Tuesday, December 20, 2016

THE ULTIMATE SICKNESS: Causes, Symptoms, Aspects, Effects, Treatment, Part Fifteen

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TODAY'S CONSIDERATIONS

THE FOUR STAGES: 
The Eastern Traditional Style, The Maharaj Style, and The Style Offered Here 

To understand the process of the stages and the steps to Realization has made completion of the process more accessible in some cases; thus, this discussion. Before continuing, however, a response will be offered to some who have written to point out that the Four Stages as discussed here are "not correct." It was noted early on that the four presented here are not the four traditional stages that are often discussed in the East. 

It was also noted that Maharaj's stages did not align exactly with the traditional stages and that the stages here do not align exactly with Maharaj's. The point is, his method of moving through certain stages "worked" for him (that is, led to Realization) and the four stages here did the same for "floyd" and have done the same for many seekers. 

[NOTE: While the stages can happen in more than one manner, the actual seven steps that are completed in the final stage must be completed in their exact order.] 

So, the following should clarify the similarities and the differences in (a) the traditional stages, (b) Maharaj's stages, and (c) the four stages that are used here with seekers: 

THE FOUR STAGES - Eastern Traditional 

Stage I: Celibate Disciple Stage 

Stage II: Householder and Family Person Stage 

Stage III: Forest Dweller Stage 

Stage IV: Wandering Monk / Renunciant Stage

THE FOUR STAGES - EASTERN TRADITION - DISCUSSED: 

The problems with trying to adhere to the traditional stages include the fact that (1) they will place Realization, which comes to very few to start with, even further out of reach for most; and (2) they do not allow natural abidance to happen after reality is overlaid on the relative. 

The advice to abandon family and employment and to isolate and escape (rather than understanding how to abide in the solitude no matter when the plant food body might happen to be) runs counter to the nisarga yoga that is offered here and counter to the advice that Maharaj offered to many seekers. 

For example, after "The Householder's" duties have ended (and who could define exactly when those duties end?) one abandons the role of "The Householder" and assumes the role of "The Hermit." Yes, many family's do break up when one becomes obsessive (or substitutes obsessions) and when extreme changes in behavior come. 

Marriages have been observed to end when a raving alcoholic stops drinking and becomes "super spiritual." One wife quoted here left after finding "The Spiritual Giant" to be an even more disgusting partner than "The Practicing Alcoholic." 

In other cases, the shock of some degree of "functionalism" suddenly replacing the chaos and dysfunctionalism that had been accepted as "the norm" can trigger a breakup. Other times, if one who has been figuratively absent suddenly "shows up," some spouses find they preferred the unchecked control they were able to use in the past. 

And the same often happens when significant changes come about as a result of one or both partners becoming super religious or super spiritual. Yet the opportunities for persons to consider the Direct Path, nisarga yoga teachings would likely be hindered if persons were told in advance that their marriage or family must end.

What happens will happen, but such a prescription was not offered by Maharaj and is not offered here. (True, Maharaj's marriage seemed not to be the one that sociologists would use as a stellar model in a "How to . . . " manual, and it is true, too, that "floyd" would not have likely realized fully if the game-playing in an authenticity-robbing marriage had continued, but any impact that change has is to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.) 

As for assuming the various roles as identified in the traditional stages, it was asked at a retreat conducted here, "What is with this talk of assuming roles when the 'journey' is supposed to free us from the adoption of roles?" The reply was: "What a valid question!" 

In that system, the one assuming the role of "The Hermit" can engage in training or teaching but does so as a recluse, not living in the city but offering such training or teaching outside populated areas. 

Then, according to the prescribed order of those stages, "The Hermit" eventually assumes the role of "The Renunciate," abandons the relative existence completely, isolates, and enters into silence and meditation. At that fourth of the traditional stages, one can supposedly "advise rulers," can isolate (often in caves), or can totally end all contact with all persons. 

The same seeker attending the retreat referenced above asked when this was being discussed, 

"If the relative existence is to be abandoned, then why talk of 'I AM THAT; I AM'? Why not talk of 'I AM THAT, ONLY'? So much for your talk of overlaying the Absolute on the relative and abiding thereas. And if meditation had originally been used as you say - to take considerations into silent contemplation in order to tap into the inner guru and ultimately find the Truth that is already known within but which cannot be stated - then why would one who taught and trained as a result of having "Realized Fully" later go into meditation? What would there be to contemplate and try to understand if realization had really happened?" 

The reply was, "What a valid question, again! Once 'full realization happens,' there is no going into and out of samadhi."

As those questions revealed, something about the order of those traditional stages stops making sense at some point, and that is why a different understanding of the stages came to Maharaj and why a different set of stages are discussed here. 

THE STAGES OF MAHARAJ'S "JOURNEY" 

Stage I: Accumulation (after leaving farm and moving to Bombay) 

Stage II: Householder / Family Person 

Stage III: Spiritual Seeker 

Stage IV: Forest Dweller (Hermit / Seeker) Stage 

V: Householder / Family Person / Seeker Stage 

VI: De-Accumulation (but Small Businessman / Householder / Renunciant (to the degree of "self"-denying, moving into the solitude much of the time, but not isolating in the wilderness and not ending all contact with people) / Teacher 

THE STAGES OF MAHARAJ'S "JOURNEY" DISCUSSED 

So Maharaj did follow the householder stage with the "inner journey," forest dweller stage. He left home and family with no intention of returning, and that abandonment happened well before the family would have agreed that "all of the householder's responsibilities had ended." 

However, he was directed to return home just prior to leaving for the Himalayas. As mentioned, though, his seeking had not ended when he returned home though his time with his teacher had come and gone. He re-entered "The Householder" stage again, possibly with a different perspective, yet seeking continued. 

Over the years, he would advise many seekers to do the same: to go home, to accept responsibilities. Yet that advice was likely offered with the same understanding as when it is offered here: recall that one man was told to go home and watch "husbanding" happen, or not, but to allow either to take place without assuming the role of "The Husband" or "The Ex-Husband." 

Or consider the content of this exchange: 

Questioner: "I am 24 years now. For the last two and a half years I am travelling, restless, seeking. I want to live a good life, a holy life. What am I to do?" 

Maharaj: "Go home, take charge of your father's business, look after your parents in their old age. Marry the girl who is waiting for you, be loyal, be simple, be humble. Hide your virtue, live silently. The five senses and the three qualities (gunas) are your eight steps in Yoga. And 'I am' is the Great Reminder (mahamantra). You can learn from them all you need to know. Be attentive, enquire ceaselessly. That is all." 

Not, "Reject householding completely"? No. 

Not "Be a hermit"? No. 

Not "Be a renunciant"? No. 

Not "Go live in a cave"? No. 

Not, "Become a wandering monk"? No. 

Instead, just, 

"Go home." 

"Take charge." 

"Look after . . . " 

"Marry." 

"Be loyal." 

"Be simple." 

"Be humble." 

and 

"Shut up" (uhhh, that is, "Live silently"). 

So the traditional stages were not adhered to by Maharaj and the Four Stages discussed here differ from what Maharaj experienced along the way but are close to what eventually led to his Realization. They are also the way that Realization happened here, so they are the stages that are used for those that come here to seek: 

THE FOUR STAGES AS TAUGHT HERE: 

Stage I: Programming to accumulate 

Stage II: Accumulating a. Discomfort / Emptiness inspiring even more accumulation or b. Discomfort / Emptiness inspiring seeking outside the popular venues 

Stage III: Forest Dweller - the prerequisite and facilitator of the "inner journey" 

Stage IV: De-Accumulation (via completion of the Four Stages and the Seven Steps to Realization, followed by abidance in the solitude of a relative existence that has been overlaid with the Absolute, then by abidance as the Nothingness, then by abidance, period, until the end of the manifestation). 

To be continued. 

Please enter into the silence of contemplation. 

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