The “Guru is Within” & More Blah de Blah Blah Blah.

Via Sam Geppi
on Jun 27, 2012
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I am a devotee of the Indian hugging Saint known affectionately as Amma, or more formally as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (The Mother of Immortal Bliss).

She is currently on her North American tour, a trek she has been making for over twenty years.

(Check out the tour dates: http://amma.org.)

I met Amma in 2001 after having heard of her several years before. You see, by the time I was introduced to Amma, I had already been engaged in a meditation practice since 1983 (when I was 19 years old), and had many years of being on the path. I thought I would go to see what the big fuss was all about.

At the time, I was like many other seekers. I had concepts about what real spirituality was—the techniques, the real truth, the asanas, breath, tapas—the work. No gurus needed, thank you very much.

I was teaching yoga and studying/practicing Vedic astrology and Vedanta and well acquainted with the non-dualistic “philosophy.” I would go on and on about how “God is everywhere anyway, so why do we need to go to a guru—the guru is within. We are all divine beings, and on and on.”

Yet, day-to-day, the truth was, although I was doing deep meditations and my practices were fulfilling, I was still like most around me, disconnected from the heart. My spiritual practices were also a sort of armor, helping me safely navigate life and avoid the hotspots. They were even a function of ego. There was a feeling of superiority in them at times, like most I know (sorry, just being honest). I did not really know this until I began spending time with Ma.

I thought I was honoring the divine in all things, until I got around Ma, and saw these things in action—expressed by a true, living master. I was not really honoring others as divine (or myself either). There were a lot of well intended words and concepts about selfless love and the heart, but my practices were actually very dry.

The Guru is Within, But Are We?

All great masters say the same thing, that the guru is within. But until we are established within, we will not feel it. This is why a master, a Mahatma (Great Soul) takes a form—for us. She is always there (as are all the great Mahatmas), whether in a body or not. She is just an incarnation of universal love realized, which is omnipresent. But because we live so much through the body/mind structure, they incarnate for us in that form we recognize.

The result of interacting with a life form that appears the same as other life forms has an effect on our mind that no philosophy reaches.

We notice immediately the different quality of that being in relation to other beings and ourselves. The endless compassion, tireless work, the towering comprehension of all workings of the ego, and remarkably—a personal connection to all. Amma regularly sits 10-20 hours at a time, with no food or bathroom break—hugging all that come before her.

Everyone who has spent time with Amma knows that although she serves millions (having hugged 31 million people), she also knows exactly who you are. It is incomprehensible on all levels. Your intellect simply crumbles underneath the weight of this miracle. For this reason, it is repeated over and over in Indian teachings that the most fortunate event in a human life is to find a satguru in the body—a living example of all we are aspiring to.

The Guru—Not a Substitute—A Culmination

Connecting to a living guru is not a form of intellectual enslavement. It is not a substitute for any of the work we have to do. Rather, it is a culmination of those actions (sadhana) and a connection to one who is embodying the truth we are seeking to embody.

Spending a lot of time with Amma, or other Mahtamas is actually very hard because they are like standing in front of a mirror, a very active one. Imagine if the mirror had a volume knob on it and if the knob was more like a “contrast” knob, where the dark gets darker and the light gets lighter.

Gurus like Amma are often compared to the sun. The sun brings light, which reveals color and aliveness, but also shadows and dirt. When the room is dark it is easy to not clean up the dirt in the corners. We may not see it or even know it’s there. My experiences about spirituality were like that. I thought the room was clean. But once we turn on the light, we see all of the mess—the dirt, the roaches, the neglect. Then, we have to make a conscious choice to either clean it up, or turn the light back off.

The beauty, compassion and selfless love of the guru is so compelling that even if you try to turn the light back off, and return to sleep, you can’t so easily. The truth of the guru, and its connection to your truthful self will haunt the puny ego. The soul recognizes the purity of the Mahatma as a communion with its own nature. I have witnessed many egos for many years avoid meeting Amma, always finding an excuse to be busy then, or conceptualizing it with the “Guru within” philosophy.

I think that is a good strategy for an ego that wants to survive in tact. It is wise to avoid the sun and scrutiny. As for me, it is a never-ending opening to love and letting go of the familiar. I am eternally grateful to have met a true master in this lifetime. The direct transmission of love from those amazing eyes to mine has healed me in ways I surely do not grasp.

Such a beautiful mirror to the guru within.

~

Editor: Brianna Bemel

 

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About Sam Geppi

Sam Geppi is a Vedic astrologer, and teacher. He is the author of "The Ascendant-108 Planets of Vedic Astrology." You can learn more about the universe and why astrology makes sense by checking out his Free Astrology Class CD, his Facebook and his Membership Website.

Comments

87 Responses to “The “Guru is Within” & More Blah de Blah Blah Blah.”

  1. Thaddeus1 says:

    Unfortunately Julian, my responses would require a willingness on your part to set aside your preconceived notions and assumptions about me. That's not going to happen which is why you appear utterly foolish in your pontifications about my education and my intellect.

    This is the kind of education on critical thought that one gets in music school I guess.

    But your right, authority is not the be all and end all, but to fail to see the role of authority in the production of knowledge via science is willful ignorance. And to not see the degree to which science and all forms of knowledge make use of authority in their process of "discovery" and "progress" is merely shortsighted and myopic in perspective.

    The sad thing is that if you weren't so afraid and felt such a need to defend, you might be surprised how much more you would come to learn.

    "it doesn't annoy me that i can't change your mind – but that people who don't yet know better will be taken in by your strategies and then use them similarly to elevate nonsense with sophisticated sounding vocabulary."…I couldn't surmise my feelings about you any better, so thanks for putting the words in my mouth.

  2. Thaddeus1 says:

    I suppose you still think that Newton rocks physics, huh?

  3. yogijulian says:

    only the aspects of physics that he described well and continue to be valid.

    quantum mechanics and relativity do not erase newton, they expand upon what he was able to describe.

    they also do not make superstition or supernaturalism suddenly valid, nor do they subvert the reasons that science and reason negate these..

    do you really not get how these are two different conversations?

    fact is you pivot and deflect every chance you can – changing the subject, retreating to the reliable fallacies, avoiding staying in direct contact with the material at hand.

    whether or not astrology is a science, ammachi is not a divine being. whether or not science is in a process of evolution, astrology does not qualify as science. whether or not newton got some things wrong, superstitious beliefs are not rendered valid. whether or not someone has a phd does not change the way one evaluates whether or not a methodology qualifies as science. whether or not you decide i am afraid of astrology, ammachi, bad arguments against scientific method or academic pretentiousness does not change the basis on which we decide what is true or false on any of these subjects!

    observe the progress of this "debate" – from the supposed divine status of ammachi, to whether or not astrology is a science, to whether or not science is legitimate, to me supposedly being a fearful person who doesn't realize how much he has to learn from people who think ammachi is divine, astrology is a science, science is akin to superstitious faith etc.

    do you ever stop and realize just how much complete nonsense you spin, how slippery your tactics and how empty your position?

    maybe one night you will awake with a start and begin to weep.

    there is such a thing as reality and the ivory tower of postmodern sophistry and regressive magical thinking is way out of touch with it.

    feel free to have the last word and i will leave you in peace.

  4. yogijulian says:

    my perceptions of your thinking are not assumptions, they are based on what you write here.

    please resist the temptation to tell me you know better than i whether or not i am afraid. there is a difference between being afraid of something and recognizing that it is nonsense.

    i am disappointed again.

    have a better evening.

  5. Thaddeus1 says:

    Thankfully, the only weeping I experience concerns the sheer joy, beauty and awe of the mercy in my life.

    But, please if you have the time pick up Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions." At the very least an acquaintance with its precepts is required for us to have a discussion on equal footing.

    Until then, keep rocking those scales.

  6. "Reality should be ones friend."

    Ahhhhh. Thank you!

  7. timful says:

    Surely you recognize that the geocentric model was evidence-based in its day, and the ancients did a fine job predicting the astronomical phenomenon that made a difference in their lives (e.g., seasons), regardless of how ridiculous their underlying theories were. I think it is all but certain this pattern will continue into the future, and that our current models for the universe will one day sound ridiculous, even if they serve us well today. Likewise, I suspect that among the unscientific beliefs people have today, are many that nevertheless are useful in their lives.

    This is not to say that anything goes. Whenever it is important that we all reach the same conclusion, I believe we should look to the scientific method. But, many beliefs are not of this variety. You and I do not need to agree what is beautiful or lovable or makes us happy. When we do need to agree on something, let us turn to science, but let us not be obsessed with a need for agreement when it doesn't exist.

  8. timful says:

    BTW, I thought astrology was poppy cock until I moved to LA and the first 2 people who tried to guess my sign got it right. That was enough evidence for me to conclude there was something to it. Now it seems obvious that the way a child's developmental path aligns with the seasons and holidays could have large impact on their personality. E.g., if they spend 1st 3 months in summer versus winter, or experience chaotic family holidays at 2,14,26,38 months instead of at 7,19,31,43 months, etc. Likewise, there are dramatic one-time events in human history, war, etc. that will impact different generations in non-cyclical ways. So, nothing to do with the planets or stars, except in so much as they defined our calendar, but probably worth paying attention to birthdate if you want to understand people.

    As for more specific daily predictions, I think the main effect here is people only notice them or interpret them in light of what they already want to believe or are looking for at some level. But, this is not a totally useless service, if it helps people to make decisions that are more in line with their subconscious needs and desires.

  9. Philip says:

    two people guest what sign you were so you then assume astrology might have something to it? Wow…..Uou must be a stop sign. Kind of invalidates all your replies to Julian here. I have to say reading all of this is kind of a waste of time. It seems Julian is just wanting people to be honest and be grounded in reality and not pretend things exist that are just not provable. Timful…I think you might be timfull of it.

  10. Philip says:

    Thaddeus…are you for real? It seems like you are just wasting people's time. Juilan is correct about how the debate here has evolved ? yogiJulian is just asking people to be grounded in reality yet youve just gone on making stuff up. I think you're just bored and have nothing better to do. YogiJulian was just attempting to bring some reality and logic to this crazy Amma thing. Do you believe she has supernatural abilities or not?

  11. timful says:

    Not just 2 people, but 2 out of the first 2 who guessed. Odds of that are 1 out 144, enough to make an open mind wonder. Unless you already know it all.

  12. Thaddeus1 says:

    I can assure you that I am only too real, Philip. Bored, nope, not bored. I once had a high school teacher tell me that only stupid people get bored. I believed her.

    As for whether or not I believe that Amma has "supernatural" abilities. I don't have a belief about it. Never met her. See when it comes down to it, I'm actually more of an empiricist than those who beat a much louder drum than me.

    As for the nature of mine and Julian's debate, I'm gonna guess that you didn't read my first comment to him, since if you did you would be hard pressed to find anything within there that actually pertains to Amma, supernaturalism or even astrology.

    My comment pertained solely to broadening the definition of science beyond the dogmatic assertion of Julian and MikeG that "science" is reducible the late 18th century empirical method instantiated by Descartes and others of the time to a much broader and more inclusive notion revolving around "experienced knowledge." As for what Julian or you thought our discussion was about, I cannot speak to. I understand it's safer and easier for ya'll to think that you finally got this whole reality thing figured out. Personally, I think it just belies arrogance.

    But, I'm open to reconsider.

  13. So, if the Guru wasn't within us, how is it that you have written this article? Who wrote the article, a ghost? The truth is that supreme enlightenment is within everyone. We experience it from time to time. To experience it, and to bask in the knowledge, in your inner knowledge, then to question the existence of it is the worst kind of theft.

  14. yogijulian says:

    here's the thing: it does not matter how many letters anyone has after their name, or how many popular postmodern texts or pseudoscience authors anyone invokes – the fantasy of a "new paradigm" in which superstition and science are somehow satisfactorily harmonized is never going to happen.

    quantum physics, general relativity and even superstring or M theory do not validate supernatural beliefs, mythic literalism or outdated superstition.

    thomas kuhn, philosophy of science, and the burning desire to somehow overturn the enlightenment and reinstate "ancient wisdom" does not add up to ammachi being a divine avatar or astrology being valid, just because you want it to.

    if this is not what you mean, then construct better arguments, don't talk at vague obtuse angles and tell me i am making assumptions. perhaps you could start by acknowledging where the lines are for you and what you actually are getting at with your references!

    there is actually a powerful growing edge at which spirituality and science can indeed be integrated. it has to do in large part with neuroscience, and understanding the relationship between objective processes and subjective experience.

    it has to do with how meditation and yoga (amongst other practices) positively impact the autonomic nervous system, helping us to resolve trauma responses and be more self-regulated.

    it has to do with how mindfulness changes the structure and function of the brain.

    there is also a powerful new paradigm emerging in science that has to with finding out how relativity and quantum mechanics can both be true even though there are apparent contradictions. the discovery today at CERN that the higgs boson actually does exist, as the standard model has been predicting is HUGE.

    revelations in the last year from folks like lawrence krauss and stephen hawking that in fact (following the equations) the universe could have emerged out of a quantum vacuum are powerful new breakthroughs – as is (potentially ) M theory….

    none of this in any way leads us in the direction of deepak chopra-esque new paradigms of supposed non-local consciousness, or nassim haramein-esque claims about egyptians, aliens and there being a black hole at the center of every atom or to fred allan wolf-esque proclamations about shamanic time travel or secret-esque claims about thought created reality.

    again if this is not what you are aligning with – then be clear about what you think is true and false and what your new paradigm actually entails.

    now please give me a break with the pseudo-intellectual ivory tower postmodernist posturing about the limitations of science to examine things like astrology, BS claims by manipulative gurus and any other cornball new age nonsense you want to try and ill-advisedly elevate.

    consider too that you seriously cheapen any argument you are making by implying i am lacking in intelligence or education, am afraid of some unnamed revelation, have not done my homework on spirituality and should go back to practicing scales. the fact that you have webstalked me enough to know that i went to music school is creepy enough – now how about dropping the ad hominem and debating facts and ideas?

  15. yogijulian says:

    you may also bear in mind that kuhn was very specific in the years after he published "the structure of scientific revolutions" that a) it should not be used as a justification for relativism and b) that scientific progress happened via new discoveries in science, not via reverting to religious beliefs, buying into pseduoscience or unevidenced fringe science.

    using kuhn to justify (as you very much appeared to be doing) the claim that astrology is a science is just plain incorrect. in a thread in which a guru is being asserted as divine by someone who reveres astrology as a science it would be useful if you clarified what you actually think on the matter instead of just wading in with classic non-sequiters about whether or not anyone has "experienced an electron."

    doing it as a way to give me a smack-down because someone else in the thread has a Phd in vedic astrology and you have one in anthropology, and so therefore somehow my specific argument (which you haven't addressed) is naive or uneducated is simply ludicrous.

    my hunch is that you refuse to actually answer specific arguments and instead engage in this strategy is because deep down you know the "new paradigm" that includes outdated superstition is entirely indefensible and on extremely thin ice.

  16. timful says:

    Oops, I think you replied to the wrong person. At first I thought you were misconstruing me, but it appears to be a simpler case of hitting the wrong button.

  17. Thaddeus1 says:

    Speaking of predictable…I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away for long. I think it might be love.

    But, here we go, point by point…

    I don't really care, or know about Amma. If I ever meet her, I will form an opinion then. As for astrology…I've had experiences and I don't care if you haven't. In fact, I'm not trying to convince of anything. I'm just surprised that you wouldn't take up the nice lady on he offer to sit down and have a chat. Are you afraid you might learn something or have to change your mind? You seem so eager for me to divulge and I all I see is you spouting rhetoric.

    I reject reductionistic attempts at understanding consciousness as brain states. I spent enough time with philosophy of mind to know that your certainty here is unjustified. Just because you assert it, don't make it so. But real discussions require a willingness and an openness that you quite honestly lack.

    I wouldn't jump the gun so quickly on the Higgs discovery. You see, my problem with you is that you don't actually have the humility that accompanies a real relationship with science. The difference between you and I (amongst many) is that I actually worked and studied with scientists. I never encountered one so rooted in arrogance. You see, you're kind of like the false gurus that you spend some much time and energy vilifying. My speculation is that you do so because you aren't wearing any clothes, just like them. The real ones tend to be a bit less verbose.

    I wouldn't know deepak if I fell over him on the street. See, I know it bugs the shit out of you that you can't nail me down and fit me into your little black/white, right/wrong box. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you want, just think of me like Socrates. I'm just here to push the buttons that need pushed.

    You clearly didn't read Kuhn since then you would know that the central thesis of his book is that science doesn't progress…hence the title "Structures of Scientific Revolutions." The notion of progression is one of those myths you like to bash so much. Sorry, but your going to need to do more than read the crib notes or wiki entry.

    I've never claimed that astrology is a science. I just don't understand why you refuse to discuss the issue with the fine doctor.

    I don't have a Phd in anthro and I don't know anything about a "new paradigm," so I promise I ain't looking to defend them.

    Do, Re, Me, Fa…don't flatter yourself…aliens told me….at the very least you should have a sense of humor…

  18. Philip says:

    Thaddeus, Actually…outside of science…progress is simply a myth. This is a subversive truth.
    Darwin was a genius… there is no progress in the world he revealed except in science.

  19. Philip says:

    Thadzeus,
    I asked if you were real because I was under the impression…after reading your replies to yoijulian that ou were not being real. He was asking sensible questions and you seemed to be just pretending to argue with him and being extra ambiguous in your responses. I ask you again. Do you believe Amma has some kind of supernatural powers? And if so can those powers enable her to heal people with hugs? Simple questions.

  20. Thaddeus1 says:

    I answered your questions above.

    I wrote, "As for whether or not I believe that Amma has "supernatural" abilities. I don't have a belief about it. Never met her. See when it comes down to it, I'm actually more of an empiricist than those who beat a much louder drum than me."

    I appreciate that you want life to be simple. I think for the most part it is. But, I don't feel a need to be confined by your limitations of the debate. If you think I'm being vague, I suppose it's because you have little to no appreciation where I'm coming from. I'm cool with that. But, I stand by my answer.

    I don't have a belief about Amma, or perhaps I should say, I don't know anything about her other than that a lot people who I've never met and some I have think she's pretty remarkable.

  21. Devi says:

    Judge others much?

  22. jody says:

    The fact is, you could take a rock, and if you truly believed that rock was enlightened, it could do everything for you that Amma appears to do. The phenomenon of the "Satguru" is little more than another manifestation of the placebo effect. Unfortunately, the idea of the Satguru had done more to prevent enlightenment than all the brothels and drug dens in the world combined.

  23. ex_Non-Hindu says:

    No matter what happens – however much a non-Indian may embrace some "guru" or read Sanskrit, or study Vedanta, or dress in Vedic garb, or do puja or whatever practice – a non-Indian will never be a Hindu, and will never be respected as such and will always be a mlecca who is outside of Sanatana Dharma. A non-Indian will always be considered a non-Hindu (a person outside of the vanashram-dharma) and will (for example)never, ever be allowed into Guruvayoor bhuloka-vaikundham, the most important temple in Amachi's home state of Kerala. Western people should stop deluding theselves that they ever will become Hindu.

  24. __MikeG__ says:

    Ah, thanks for this. I am happy to take your ad hominem bait.

    First of all I made no personal attack. And I completely stand by Every.Single.Word. It is way past time for us to begin to grow up.

    Second, it is interesting that you bring up the "no-judgement" fallacy in this weak attempt to discredit the issues I raised. Judgement is a necessary requirement of life. You can have no ethics, opinions or personal preferences without judgment. It is impossible to be completely neutral on all subjects. Understanding that simple concept is a required step in understanding adult concepts.

  25. __MikeG__ says:

    Yeah. And Hindu's should stop deluding themselves that their imaginary gods are real.

  26. __MikeG__ says:

    At least the rock wouldn't spend as much time on improving its financial bottom line. As we all know enlightened rocks all have trust funds.

  27. Gypsy Wise says:

    Jillian and Mike make great points and I want to support thir overall message. It is to think critically and magical thinking is magical thinking.

    I don’t doubt that people experience an energetic response to meeting some people. You don’t need to be around a “guru” to have one. I am sure there are plenty of people that feel a similar charge from meeting a favorite celebrity.

    There is lots of neuro science supporting the energic nature of meditation. It does not support that it is outside the reach of most humans or only available within a few. Nor does it mean that one is enlightened because the can control their brain. It actually shows that we can all learn to do it. Kinda makes less magical if everyone has access to it.

    When Jillian talks about critical thinking she is addressing you ability to question what is wrong along with what is right. If this woman Amma, and there seem to be a few who have taken the title, why has she limited her mirical to hugging her way into the world record books? Why hasn’t she cured poverty, even a little in one of the most impoverished countries in the world? Helped the plight of farmers killing themselves to the tune of 250,000 because of shame? I would thinkthat one would make her radar.

    When you give away your personal power to people of little dy to day consequence you can then make a lot of excuses when it goes wrong. I see very few people that follow these leaders in any form, be it guru, Christian or else take full responsibility in their wn lives because the are so willing to give it away. That is the authoritarian belief system that allows people to have power over you.

    Jillian and Mike are right….

  28. vikers says:

    im a hindu and i dont give a shit …

    so to all those who argue – go on with your shit and leave this magic stuff to us hindus – and those of you who want to be part of it – come in for a while into the circus tent like little children, sit down and enjoy the show. maybe buy some ice cream, candy floss and play with all the fun stuff in the circus.

    while the arguing public can try and do some 'hot or power or whatever you brand it sequence ' yogic pose and get scientific with it.

    science begins with magic … just like music … or art … and that is life.

    boring people who dont like circus can leave the show … the hindu rope trick is on !!!

  29. Prabuddh says:

    I don't give a shit wether other Hindu's consider me real or not.

  30. Karen Jonson says:

    Sam Geppi, I can do you one better — my "guru" was a JAGADguru!!! Do you know what that means? It means he is the guru of the whole f-ing universe.

    And as a result of my 15 years of association with him, I can say the following with utter confidence and probably a lot more insight than you have: ALL gurus are frauds! There you have it — your AHA! moment if you have the strength to accept it. That's if Amma hasn't taken all of your personal power away from you. Because that is ALL that she or any other so-called guru has — the power you gave them to control your mind and heart.

    Julian and Mike have got it 100% correct. And you and everyone who supports the guru magic have it 100% wrong. The reason you can’t find the divine in yourself, is because what you really want is a fairy tale. If you could handle the truth, you wouldn’t need to look outside of yourself.

    It’s just sad to hear people talk so childishly about their guru mommies and daddies. It makes me remember when I was a deluded, brainwashed devotee of Kripalu Maharaj, the self-titled jagadguru. Turns out he’s a child rapist, sex addict, and money-hungry narcissist. His disciple, Prakashanand Saraswati, lured me in, and now he’s in hiding after being convicted of child molestation. I wrote all about them in my memoir Sex, Lies, and Two Hindu Gurus.

    My advice: Look behind the curtain and find out exactly who the person you worship really is – if you dare!

    Karen Jonson, ex-cult member

  31. […] meditation, wisdom and insight appear of their own accord, without a “how” or a “why” attached to them. A series of feelings and […]

  32. Auki says:

    There are some seriously hostile replies posted here to Sam's tender-hearted article. The hostile and arrogant tone of the various comments tells me everything I need to know about the folks making the comments. God help us!

    For the record, I'm with Sam!

  33. Cerealbox says:

    Does she do these tours for free? or do you have to pay tons of money to meet her?…

  34. Cerealbox says:

    How do you know they are hostile. Does everyone have to be like you? respond like you? think like you? Your attitude tells me everything I need to know about you. God help us!

  35. Lakshmi says:

    You don't have to pay anything to meet her, but you may have some expenses involved in going to meet her…such as room/board, etc.

  36. Lakshmi says:

    There are terrible frauds out there…this is true of just about everything in our Kali Yuga….that darkness masquerades as truth and many people will fall under its spell….that is certainly true of "yoga" in general in our modern world. But just because there are false gurus…even evil ones, doesn't mean that there aren't true "sadgurus" A guru is a teacher. Why should we be so arrogant as to think that there aren't teachers out there with more knowledge than what we have? If I want to learn an instrument, I would go to an accomplished, established musician. I would respect their superior knowledge and I would accept them as my teacher. I wouldn't assume that I can learn it all on my own. Some people may be self taught. And some may even go fairly far being self-taught. But even a self-taught person could learn something from a maestro with a little humility. What is wrong with that? There are experts in every field, including spirituality. There are genuine teachers out there. I consider Amma to be my guru as well…and yes, I consider her to be so because of a series of "magical" synchronicities that honestly defy any rational explanation. I'm a pretty rational person, but these events were too unlikely and improbable to be purely random coincidence…it was striking enough to hit a rational person like me over the head. I don't feel that I've given up any personal "power: to Amma at all. In fact, I consider myself to be a pretty lousy devotee. Yet I don't doubt for a moment my experiences of her….and that has given me something that I can't measure or explain.

  37. Kiva says:

    The guru debate is always an interesting one. All kinds of people swear by a guru and there are those on the opposite end of the spectrum who scoff at the idea of giving their power away. Since there is a long history of the guru-disciple in Indian spirituality at least, it would be hard to say that it never works, because it does in many cases. But at the same time, there are so many frauds. I just read about another one yesterday in India who was exposed for abusing his devotees. So I can totally understand why people would be jaded about gurus. After all, could it be any worse than your spiritual teacher taking advantage of you. I've heard of people who just completely gave up on the path after finding out their guru is a fraud.

    Going it alone is the safe way, but finding a teacher you trust can be quite helpful since they can answer your questions and help you get over obstacles. There are also in between routes, like finding a guru that has already passed and just reading his books, watching videos. I find books on their own can do a lot to transmit teachings.

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