of Brahman that he understood, namely, a version which saw Brahman as nothing more than "Absolute, Impersonal Reality."

By then, he was conducting two sessions per day and did so for decades. He received over 900,000 gifts from grateful seekers, including enough food to sustain his family and to allow him to never have to work outside the home again and to allow him to focus on offering the teachings. (So much for, "You are not supposed to take anything for teaching.")

If a seeker looks at how extensive the shift is among some of the Realized as they moved from a chaos-and-insanity-driven existence to the clarity of Realization (including "Yours Truly") then again, it should be clear that anyone with a capacity to be restored to sanity can grasp what the non-dual message offers and can then abide in a sane and sound and logical and reasonable and happy manner.

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