Tuesday, January 03, 2006

So Sad . . .

I recently received the following email from a reader:

Subject: So Sad . . .

Hal,

I am literally shaking after having read your articles. I am a Sai Baba survivor. In 2000, after having been a devotee for 25 years, I collapsed under the large number of credible allegations of sexual abuse against children.

I must tell you that I thought Andrew was a beacon of light in a sea of slime.

Oh, what are we to do if “impersonal enlightenment” can still see a man go so wrong? If an “avatar” can ruin young children’s lives?

Thank you for breaking your silence. There goes my thinking that we were crafting a spirituality that was appropriate for North Americans. I am so sad. What are we to do?
My response:

It is sad. But I think it is better to know, even though it brings sadness, than to waste years going down the wrong road. So, although it is sad that the teacher isn't what he pretended to be, you could be happy you found out. There is a lot to learn from this.

I think there are still some good teachers out there, some folks who have realization and are genuine. They can be a bit harder to find because I think that they usually don't promote themselves very much. They don't usually hold themselves out as anything special, so they can be harder to recognize. In my opinion, they don't usually demand obedience or reverence, and they don't pretend to be perfect. They also don't try to take away your independence and autonomy. These are just a few pointers I have found through my 30 years or so of relating to spiritual teachers and teachings. Someone else's experience may be different.

I think there is some truth to the saying that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." I think we tend to find, often by coincidence, the teacher and teaching that is appropriate for us at the moment.

Good luck. And thank you for your response to the blog. I am glad that you found it useful to you.

Warm wishes,
Hal

11 Comments:

Anonymous Heather said...

It is sad to discover we have been living in illusions but we can be deeply grateful to be dis-illusioned. The Truth will set us free and destroy our illusions along the way.
I agree with Hal's pointers regarding discernment. I would add, beware of any teaching that needs "time" to reach the desired end result.
When we were circling the outer fringes of Andrew's teachings there was such passion aroused because we believed we had found "The One". We could evolve out of our meaningless personal lives, we would have the guidance and camaraderie of a Spiritual Community. We had found a noble cause, Evolutionary Enlightenment for the sake of the Whole.
Now when I look at religion I see how the promise of being "saved" in some future imagined Heavenly state is the bait. The suicide terrorists can calmly kill themselves and innocents because their religious beliefs assure them they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in Heaven. Were we any less naive? Our searing desire to be free for the sake of The Whole was the carrot dangling in front of our noses that led us to want to become agents of Andrew's plan. Let's face it, we all want freedom for ourselves and humanity. Here is the vulnerability that can be manipulated and leads to the abuse of Power.
When the illusions are stripped away and we no longer look to "The Master" for salvation but are willing to stand alone in This Moment and give up the addiction to searching for security, we experience the Peace that passes understanding. We experience gratitude that illusions are falling away to reveal THAT which can never be given by any "other", and is not a reward to be earned by blind obedience or achieved in some imaginary "future".
Thank you to all who contribute here to pierce the veils of illusion. Yes it is painful, but if we want to live pain-free we will not have the warnings we need to guide us to the Truth. If we are willing to allow and accept this pain and give it our full attention, there are gifts of wisdom bestowed.

Wednesday, 04 January, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hal,

It's been decades since I've seen you. I always liked hanging out with you when you were in the CA community. I respected your integrity, sense of humor and sharp mind. We spent many fun and trying hours together. I too was involved with Andrew in the "early days" and saw spiritual brilliance along with very disturbing energies and behavior. I feel so fortunate that I was given the internal message from my essence not to stay.

All joy and happiness to you dear Hal, and thank you for your insights and holding to the principal of core honesty.

Wednesday, 04 January, 2006  
Blogger H.H. Swami Saiexposedananda said...

Hi, this was an interesting read. I also agreed with the replies and comments.

I was a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba for just over a decade, and made six trips to see him in India. Now no longer a devotee, I use this blog to record memories, comments and muses on the SB scenario and also point out inaccuracies in SB's philosophical and theological presentation.

http://saibabaexposed.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 05 January, 2006  
Blogger stillanego said...

Happy New Year everybody.
Ive just spent two weeks at home and by god is it the biggest test of them all. I can walk down Oxford street and remain calm and detatched surrounded by the fever of the rat race but put me at the table with my father and siblings and relatives and the buttons get pushed easy peasey :)
I want to ask the Sai Baba survivor if he/she would care to tell how they feel/felt before and aside from the reports of the abuse. I dont know anything about Sai Baba but i did see the documentary screened a year or so ago and it didnt look good but i always try to reserve judgement until i know the facts for myself.
Also i wanted to respond to Heather in reference to Hal's post. There are Real Teachers out there. There are Teachers who could even be trusted with others lives. Dont despair. And also i would not dare to suggest how that Real Teacher would act or how they would present themselves. I would only be wary of the teacher who tells you to believe blindly. There is a traditional period of testing the guru just as the guru tests the student. So dont lose faith or courage. There is a funny proverb in Ireland 'patience and perseverance will take a snail to jerusalem'

Thursday, 05 January, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hal said:

"I think there are still some good teachers out there, some folks who have realization and are genuine. They can be a bit harder to find because I think that they usually don't promote themselves very much."

Do you really believe this? Are you talking about the baba in the cave.

"They don't usually hold themselves out as anything special, so they can be harder to recognize."

Is this the chop wood carry water kind of thing?

"In my opinion, they don't usually demand obedience or reverence, and they don't pretend to be perfect. They also don't try to take away your independence and autonomy."

I thought that obeying the teacher was the whole point? I guess if you don't trust the teacher I understand, but otherwise isn't the teacher supposed to be where you want to be - and thus able to help by living example?

Tuesday, 10 January, 2006  
Blogger stillanego said...

to continue in agreement with the last anonymous blogger-
a person is with a teacher because they want to get to where the teacher is and how do you get to where the teacher is if you dont already know?? you go the way the teacher tells you. Precisely the point of being with a teacher. You dont tell the teacher, you ask him. And if you dont go that way then you dont get to where the teacher is, you get to somewhere else. and yes if the teacher is any good at all he demands obedience. The last thing the ego intends is to be obedient to anyone or anything and it is about growing beyond the ego right. One question, why do people always seem to put the word 'blind' before the word 'obedience'?
Isnt there such a thing as conscious obedience brought about through real consideration and real understanding of the matter of guru devotion and what the Real Guru represents. The Real Guru wants your total obedience but for the purpose of your liberation because He/She knows what it requires just like an adult knows that a child must take the medicine. Have you ever met a child that likes taking medicine?

Wednesday, 11 January, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberation doesn't come from obedience. It comes from insight.

Wednesday, 11 January, 2006  
Blogger stillanego said...

Fine, but insight is not enough. When the Buddha sat down and gave his discourses the people who listened to him and grasped what he was saying did not automatically become enlightened. They had to take that insight away with them and apply it to every aspect of their lives until the old habits which were void of insight were replaced with the new habits of insight. In other words they had to discipline themselves and if they had no teacher or guru you could say they were being obedient to their highest understanding and insight. Even that is a form of submission. Submitting to living the discipline of the right life that is determined by your insight, where ever that insight comes from. Would you agree with any of that?

Monday, 16 January, 2006  
Anonymous Stuart said...

> a person is with a teacher
> because they want to get to
> where the teacher is and how do
> you get to where the teacher is
> if you dont already know??

I question this assumption. If you're in a dark woods & you see someone with a flashlight, you'll hang around him, because you want to make use of the light. The guy with the flashlight himself may be an idiot, but in that situation, the light is still useful.

So why not just take whatever you get from contact with a teacher and make use of it? What's the benefit of having this idea that you want to get to where the teacher is? That's kind of like abdicating your responsibility to find your own life direction for yourself. Any teacher, any situation can HELP you see find this direction (like the flashlight), but you find it for yourself.

Tuesday, 07 February, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the Buddha sat down and gave his discourses the people who listened to him and grasped what he was saying did not automatically become enlightened.

Ahh yes, but the Buddha himself had no teacher. He came to his understandings through reflection and insight. The Buddha also encouraged his followers to think for themselves and Christ too said, The Kingdom is within. Life itself makes a pretty good teacher.

Monday, 27 March, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello everybody!
I was shocked visiting this site for the first time. Because I have watched the activities of A. Cohen for some years via internet and his magazine WIE. Here on this site I recognized how easy I or we believe or trust in whatever gives us comfort and hope without questioning it. Fortunately I get early in contact with the teachings of J. Krishnamurti which I can highly recommend for so many reasons. And from now I would say:
There is really no need for a guru or somebody who gives you guidance and advice what to do or not to do.
There is only a need for deep interest in Life and questioning everything which is said by whoever
is talking until you find out for yourself whether it is true or not.

All the best
Jörg

Saturday, 22 April, 2006  

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