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Swami Harinanda
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Hello subscribername,

Being egoless yet still retaining a personality – how is that possible?

What a lot of people are writing and asking about is how various Yogis, gurus and teachers, from the past and the present are egoless yet still retain a personality. Also so many want to understand how, when the mind is empty, in satchitananda at its very highest state of sahaja nirvikalpi samadhi, can there possibly be any ego left to express a personality - yet even people like Ramana Maharshi did express a personality and sometimes emotion. It seems to be hard for students to get their mental tongue around these concepts.

Please start at the beginning of your studies and trace your steps backwards and you can find just who the people were that brought you to this place – or some other. Each individual that dropped a word here and there, or simply guided you to a book to read has been in effect the outward expression of the guru inside you, leading you ever so slowly along the way to your own realization that there is in fact only one guru and that is you yourself – the real you – the Atman. Or more dramatically, how you yourself just happened to see a book on the shelf that caught your eye. In this way it was the pure consciousness of Atman that illuminated the book for you.

Until that is realized, outward signposts, teachers, gurus and so called Masters are needed. I call them so called Masters, because no true self realized person would ever state that he was. It is always “others” who make this claim about their chosen teacher. Most reliable teachers will not allow that – just because it is not true.

You as a man, have a brother upstairs asleep, who may be dreaming he is a butterfly, and just because you are awake and know that you are man does not make him any less a man than you. He just has to wake up to realize he is not a butterfly and is in fact a man also.

A guru who has awakened does not see you any other way than perfect, but still asleep, dreaming you are John Doe the cabinet maker.

Most sensible teachers know this to be true, that you are already perfect and spiritual just as you are, fulfilling a role in life that will awaken you to your own perfection – that is if you can listen to your inner voice (Atman) guiding you along the way.

That same inner voice directs you to teachers, sometimes one alone for your life time, and sometimes to many different ones. Even here, one must use viveka, spiritual discrimination, to discern whether you have become attached to your teacher, or whether you are in a rut, or whether you are really seeing signs of unfoldment to your own perfection.

In this regard, ALL teachers and gurus are necessary. For every person there will be someone who will enlighten you a little further. Unfortunately the sham guru, out for your money, or the cult leader, wanting power over you will nurture your co-operation to the point that you believe everything they say. This is not good. You should be able to argue a point which is disturbing to you, or to disagree completely. These disagreements should come with an explanation, well thought out, so that a dialogue can be set up between the two of you, until you are satisfied that you have received an answer or not.

Then you have the Gurus which use their power over others for sexual gain. And this, when he preaches celibacy. A recent case within the last two years made the headlines in India, where even in the face of mass fallout of pupils, the rest were gullible enough to stay on while some went in to total denial. The guru brazenly faced his remaining pupils as if nothing happened. So you can see, everyone needs someone, and some become so attached, that even in the face of apparent deception, remain.

A case in point about teachers or Masters is the stories we have received about Mother Meera, written by a young man who became enamoured with her - yet when he went to live with her and got to know her personality, became disenchanted, and wrote another book denigrating her. This is not unusual, that a young man or woman can be so awe struck on first association with their teachers, yet on getting to know them further, their gullible dreams they had about them were shattered. This is not the fault of Mother Meera or any guru for that matter. One cannot help the dreams of young aspirants.

Two examples I can give you was one young student from India began to worship me and claim that I had created miracles for him, and he was forever addressing me with words like Holiness and even Avatar. It went on and on. In all honesty I had to tell him (in a nice way) he was wrong in his assumptions, but he kept on. I finally had to tell him to leave.

The other example is rather cruder but it saved a young man from much future heartache.

A young student of mine told me that when he was five years old, he desperately wanted to be a clown in a circus. One day the circus came to his city and he sneaked around the back tents until, on looking under the tent, he found the clown putting on his make up. He went up to him with his wide innocent eyes, and said, “Please Mr. Clown, I want to be a clown, can you teach me?”

The clown looked down at him with a stern look on his face and shouted at him - “Fuck off kid – get outta here.” The young man was desolate, but later in life he realized the clown did him a favour, as on growing up, he knew he would have hated the life.

When you go to gurus and or teachers that need your money or donations to keep their centers or ashrams functioning, you are not going to get the hard cold diamond sharp reality of what is needed to awaken to SELF. They cannot send away the person who they inherently know will not be able to do what is necessary to achieve samadhi.

They may keep you on as they want your money or donations. Why don’t they go out and work as most great teachers do?

Then again this is okay too as there is someone for everybody, and if you like to be entertained with some mystically mental fantasy which makes you feel good and as though you are advancing or getting somewhere, then that is where you belong.

Most of the Zen Buddhist schools can be quite severe. There are the horror stories of keeping young men standing out in the rain for weeks before even allowing them in for their first meeting. There are usually other severe tests for the neophyte to pass before they are accepted.

Is hardship really necessary? No it is not, but the proper training is hard enough, and done with love can lesson the severity of it.

You have heard the expression of the Sunday painter! People who take a weekend and go to the hills or the seaside and paint a canvas or two, but art is more than just pretty pictures – and most cases most of them are pretty damn awful. A real artist sells his soul for paints and canvases. He HAS to paint. He would rather paint than eat – and in many cases that is what happened. They needed the money for their tools and could not buy food.

The musician is the same way. Once they have the vision of art or music, they become consumed by it and practicing on the violin or piano for 8 hours a day is an act of love for them. They HAVE to do it.

So too with Yoga. It is a way of life. It is an act of love, and a true yogi HAS to do it. If it means meditating during the night instead of sleeping, he will. Your meditations are better than sleep really as you can remain conscious while enjoying the Bliss of union.

I have to repeat over and over again, meditations where you go into a reverie, or have visions, or see lights and colors, and or, go to sleep while meditating, are doing you no go good whatsoever. Meditation must be done, keeping the mind firmly fixed and the body absolutely still, AND REMAIN WIDE AWAKE to the light of consciousness.

Half hour meditations are a beginning, but too many people for some reason or other seem to think that is enough to do. Students must begin somewhere and a half hour is ok for starters, but please learn to work up to 4 or 5 hours during the nighttime, when you have finished your work and home jobs. If for any reason your functions include parties or watching movies, by all means do so, but then after midnight meditate, do your meditations for 5 hours. Time your self with an alarm clock- then get 1 to 2 hours sleep, so that your dream sequences can be manifested. This is important for your mental health.

You do not want visions or dreams invading your meditations, so keep alert and awake all the time.

If you are not willing to give yourself to Yoga, don’t you think it would be more advisable to live a functional life, doing good works, teaching, socializing, being an all rounder – instead of playing at it with these meetings, and these half hour meditations?

Don’t become a weekend Yogi, unless you know that is what you want.

There is nothing wrong with a weekend Yogi, as there is nothing wrong with a weekend painter. They both get a lot of pleasure from their endeavours, but for a weekend painter to hope he will become famous, or for a weekend yogi to think he will attain samadhi this way, is just adding another dream to the endless dreams you already have.

Now back to the ego and personality thing. As one eradicates mental fluctuations – emptying the mind of conditioned “stuff” the mind is then becoming freer and freer to utilize itself as the instrument to unite with SELF. It becomes easier and easier as one dumps all the rubbish. When the mind is completely centered on SELF and unified with it all the time, one is then in sahaj nirivkali samadhi. This state is called the ego less and no mind state – yet, when we observe those that are suspected to be in this state, we see they are still producing the same personality as they had before. Well of course they will. As long as the body is before you, it has to be held together by something. For most of us it is ego that holds us together. We remain alive. For the one in samadhi ego has ceased, but his Parabdha Karma insists he is held together by Atman until he fulfills that Parabdha karma. When it is fulfilled, the body and the personality will die.

It is you the observer that perceive the personality. Go back to the beginning again. This life is an illusion. A shadow form. Doesn’t really exist. You don’t exist and I don’t exist. We are really ONE collective unit, which because of ego we see individuality and separation. This is called the Holographic Paridigm. That is not the fault of the egoless one such as Ramana that you still perceive personality. It is also you who have attributed Mastery to him – or others, yet it is not something they can say about themselves, as they do not exist as anything but the ONE ATMAN.

As he sees everything as perfect, so you too when you achieve Sahaja Nirvikalpi Samadhi, will see everyone and everything as perfection. This perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Just as a new born baby without mind function suckles on his mother’s breast while he sleeps, his work of nourishing himself goes on. That is instinctive consciousness at work. So too, the Yogi in sahaja Nirvikalpi samadhi is without mind, but his work goes on. In this case it is his Parabdha Karma which allows the appearance of personality to exist. I think it explains well enough for you to understand how it is possible.

So do not be too hard on gurus who may have deceived you, or who you have become disenchanted with – they too are perfectly in their perfect place. You must remember it is we who perceive the world and the people in it. When you see hate and poverty and degradation and murder, it is only because you still have that in you. Of course you also see beauty and kindness, and you have that in you also. Now to strike a balance, even intellectually, life cannot exist without the law of duality and opposites. When you are in samadhi, you will see neither – you perceive only the great unifying force of love in everything.

That is why one great Hindu saint, I think it was Kebalananda, who spoke only one word all his life – AUM. That is the aural expression of God, and that is all he could know – AUM.




Swami Harinanda

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