maanantai 1. helmikuuta 2016

The problem of Ramana and Nisargadatta

The problem of
Ramana and Nisargadatta

I happened to come by a couple of interesting quotes. It is about Nisargadatta's disability to help his students get awakened. I'm yet to find out how many people might have awakened directly through Ramana Maharishi's instructions. On the surface, they seem like a very small number of people. This text kind of gives the idea that Nisargadatta had the same problem. At the same time, if they were not able to help others awaken, even those "who have been coming here for quite some time", they are probably the two best known advaita-exponents known all over the world today.

Quote from "Last teachings of Nisargadatta":…/the-last-days…

Another morning, Nisargadatta Maharaj started speaking though in a very weak voice.

"You people come here wanting something. What you want may be knowledge with a capital 'K' - the highest Truth - but nonetheless you do want something. Most of you have been coming here for quite some time. Why? If there had been apperception of what I have been saying, you should have stopped coming here long ago! But what actually has been happening is that you have been coming here day after day, identified as individual beings, male or female, with several persons and things you call 'mine'. Also, you think you have been coming here, of your own volition, to see another individual - a Guru - who, you expect, will give you 'liberation' from your 'bondage'.

Do you not see how ridiculous all this is ? Your coming here day after day only shows that you are not prepared to accept my word that there is no such thing as an 'individual'; that the 'individual' is nothing but an appearance; that an appearance cannot have any 'bondage' and, therefore, there is no question of any 'liberation' for an appearance. Do you even now realize that if the very basis of your seeking is wrong, what can you achieve? Indeed, is there anything to be achieved? By whom? By an appearance?"

David Conway reports about Nisargadatta:

One morning Maharaj seemed to be more-than-usually frustrated about our collective inability to grasp what he was talking about.

"Why do I waste my time with you people?" he exclaimed. "Why does no one ever understand what I am saying?"

I took my chance: "In all the years that you have been teaching how many people have truly understood and experienced your teachings?"

He was quiet for a moment, and then he said, 'One. Maurice Frydman.' He didn't elaborate and I didn't follow it up.

All right. The criticism of teachers or gurus not being able to "deliver" is a universal problem. The factors of this are quite simple:

1. Teacher does not understand what awakening is or how it happens, even if he (or her) himself is awakened. Therefore,
2. He has no clarity and enough skillfulness in his ways to convey it through exact verbal descriptions and
3. The particular techniques aimed to generate awakening might be altogether irrelevant or only vaguely relevant.

So if the problem is in the teacher and his methods... and he blames the students for not getting awakened... What does it tell about the teacher? This is professional incompetence. In every other profession, they'd be kicked out for not being able to perform their job. Right?  

Imagine a school teacher shouting at the kids that, "I have been talking about learning to read for you for so long but you idiots are not learning any! What kind of idiots are you!?" That doesn't happen because the teachers understand the basics of pedagogy and the ways how different skills are taught to kids. It would be considered amateuristic of the teacher to not be able to get the kids reading, writing or whatever. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens all the time in the spiritual scene. Gurus, lamas and teachers who are expected to pass on what they know, can not deliver. Incompetence of the teachers is caused by there being no valid training system to produce teachers. It is not all right for spiritual teachers not be able to get their students awaken because that's the most basic thing! It's the teachers job. And their responsibility. The situation is very unfortunate.

This problem crosses all the way through the whole spiritual-nondual-mind training scene,  all over the world. There is lack of clarity in thinking and analysis here (2.). Because the teacher doesn't understand his or her own awakening, he cannot pass it to others. This happens in all traditions. I am not blaming any of them, as I have also done training under several teachers of many traditions. I am just saying that hello, we ought to do better. Much better! 

"Forget 'I am That'. I realised so much more since then. It's so much deeper." - Nisargadatta at his death, reported by Jean Dunn, student and translator. 

It is a pity that there is no culture of rationality within spirituality. I mean, when we go to school we know there is a system to follow, a syllabus, which is reasonable. We know what we are going to get. If the school teacher said, "We're just going to wing it and teach the kids something vague with a random outcome", the parents would tell him to take a hike. In spirituality we are told, "Oh yes, of course, you will get awakened and enlightened. Of course!" but we aren't explained what it means and how it happens. We might be laughed at for asking such questions and the guru might say, "Don't be such a naive child asking that question because you cannot understand awakening". And then the crowd laughs together at such silly question. Wrong! It is the teacher that does not understand awakening if he can't explain it. All things can be verbally explained, in detail. Words, concepts and terms are not the thing itself, of course, but an indispensable and skillful (or skill-less) way to convey the teaching. Verbal means are as important as non-verbal ones. This should be understood. And it makes perfect sense.

I'd advice people to be cautious about a nondual/spiritual teachers who don't clearly explain things. Many people have ended up going to meetings and teachings, year after year, dollar after dollar, not getting things right, just learning false concepts that they then carry around with them, still being miserable and confused about their true nature. I've seen this happen over and over. Demand craftmanship from the teacher as you do from the guy who fixes your car. You'd never accept a car that is still broken after a while at the carage while still having to pay!

- Kim Katami, 1.2.2016

Helsinki, Finland.

Open Heart,