The Dangers of Pseudo-Advaita by Anadi

updated 2/28/08


Ramon: I consider Anadi (Master Aziz) one of the most advanced teachers I have run across within the non-dual Advaita tradition (I also
highly respect my own spiritual teacher, David Spero -- -- who lives in a permanent state of sahaja samadhi on
the Divine Mother's lap (the bhakti path). Anadi lives in India, and many of his writings are available again on his new website:
Occasionally he offers retreats in Israel, Japan and Ireland for meditation intensives. His books are listed on Amazon.



We would like to express our concern regarding the recent phenomenon of 'satsang-culture' which has degenerated seriously the original spirit of
advaita. Many individuals, who have very little or no knowledge of the awakening process, feel qualified to give satsang and speak on the subject
of enlightenment. Enlightenment has become very cheap these days. Nobody actually really knows what this term means, as it virtually means
too much to mean anything at all. Nowadays, it is sufficient to say 'I am awakened' in order to give satsang to groups of immature seekers and
guru hunters.

Because of the unverifiable nature of enlightenment, this notion has been much manipulated. Satsang has been Americanized. In an average
satsang-gathering everybody is laughing, showing signs of euphoric and unauthentic joy, while the teacher tries to look like he or she is in bliss.
Just like a TV show. Very few actually meditate. Why to meditate if we are all already awakened?

But is this really advaita? Is advaita a poor repetition of a several slogans like 'There is nobody there,' 'You are That,' You are already Awakened'
or 'There is no Path', etc.? Has this anything to do with teaching of masters of high degree like Nisargadatta Maharaj or Ramana Maharishi? Ramana
sat in caves for 20 years before he could be really complete. In his presence disciples had to meditate for months and years before they could receive
from him the glimpse of the Self.

It is true that the New Millennium is a time of spiritual awakening. But this awakening is mostly partial and relative to the level of most people's
unconsciousness. It was Jesus who said that there would be a time when many false teachers will teach in the name of Light. It seems to be
happening now. Many of these teachers are not necessarily 'bad people' but simply unqualified and lost, in truth. They have believed too quickly
in the thought 'I am now ready to teach!' Somewhere on the way, they have lost their innocence and sincerity, and the reason why they entered
the path in the first place.

It seems that the pauperization of satsang culture began after the death of Poonjaji, a disciple of Ramana Maharishi. He himself has lost the
practical aspect of advaita and simplified the teaching of Ramana to the point of becoming very unrealistic. On the other hand, Poonjaji did not
understand the twisted ego of western seekers. Many of his followers started to claim that he actually approved their 'awakening.' It seems that
so desperately desiring spiritual attainment and approval, they were just too keen to take him literally. It is an advaita custom to say 'you are
already awakened.' This is however more a teaching device than a reflection of reality. And even if some of his disciples had a glimpse of awakening,
Poonjaji made it clear that none of his disciples reached the actual enlightenment. Only at the end of his life he realized that most of his western
disciples were insincere, seeking not true self-realization but to assume the role of ‘satsang-givers’. He expressed it on many occasions that none
of his followers was worthy his teaching.

We can observe the gradual process of decline of advaita from Ramana to Poonjaji, and from Poonjaji to his followers, and from his followers
and to the ‘successors’ of those followers. One may naively believe that advaita has been reborn on the higher scale in our century. In truth it is
a time of the death of advaita.

It is not our intention to suggest that nobody reaches enlightenment. We just wish to make it clear that complete enlightenment and understanding
of its nature is still an extremely rare phenomenon in this reality, which is a plane of low evolution. And equally important, we wish to emphasize that
a partial or pre-mature experience of awakening does not qualify one at all to take a role of a self-realized being.

Enlightenment is not that cheap. Many seekers seem to be unaware of a very simple fact that there are actually many levels of self-realization.
There is an enormous difference between initial awakening and the actual state of enlightenment. One has to go through many stages of realization to
become complete and whole.

But who cares? Most seekers would not bother to study these matters, for in their case there is really 'nobody’ there, just a collective seeker's
mind. And most teachers would refuse to enquire into the true nature of enlightenment because they already have a hidden doubt and deep fear
concerning the validity of their own attainment.

We would like to suggest not to rush too fast with announcing oneself 'awakened,' and to rush even less with the idea of giving satsang. In Zen
tradition one had to wait 10 to 20 years even after real enlightenment before one could guide others. These days we hear about individuals who give
satsang the next day after their highly doubtful awakening experience! This is not merely a lack of wisdom but an expression of spiritual idiocy.

Most teachers giving so-called satsang have realized only a partial and unstable state of awakening if any at all, but due to their ignorance lack
higher perspective to view their realization as relative and incomplete. Following naïve concepts of enlightenment, they convince themselves that
they have reached the ultimate and block the possibility of further evolution, thus jeopardizing their own path.

We recommend to all students and teachers of advaita to be more critical. Follow advaita, if you wish, but know that the truth of self-realization
is simply much more rich and complex than any linear philosophy, with advaita included. The practical advaita and the theoretical advaita are very
different. In the theoretical advaita, the Self is the only reality, there is no path and we are all already awakened. But practical advaita includes the
understanding that there is a long way to go before the truth of these statements can become our living reality.

We would like also to create a few practical anti-pseudo-advaita statements:
"You are not awakened unless you awaken.''
"You are not That, unless you reach unity with the Absolute Reality."
"There is no path, but only for those who completed it."
"There is nobody here, but only when the somebody has dissolved."

Giving satsang and convincing oneself of being awakened when in truth one is fragmented inside is not an option for someone who possesses the
basic wisdom, honesty and honor.

Blessings to Seekers of Truth and Clarity who have the courage to renounce the False.