Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Part Seven: THE ULTIMATE SICKNESS CENTERS NOT IN TOO LITTLE DOGMA AND NOT IN A SPIRITUAL MALADY AND NOT IN A FAILURE TO BE “A SUPREME SELF” OR “GOD” BUT CENTERS IN THE MIND

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To emphasize: though Maharaj finally saw that nothing religious can lead to “Realization,” "Realization" at its simplest level being about developing an ability to see that a lie is a lie, about being able to differentiate between what is true and what is false, and therefore about being restored to sanity. "Full Realization" really means that all learned ignorance will have been discarded along with all which has been accumulated via programming, conditioning, domestication, acculturation, brainwashing and indoctrination. That said, Maharaj was not "anti-religion." Same here. He merely saw that being an expert of dogma was not eliminating the symptoms of the Ultimate Sickness.

Later, when he suggested that spirituality should also be abandoned, it was not because he was “anti-spirituality.” Same here. And when, after years of encouraging seekers to engage in Self-Inquiry, he said, “You do not have to find the answer to ‘Who Am I?’ It is enough to know who you are not,” even then he was not “Anti-Self-Inquiry.” Same here.

The seven steps on “the path” as offered here are the same he used without ever have enumerated them. The movement along the path looks like this:

 
Note that the first three steps deal with moving beyond body and mind and personality identification, but at the third step there is often a continuation of religious roles as identities or an assumption of spiritual roles as identities which are played for a time.

If the path were truly transversed directly, then that "side-trip" might not be eliminated but it would be transitioned post haste.

Here is where the confusion comes and here is why some became frustrated with or angry with Maharaj and rejected his method immediately; or why some ignored him or scorned him as his methodology evolved; and – as still happens here now as well – why many said that "his was a totally bogus and senseless set of teachings and that he understood nothing at all and that he knew nothing at all about 'the real teachings'” as he abandoned one method after another which proved to be ineffective.

Why do pointers seem to be accepted as spot on by some seekers when those same pointers are labeled totally off the mark by others? Because there are many non-dual methodologies, often combined with this or that yoga, with which most seekers are totally unfamiliar. Most only know the one method or yoga to which they have been exposed.

There are five basic methods of teaching non-duality:

TEACHING METHOD: Traditional Advaita
Paraphrasing Dennis Waite: This is the method regarded as the one defined by Shankara in his discussion of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahma Suttras around the 8th century AD. This approach is defined by those scriptures which some claim are the source of truth.

TEACHING METHOD: Neo-Vedanta
Paraphrasing Dennis Waite: The term Neo-Vedanta refers primarily to the method used by Vivekananda and his followers. Some critics consider this method a “watered down” version of Traditional Advaita, a result of the fact that Vivekananda and his followers have tried to make the teachings more suitable to Western tastes where concepts and ego-states have dominated persons for millennia. [NOTE: Neo-Vedanta teachers typically employ seemingly sublime or exalted or emotion-inspiring statements that encourage followers to adopt more concepts and identities instead of encouraging seekers to forfeit all concepts and identities. Some examples include such advise as: dream on an idea and be full of it and you’ll succeed; believe in yourself; make yourself strong; find god and gain power; use thoughts to create a new reality; engage in the noble goal of seeking knowledge; you are responsible for what you are; acquire power; and seek love. Such concepts are in direct opposition to the teachings presented via the Direct Path, Nisarga Yoga approach. f.h.]

TEACHING METHOD: Neo-Advaita
Paraphrasing Dennis Waite: The teachers who use this method see no need for study, questioning or inquiring into anything. Recognizing only the reality, and knowing that there is no seeker, they conclude that there is nothing to seek and nothing to teach. Often, the result is that even the most diligent seekers who try to attain the understanding with Neo-Advaita teachers can become very confused. Neo-Advaitins suggest that no path is required since there is no “one” to follow the “path.” [NOTE: That same understanding, which is attained by some who follow the “Direct Path Method” to its end, is assumed by Neo-Advaita teachers to be a given from the very beginning. f.h.] Some who adhere to this method reject the name “Neo-Advaita” outright.

TEACHING METHOD: Pseudo-Advaita
This category includes the hundreds of other methods used by those whom Maharaj termed “Big Name Teachers” who claim to be offering non-dual pointers when they are not. Maharaj advised seekers to stay away from any of the hugely “popular” and famous teachers who seek out public venues and thousands or millions of followers. (And what a key term “followers” is. Anyone following a teacher or guru or famous author or famous speakers cannot follow what should be heeded ultimately, namely, that which is revealed via the inner resource or the inner guru. Here, the finger of unblocked consciousness points toward the light without any claim that "I Am the Light.")

TEACHING METHOD: Direct Path
This method is illustrated in the chart above and was used for decades by Maharaj and was exclusively used here for a period as well. It involves taking specific steps along the path which are actually the same steps by which the consciousness manifested and by which it became so blocked that it has resulted in the masses identifying with their elemental plant food body only. It does not try to “give” seekers anything since Direct Path teachers know that, ultimately, there is no seeker and that there is no “one” to “gain” and that there is nothing to be gained; conversely, the Direct Path teachers know that too much has been given to seekers already (namely, all of the false dogma and concepts and ideas and notions and perceptions and misperceptions – a.k.a., “beliefs” - which now block seekers from seeing either reality or “Reality”). It can involve the teaching and learning of “spiritual principles” and can involve Self-Inquiry. It would eventually be abandoned by Maharaj and abandoned here as well as the Nisarga Yoga became the ultimate focus, encouraging seekers to take the steps required to be restored to sanity and then to abide naturally for the remainder of the manifestation.

Yet consider how long it took to settle into that understanding, both by Maharaj there as well as “Floyd” here. In the case of Maharaj, his evolution covered more than a forty-year span. Only after trying many methodologies and versions of the Ultimate Medicine did he finally settle into offering a purely Nisargan message. Sure, he spoke of it early on and through the decades, but it was decades before he finally focused on it singularly. Same here.

How long did the evolution take for his understanding to ripen fully? That depends on when one marks the beginning of his"teaching career." In 1935 he offered a series of observations of certain spiritual books, and those talks were well-received by many who took themselves to be “devout Hindus” and / or “spiritual persons.”

If that marks the beginning of his “teaching days,” then the period ran just shy of a half century.

Some suggest the teachings really began after his “Forest Dweller / Renunciant” period when he returned to Bombay in 1938 and began sharing with the people who visited with him regularly in his shop. About the same time, he added a small mezzanine loft to the high-ceiling flat where he lived in order to practice - privately - meditation / samadhi, the singing of bhajans, the practicing of devotion as well as guru-bhakti, and the reading of Hindu scriptures that dealt to one degree or another with non-duality. (Note that none of that had anything at all to do with Nisarga Yoga or Nisargan abidance.)

Around 1941, he began to come into close and regular contact with K.A. Sabnis (a.k.a., Sri Bhainath Maharaj) and his seeking became driven by such high levels of OCD that he was often out with Bhainath in all sorts of weather until many hours past midnight. His health took a toll, exacerbated (beginning in 1941 and continuing for the next seven years) by the events surrounding World War Two and the subsequent war for India’s independence.  

By 1951, he finally agreed to initiate seekers who came his way. Using that date, his teaching career can be said to have lasted nearly thirty years.

Over the next fifteen years, more seekers of a Hindu bent found their way into the loft-type area that Maharaj has originally built as a private “getaway” where he could complete in solitude his own “religious and spiritual exercises.” One may mark 1966 as the date when the loft was being used several times a day for reading and singing, etc., but visitors were coming earlier on an informal, "unofficial" basis. Use that date, though, and the truly intensive portion of his teaching career spanned fifteen years.

Take whatever time frame you want, Maharaj’s evolution can still be seen to have spanned some forty-plus years as he shared pointers and discussed dogma; and then discussed spirituality and Self-Inquiry; and then finally abandoned all of those and began focusing on the mind as the root of the Ultimate Sickness.

So the evolutionary nature of his process should be clear. Even after he took the name “Nisargadatta,” his focus was not solely on the Nisargan Yoga message. The name pointed to “nisarga” which means “naturally” (which is about living or abiding in a natural manner) and “datta” (which is about “one’s manner of dwelling in the natural state”). In other literal interpretations, “nisarga” can means “without parts” and points toward one’s Original Nature and to overlaying the Absolute / Awareness / THAT mode on the relative existence (hence, “I AM THAT; I AM”). See? Equal billing for both.

And that’s the key. The chart above illustrates the way that the process calls for a movement away from identifying with the body only to "Realizing" and being restored to sanity (meaning, “Realizing” all the lies which were taken to be truth; “Realizing” truth; "Realizing" every element of ignorance and insanity involved when the hidden agendas of the mind / personalities combination drives and controls and determines one’s every thought and word and action; “Realizing” how every belief stored in the mind is rooted in ignorance and insanity; and “Realizing” how to abide naturally for the remainder of the manifestation).

The real problem of humanity is all about the truly-deformed conjoining or consolidation of the mind-personality, a melding or connecting which compounds humankind’s problems and misery and suffering to a near-incalculable degree.

To be continued.

Please enter the silence of contemplation.

[NOTE: The four most recent posts follow. You may access all of the posts in this series and in the previous series and several thousand other posts as well by clicking on the links in the "Recent Posts and Archives" section.]

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