Bindi

Less than perfect Guru's

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Muktananda had undeniable ‘spiritual’ power, he is known to have had the ‘power to light your candle from his candle’, and many people experienced his energy in shaktipat. Given the number of testimonials to this I have little reason to doubt that he genuinely had the ability to pass kundalini energy on.


But he also displayed some very non-guru characteristics – an active sexual interest in teenage girls, a ferocious temper, where he would yell and scream and on occasion be physically violent, and a strong attachment to money.


“As Muktananda's power grew, he ignored normal standards of behavior. He felt he was above and beyond the law." http://www.leavingsiddhayoga.net/secret.htm


Does his spiritual attainment and knowledge have any value in the end?


Can one be a great yogi, and a tragically flawed person at the same time?

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All of my human teachers so far have displayed human tendencies.

If palatable, I look past the human to the teaching.  If not, I move on.

 

Like Sifu Lee said.... It's like a finger pointing to the moon, don't look at the finger, or you miss all the heavenly glory.

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I think this all depends on whether one wants to get guidance on ones own path or worship some authority figure.

 

 

 

Does his spiritual attainment and knowledge have any value in the end?

 

Can one be a great yogi, and a tragically flawed person at the same time?

 

I really don't think so. The process of realization ought to deal with many of these issues; if it hasn't, you prolly aren't ready to teach anything. I mean does greed, anger, and lust sound like attributes a truly elevated person would cultivate?

 

I reckon that even if they display some special power there is a guru out there with the same power who isn't a jerk off. Moral character should be important and also a sign of achievement.

 

8)

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The greats still need to have there own guru's and friends tell them when they're screwing up and veering off the path.  As you rise higher you fight battles against egotism disguised as greater progress and paranoia disguised as secret insights.  

Edited by thelerner
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There is a tendency in some to be forgiving of guru figures who misbehave...calling it crazy wisdom, and thinking there's a good lesson for them in it. There might be some truth to that in some sort of context, in some sort of twisting of the mind...but something more true which requires no twisted logic, is that teachers should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one than the average person. The ability to confound people's minds with esoteric sayings, to make them feel energy vibrations or various cathartic emotions, or to basically be charismatic and mysterious, does not make a guru-figure "spiritual". To be truly spiritual, you have to have integrity. A true guru has the highest integrity possible. And they should be held to that by others, and scrutinized...and if found to be lacking, their reputation should be ruined...or if they had halfway decent integrity, they would step down immediately, or admit fully what their faults are to every student while continuing to teach if necessary. This way of approaching the subject upholds what is good, and prevents what is bad...that is one of the main functions of spirituality.

Brian summed it up excellently, by saying that all humans are human. A person who is spoiled in certain ways, such as being put on a pedestal and having followers do pretty much whatever they say, will have a tendency to degrade in their true spirituality and end up doing horrible things against others. The ego never dies. This is something that has to be consciously held in check. Everyone has the dark side of them, just as dark as anyone else...I read once that the saints know more about this than the average person, and that temptations increase as you ascend the heavenly path. It doesn't get easier...you do somewhat well, and gain some authority to teach, but then you find yourself truly failing at spirituality. You're worse off, despite all appearances. It takes a really strong person to decide what is right, and do that irrespective of everything else, at all times. That would be someone who I would call a true spiritual teacher.

Edited by Aetherous
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Just yesterday my mom showed me something she read from a book I got her for Christmas, entitled The Art of Living, by an ancient philosopher named Epictetus.

 

It said that a person's behavior is the measure of their wisdom, rather than their intellectual understanding.

 

One might have concepts, but true understanding or lack thereof is reflected in their emotions and actions.

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In my area we had a great master of Goju Ryu Okinawan karate. The highest ranking non-japanese teacher. A very well respected man, author of many books.

Two years ago, he was jailed for the sexual abuse of female children students. Basically, he used his position of trust and authority to carry out this horrific crime.

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To have gone beyond the story of a nothing, I can only yell from this ledge: "You must jump off a star into the jagged edge of a whisper. You will bleed light. Have no fear. Do not look to your neighbor, no matter how holy his face. Everyone's forehead is too clean. She likes to see her children dirty with dust and ash. If you love the guru with the bright face, make him join you on your knees. She has no mercy. I warn you. Not a drop." - B. Smythe

 

Nobody is above it, but at the same time you can sometimes discern where ego is happening and where it's not. Calling someone a guru is like calling a genius a genius. A genius is just living their life, doing what they do, however intelligently or self-aware; then someone comes along a calls them a genius, and they may shrug it off, or they may internalize the identity.

 

Gurus are pretty much the same. They're just living their enlightened life, like you or I, and someone comes along and calls them a guru. Sure, why not -- it's all relative anyway, right? But then there are those who assume the guru identity and all its mind trips. I dunno, in some ways it's kind of a curse to have fame and guruhood, if you don't have the genuine attainment to match the label.

 

And then there's the deeper question of... who is really a guru? If you're misled by someone who claimed to be a guru, did they not still teach you something? The Buddha can be anyone.

Edited by Orion

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i believe some people can quite easily become realized along certain axis of development (due to past kamma) including the faculties that allow for 'powers'. but being an advanced person does not mean fully enlightened and these people may lack the insight that arises from the highest levels of attainment. this is why they are still liable to do things that could harm others.

 

so while anyone that can point the way can be valid the difference with a true master etc is they can see what guidance/support a student needs from a much higher perspective, knowing where to push and how hard in a way that is congruent with their kamma. even then they are still human in the sense they are using their judgement to ascertain what is appropriate or not. the difference being there is no volition coming from a place of delusion (ego) and they have the full range of information to work with.

 

reason enough to look at teachers lineages and using proven paths as the reference point for our journeys, methinks.

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I guess everyone has good  side and bad side, weaknesses and strengths,,,

After a while, in any relationship, you may discover problems.

The question knowing your guru is not perfect, do you still consider staying?

From practical point of view, you could... if you have doubt that you can find a better one in this imperfect words.

Or you could accept his/her faults...

 

And that is how many think.

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They give only this fire. The rest is the rest. Seems that awakening highlihts your tendencies even those hidden, it makes them stronger instead of what people would think - dissolves them. It just dissolves your relation to tendencies not tendencies itself. It even dissolves your shame of tendencies.

 

Doesn't mean that we need to copy the guru, or think that we need to chase you g girls, since it is abusive.

Some gurus do things that they should not do... But they simply don't care.... And even may not know that they should not do it. There is a phase into not everyone falls into but it is indeed pure insanity.

Anyway they just give this fire, as only thing that they can share. The rest we may contemplate and take some assumptions.

 

 

Muktananda had undeniable ‘spiritual’ power, he is known to have had the ‘power to light your candle from his candle’, and many people experienced his energy in shaktipat. Given the number of testimonials to this I have little reason to doubt that he genuinely had the ability to pass kundalini energy on.

 

But he also displayed some very non-guru characteristics – an active sexual interest in teenage girls, a ferocious temper, where he would yell and scream and on occasion be physically violent, and a strong attachment to money.

 

“As Muktananda's power grew, he ignored normal standards of behavior. He felt he was above and beyond the law." http://www.leavingsiddhayoga.net/secret.htm

 

Does his spiritual attainment and knowledge have any value in the end?

 

Can one be a great yogi, and a tragically flawed person at the same time?

Edited by Kubba

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true guru is true Self, true Self works through True guru...

 

Many powers can be become twisted, (for instance 3rd eye) but true guru of true Self can not become twisted.

 

true guru works for Spirit, including both for the letter of the spiritual law and for the spiritual compassion of spiritual law, to do otherwise is not of true guru, a true guru knows they can do nothing without Spirit for they have fully joined the ocean of spirit without resistance or interference from ego, thus their human self is a matrix for Spirit yet their identity is of the ocean of Spirit,

Jai Sat Guru

Edited by 3bob
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Spiritual knowledge, wisdom, moral development and ability to reason are not all the same and may develop at different rates in a person.

 

Muktananda might have had very strong spiritual skills, but not equally strong moral development. Other gurus I've come across seem to have great kindness, but on some points exhibit great naivety.

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This is a common problem, mostly due to our western culture's unfamiliarity with such aspects of reality.  In India, it is commonly known that siddhis (powers, magic) and psychic abilities are not the same thing as "spiritual advancement".  They have been dealing with this kind of thing for thousands of years, and its well known.  

 

Especially people who are born with psychic abilities may be just as much of a bastard as anyone else - and they often are to some degree, because when it comes to humanity, power corrupts.  In fact, I have met clairvoyants who are essentially nothing more than peeping toms that view everyone's internal world as their own private reality tv show.  It is much, much easier for someone with "supernatural powers" to become very depraved.  Just the same with "rich" people, or those in positions of "authority" and so on.

 

This is what happens to so-called gurus like muktananda who attain abilities and find themselves in a position to exploit large numbers of people quite easily.  It takes restraint to overcome such temptation, and as long as you are still living in a human body you will be fallible and subject to the human condition.  

 

I think the most popular example of an abusive guru with siddhis in our culture is Bubba Free John, aka Adi Da - who was actually a student of Muktananda.  The story there is incredibly long and pretty fascinating - so if you are interested then by all means check it out.

 

Secondly, the institution of the "guru" as such is dying.  That era has passed, at least in terms of the ancient views.  There are now too many people on this planet for it to remain as it was, and the world itself as well as the collective mind is moving on, for better or worse.  The teachers of today are required to take a more nuanced approach, simply due to the current nature of the task before them.  Personally, I would never set out to be a teacher, much less a "guru" - its a recipe for disaster.  There is a whole world of dynamics involved in those systems of guidance and benefaction, the give and take of it all, and all the psychological issues that go along with it - on BOTH SIDES.  The real work of modern cultivators is resolving such dynamics back into their place as occurrences in natural reality - as opposed the formalized structure created by human society.

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Ken Wilber models this in his lines of development theory, that you can be advanced in one line such as spiritual realisation but not advanced in another such as emotional maturity. I'm not so sure I buy into that model completely though as I can't see how there isn't overlap.

 

Also Wiber's judgement on these things isn't always so great, he promoted Da Free John who has been accused of all sorts of abuse. Then he promoted Andrew Cohen who he said was a perfect example of modern evolutionary enlightenment, but unfortunately Andrew recently wrote a big letter about how he was taking time out from being a Guru because he realised he was using it as a means of avoidance and wasn't mature enough to be one. Then he promoted Genzo Merzel who was supposedly bringing about a new Buddhist turning, then it came out that he was sleeping with his students behind his wifes back.

 

There are very few Guru's who aren't dodgy to be honest a large proportion of them get entangled sexually with students, like Sai Baba who could perform miracles but was exposed as liking to touch the genitals of his male students. 

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Ken Wilber models this in his lines of development theory, that you can be advanced in one line such as spiritual realisation but not advanced in another such as emotional maturity. I'm not so sure I buy into that model completely though as I can't see how there isn't overlap.

 

Right, Id be more inclined to say they were at least similar if not the same thing.

 

However, siddhis are just a result of technical application of techniques that are not widely known and practiced.  Its simply a matter of training, talent and skill - much like a person who becomes an athlete and then a "champion" of some sort.  Its just a combination of these applied forces.

 

Of course, it is also possible for siddhis to occur as a side effect of practices which are being applied towards "spiritual realization".  This is inevitable for some people on some paths.  It can cause complications or not, but the point is that they are not realization itself.  Power is a means to achieve an end.  Realization is beyond means or ends.  The indication that power is required to make way for realization may well be true for some, and those people will have to work this out for themselves.

 

Also, it is best to keep in mind that a human idea of "perfection" is not neccesarily the actuality of real perfection.  The Tao Te Ching goes into great detail on this topic, and repeats it in various permutations.

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There's often a spot or more of madness in most high level people.  Total freedom can mean saying and doing anything you want, and its only a heavy dose of humility that can temper it. 

 

Yet we shouldn't throw the philosophy out with disgraced philosopher.  It can be hard to swallow but we can learn and grow from a failed teacher.  There are many aspects to life and though they may have failed at some, they've mastered others.

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I got A´s in math in high school, but when I first started to drive I couldn´t remember the way to the grocery store, a store our family had been going to for years. So am I an intelligent guy? Depends, I suppose, who you ask.

 

Spiritual development, like intelligence, is a multi-faceted thing. It´s possible to be very advanced in some ways and still be a jerk. Much to the chagrin of seekers everywhere who´d prefer a more uniform perfection.

 

Liminal

Edited by liminal_luke

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yes! have to agree with the above post, refinement seems to be a key factor when we're talking access to insight and higher levels of attainment. but again, how can you tell and measure this? one of the reasons i'm drawn to buddhist teachings is because if you attain jhana level concentration you know you are getting somewhere. this seperates the wheat from the chaff in my mind, though it's something that needs to be verified by a qualified source.

 

jhana being a higly refined state of consciousness (particularly the higher levels) you can't reach with delusion remaining. isn't it convenient how many of these gurus follow their own path or a 'path' where there is no way to gauge quite how much ego is remaining. not that jhana means insight by itself, but it's certainly a better indicator of attainment than powers, from what i can gather.

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All the good deeds, all the spoken/written/shared wisdom, all the profound soul stirring realization, all the power to tame/control/guide mind(s) does not make one a good person in Now (which is all that is real). At some point he wanted to become the Guru's guru and this was manifested. At some point while considered the Guru's guru he decided he would prefer to be a molester/rapist, and so this too became manifest. Our lifes path is determined by the choice in thoughts at this moment of Now alone. It matters not however many amazing thoughts one may have once previously had or whatever kindness one may have previously shown.

 

Buddha himself didn't want to teach after achievement of full enlightenment. Which is fine, and he changed his mind after things sunk in that there was nothing else to do about it. Even if the Buddha taught and lived in great compassion for decades, at no point would he not be free to choose to become cruel at any instant. Complete perfect mindfulness does not imply any loss of ability to mindfully choose whatever thoughts one prefers.

 

If ones preference is compassion rooted the choices are likely to yeild kind thoughts and kind actions. At no point does it become impossible to choose non-compassion rooted thoughts (and hence non-compassion rooted actions).

 

Unlimited Love,

-Bud

Edited by Bud Jetsun
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True guru/True Self is beyond limits of mind and thoughts also there is a point of no return or a no falling back to samsara after ego death...  (which is why such is very rare among us)  In other words Truth fully realized in every cell of being can no longer be lost to a lie tucked away somewhere in a remaining cell of egotism.

 

Btw, did the historic Buddha attain that? Such is only known to Him and those of equal attainment, all the rest on the subject is mostly if not complete speculation.

Edited by 3bob
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True guru/True Self is beyond limits of mind and thoughts also there is a point of no return or a no falling back to samsara after ego death...  (which is why such is very rare among us)  In other words Truth fully realized in every cell of being can no longer be lost to a lie tucked away somewhere in a remaining cell of egotism.

 

Absolute, authentic ego death, I do believe it's possible.

 

 

Btw, did the historic Buddha attain that? Such is only known to Him and those of equal attainment, all the rest on the subject is mostly if not complete speculation.

Though it's only speculation, I do like to think that Jesus attained this.

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