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March 16, 2006

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Brian,
I think mere loyalty is a bit slight in attempting to describe the leader of a large religious-spiritual group. May as well call the Dalai Lama merely loyal. I don’t sense that that alone even comes close to a complete assessment. Dogs are loyal. Humans are a bit more complex than that. Even divinised humans.

Regarding the god in human form thing: my understanding is that if someone ramps up their consciousness to being in touch with vibrations of the spiritual life current and of transcending duality through intimation of oneness, then such a one then becomes god + man or godman.

This is clear in the writings of Paltu sahib and does not for one minute mean that the whole of the unknowable godhead is squeezed into a mortal human form.

This can apply to anyone with that realisation not just a spiritual master who has the task of working with student’s karma to help them realise the same said state.

Further to this; are any of us merely human? By human, we mean a biologically determined lump of meat that scuttles around on the earths surface for a period of time and then dies? Or do we also have multi dimensional and cosmic components that plug us deep into the heart of the universe? The present RS master is always saying that no one is merely human. All of us are cosmic creatures undergoing a human experience. The guru’s role is thus to expand our horizons and suggest that we are more than we think of in terms of body, mind, role, gender, conditioning.

Whether any particular guru has that realisation is really a matter of pure speculation on the part of the observer. It cannot be known with certainty.

Yes it is admirable that Faqir came clean on his perspective on the guru role. It is also clear why modern guru’s do not choose to, even if that were their opinion also. What possible benefit would it be to the vast majority of Indian followers to do so?

Yes it would appease the intellectual critique of us overly sceptical westerners who just cannot do the whole bhakti thing. But how and why would it benefit the vast majority? It would not, plain and simple. From our post-modern westernised perspective we can say that the guru is keeping people in the dark and not admitting the reality. But is that the truth? What is reality? Is it always referenced as ultimate, or can it be contingent and relative at the same time?

The truth is that sant mat works on many levels. If someone wishes to see the guru as their Ishatdeva or embodiment of the divine and a focus for bhakti then that has been shown to work very effectively at creating spiritual realisations throughout religious history. For the bkakta it does even enter the equation that their beloved is or is not what they are or are not said to be. They simply are devoted through love.

In this regard Saint Francis in his devotion to Christ was a bhakta.

Those of us who think we are more intelligent than all that can go into our intellects and explore the metaphysics and theology of it all and how meditative states link to physiological states and quantum states, and there is enough of this in sant mat to last a lifetime.

In this regard Meister Eckhart is the supreme theologian and metaphysician.

For this writer the master represents the teachings and as such is an‘incarnation’ of the teachings and is guide to meditation and senior traveller on the path. He takes the role of spiritual director as in the monastic tradition of Catholicism. Beyond that he may or may not be fully one with the divine. That somehow seems less important to me and is no barrier to feeling warmth, affection and care for the guru, which is its own form of bhakti.

I am interested Brian in why you wish that all guru’s would come clean like we seem to think that Faqir did? To who’s satisfaction? To mollify our sense of intellectual rightness? To what ends? In the interests of absolute truth?
If so what is that? What about relative truth relative to where someone is on a scale of moral, intellectual and interior development?

If the guru widely suggested some of these things to a wider audience it would be like feeding solid food to infants (to paraphrase St Paul in his letters to Christians at all stages of moral, intellectual and interior development). Not everyone is at the level where they can digest that ‘apparent’ truth of Faqir and neither would they wish to be fed it in the first place.
We need to bear in mind the work of Ken Wilber and other developmental psychologists, on individual and collective development through the value spheres to get some kind of handle on this.

Basically, the guru is what you want him or her to be at whatever respective level you are coming from. You can argue that the most developed level is where you forgo the outer guru as saviour and go inwards to realise the principle of Guru as abiding Self as Ramana suggested. But that doesn’t discount the usefulness of guru bhakti and outer devotion for many on their long road to that stage.
Brian, when are you going to write a book on the unknowing principle; a sort of flesh out of your 24 page essay on science and unknowing that you posted some little time back? It would be solid food for many of us churchless visitors, whether sceptical and agnostic Christians, Satsangi's, Vedantists or whatever?
Regards
Nick

Excellent points Nick: recognition of our role within, and dedication to, the delicate architecture of devotional society over decades is not simply loyalty. That recognition along with the acceptance of an illusion of separation from the student becomes the guru's lot. Acting from that mind is being truthful.

I'm not turning the question on its head. The mechanism at work is that the seeker can not get what they seek from someone else, so the teacher shows them until they see for themselves.

Extending that function to divintity, and Eckhart knew it, is that the seeker starts out as divine. The guru is godman as much as is required by such an absence in the student. All along is the illusion of separation, that this is "my" dharma, that such a one is or is not "a god". The divine participates, as Nick says, "on many levels".

Yet Faqir Chand was afraid he would be shunned for telling the truth. Would that make him more or less a guru? More or less true?

Mike, Nietzche and others:

Kirpal Singh freed me from seeking for a personal salvation or a world denying path. That's why for 35 years I have been sort of an oddity and outsider in any satsang, but freed to explore any teaching I wanted, without worrying if I was leaving my teacher. He called me his 'friend'. I came to learn that 'friend' meant someone who he felt could handle having his balls/ego broken without running away fast.

I don't know of any other Sant Mat guru who worked like him.

Anyway, with the intention of adding some levity to this blog site, here is something I wrote that may give you ex-cultists a chuckle. I hope you like it. It was written for any cult in mind, but specifically to ex-Daists (Da Free John- AKA Adi Da followers) who were disenchanted when his path turned more and more corrupt (the usual sex, drugs, money scandals, and idol worship) from what started out as a pretty good path of simply 'radical understanding', and no-seeking.

http://www.mountainrunnerdoc.com/page/page/4515330.htm

-Peter

What's the big deal about the Master coming for you at the time of death? Petty, self-concern. Zen master Bankei, in classic non-dual fashion, belittled concern over one's physical death:

"When it comes to the idea of being free in birth and death, people are apt to misunderstand. There are some who, beforehand, announce they're going to die in a certain number of days, while others go so far as to express their intention to die, say, next year, in such-and-such a month and on such-and-such a day. When the time arrives, some of them, even though they are not ill, die just as they said, while others put it off for another day, or a month, and then pass away. There are lots of people who consider this being free in birth and death. Not that I say this isn't so. So far as freedom goes, they're terribly free! But things of this sort are only a result of the strength of people's ascetic practices, and often they haven't opened the Eye of the Way. Even among ordinary people, you frequently find this. While they may know [the time of their] death, they haven't opened the Eye of the Way, and that's why I don't accept this kind of thing. The man of the Unborn transcends birth and death.

Now, I'm sure you're all wondering just what it means to transcend birth and death. That which is unborn is imperishable; and since what doesn't perish doesn't die, it transcends birth and death. So, what I call a man who's free in birth and death is one who dies unconcerned with birth and death. What's more, the matter of birth and death is something that's with us all day long -- it doesn't mean only once in a lifetime when we confront the moment of death itself. A man who's free in birth and death is one who always remains unconcerned with birth and death, knowing that so long as we're allowed to live, we live; and when the time comes to die -- even if death comes right now -- we just die, [realizing] that when we die isn't of great importance. Such a person is also one who has conclusively realized the marvelously illuminating Unborn Buddha Mind. Talking and thinking about something like what hour of what day you're going to die is really narrow-minded, don't you think?"

It all depends on one's definition of "TRUTH".
The "Truth" of Faqir may not be the "Truth" of a satsangi following Gurinder.
My objection is to that awful "Positivity" of the adherent to whatever "Truth" is being expounded.......v152

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