Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What About the Guru?

Interestingly I’ve received quite a few notes and questions regarding ‘the Guru’ recently. As you probably already know, I rarely use the term ‘Guru’ in the lessons of the course via email or in the blog. Yet, a lot of regular readers have had previous relationships, interactions, and encounters with the Guru principle in some form or another, and apparently some of them still have unresolved issues. In almost all cases, it is because of some flaw in their understanding of what the Guru principle actually is.

Since my own sadhana and spiritual history include the relationship with the Guru, I cannot exactly dismiss the questions that come here. People deserve some sort of answer. As for participants in the Course of Training, part of our relationship is that all questions will be answered.

When I met my own Guru in 1974, his primary instruction to me was to teach people in the West what a true Guru is.

I told him, “I have no idea what a true Guru is.”

He laughed and said, “Don’t worry, you will!”

He told me to open up a meditation center and to teach people what a Guru was. I asked, “But what if they have questions?”

He said simply, “You will answer all questions perfectly.”

In my mind, this takes all blame off me—it’s on him now. It relieves me of the responsibility of getting my mind involved. He’s the one who told me to answer questions, and through his grace they get answered.

36 years into the future following that dialogue, my observation is that most people, not only in the West but in the East as well, have a very limited understanding of what a Guru is. For this reason, I receive inquiries from people whose physical Guru has transitioned from his or her body, or who for some other reason is physically unavailable or inaccessible.

In the Eastern scriptures, it is said “God, Guru, and Self are the same.” They all refer to the same Principle. It is very important to understand this point. If we truly understand this simple principle, then we can never fully experience or believe that the Guru is not present.

The true Guru is not someone we might know or have known as a person. The Guru is not a particular personality or a physical body. It clearly states in the scriptures that the Guru is the “grace-bestowing power of God.”

The true Guru is that aspect of the Self that awakens, initiates, uplifts, expands, deepens, enlightens, liberates, or in some other way allows us to experience our fullest potential as an individual being.

One comment in particular following the previous entry was very heartfelt and clearly expressed a question shared by many in various ways:

Ghayas: Something very ironic is happening to me. This course is all about being in the present moment, and as I am starting to read the lessons and getting involved once again in this learning process, some reminiscences of the "good old days" of the old course keep popping up.

What I call "good old days" is that period when the course used to be a tool, on a specific path, helping students to understand, among other things, their relationship with the Guru, the sangham; in that time, I would read the lesson, and, in addition to practicing it in my daily activities, I would also attend workshops, intensives, programs at the center and go to the ashram, and test what I have learned in the lessons within the physical environment of the ashram and around the Guru.

The old course used to be the cornerstone of my sadhana in the sense that it used to fulfill, among other things, this function of strengthening my understanding of the relationship with the Guru. I'm feeling, now, a pain of separation! It feels like this era of being around the Guru, getting together for the summer in the ashram, has gone away without previous notice and honestly I'm being very nostalgic.

Now, it's ironic because this new course that you are generously offering to the whole world and multi-paths practitioners is all about being in the newness of the present. So I'm feeling somehow off track because this nostalgia of the past period of my sadhana is showing up when in every lesson I'm invited to come back to the present, to come back to the heart. I guess I just have to witness this nostalgic feeling (which has always been a familiar samskara), as well as the feeling of being off track (another familiar companion) and keep coming back to the present.

Any advice, though, would be most welcome to understand more clearly the evolution of sadhana from one particular form to another.

DRB: Ghayas, I feel your letter, and you can know that many other people feel the same way. I have heard or read the same thing in many different ways.

I started the original course in 1975. Among the principles I stated from the beginning was that the outer form of sadhana (spiritual practice, work on self-development) would always change. I also stated that many, many things would change over the years--where we lived, who we lived with, our work, our name, our lifestyle, our outlook, and especially the forms sadhana would take from time to time, but that the one thing that would never change is the Guru Principle.

The teaching has always been very clear: "The Guru is not a particular person or body; the Guru is the grace-bestowing power of God."

It was great fun in the "old days" that you speak of. Many of us remember them fondly. I have my own nostalgia. I'd love to go back and see everyone face to face once again. It was a magical time. Yet times have changed. The world has changed. People are more suspicious now. 'Foreigners' are especially viewed more suspiciously.

There is an ugly mood about, and it's simply the sign of the times. It was all prophesized long ago. People are quick to look for something to be angry about, something to attack, something to see as evil.

The result is that authentic spiritual teachers and groups are more low-key now than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Groups are smaller, teachers are less well known. And many of us have had to grow up and develop a strong relationship with the inner Guru.

We have had to actually practice the Guru’s teaching and learn to do puja to our own form, worshipping the divine inner Self that dwells there in each new moment.

My Guru said, "Do not think the Guru is a man sitting here in front of you with a beard and a cap on his head. The Guru dwells within you as your own Self."

My own seva, or service to God, has changed from teaching about the Guru to focusing on the principles of Truth that are immutable, infallible, and applicable to all people in all times and places. As Ghayas eloquently put it, the course is now for 'multi-path practitioners,' as we focus on the essence of the Truth of Being and not on any particular path or way of being or thinking except for being true to our own Self.

As the lessons say, come back to the present moment, come back to the heart, come back to your love. From here is a good beginning. Let us do our sadhana from moment to moment, remaining focused in the present, honoring the past and all the old experiences for what they were, for they helped us become what we are today, and have prepared us for all that will come.

What will come tomorrow, we have no idea whatsoever. Everything changes except the One thing that never changes. This changeless One is our true and eternal nature, the inner Self of all. If we recognize and remain aware of our own Self here and now, then everything leading up to now will have served its purpose, everything will be perfect, and even the future will be wonderful.

Someone else asked if it was possible to fall from grace. Here is the response to that:

I can certainly understand where the question comes from. I have gone through the 'dark night of the soul' when it truly feels as though we have fallen from grace and are lost and forgotten.

Ultimately the only true fall from grace is if we turn against ourselves in our own thinking. For example, every time we give into negative thoughts or emotions, we experience a loss of grace. If one were to insist on the path of negativity for a long period, then it would surely feel as though all grace had been lost forever.

Ultimately there is only the grace of our own Self. There is no external source of grace. Even the true Guru, the grace bestowing power of God, is a manifestation of our own Self. If there were an external source of grace, we would live in a world of duality, and the world of duality is only a temporary illusion.

Don't fall from grace in your own mind. Know that the source of grace is within you, and open yourself up to the grace of God that surges from within your own Self.

In the long run, there is no rising or falling. All that is the play of Consciousness. In Truth there is only eternal stillness. The apparent movement and motion is the play, the leela, the dance.

Know your true nature, live in the awareness of your own divine Being, and grace will follow you around and bestow upon you a charmed life.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email, write:

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Scott Marmorstein said...

This is so great! What else can be said? A person who understands what they read here really understands. Thanks for the clarity and love!

Beej said...

Om Namah Shivaya!

jane skafte said...

Thank you for this, I don't ever remember the phrase about grace-- that if it were to come from an external source, that would indicate a dualistic universe. Brilliant!
I have had my own longing and nostalgia and sadness for the "good old days".
The way I frame it now is that at the time I thought that the Guru's availability and talks and peacock feathers were something that I could count on forever-- like going back home and expecting it to be the way one remembered--and it made me sad to realize that that time was over. Now I realize that the period I spent in the ashram was a great blessing, I am so grateful that I had that privilege. The mission for me is to see everything in my present moment also as a time that will not be recaptured! Today is the day when I have hands and eyes and my husband and my artwork. So much grace.

Jane said...

This was the perfect message for me to read this morning. I was feeling off track because I recognized that I stepped into one of my old patterns (in this case - taking care of others at my own expense) without being aware of it until last night. I am in the process of stepping back and trying to disengage with detachment and lightheartedness instead of hostility and blaming the other person for my own misperception. I also need to consider whether it is dharmic to take any additional action(s) or not. What a lesson - one that apparently I needed to have again!

At first I was horrified when I could see the old pattern but then I realized that being 'horrified' is just another way to keep the melodrama going.

Reading Ram's post about the Guru refreshed my perspective and made me grateful that, even if uncomfortable, the inner Guru was helping me to become free from an old pattern.

One of the most important turning points of my life was when I had the experience that God, Guru and the Self are one. In the last few years, I've been increasingly aware that reliance on the inner Guru was what I needed to focus on to grow up spiritually.

Many thanks once again...

Divya said...

As I look at my life closely, I notice that the Guru principle is the only sure thing that has guided my life. It has taken me to a place inside myself and has guided me to contemplate who I am. I am so grateful to have had been led to this in my life. Thanks Ram!

Anastasia said...

From your heart to our hearts, these words are so powerful and true. What a glorious glimpse at ones Self. Thank you!

Jeff said...

Can you clarify what your relationship to the Guru is now so that we can understand what our relationship to you is... do you see yourself as a vehicle for your Guru's grace and your words as enlivened by your Guru's intention, or are you now a Guru in your own right, whose words are chaitanya by virtue of their speaker's state?

D. R. Butler said...

My relationship to the Guru is what it always has been. It has never changed.

No, I am by no means to be considered a 'Guru' in any sense of the word by any single person. There is not a holy bone in my body.

Your relationship to me is whatever you create it to be.

My seva, or service to God, is to present the principles of Truth as stated in ancient scriptures and texts in ways so that they can be clearly understood and practiced in daily life in the modern world.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

It sounds like many of us are feeling the too. What lovely sharing and gathering of like minds. We are in a new phase of our spiritual maturity. While being eternally thankful for "the good old days," we again have our dear old friend, Ram. We have the course and its valuable current teachings. So grateful! I am thoroughly loving current lesson 39. It is uplifting. Like others who have expressed feeling deep longing for the "good old days," feeling nostalgia over the "loss" of those summers at the ashram and the peacock feathers, the wonderful courses, singing the Guru Gita with 1,000 or more, and the quiet early morning Chai, I have to say, even then, I knew the day would come when we would be given the ultimate lesson of seemingly flying solo, like baby birds, while hopefully remembering the Guru Principle. Thanks everybody for writing...I feel you. Om Namah Shivaya!

Scott said...

Okay, there IS more to say.

As D.R. knows, I was raised with a physical Guru. So the question is why? My suspicion on this is it is the most effecient means of receiving shaktipat (the ascent of Grace, where the Kundalini energy is literally awakened from sleep at the base of the spine to begin Her journey to the Sahasrar).

I know a lot of people nowadays think the Shaktipat can come from reading a book, or being in the company of an enlightened being but... I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. I really still feel we need the Guru Principle active within someone who LIVES that role. If I'm wrong, then what in the WORLD was ever the point of having a physical Guru anywhere at any time?

Also, let me just say, that sometimes talking to an ACTUAL human being living in the supreme state, as it were, is infinitely more convincing to me than written words. I know in my heart that I am not the only one who has this experience or that feels this way. It is just natural for humans to want to interface with other humans, and if someone is living in the God Realized state consciously, all the easier to learn from them I feel. Their example is penetrating. The teachings of yoga originally were upanishadic..meaning you "sat near by" and learned from mouth to ear....there is so much power in this transmission.

AFTER I have talked or been around such a being, I can assimilate the teachings in a written course or with actual study of other sacred texts much easier, and have an even more refined and subtle appreciation of such works, in ways I might not otherwise be able to. These are just my personal experiences.

I absolutely agree with the thrust of D.R.’s post, because it is only speaking complete Truth. However, I contend that this Truth can be difficult for fresh eyes and ears to imbibe without some historical context.

I still feel that after absorption of both the holy company (satsang and darshan) and one’s individual pursuit of sadhana, one can indeed realize that “God, Guru, and Self” are all one and the same.

Clarity and explanation on this would be much appreciated--by anyone.

With love,

D. R. Butler said...

There is a lot going on in your comment, Scott. I am having to explore the space between thoughts to see what kind of answer is present. Your issues are of a complex nature.

For one thing, I would suggest reading Sylvia from Colorado's comment prior to yours. It truly contains the answer.

Sometimes when people have a lot of understanding at a relatively young age, as you do, it sometimes is difficult to differentiate your true understanding from that which you have been previously taught that perhaps were true at the time, or true on some level, but which are not truly relevant to the existing moment or to your current life.

Let me ask you, having grown up in the culture of the ashram and the Guru, how often did you sit in the Guru's actual presence and chat? How many one-on-one dialogues did you actually have? It sounds like you are missing something that all the rest of us would love to have had even for a moment.

You ask what was the purpose of ever having a Guru in the first place? The purpose was to receive what we needed from the Guru. What other purpose could there have been?

It would be helpful to observe how you are getting your mind involved, and confusing teachings you might have heard in the past with true understanding. What do we really know, after all, about Shaktipat, or Kundalini, or the difference between a Guru and an enlightened Master? Pundits could argue over such things for months without reaching any conclusions. Some things you stated forcefully in your post was simply your perspective on things, how you see them, and someday might mature into something else entirely.

I don't experience any absence of the Guru. To me the Guru is ever-present. There is no difference between us, no separation, no duality involved. This was the Guru's teaching and gift to me.

You know the story where Ram asks Hanuman "who are you," and Hanuman answers "when I know who I am I am You, and when I forget who I am I serve You."

That's about the crux of the matter. Realize that you already have everything you need. Our Guru said, "You already have everything. All you lack is that understanding."

Deb said...

Scott, I received shaktipat initiation from the Guru on the etheric. I was in a new age type meditation when he appeared in my meditation and hit me on the head so hard I yelped. I began having krias and classic experiences months before discovering D.R.'s course.

After a few months with the course, I learned that one way the Guru gave shaktipat was through hitting people on the head. It was a few months after that when I made my first trip to the ashram and saw the Guru's picture and realized that he was the guy that hit me.

So, I don't think it has to be a living guru to awaken the kundalini. I consider myself a devotee of the Guru, but also that the Guru is not different from my very own Self. I don't think the Guru Principal is limited in any way, and therefor it doesn't have to be a living guru.

That said, I wouldn't trade my experiences with the living Guru for anything. To have a living Guru is GREAT, GOOD FORTUNE! Not everyone has that karma, but the Self does live in all, with absolute and unlimited power, no?

Scott said...

D.R., yes there is a lot going on in my comment. My understanding is that shaktipat, and enlightenment can be reached solely from the Guru Principle, and that sincere effort on the part of the seeker, without a physical teacher present, is VERY rare, in my understanding.

You ask: “Let me ask you, having grown up in the culture of the ashram and the Guru, how often did you sit in the Guru's actual presence and chat? How many one-on-one dialogues did you actually have? It sounds like you are missing something that all the rest of us would love to have had even for a moment.”

I can honestly tell you, quite a lot. Quite a lot of close personal time with her, actually. I sat at her feet every single day for a couple of years, a lot in silence, but sometimes she made me whisper in her ear what other people wanted, though she could hear them perfectly--a teaching at the tender age of 9! I am very aware of how many people would love to trade places with me for even a moment during such a formative time. That’s not lost on me, nor are the teachings and understandings I received from her.

I’m not waxing nostalgic about that time with her, either. I’m trying to say it is very important time well spent, energetically… And perhaps that’s the biggest piece of it for me, I see energy, and work with it too. It’s something I cannot ignore because it is just like seeing a computer screen or any other thing. Because I cannot ignore this, I must emphasize its importance, like it or not.

Anyway, that’s one reason why I still feel that Hanuman needed Rama to tell that very thing to. Had Rama not asked the question, Hanuman might have forgotten a crucial aspect of his response over time, or maybe he never would. How can we know?

I still feel that people forget things, so there is at least this beautiful course you offer and the blog...okay, so perhaps the thing I’m missing here is that people who aren’t already aligned or aligning with the Truth because of their own awakening wouldn’t attend the course or your blog in the first place. Perhaps that’s what I wasn’t seeing.

Offered with love.

Rico said...

Nostalgia can be a sweet memory but the True sweetness is what's right here right Now. I was not so fortunate as Scott to have spent so much time around the physical Guru. By necessity I had to learn to make the connection to the inner Guru early on so the transition was easier.

I believe I first got Shaktipat in the early 70's after focusing on a handbill with a picture of the Guru looking alot like Bob Marley. It wasn't until I was in the Guru's physical presence that I was shown a much deeper place than I had ever experienced before.

I only actually spoke to the physical Guru once and she barely responded in words but the effect was a great weight was lifted from my heart.

Now it seems that very deep place I was first shown those many years ago is always Here/Now if only I choose to put my attention there.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Yes, Deb. I agree with you. The Guru Principle is not limited.

I seem to be seeing that what people are saying is that the whole notion of a physical Guru has evolved beyond the need for one. The Guru Principle is now fully unleashed upon the world and now we don't need physical Gurus to help guide people. If I'm reading between the lines accurately, this is the message I seem to be getting. If I'm wrong, so be that.

If I'm looking at it from that perspective however, then there's nothing to ask and nothing more to say on the matter.

D. R. Butler said...

Scott, I wouldn't conclude that the physical Guru is not necessary or is no longer needed by anyone. If not for my relationship with the physical Guru, I wouldn't have the same understanding, I wouldn't experience the same state, and I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing.

For those who need a Guru, they will always find the Guru at the exact time they need it. As the saying goes, 'When the disciple is ready, the Guru will appear.'

The thing is, we don't know what form the Guru might appear in, as we have already established that the Guru Principle is unlimited. It can use whatever is available to interact with the seeker that reaches out with an open heart. The Guru is not different from the Shakti itself. As our Guru said, "The Shakti is not just 3 or 4 inches long--it is all-pervasive."

So the thing is, there is no reason, in the current, existing moment, to make an issue of it, or to have a problem with it, or even to have the question of whether a Guru is necessary for spiritual advancement or not. This is what I mean about being in your mind regarding this. If your mind were not thinking about it, it wouldn't even exist as a question for you, and certainly not as an issue to resolve.

If anything, your question seems anti-climatic, or after the fact. You question whether a physical Guru is needed when you have already experienced a great deal of interaction with the Guru when you were a child. Therefore, why wouldn't you think that you don't already have what you need from a Guru? Do you doubt whether she gave you everything, or if she is holding something back that she'll spring on us later? I mean, who knows, maybe she will. That would be fun. But for now, we've already received what we need.

We simply need to focus on our own moment-to-moment sadhana, which is, simply put, living in the Truth of the present moment.

Harshada Wagner said...

Thanks Ram for fostering this dialogue. This topic and these questions are ones dear to my heart.

I personally understand the sentiment of the good old days doctrine, but I personally have found it necessary to really move on in a deep way. Don't get me wrong. Many aspects of those days were delightful. But I have to trust the Guru and here now is where the Guru has put me.

I came to live in the ashram when I was 25. I honestly thought I would never leave. I received an unbelievable training, got to be around the Guru a great deal, met amazing mentors like you, Ram, and got a deep steeping in some of the finer aspects of the Indian wisdom traditions. That said, it was only after coming out of the ashram that the deep inner blossoming happened for me.

This is my path- for someone else it happens another way.

That's just it. I think this is something that we maybe didn't emphasize enough in the ashram. Well- actually, Ram, I think you did. But I and many of the other teachers didn't. We often sold the program offered at the ashram and the teachings of the Guru as "the path". We subtly taught people that as long as they followed the instructions for sadhana: follow the guru, do the practices, cultivate virtues, and quiet the mind, we were on the path that led to liberation. We even taught those systems like one of the commenters referred to: the path being the ascent of the kundalini from muladhar to sahasrar, etc.

But what I now understand from experience, it isn't that cut-and-dry. The Path is something very very individual. That whole program was a form that we could use, maybe, to get out of the form our parents put us in. But it was a form none-the-less. And the liberation game is about getting beyond the world of forms. It seems that the group thing is good for initiation. It's good for the beginning, but the middle and the end seem to be profoundly individual.

Now I can see how the Path lead me to the ashram and the Guru. And the Path continued on after the ashram. And the Guru continues to be my deep foundation.

It is immensely wonderful to have a personal Guru. In the beginning my own anavamala- my illusion of smallness- was so deep that I could only reliably experience God through her. Then she taught me to reliably find that same God in my heart. Later…and I can't say it was a effect that came from any particular cause, something extraordinary happened that burst all the seams.

I can't agree more fully- everything has changed over the years and I imagine it will continue to. Everything has changed but that deepest most foundational Principle.

As for the good old days, much of what I missed was that conscious culture. The satsang, the chanting, the shakti of the group. I am so proud of the culture that we have at the retreats and events that I offer now. And because the scene is much smaller, we're able to do it in a very intimate way. It's as if that sweet transformational shakti wants to flow and is ready to be there whenever we set things up in a conscious way.

I warmly invite anyone from the good old days to come and have morning chai with us on retreat sometime. Honestly for me, this day is the best day yet on the path.

mohan said...

I’m loving this exchange that’s taking place here about the Guru. This experience of being denied access to a physical manifestation seems to be a bit of shared karma that most of us in our particular lineage must come into harmony with. Missing the form, the sweet rasa of pining for the Guru’s bodily presence, nostalgia for the good ol’ days are natural emotions we probably all deal with on some level. We can’t deny the value of a physical Guru, still we also can’t deny that the ashram is closed. It seems apparent to me then that the course and this blog are the appropriate forms of darshan at this time. I’m OK with that. I am absolutely loving this opportunity to refine and perfect my vision of the perfection of this present moment. I’m not sure I would have “gotten” it on as deep an experiential level any other way.


Chris said...

I relate to Scott's points on one level. I do believe that the physical teacher is not needed for initiation, but it seems to be the rare person who is initiated on a subtle level and never has the physical teacher.

I am also connected to other spiritual traditions (not Yogic) and in some of those traditions, the physical teacher is of great importance.

Yet in another tradition, a very old and powerful tradition connected to the Great Goddess, the teacher principle manifests in the form of a deity, not a human teacher. This manifestation has been very wonderful and profound in my life.

One thing that we can not deny is that this world is the manifestation and play of the Goddess (also known as Chitshakti, Kundalini, Consciousness). We are all (as I read in my recent lesson) "performing our actions in and through God".

Since this is all Divine, and you and I are Divine, how can we place any limitation on Her Grace by insisting on a physical teacher being necessary?

Still, it is a sweet and wonderful part of life to have such teachers.

D. R. Butler said...

Deb, there is a lot in the lessons of the course about not being the doer.

For goodness sake, don't see yourself as doing something wrong. Now that's taking doership too seriously. How could we do something wrong? All actions are His, and everything in this world is performed by Him.

Live in harmony with your own actions -- and refuse to identify with being either the doer or the experiencer of the consequences of the actions. Watch it all happen as a play, a movie, for our own life is the greatest movie of all.

Jill Forger said...

These are wonderful comments indeed! I agree with Harshada that the path is subtle and individual. You can't buy everything that one organization tells you, especially if your path is taking you somewhere else and it's keeping you down. To become a guru, you need the command of a guru, and since we are saying that the guru is not necessarily a person, then if the inner guru principle gives you the command to teach, go for it!

Looking at Harshada's retreats now, they look fantastic. I could not afford them, tho. Now I really feel nostalgic for the past. For myself, I am working hard to create a spiritual community where I live. It's a slow process and has unexpected challenges. But totally worthwhile. I don't even know that it is worthwhile -- all I know is that it is a personal necessity.

Scott Marmorstein said...

I think I've been clear all along. Perhaps the way I word things takes a while to absorb the full meaning. If you re-read what I said, I'm pretty sure you will see I haven't questioned the need for a physical Guru for myself. Rather it was a question of generality. It seems to have been answered by you and others here already.

In fact, you revealed the mystery of what we have a Guru, yourself, D.R., when you said: "For those who need a Guru, they will always find the Guru at the exact time they need it. As the saying goes, 'When the disciple is ready, the Guru will appear.'" Which is somewhat derivative of, "You never know in which form the Lord will appear."

Scott Marmorstein said...


Silly question: how do you know it is the inner Guru you are hearing and not just the mind in clever disguise? I think some people might wonder the same thing, which is why I ask.

Deb said...

Well, Ram, I'm on lesson 15 that speaks of being in harmony. Last week I flew into a rage. I have never experienced that in my 58 years on this planet. The lesson speaks of protesting, yet being in harmony with what you're protesting against. Over the course of the week, I experienced being detached and in harmony, then being completely swallowed by the egotistical melodrama. Such a roller coaster...OY VEY! I actually threw a punch at a guy! (I'm sure I didn't hurt him, as he was over 6 feet and I'm 5'3". I got a bruised fist.) Still, I can't help feeling like I did something wrong. I'm a non-violent person and won't even kill an insect.

This lesson talks about dharma being "do unto others" yet the same lesson says it is the dharma of a warrior to fight.

I will say that I understand violence now. When I was in that rage I didn't know what I was saying or doing and had no idea what I would do next.

Intellectually I know I am not the doer. And the circumstances that led up to the altercation were so random and bizarre, that a friend commented that it was all God's doing. But my heart does feel like I did something wrong. The guy I verbally attacked and punched is God too.

D. R. Butler said...

God gets angry at God. God punches God. God forgives God. All is forgotten as God dwells only in the present moment.

Eileen said...

I had been without Internet access for a few days, so I am just now reading all these comments. There are quite a few provocative comments that might be interesting to pursue individually, but reading all the comments in one fell swoop has the overarching effect of bathing one’s heart in a warm, deep pool of love. I became acutely aware once again of the grace that is being offered to us through this blog. After I read the last post above “… All is forgotten as God dwells only in the present moment” I couldn’t help but wonder at the mystery that translates words into powerful feelings of love - yes, in this very moment, I feel as though I were swimming in a vast and deep reservoir of love, as though I have once again touched the core of my being. I have no wish to decipher the mystery – I am just thrilled and enormously thankful to be a part of this community whose primary focus is to fulfill the true purpose of human life. What grace, indeed – what incredible compassion!
Many thanks, affectionate hugs, and much love to all of you

Shraddha said...

I am so loving this discourse on the Guru and the Ashram! I had the great good fortune to spend some years doing seva with the children's intensives, courses, family satsangs, houses, at the Ashram and Centers. I learned an incredible amount about the scriptures, the Guru Principle, and how to teach children. I savor this precious time, even now! When I became a parent, I was ecstatic because I felt I knew how to raise my children spiritually, and I felt prepared. In the beginning, I would bring them to the Ashram and Center. As babies, toddlers and preschoolers, they had a short period of time where they got to experience "the good old days'.

The Ashram gradually closed more and more, until a trickle and then to a stop. I worried, how was I going to raise my children, what plans did the Guru have for my children? I raised them with as much care as I could to connect them to the Guru Principle and to the scriptures. I used to wave the tray to them and they to me at home. I worshiped them externally and internally and kissed their feet. I was so driven to hold that sacred space for them in the absense of the Ashram and Physical Guru. I thought/hoped that the Ashram would open up again soon.

Fast forward, no, the Ashram did not open back up and the good old days did not re-manifest themselves in the same way as before. A part of me was so sad I couldn't offer this same experience to my children (because man, did my mind have its expectations!). What did happen though, was that I told my children stories of my time there, and of their early years with the Guru. I didn't know what the Guru had in mind for my children, so I re-told my own personal stories and had others share their stories. I also taught them the Guru's lessons - sharing the discipline that was shared with me. Now I see my children (8 & 10) with so much grace and knowledge and natural understanding of the Self and the Guru. They have imbibed the teachings!!

Here I (my mind) thought I was a terrible mother because I didn't have my children earlier during the Hey Day (aren't we funny sometimes?!) But really they are so filled with light, the mantra and meditation it seems so natural to them. This is the perfect way for them and for me. I love that I can finally see that and not long for it to manifest differently. My son turned eight a few weeks ago, and as I put him to bed he looked me lovingly in the eyes and said, "Mama, I want to worship you." Then he sighed and lay back on the bed smiling. Now what more could a mother ask for? He truly has that connection.

My children ask questions about the old days, the Guru, but never with a 'longing'. I am amazed to say that I too have no more longing. Never in my wildest imaginations would I have thought I would have attained this understanding. In my past, I was always full of longing - longing was my path, almost. What a blessing my children have given me, they have shown me that all is right here in the present.

Sea Goddess Treasures said...

"Some outer thing change but the inner guru is always the same." I can say this with complete confidence now, but not so long ago I felt bereft, confused, and abandoned. It took me a few years to understand the letter I received asking me not to come to the ashram anymore. The thing that hurt the most was not being about to go to Bhagwan's Temple. In my own mind, I dramatised this to a point of grief and sorrow.

What I have found out. I am not abandoned and I was never abandoned. I was only quick to abandon myself though and I was not so quick to abandon the Guru and the Ashram. I didn't have any contact for over a year except for Thank you notes for Dakshina. I wondered if I should keep sending it. Something told me not to stop, so I didn't and to this day I still send it.

I also still perform my own versions of selfless service and I pretend all the people at my dysfunction junction job are people at the ashram and it all seems fine. My home has pujas and feels like an ashram. I even have a meditation cave. I still do the chants and I listen to the tapes, videos, books, and courses. The grace and the enlivened energy is stronger and stronger than ever.

I had a hard time when Ram didn't talk about the Guru anymore but I just translated it to myself and put the guru in his writings. I understood where he was coming from but that didn't mean it was bad. Sometimes, if a teaching seems like it isn't exactly resonating for you, relax around it and watch yourself and you'll see that you have a way of approaching the teaching in another way that is suited to your own sadhana.

When some teachers talk about the heart and the present moment it can be confusing if you don't translate it to yourself as the ultimate vibrating enlived present moment happening around you and all you have to do is pay attention to it. It becomes more of your own responsibility for you to notice the shakti around yourself and protect that shakti and grow the energy around yourself.

The teachings are still available, the guru is still there but has given you a very special gift....and that cultivate your own garden of the guru in your own universe of grace.

Anonymous said...

All those years of going to the Ashram and living in the question, what is the Guru, what is the guru principle. I read your post and Now I GET it! THANK YOU!

rico said...

Does it matter where a motivation comes from? If the motivation's source is a samskara the end result will be unfulfilling and we can learn to recognize the samskara for what it is. If the source is from the Source the result is peace and contentment.

If one is not identified with the doer no one does anything.

As I recall the sign said:

"The Guru is the root of all action"

Jill Forger said...

O, dear! Scott M., I agree that that is a good question and was probably the subtext of my comment, that is, how does one know (without a physical guru giving you the actual command) whether one's inner command to teach is valid or not?

I don't know why I brought that up, actually, because I do have a physical Guru who is still an active teacher and whom I love to visit and call on the phone & write to. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself because his ashram is on another continent on the other side of the world, and I miss him and his wonderful community. Maybe I should just be grateful instead.

Still, I also miss Bhagawan's Temple...

But, DR, I do love & appreciate this virtual community you have here! Reading your words and all the comments helps me.

Scott said...

"He who thinks he knows, knows not. He who thinks he knows not, knows. Hail to the Guru who has no other thoughts (but those of the Absolute.)"

That sign has always stuck with me.

Anonymous said...

I'm a new student only on lesson one. I've never met a living Guru. I've never encountered the living Guru that this online community has known and loved. I've read her words. I gaze upon her picture daily. Even though I have read her words, and even though I recognize the Truth in her message, in her physical form, she is a stranger to me. There is a mystery to to this Guru and her story that is yet to be revealed to me. I approach my sadhana carefully with this in mind. What keeps me moving toward the light of understanding are the beautiful teachers I have been blessed to meet. These skillful teachers have sat at this Guru's feet and have absorbed her message. My teachers, with whom I have been blessed to interact and study, have learned to speak her message from their hearts. I have faith in this Guru and thereby in the inner Guru because I have recognized both in the hearts of my many gifted teachers. All of whom have been touched by this great being in some way. Someday I and many others may once again be able to sit at her feet and know and trust her personally. For now, faith is enough. Faith is more than enough. It seems to me, in my novice view, that everyone has what they need from her, except maybe the encouragement. For that we have each other. May we encourage and uplift each other as we each do our part to live the Guru's teachings, to teach the Truth to others, to spread more Light to the world.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Wow Ram and everyone,
this has been such a wonderful conversation!!!!
As has been said, the awakening principle which is grace is the Guru.
I like to remind myself that She has decided to wake herself up as you and me in her own time and her own way -this is her play. We as individuals just "think" WE are doing the work separate from her. Out of our own freedom we can co-participate in this amazing play and paradox of the unmanifest/ manifest. Still it is ALL the play of Shakti and Shakti takes form as the Guru when and if she chooses. SHE of course a GURU in physical form is "necessary" in general because there ARE physical Guru's- this is HER play after all. She chooses HOW she will "wake up"..and WHAT outer forms she will take to facilitate all this.This is the big peek-a-boo game after all.
If ALL this is her iccha shakti..her will, then perhaps the fun and sadhana can be desiring what IS.
Desiring the change in the way the form of the Guru's availability has shifted seems key for me.
We ARE the company we keep, so keep good company! ( and in the highest could we not be in the greatest company as the GP is our own Awareness.) So, choosing to remember THAT, choosing what IS , now that is a wonderful ride!
I am grateful there is this cyber -kula!
Om shanti

Taylor said...

From my perspective, the Ashram is still open. It has transformed from a retreat site to a gurukula for very good reasons. Retreats are still given in Boston and Oakland. The physical Guru is still active - mostly with the younger generations on the physical level and I believe with all of us on the subtle level. I have faith that the changes have happened for good reason and who knows what is in store for the future. I am grateful for the incredible Grace in whatever form it takes.

Deb said...

I too agree with Michelle that this has been a wonderful conversation. I also find it healing. While everything expressed might not be pretty, it is real and close to the heart. Thanks to all. I appreciate your company and perspective as we all take this journey inward to liberation.

rico said...

Who does not think cares not about knowing

Ghayas said...

This question is about longing and spiritual indifference.

I’ve attracted the physical Guru (initiation, teachings and practices) in my life, or the Guru has attracted me (whatever best way it works) when I was twenty years old. If I read back the entries of my journal when I was between seventeen and twenty years old – before even knowing about the existence on this earth of such beings called Gurus – I am amazed how the longing for the experience of Oneness, Transcendence, Harmony with all what exists, Divine love, was clearly and recurrently expressed by that young man I was then. And life has kind of responded to this longing by letting me encounter a path, a Guru.

Now, the man I’ve become today, 36 years old – in comparison with the seventeen years old that expressed his thirst for experiencing the Truth – is kind of sated! I don’t feel I am seeking God anymore. Really, I have to admit, I don’t feel the same strong longing I used to feel almost two decades ago for evolving spiritually, for knowing the Truth!

Reading back the sincere writings of the young man I was eighteen years ago makes me even feel a shame! The 36 years old man is kind of too comfortable and busy now, overwhelmed, yes, with teachings, practices, spiritual books, spiritual friends, while honestly not having any significant attainment.

I am not putting myself down, and by “significant attainment” I don’t mean that I expect to see a glowing circle of light around my head every time I look into the mirror, I am simply noticing that there is still work to do for example for getting slower to anger, for holding less resentments, for enjoying simply and more life in every moment to moment, this kind of attainment… But the worrying part is that the old longing I described above is not burning really anymore the heart the 36 years old man!!!!!

On one hand I am grateful for the abundance in my present life (lovely wife and children, great job, beautiful home, financial security, the list could be very long…), but is the longing for knowing God something that could be rekindled or I just have to accept my phase of spiritual indifference and simply enjoy the sleep for a bit longer?

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, sometimes I feel the same way. I remember the absolute excitement I had for yoga and meditation in my teens and 20's, my desire to be absorbed in God, and I wonder, gee, why do I feel so jaded now? In the end, it's just the same day over and over.

You said: "I am simply noticing that there is still work to do for example for getting slower to anger, for holding less resentments, for enjoying simply and more life in every moment to moment, this kind of attainment…"

I think, Ghayas, in the long run, this is the only kind of attainment there is--that we let go of our anger and resentments, that we enjoy the simplicity of life in every moment to moment.

The attainment of unity with God is a charade. We are already in unity with God, always have been, and there was never even the slightest suggestion of separation except in the play of our own mind.

I think what you describe is a certain phase of spiritual maturity. After all, if after 20 or 30 years of sincere sadhana, wouldn't it seem a little strange if we were still excited seekers? At some point we have to be the finders, and once we are a finder then it comes down to the simplicity of remaining in harmony with the present moment.

Then our primary goal is doing whatever is necessary to maintain or restore harmony in each moment and in every situation and relationship. This leads to a supreme contentment.

Spirituality becomes very, very simple. Our Guru used the word 'dispassion.' It almost feels that we don't care anymore, but it's not really that. We simply experience a natural detachment from things that previously seemed so important. I strongly feel that yours is a case of dispassion rather than indifference.

This is why when I finally began this current course I titled it, "Living in the Truth of the Present Moment." To me this about sums up what spirituality is all about, and is really the highest spiritual attainment. It is life, here and now, in this moment. What do we do with it? How do we enjoy it? How can we best share it with the ones we're with?

I share by writing. I know you share in your own way with your beautiful family. In the end, it all comes down to what do we have to share in this moment. At some point we realize all we can ever really share is love and the enjoyment of the presence of the Self.

There is nothing else to seek or to long for. Those were only things we needed to get us started.

Olga said...

In your last lession in Spanish you say it´s better to be in harmony with the facts of our life than to wish anything better in the future. But then you encourage us to visualize a wonderful future in one year.

Isn´t there a practice to just be happy and in harmony with the present as the title of this course is living in the truth of the present moment?

love and blessings

D. R. Butler said...

Not only does it say that in the Spanish lessons, it says the same thing in the English lessons as well. And it is possible that soon there will be French lessons also, and they too will say the same thing.

The course is about Living in the Truth of the Present Moment. Everything is centered around being "happy and in harmony with the present." Once we can do this, there is nothing else left to do. It is so simple it's hardly worth thinking about.

There are many upayas, or levels of doing sadhana, and sometimes a teaching in one upaya seems like a contradiction to a teaching in another upaya. Yet, on their own level, they are both true.

The tandem of mind and ego, because of how they were conditioned, tends to focus on the contradictions and conflicts of things instead of the unity and harmony of things.

Exercises are given at the end of each lesson for the development of the mind and will, to develop one-pointedness of concentration and the capacity to direct attention at will; to help develop an awareness of Consciousness manifesting as all things, to open up conscious access to love, compassion, and lightheartedness, and generally to lead toward a state of supreme contentment and fulfillment.

Creating how you wish your life to be a year in advance is only an exercise. It's not a philosophy. Nothing takes priority over remaining happy and in harmony in the present moment as it is.

Scott Marmorstein said...

Well that's cool...

If you're making plans or visualizing a future that you want to have, or need to have, the only time to create your intention of them is *right now* so...the best future begins with how you see it right now.

No matter what the mind is up to, only the present moment exists.

JP said...

The past month or so my daughter has been pining for 'the good old days'. Last week she had a dream that freaked her out a little - she dreamed that she picked up her friend's pet snake that was coiled in its cage and it bit her. I told her I thought it was a great dream and explained what I had heard about snake bite dreams representing the awakening of spiritual energy. Then she told me she had a dream right afterwards about the Guru.

This weekend she brought up the ashram again so I mentioned the current discussion in the blog and we read a little bit of it together. She asked me to post the following:

Gia says:
I remember as a baby I saw the guru. I felt so happy when I did.
Now knowing that I am not able to see the guru I feel very upset.
Recently I sent a letter to her asking why I couldent see her.
My parents have explained to me that the gurus are all around us
but this certain perticular guru I miss seeing. I know that by kepping us
from going to the ashram that she was teaching us a lesson but I just want to see
her face agian. Are we ever going to get see the guru agian?
That is one thing I would like to know.

Ghayas said...

Thank you Ram for your answer. The nuance between "indifference" and "dispassion" is quite encouraging, I will keep it in mind. Thank You, Ghayas

Dennis Taraporewala said...

How is the Guru Principle, the way you describe it, different from plain and pure consciousness?

And if the Guru Principle is the transforming power, is the grace bestowing power, then what is the physical Guru's role?

And why even have a physical Guru? Because if the yearning, the love and the desire for understanding is high in an individual, the Guru Principle or the grace bestowing power will still break forth from inside right? So many masters did most of their sadhana away from the Guru.

So while the Guru Principle is there, I am sure the physical Guru is also playing a role, some role right? Otherwise why go through the trouble or joy of being a physical Guru? Why have the whole movement, organisation etc.

Scott Marmorstein said...


Your question is similar to mine was. I think the answer you're looking for is in the word: Lila, or Play.

It seems to be that the role of a physical Guru is there to be symbolic and inspire a Yogi on his or her path. For those that feel an outer Guru is unnecessary, they won't go to an Ashram and join an organization, they will merely complete their sadhana according to their actions and destiny.

To me, the only oddity of Maya is that there appears to be more than one Will at work. I am supposed to find that odd, just as you are supposed to question, as I did, why we have a physical Guru.

D. R. Butler said...

Dennis, as I read your question, I thought, 'If this doesn't test the Guru's promise to answer all questions perfectly, then what will?'

When I first met the physical Guru, in 1974, this is my experience the first time I sat in front of him. He looked directly into my eyes, and as I gazed into his I realized that, unlike with other people where you would reach a point of self-consciousness beyond which you could penetrate no further, there was nothing like that in him, and it was like I went all the way through and came out the other side.

Suddenly I was profoundly aware that he was no different from myself, from the deepest part of my being, and I had the distinct sensation that there was only one of us present.

Then I had the sense that there wasn't really anyone in his body, in any ordinary sense, and that his body was being run by remote control from some deeper or higher realm. At that moment I thought, 'He is a transmitting station, and something very powerful is coming through him.' I could feel the intensity of his energy, his Shakti. It lit me up and made me feel golden inside.

I had been told beforehand that I could go up and ask him a question. He simply waited patiently and continue to gaze into my eyes. My body was on fire, and my mind boiled over. I felt there was nothing in me to function. It seemed I had no access to words. Instead I was bathed in this serene contentment.

Suddenly I blurted, "How can I be conscious of God at every second of every day?" I had no idea where that question came from. It had never occurred to me before the moment of its expression.

Without any hesitation he said, "Why do you want what you do not already have? If you get something you didn't have before, then you can also lose it. Discover what you always already have, which you can't ever lose and which no one can ever take from you, and you will be conscious of God during every moment of every day."

When he said that, I felt a profound transformation inside myself. Something was changed forever. For the rest of the day following that morning meeting, it was like the air everywhere was infused with some extraordinarily fine light. For a while, walking felt like floating. My entire being was tingling. I felt that something had shaken me free from the fiction of my own past history, and that only the moment was real.

To be continued in next comment.

D. R. Butler said...

To get back to the questions, my experience is that such Beings exist on earth, God in human form, so to speak, as transmitting stations, to radiate divine energy into the ethers that aid in the spiritual evolution of mankind.

It has always been this way. In each era there have always lived such Beings, whether recognized as 'Gurus' or not, whether known in a public way or not at all. They exist as an aspect of the evolution of the planet.

Some of us have the karma to come upon one physically, or to come into relationship with one, and many of us do not. I would imagine this has to do with one's own karmic needs of this current incarnation. We all get exactly what we need to make optimum progress in this lifetime if we only 'wake up' and make full use of each present moment.

Why the "movement, organization, etc"" Because of people. The Guru is quite complete and content on his (or her) own. He doesn't need anything from anyone, as nothing can enhance his already sublime state. Because of his state, however, and the karmic destiny of his body, people are drawn to him.

The first 'weekend Intensive' I spent with the Guru was in a room of 40 people. There was no need for much of an organization then. Years later, there were weekend Intensives of 4,000 people. What to do with them? Where to put them? How to feed them? Thus the need for an 'organization'--to coordinate the activities and insure the safety of a vast and quickly growing group of people.

If anyone has ever come up with the slightest questions regarding the Guru and his works in this world, you can be sure I have shared them. I might have even come up with a few you haven't thought of yet. In the end, I've learned it isn't a subject for the mind. Ultimately all we can go by is our own experience. And I have shared mine with you.

Just to add a little enrichment to the dialogue, let me say as a sidenote that Dennis has probably had the most direct physical interaction with the Guru of any of us here. So I knew that his questions came with a great deal of forethought and contemplation, and that it wasn't just some curiosity off the top of his head.

Naganath said...

What strikes me from these posts: How unbelievably blessed we all are to be in this space, to be a part this exchange.

rico said...

Thanks for sharing your first experience of the physical Guru. Some memories are worth remembering.

Michelle Synnestvedt said...

Thank you Ram and Dennis,
How beautiful!
This all reminds me of Krishna's conversation with Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. More than anything else, I feel hope, I feel the power of a promise for a brighter future!
My life changed the moment I met the physical Guru and there is not a moment that goes by when I don't feel overwhelmed with gratitude.
For the last 12 years, my outer japa and inner experience has been " I am truly so fortunate to be surrounded by this kula-this community of the heart -in all the forms it takes!!"
Om Guru Om

JohnRama said...

To add to the point about the guru principle... I first got shaktipat during a dream in 1974 when I was in high school. In the dream, I experienced a very powerful energy entering my third-eye shakra. I then saw a beautiful woman with short black hair dressed in an orange robe. When it was over, I remember thinking to myself: "I have to find her." I did, when I was 30 years old in 1986. At the time of my shaktipat dream, she was a teenager in high school too.:)

Ambika said...

I've found that when the outer Guru withdraws the inner Guru expands. I never understood the Guru principle before. Now I do. A verse in the Guru Gita makes reference to when the Guru expands within us, we become the Guru. For so many years I thought that becoming the Guru meant becoming a carbon copy of our Guru. One day while chanting the Guru Gita I understood that the inner Guru is an unfoldment of that principle within us.

It's all amazing; all grace! And Ram's course is so fuels moment to moment awareness, which is how and where the power lies. Thank you, Ram!

Claus said...

Right now I'm really fascinated how it seems that more than ever it's true for me that things happen when you read the course, because even before I started reading the material you sent, I got new strong insights during the past few days about the palpability of the energy in meditation, about this same energy pulsing in every moment of the day when you just remember it, etc.; i.e., very substantial insights, and more alive for me than ever. I don't remember the earlier course having such a strong impact, or corresponding this closely to my experiences -- whatever you will call it

Terra said...

I've been a "certified" meditation and hatha yoga teacher for over 8 years now. Before that I had a lot of training and instruction, and have been to many classes and courses in the general field. So someone tells me about this blog and the course by email. She is someone I respect and trust, a respected teacher in her own right, so I can't just ignore her, but I wonder what do I have to gain from a blog or a course? When I asked my friend how could I hope to benefit, she simply said, "Fine tuning. He does fine tuning and increases clarification."

So I checked out the blog and sure enough it spoke to me. I could tell that it was coming from a deep and steady place. Then I agreed to try the course, and in the first few months I have been amazed at how much has been clarified that I never dreamed needed any clarification. Fine tuning is putting it mildly, but fine tuning it is.

I am very thankful.

Chris said...

Hi Terra, I am always amused when I hear that someone is certified to teach Yoga... as in certified by whom? Certifications are ways to say to the larger society that a person has done their work and completed their study and is capable of helping people with competence.

Yet the most powerful healers and teachers I have met (DR included) never seem to be interested in certifications. My friend Tom from Boston who is a world-class chiropractor, yoga teacher, and has developed his own whole curriculum on yoga self-care, describes himself as a "pretty good chiropractor and an uncertified yoga therapist", which makes me grin!

That said, certifications are important, and I'm about to be certified to practice plant spirit medicine.

I'm wondering if, after taking the course for a few years, if Ram will certify that we are capable of Living in the Truth of the Present Moment? (Grin!)

Sylvia in Colorado said...

Out of all the past blogs on this site, it is this month of April that you fellow bloggers, Ram, and the divine Shakti, have spoken to my heart in the most satisfying way. It is like comfort food to my soul to read how others are dealing with not being with the Guru in the same way we used to be, talking about the Guru Principle, the inner Guru. Someone said this discourse on this subject is healing. I agree!

Has anyone noticed the actual times when people posted their comments and how many of us were posting one right after the other, within minutes... even almost the same time, on the same day? As though we were in one of Ram's workshops, standing up to speak, one after the other. Too fun.

While I was soaking up the fun interaction here on the subject of Guru, I started receiving emails from the ashram which were changing a celebration scheduled in next month in May...the celebration program will now include an entire talk, which was given (and recorded) by the Guru in 1981 before he passed on. This talk is on the value of chanting God's name. And the program, by Guru's specific design, will not only be right in our own homes, but will also be a Global program...happening all around the world at different times in the month of May. Wow! Is there any doubt of the divine play! What fun! Much love...

Cherie said...

Count me among those who have always questioned the need for a guru. Then I experienced this unexpected sensation as I read D.R.'s sharing of his first meeting with his guru. I was moved in a way I hadn't expected to be. Suddenly I felt I knew now what the whole thing about a guru actually is, and even that I somewhat experienced it simply by reading his experience of it.

Also I now understand why sometimes D.R. says that the essence of the blog exists in the comments, as I must admit a lot of really good stuff exists in the comments that I have seen nowhere else.

I have so much appreciation for all of you that share this with me, and who meet here in the comments of our blog and who contribute to the comments. My appreciation of the offerings of D.R. goes without saying.

Rico said...

I was just re-reading my current Lesson and a question arose. Is it necessary to replace "the old predictable, anxious, resentful, miserable, hateful feelings" with a positive feeling or is it sufficient to just watch the feeling arise and subside? Does not getting caught up in a feeling cause the tendency to whither and die or is re-programming with a positive replacement an essential or more effective approach?

D. R. Butler said...

Actually, Rico, whatever works for you is fine. There are no hard and fast rules. As has been discussed in earlier comments above, sadhana is a fairly individual experience. No two people have the same exact sadhana. No one can do everything. So we find what works for us and stick to it.

It is very helpful, as you said, to simply watch the unpleasant feeling rise and fall, like an emotional wave, if you can do it without getting personally caught up in it or identified with it.

To watch a feeling come up and gradually fall away is a great thing, if we can do it all the way through. If we watch it at the beginning and midway through, it is also important to watch it leave or dissipate. It is good to watch it through its completion, and this process in itself helps us to break free from its influence over us.

It is also very powerful to replace the unpleasant feeling with a positive feeling. When I feel an unpleasant feeling arising, I immediately turn to the mindless light. (Not really mindless in the ordinary sense; more a state of no-mind.) I know there is always a light within. I can go there anytime I choose to. I don't have to look for it. It simply direct my attention toward it. I know that it is eternal, indivisible, and indestructible. This is what I replace negative thoughts or emotions with.

Like I said, whatever works for you is excellent. Through trial and error we gradually discover what truly works for us. Then we only need the will power to actually do it, or at least to direct our attention in that direction instead of elsewhere.

Michelle said...

D.R., you seem to have opened up recently regarding discussing your time in the ashram and your relationship with the Guru, after going all this time previously apparently preferring not to even mention them. Whether that is true or merely my own projection, I have a question for you.

In the ashram you seemed very inaccessible, unapproachable, perhaps a bit aloof. It was hard to get to you without going through the people around you.

Now, I am very surprised at how accessible you are for interaction, both here in the comments of the blog and also on Facebook. It is like you are suddenly present and available for anyone who needs anything relating to sadhana, after, I might add, disappearing altogether for a few years.

May I ask why the change in your receptivity to others, or your availability to them, or is that too personal of a question?

D. R. Butler said...

Michelle, it is an interesting question, and since it is something I never considered before, it is somewhat of a surprising question.

I decided finally to dedicate a blog entry to those who had questions or unresolved issues around the Guru or their time in an ashram or anything of that nature. It is not something I intend to continue to focus on, but it seems to be what is needed for now.

I might have seemed inaccessible or unapproachable back then for any number of reasons. In the ashram it was never appropriate to be the center of attention or to be regarded as anyone's primary teacher. The focus for everyone, in order to maintain the level and intensity of the Shakti, was the Guru. So I had to be very careful to never be a distraction from the Guru. Therefore I was deliberately not open to a lot of personal contact.

In my current position, sitting here writing on the Internet and authoring a course for people sent via email, I am not distracting from anyone. It is no longer my place to point towards another as the source in order to maintain the integrity of the Shakti. I can interact with others without feeling as though it is diverting their attention from where it should be.

It is a complex subject, and probably not actually related too much to anyone's true sadhana, so I'll hope something I said answered whatever question you had.

Achla said...

In my years of sadhana I have noticed that a lot of earnest seekers who were heavily into yoga, suddenly drop out for a period of time. It seems to me that it is a prerequisite for further evolution. Most of the spiritual autobiographies that I have read relate the same pattern.

Perhaps it is a form of liberation from dependence on the Teacher. Almost like the penguins behave: the adult penguins suddenly decide to abandon their off springs and simply leave them and swim away to another habitat. The baby penguins have not yet learned that they can swim and are fearful, and stay on land starving. Finally in desperation one of the pack decides to jump in to the water and realizes he can swim and get its food. And seeing one the next one jumps in and then the next one until the entire pack is in the water-self sufficient and independent of its supports.

In my own sadhana I have had to find my own strength in continuing without the usual company of fellow seekers that had motivated me to follow this path. Along with the physical absence of the Teacher, the community of seekers itself seemed to shrink. I had accustomed myself to this and realized I needed to be my own inspiration.

Now, having recently discovered your blog, and discovering a host of like minded souls, it feels like a cosmic celebration. I feel lighter –and no longer alone.
Is one of the reasons this blog exists in this particular form, because as a group we are learning to communicate in a more subtle manner? Is subtle communication more effective? Is the subtle realm more important than the physical? Is it truer? Do relationships in the subtle realm need to manifest in the physical world?

If I am in the room with my daughter and she is expressing a view which I find is not useful –and I speak to her silently in my heart-is that more effective than engaging in a verbal exchange? Can you elaborate a little more on the relevance of the subtle world and the ensuing relationships? For example I may feel close to a lot of people subtly, but outwardly there may be no recognition. Does the other recognize this connection?

And finally, thank you for serving our sadhana in this manner. These blogs are true nourishment.
With gratitude,

D. R. Butler said...

Achla, you ask many questions. In the lessons of the course via email, we explore the subtle realm quite a bit, and all your questions are fully answered there. Here in the blog, we will do what we can to provide some clarity, but there is not enough space here to fully answer all your questions.

It seems we are communicating more and more on the subtle level. The Internet and the sharing available through 'cyberspace' has made it possible to relate and exchange energies in ways that were not possible even a few years ago.

The world is much more crowded now. The population of the world has more than doubled since I was in college. There already seemed like plenty of people then. Travel is becoming much more difficult. So I think in this current era we will relate more and more on a subtle level.

Yes, subtle communication is more effective. Back in the years when I traveled and led weekend workshops, it was primarily a subtle communication even then. Physically we were just a large group of people sitting in a hall together. Something very powerful was happening 'behind the scenes.'

The subtle realm is more important than the physical in that it is infinitely more vast, not being limited to space and time, contains much greater variety, and lasts much longer. We already are in the subtle body when we enter the physical body during the first inhalation, and then in the subtle body we depart with the final exhalation. In a sense, the physical world is like the subtle body having a dream from which it will someday wake up.

We have many relationships in the subtle realm that are not currently manifested physically. We even have relationships with those who are not currently incarnated. We might dream of such entities very vividly, and then when we wake up we wonder who they were and where they came from.

Speaking to your daughter silently in your heart might be more effective than outer words, simply because there is no resistance in silence.

We are close to many people subtly with whom we might share no physical karma. Whether the other recognizes it or not depends upon the other's developed state of awareness. Some people are more aware of subtleties than others.

Hopefully we at least touched on all that you asked about.

Ari said...

I never asked for a guru and once I met her I didnt expect her to disappear.

I received shaktipat sitting in front of a picture and listening to the power of the mantra. The experience was so powerful I was ecstatic for days. I knew whatever it was that I found was right here inside accessible. I had been searching outside myself for years.

I did the whole ashram/intenstive/week long course for years. I pretty well joined at the peak of the time at the ashrams. As suddenly as I began it suddenly vanished. But after much soul searching I realized what I did prepared me for being on my own. The Guru pretty well reached a level of rock star status anyway. I think people who truly understood the Guru Principle maintained their practices in some form.

I'm glad you addressed the issue of the Guru though. In the beginning of the course I was a bit put off by the Guru principle not being mentioned, but I understand now it's not necessary to use that particular terminology.

D. R. Butler said...

Ari, like you, I never asked for a Guru either. On the contrary, I was convinced that I had no use for one. And then, well, you read the story I shared of my first meeting in a comment above. Suddenly I understood that profound transformations could take place in a very short time that I could not cause in myself.

I don't think it is helpful to think in terms of the Guru 'disappearing,' especially if we have the understanding that the Guru is not a body or a personality. The Guru is a function of our own inner Self. Since God, Guru, and Self are one, there is nowhere we can go that the Guru isn't.

I feel certain that you received everything you need from the Guru in physical form. Now nurture the wonder and the glory that she planted inside you to grow during your lifetime.

D. R. Butler said...

from Earth Prayers by Thich Nhat Hanh:

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look at me: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird whose wings are still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing in the surface of the river.
I am also the bird which, when spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily in the
clear water of a pond.
I am also the grass-snake who,
approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
I am also the merchant of arms, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the 12-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.
I am also the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hand.
I am also the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills up all the four oceans.

Please call me by my correct names,
so that I can hear all my cries and my laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are but one.

Please call me by my correct names,
so I can become awake,
and so that the door of my heart be left open,
the door of compassion.

D. R. Butler said...

Please send love and light and healing energies to Scott, who has been posting here recently, and in fact posted the very first comment at the top. He has taken ill on his drive back to Houston from offering programs in Sante Fe, and is currently in a hospital in some remote outpost in Texas. Our Light and healing intention can help support him on subtle levels.

Naganath said...

Remote healing is true and does wonders. See the Dream Healer, Adam. It worked for me.
Loving healing energy to Scott M.
Keep us posted D. R.

Eileen said...

Wondering if there's any update on Scott. Just offered the Rudram for his return to good health.
Thank you.

D. R. Butler said...

Just an update on Scott Marmortstein: he suffered a heart attack while driving alone in his car and drove himself to a hospital in Amarillo, Texas, where he is now in the critical care unit. Scott is only 30 and a bright light in the healing and meditation community, as well as a course participant with us. Please send him your love and light and healing energies. We want him back with us stronger than ever.

Angelle said...

I have a question about Lesson 10. You say that explaining ourselves and asking others to explain themselves makes life difficult and boring. I am just curious. Don't you think that sometimes it is a good idea to ask someone to explain themselves. I'm thinking that it can be very hard to understand another because of limited experience and perception. If the other explains where they're coming from, can't this help us learn and grow in compassion and understanding? Or, are you thinking that explanations are mental processes that change by the day and hour, and that perhaps there is no Truth in explanations? I hope this isn't too muddle. I'm feeling a bit stuck here.

D. R. Butler said...

Angelle, sometimes it is perfect to ask someone for a clear explanation, and sometimes it is a great thing to clearly explain ourselves to another.

I've found, however, that these are the exception. Most of our explaining of ourselves is the ego engaging the mind to talk about itself in a way to capture the mind and interest of another. I have found in my own life that anything that needs to be known about another is usually fairly obvious, and that another's attempt to explain himself might be totally off the wall and nowhere near the truth, even if he should think so. It is usually someone attempting to justify or rationaliz his own perspective.

In the same way, usually when someone asks us to explain ourselves, it is the ego wanting us to satisfy their mind, and this is pretty much impossible. As we all know, the mind is not easily satisfied.

So, generally speaking, I have no interest in others' explanations of themselves or what they have done, nor do I care to explain anything about myself or my words or actions to another, for whatever reason.

This is on a personal level of course, and has nothing to do with participation in the course. I am always happy to clarify the principles for anyone by way of explanation, such as we are engaging in here, but this is the only time I personally find explanations relevant or helpful.

Rima said...

I was very happy to hear in your last letter with lesson 40 that it's ok to have missed or not focused fully on previous lessons, and that the important thing is to focus on the current lesson.

It seems that I've only just recently gotten to the point where I refer to the lesson almost daily (not read the whole thing only one time), and more importantly, try practicing every day (when I remember), what I'm learning in the lesson (this started just before the section on feelings). So it took a year and a half just to learn to and to be able to participate more fully in the course.

I hope - that being said - that everything that was taught earlier in the course, will be repeated somewhere along the way, because I don't see a way to "catch up" or even to go back and reread all the lessons from day 1 (which is what I'd need to do. I don't remember what I read or didn't). I suspect i'm not the only one with this "learning curve" - that is, learning how to participate in the lessons. Now, I am focusing on what is in the lessons. So, my learning more or less is beginning now, a year and a half into the course.

If it is felt that I should begin again from the beginning, having just learned how to participate moreso, I will do that. If not, I will continue from where I am, and hope that earlier material is repeated.

I find with each referring to the course, that something new pops out, and with a new understanding, even though I may have read that same paragraph or sentence before. I love that. I love the course. I feel that it is the most important part of my sadhana right now, and actually is helping me more than anything else I am doing now. It's hard though. Practicing these things are very hard. It's using muscles I didn't even know I had, (or forgot I had) much less know how to use. This is another reason why it's taking me a long time to delve into and fully practice. I'm taking baby steps trying to keep up with giant steps.

D. R. Butler said...

Rima, your comment is very important. It takes most people a long time to see how the course actually functions in their own life. It's not exactly what we think it is in the beginning. How could we know in advance?

I said very early in the course that it takes the average person around 2 years to fully appreciate the process of rereading the lessons and referring to them on a regular basis. The mind and ego are so quick to think they already 'know' something, and there's too much pride to bother to reread it. If you have discovered the value of rereading after a year and a half, then you are ahead of the curve.

You can always go back and reread old lessons. This is highly recommended. If you think each time you read your current lesson something entirely new stands out for you, wait until you try reading a lesson you received several months ago. It is suddenly a whole new lesson, as you bring a new level of understanding to it.

Yes, everything is repeated, don't worry about that. There is no need to begin again at the beginning. Continue as you are, focusing on your current lesson, and everything will work out just great.

Angelle said...

Thank you so much for your response, D.R. What you said really helps. I get it now.

Ghayas said...

Dear Ram,
This question is about the planification of the "Final" moment. When the notary is about to fill in the Testament, he asks his clients to decide, quite in practical details, everything about the final rites. How could one, in the present moment, know clearly what rite would be the best for the experience of his soul, while transiting from this physical realm to another realm ? Is the soul affected anyways by what rituals are chosen ? Or should the concern be only to keep it the most practical and simple for the people staying here and having to take care of the physical body ? Is it important for the experience of the soul what is decided to be done with the physical dead body, or not really ? I can't believe I am asking these questions !!! I'm generaly not fund of funeral thinking, but I'm asked to figure these things out, and would like to know which perspective would be the best to consider these issues. I know in traditional societies, there is no point of thinking about it because they are set in their ways, but we've become so modern ! And now all the ways seem possible, so according to what, in the name of what, one would chose one way or another ?
Thank you, Ghayas

D. R. Butler said...

Ghayas, I think one of your sentences says it best: 'Or should the concern be only to keep it the most practical and simple for the people staying here and having to take care of the physical body?'

Once we leave it, the physical body will be more relevant to those left behind than to us.

With that said, what I have learned from those I trust is that the subtle entity hangs around the body for approximately 3 days following its exit on the wings of the final exhalation. After those 3 days are over, the physical remains may be cremated so that the body can return to the elements of the earth, from which it came, quickly and easily.

It's not something we most like to think about, but like you say, at some point or another, each of us has to deal with this in one way or another.

Naganath said...

In the latest Lesson I have been contemplating the contemplation: "If I didn't find anything wrong with anything, there would never be anything wrong. If I stopped disapproving of things, there would be nothing to disapprove of."

This provocative contemplation seems to be a very passive approach to life and evoked a response from one of my greatest teachers, my cute Significant Other, as follows: "I see a lot wrong. There is a lot wrong with D.R. not seeing a lot wrong with a lot of shit."

That is something else to contemplate. How do we not discriminate and judge in our world when it seems so natural to find fault and wrongness? Intellectually, I know everything is perfect but that is not my experience. Even in the present moment there seems to be mindfulness of defectiveness in the world.

How do we come to understand why a 30-year old has a heart attack or rampant ignorance in the world as perfect? I know this comes from a limited perspective and that karma and perfect balance explain it all but just wanted to open that can of worms. Snake bite and love,

Deb said...

Naganath, I think perhaps the answer to your question is in lesson 15...

"It is not usually recommended to remain passive and do
nothing. On the contrary, inner growth happens most rapidly when
we are dynamic and proactive. Still, even while we’re marching with the protestors we can be in harmony with whatever we’re protesting against. Just because we feel something is unjust, for example,doesn’t mean that we have to experience negative emotions around it. In order to be free, we must eventually break free from all dislikes and aversions.
We can do whatever is possible to bring a situation into harmony, yet it doesn’t have to disturb our inner state when it is not in harmony—harmony must exist first in our own relationship to the
situation. No matter what happens, it is possible to remain in a state
of profound equanimity. This is something worth working toward."

I just recently grappled with this issue with regard to some con artists and pedophiles. I found that lesson to be very helpful.

D. R. Butler said...

On the one hand, it seems that it would be very simple to understand that perception creates reality. However, all our lives we have been conditioned to see just the opposite: that reality creates perception.

I assure you that seeing the perfection of the cosmos is not being passive. You can be as dynamic as you like with the understanding of the Truth. In fact, there's never yet been a successful passive yogi. The Masters are very dynamic--at least the few that I have had the fortune to be around.

Your Significant Other has spunk. I like that. With spunk there is something to work with. Passive nonchalance, on the other hand, will never lead anywhere.

I'm pretty sure that all the 'imperfections' you could point out in the world, or another, or yourself, lies in the realm of 'ideals.' I agree that very little in this world is ideal, but then it wouldn't be the physical world if it was, would it?

Everything is perfect as it is for the growth of each individual. Even the one suffering the harshest of indignities in Africa, or any of the other many places where people are tortured, degraded, and imprisoned by other human beings, is only learning certain karmic lessons, and is undergoing those experiences for specific reasons, created in the past by that individual.

Karma is not imposed on us from the outside. We create our own karma.

Our lifetime, on a cosmic scale, is slightly longer than an insect's. Each lifetime is a cycle of karma, and each individual experiences the karma he or she has created in previous lifetimes. Understanding karma and reincarnation is the only way life makes any sense. Otherwise everything seems totally chaotic.

I am the first to agree that very little is ideal. However, I will follow the scriptures that makes sense to me and see the perfection of all things just as they are.

The Guru said, "Nothing happens unless God allows it."

And the Christ said, "Condemneth not that which God allows."

With such comments as my reference points, I will continue to see the perfection in all things, even the maya of this physical world.

Tim said...

I am hoping you can tell me how to be a better karma yogi. For many years I have meditated, chanted, done seva, and read extensively. I am usually able to experience bliss from these activities, however, I feel so frustrated, anxious and thwarted by work in the world that I try to avoid it. This of course is not sustainable. Household tasks, work duties and chores feel so terrible that I often don't do them. This is a double whammy, bad results in the world and spiritual guilt and fear as well. I both desire and fear to serve.

I do believe at core I have talents that can benefit others and I want to help. But I have had so many experiences of hurt from clients and bosses that I have come to expect disharmony. It is so deep it may even be from past lives but I need to clear it in order to serve.

This is a world based on doing, not being. I seem to be a being of being and not doing. I either need to figure out how to make a living focused on being or change and focus on doing. I hope this makes sense. I would be grateful for any suggestions you can give.

I know that the Bhagavad Gita focuses a lot on karma yoga and I have read it many times but can't seem to make sense of its relevance to my life.

D. R. Butler said...

Tim, yours seems like one of those questions that is most fully answered in the lessons of the course. Your question is deep-rooted and complex, and many factors are involved, not the least of which is tamas guna and your own samskaras causing you to feel as you do.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says that we attain our ultimate goal through action, not through inaction. Each of us has something to do, some vital function to perform. To know what it is we must simply listen to our own heart, and follow what is intuitively obvious in the present moment. It is always obvious, here and now, what the best thing to do is. We don't have to worry about the next moment until it has become now, and then it will be just as obvious what to do.

Contemplate on this term: Service. Is there any way in which you can be of service to others? This is the very best way to make it through this world, and to contribute our very best. Even in terms of financial rewards and making a living in this world, the primary thing is how can we best serve others. When we share our talents and abilities with others, we in turn are taken care of. It could not be otherwise.

I know sometimes it is hard to get going, and challenging to focus on the simplest physical tasks that must be done, however they are part of our karma and therefore our dharma to deal with them as harmoniously and efficiently as possible. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. We have to keep the body moving, and we do not want to spent too much time idle or we will resort to gossip and daydreaming, both of which dissipate our energy or shakti.

Since this is our 'Guru' thread, I'll quote the Guru once again: "Do what you can and do it best."

Michael said...

Please help me understand more fully letting go, emptying out. Is it the mind that lets go, or the ego, or both?

D. R. Butler said...

Emptying out and letting go ultimately includes giving up your concepts of what the mind and ego are.

Of course, it is important to understand the mind and ego, which is why they are explored fully in the lessons. Letting go and emptying out, however, is allowing your being to be cleansed of all mental and egotistical activities, so that you rest in pure awareness and equanimity.

You can't mentally approach the subject of letting go and emptying out. That would just be more entertainment for the mind.

To live in this world, of course, we need the mind. Without its use we might end up in an institute to be cared for. In a certain way we even need the ego, although it is necessary to identify ourselves correctly and accurately, instead of with all the stuff we ordinarily identify with.

Our true state is an unconditioned, unmodified, formless Awareness of Being. If you can let everything go, this is what remains. Then you can live in the highest way without having to think about it or figure out anything. This is letting go and emptying out.

Anonymous said...

Would you please talk a bit about the issue of lust?

D. R. Butler said...


What comes up are the words of a Leonard Cohen song: "I can't forget, no I can't forget, oh I can't forget--but I don't remember what."

I had to go to my trusted Websters. Lust: First: "Intense or unrestrained sexual desire." Second: "An overwhelming craving (such as the 'lust for money')."

I vaguely remember sexual desire. You have to understand, I will be 65 on July 4th. It is amazing how certain things just aren't what they used to be. I am almost embarrassed to admit how important sex seemed to me in my 20's through my 40's. In my 50's there was a big burst, like the burning out of an ancient star, a flash, then poof.

I presume you aren't asking about the lust for money, or the lust for power, or anything like that in particular. I never had those particular cravings, and I doubt that you do either.

Understanding lust, in my experience, depends a lot on what age you are. As a young man, it was like, "Yeah, I get it, get free from lust, one of the seven deadly sins, I understand, but I still want sex." I could understand lust philosophically, but I didn't seem to have much choice about my actual experience of it. It seemed to have a life of its own.

If lust is an issue for you, just observe it and watch what it is and what it does. See its effect on the body, which is basically harmonal, and watch how the mind and ego make melodramas around it.

I certainly wouldn't make anything 'wrong' or 'bad' or 'sinful' or 'unspiritual' about sex itself. Sex is a joyful activity and a spiritual joining when understood in the right way.

Okay, if you need more particulars, I'll need a more specific question. Hope this helps.

Harriette said...

Have been poring over April's blog. So much! For a while made me wonder what wonderful experience I had missed. No guru, no shakipat, no peacock feather, no "community." But then I see my own precious cul-de-sacs. And now your lessons . . . . once again. So grateful. Much has been said about grace in the blog. I remember your comment in the other lessons that grace is universal assistance. That has had such meaning.

Thank you for your comment about forgiving yourself for freaking out. Which leads me to ask: what part does emotion play in this whole scheme (other than seemingly to get us into trouble when awareness slips). Does emotion have a purpose? Or is it but a tool in the ego's magic box of tricks? Or just a part of our human experience we need to allow? Any direction?
Love, Harriette

D. R. Butler said...

Harriette, I agree, April's blog comments seem to be the best collection yet. I think for about 5 consecutive months now we have had more comments than we had the month before. I am so pleased and grateful the way so many are participating in our dialogue. It's like a secret we all have of something wonderful happening on the Internet that most never know of or bother to check out.

Harriette, emotions is quite a complex topic, and there is a lengthy section of the course called "The Incredible Power of Feelings" that begins with Lesson 37. Of course, emotions are talked about throughout the course, so you won't have to wait until then to learn of them, it's just that at that point we focus on exploring in depth each emotion that affects us, and everything we truly need to understand regarding the realm of feeling.

Our primary experience of life, of the day or whatever, is determined by the predominant feelings we experience during that time.

There are what I call 'past emotions,' which are emotions rooted in past experience and memory, and which basically contain all the negative emotions such as anger, hatred, resentment, irritation, agitation, jealousy, envy, blame, self-pity, and so on. They are basically unpleasant vibrations along the nervous system.

Then there are the 'higher feelings,' which can only be experienced in the present moment. These include love, compassion, kindness, joy, peace, lightheartedness, cheerfulness, the sense of well being, and so forth. These correspond to pleasant, enjoyable vibrations along the nervous system.

Emotions in general are nervous vibrations, and affect the physical body, although they exist primarily in the subtle realm. In dreams we sometimes experience such intense or unfamiliar feelings that we can hardly bring back into conscious memory.

The primary principle is that thought generally leads to emotions corresponding to the nature of the thought, so that positive thoughts lead to pleasant feelings while negative thoughts lead to unpleasant feelings.

Harriette, here in front of God and everyone, I want to thank you for your generous contributions to the course. Many send more than the recommended amount, but you are very generous, and we appreciate it very much. Much love and blessings to you.

I assure you that your connection to the true Guru is solid.

D. R. Butler said...

Hmmm. Sexual desire, as I recall, is the feeling of really wanting to have sex with someone. Certain harmones act to inform us that the time is now.

Sexual energy is quite different. It is a certain aspect of universal energy, or the Shakti, or Kundalini energy, or the all-pervasive energy that creates, sustains, and eventually dissolves the universe. All of Tantric philosophy and practice is based around this universal energy, which is the creative force behind everything in this world, and indeed this world itself.

Sexual energy is ordinarily experienced in the second chakra. The same energy can rise to the third chakra and enable us to become an egotistical maniac, and then to the fourth chakra which we experience as love.

When we make sex into a meditation, the same energy goes up into the ajna chakra, the sixth chakra in the center of the head between and above the eyes. When we focus the same energy, which on one level is sexual energy, and which is in truth the divine Shakti that manifests the entire cosmos, our head fills with white or golden white light that expands into the heavens, and we experience our formless nature, as well as an exalted sense of well being.

Sexual energy in itself is not affected by age. It is a matter of how alive do we maintain the Shakti within us through certain practices. Different people experience it to varying degrees, usually depending on their degree of awareness.

At least that's my experience and understanding of sexual energy.

D. R. Butler said...

"When two people, a man and a woman have been such friends as have shared the deepest Spiritual moment that Life brings to human beings, they have created an entity as surely as though they had conceived and borne a child; a living invisible force which will survive and create in return. So-there is something in God’s universe which is deathless because we are friends.” ~~Kahlil Gabran

Taylor said...

"harmones" must be what's produced when we are in harmony with our hormones...

D. R. Butler said...

I like that, Taylor. Good one.

If I could spell correctly, the things I write might make even more sense.

A Siddha Yoga Student said...

Dear ones,
the disscussion has been moving from the Guru-Principle, the physical Guru and the ashram to Lust and to other topics.
I would like to just to add some comments on my own understanding.
I really appreciate Ram's emphasis on the Guru not being just a human being and him/her being ever present as the Shakti and as our own inner Self.
Nonetheless, even if I have also experienced the shift of focus within the path. I wouldn't call it "a shut down" or the "ashram is closed". The ashram has never closed as such. For me it has just shifted its focus. It has lost its spiritual "disneyland" like atmosphere. In general, I would say, the focus is now on taking responsability of your sadhana. And it is a time of giving and assesing what we have received. Assimilation and practice are the key words for me. Thinks have become "simpler", yet deeper... "simpler" yet more intense. Intense for me, because they require my personal conscious participation in the process of transformation.
The ashram is not closed (Taylor had also mentioned it earlier) and if you go to the official websites you'll find plenty of opportunities to go and offer seva. Retreats are still being offered all around the world and some communities are still thriving with activity.
It has nonetheless become "harder" to go to these places. You need a clear intention, you need to plan, you need a certain level of committment to your spiritual practices... and all of this require effort. An effort that was perhaps not required before. It has become a true Gurukula, a school and not just a vacational site with spiritual benefits.
The Guru also has not "dissapeared" how could she, if she is ever present? As Tylor said in she is very much active even if she is less visible publicly in her physical form.
So somehow feel frustrated everytime I read or hear someone say "the ashram is closed", "the Guru is not available anymore". For me it is all a matter of how committed you are, and how big your desire is to serve the Guru and her mission. The reason I feel frustrated is because I haven't had the chance to tell everyone: Hey guys! She is there for us! But are we there for Her? Have you thought of giving back instead of demanding more? Have you thought that it is perhaps us who need to go to serve the Guru and not the other way around? (And not because she needs us, as Ram well said, but because it is in "giving" and not in "taking" that the heart really opens)
For me, devotion and steadfastness to follow the Guru's command are her greatest blessings in my life.
Thank you everyone! And may you all be happy!

Anonymous said...

I once heard I speaker state that we all needed to make peace with; God, Sex, and money. Seems true enough to me. These three themes seem to drive me crazy everyday. Is it possible to make peace with the big three? If so how? If I could make peace with even one I think my life would improve immensely.

D. R. Butler said...

Yes, God, sex, and money are indeed three things to make peace with, or be in harmony with.

Since you posted as 'anonymous' I have no idea whether you take the course via email or not. If not, it's certainly a good way to learn to come into harmony with these three things and much more.

There's no good reason to be 'driven crazy' by any of these subjects on a daily basis. If this is indeed true for you, I give the course my highest recommendation. It sounds as though you need to rewire your patterns of thinking.

India said...

Thank you so much for posting that beautiful poem by Thich Nhat Hanh (see April 20th post).
It really speaks to me. It is a sacred prayer of remembrance and it helps me remember the truth about who I really am and why I love living in this body, in this life.

It is especially meaningful for me to read this poem today because 21 years ago, on April 26, I received Grace in the form of a kidney transplant. On this anniversary, for the last 20 years, I have taken time to contemplate all the gifts of Grace I have received in my life. I sit quietly and I remember all the times in my life that I have experienced the truth of who I really am. And I feel such deep gratitude to my inner Self, to the Guru, and to all the forms that the divine Self has manifested in my life.

Before my transplant, I stayed alive by plugging myself into a machine each night. I remember that I had this inner conversation each day in which I would be longing to leave my body and return home, to the source, but then I would think "would you want to miss that beautiful sunset you saw today?", or "what about that exquisite bird song you heard", or "what about all those experiences of love!", etc. One day in the midst of this inner conflict I heard a voice inside saying "Make up your mind! Stop sitting on the fence. Decide to leave, or decide to stay. Until you decide I cannot help you." This voice was so loud that it stopped all my thoughts completely and I became very quiet inside. I sat down and I made a list of all the reasons to die and all the reasons to live. The list of the reasons to die was very long and the list of reasons to live was very short, however; the reasons to live were very compelling. Thich Nhat's poem expresses those feelings and reasons so beautifully. So, I made a commitment to that voice, to my Self, to stay until my karma was finished, even if it meant plugging into a machine every day for the rest of my life. Two weeks later I received a transplant and it was like receiving an infusion of pure divine energy. Several years later I met my Guru and received her Grace.

So now, 21 years later, my transplant is failing and life has slowed down in a very interesting way. With the help of the course I am really experiencing the bliss of the present moment. It has helped me not jump into the future or obsess about the past. The feelings of fear and attachment are less each day. I don't know what tomorrow will bring and it does not matter because in each moment I can fully experience the depth of the joy and the pain of neness which Thich Naht speaks of.

"Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive."

Thank you for helping me to remember that even when this body dies, I continue to exist in all that is.

Sending love, India

Eileen said...

How did Scott's surgery today go?

D. R. Butler said...

Scott's surgery was successful, and he is hoping to be able to fly back home to Houston tomorrow.

India, your post was extremely beautiful, and I am sure it will be an inspiration for others, as your whole life has been. Thank you for being you and for sharing yourself so openly with us.

Eileen said...

Thank you, Ram, for the wonderful update on Scott!

India - you touch my heart so deeply. How full of grace and beauty you are; how generous and full of compassion your heart is, to so freely share your wisdom and sweet love with us! I am so blessed, indeed, to have crossed paths with you on this blessed blog.

Kisses on both cheeks ... with deep gratitude and warm, affectionate hugs,

D. R. Butler said...

Pray for Scott Marmorstein:
Scott is in huge trouble! He went into V-tac this evening, is now intibated and is fighting for his life. He is in extremely critical condition.

The next hours will decide. Please pray and fight as hard as he is for his life.

Taylor said...

Praying for Scott.

I send my blessings for peace in whatever direction your journey takes you.
(pilgrimage to the heart 2001)

Chris said...

I was inspired, while reading Tim's question posted on April 24, to speak up about action in the world. I am someone who for the first 15 years of my sadhana was pretty happy with more of an internal focus, yes I did seva in many forms, and worked to support my family, and so forth.

However, in the past year, I have been greatly called to action in the world. When I read Tim's post, I realized that the fundamental thing that seems to cause the problem is seeing oneself as different from the world. He stated: "This is a world based on doing, not being. I seem to be a being of being and not doing."

From my perspective, when I see myself as part of the world, not separate, the world and I are not different, and my doing is just part of the being of the world. This doing, which is really being, feels a lot like the non-doership of the Bhagavad Gita. Within action, I can experience being. From the depths of my being, action springs forth. When I stay out of the way, things work out beautifully. When I think it's me "doing", the shit hits the fan in one way or another!

I hope this help

Kabir said...

I recently had a dream in which a flock of peacocks were flying overhead with their tails outspread — I found this remarkable because I wasn't sure if peacocks could even fly. But there they were, glorious, and dropping beautiful feathers by the dozen on everyone on the ground.

I share this because so many have written about the apparent "distance" of the physical guru. This dream was to me a sign that grace is even more abundant than ever before, but on a subtler (and therefore even more powerful, impactful) level.

Sylvia in Colorado said...

For Dear Scott, May our loving prayers and healing energy pour like nectar into Scott at this difficult time. Sorry if this is a ridiculous question, but has anyone called the ashram about Scott's serious condition? Having gone through this once before regarding a member of our meditation center, I was told that the Guru wants us to call when any devotee is seriously ill, dying or passed on. When our group went through something similar, I called the ashram and our group received the most wonderful support and guidance, which helped us all immensely.

India, like others, I was very moved by your story and your wonderful attitude. My prayers for Scott are now including you too, Dear One. The poem Ram sent us by Tich Naht Haun spoke to me as well.

In 1982, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and within 3 days, it was removed. There would be serious possible repercussions to my mind/body if the surgery went badly. I chanted the Guru Gita before surgery in my hospital room in Denver. My friends and family formed a prayer group from a distance. While I was being wheeled on the gurney into surgery, I knew deep in my heart it was the Guru/God who was the true surgeon. Later, the surgeon told me that I was a walking, talking miracle. Because of grace, I am lucky to be alive. This is only one reason I am a total believer in the power of group prayer.

D. R. Butler said...

I was out walking with our dog Meggie today--who helps to keep me in shape among other things--and we came upon a man and his horse. Meggie loves all living things, and wanted to get close to the horse, although wary of its superior size. Finally she got close enough and reached up for a sniff while the horse lowered its head and for a moment their noses touched. It was so beautiful, I wish I had a photo of it to share. The man said that if Meggie had had even the slightest aggressive feeling, the horse would have run, commenting on what a mellow pup she is. She's never known anything but love. That's the only way she knows to relate.

Kathryn McC said...

Uncharacteristically, I skipped work today and in a seemingly parallel universe, I was walking my dog around the same time. We were in a place he hadn't been before, meandering down a canyon, the end of which reached water. As it appeared before him, without a moments hesitation, he gleefully barreled in, immersed in the joy of unexpected jal and thereafter, absolutely unbounded leela ensued. What a sight to behold!

This is my first post and I send it out along with all loving thoughts to Scott.

D. R. Butler said...

Sylvia, I am certain Scott's parents have notified the Guru. Scott grew up in and around the ashram. I am sure she is very aware of the situation.

Tim said...

Thank you very much Chris.

Colette said...

Just talked to Stu, Scott turned the corner yesterday and they say he is going to make it. they took his tubes out today and he is able to eat and drink normally. Stu will be sending out a more detailed message later. Scott and the whole family send there gratitude thanks, and love for all the love and healing that have poured out to them and facilitated his healing.

Camilla Shalini Dawson said...

Ah....just what I needed to remember today,
"He who knows me as his own divine Self breaks through the belief that he is the body and is not reborn as a separate creature. Such a one is united with me. Delivered from selfish attachment, fear, and anger, filled with me, surrendering themselves to me, purified in the fire of my being, many have reached the state of unity in me."

- Bhagavad Gita 4:9-10

Harshada Wagner said...

A reflection: the Guru takes many different forms. Yesterday I drove into the country and spent some time with a being I consider to be a true master. Surely the guru tattva flows through his words actions and atmosphere. But he doesn't call himself a guru or sit in that seat. Then I drove back to the city and went to a satsang with an actual "professional" guru- HH Radhanath Swami- a disciple of Swami Prabhupada (ISKCON). He too seems to be carrying the guru tattva torch in a real way for his community. And he has the seat, the robes, the ashrams, etc. So I had the darshan of the non-guru master, the guru-guru.

Once upon a time, I would have been comparing these experiences and comparing these people with the other gurus I have known and the guru who initiated me. But interestingly and wonderfully, I felt like all of this appeared within a lovely soup of the gurutattva. The master's dog was as grace bestowing as the master. The buzz of NYC traffic was taking care of this disciple called Harshada as much as anyone in a robe or in a seat.
It's a very humbling and gratifying experience to recognize that these days I sleep and wake in this amazing broth of Grace.

And surely I was trained for this chopping wood and carrying water for the Guru who initiated me.
Those peacock feathers and gurugitas and endless catch 22's, and egodramas and tears were training me to live in this experience.

So much more than I ever signed up for.

Blissings said...

Thank you, Ram. I feel 'let off the hook'. I was feeling guilty for not being the kind of spiritual student I once was. Interestingly, I don't feel GM as I once did but more feel B looking after me as it were. When I look into his eyes at the puja at the back of Hall, he's right there as if in person. It's delightful :o)

So, really, it's all my Inner Self and I now have a different 'understanding' of that Guru principle.

Blissings said...

What a wonderful conversation this is.

Thanks to what you said Ghayas, and Ram, I now see why the spiritual path doesn't feel 'thrilling' any longer. I really am amused at myself for wanting an intensity of feeling so much. Thinking that the absense of 'thrill' meant I'd lost something; that I wasn't good enough ahahaaa!

I have a deeper insight into living in the truth of the present moment - wanting things to be like they once were is the past, not the present.


Anonymous said...

I am currently on Lesson 40 where you suggest we refer to the April 7,2010 Blog. It is, in my 'now', 2013, LOL. I was surprised how valuable and timely it was. I certainly have seen my sadhana take many forms! In fact, years ago, I would not have counted the current forms as sadhana. Ghayas, great question!