Swami-G & David Spero in Conversation, Part 1: Jan 21, 2010

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Swami-G: Namaste.

David: Namaste, Swami-G.

Swami-G: Now we get here and there’ll be nothing, nothing that comes out.

David: We’ve already had our conversation at lunch.

Swami-G: Exactly. At lunch we had a great conversation and that’s too bad everybody wasn’t there. So, yeah, but maybe something else will come up.

David: We’ve had some interesting points come up. I thought it was very fascinating, our discussion about prematurely declarated realizations, first of all.

Swami-G: Yeah.

David: We also spoke about the Shakti.

Swami-G: Exactly.

David: Its role within realization. We spoke about the challenge of having students.

Swami-G: (laughing) Uh hum. Yes. The joys. The joys.

David: The various joys of teaching.

Swami-G: Yes, yes. The joys of teaching, yes.

David: And the curses that come along with it.

Swami-G: Yes, yes.

David: And I thought we’ve shed a lot of light on these topics. And even seemed to have multiple points of agreement. We may describe things differently, but I think that if we can give ourselves a chance just to speak openly and easily about what we know, then maybe these points will automatically align themselves in some kind of an agreement, rather than me trying to agree with you or you trying to agree with me.

Swami-G: Uh hum. Exactly. Exactly.

David: So, …the Shakti is looked down upon in many spiritual circles.

Swami-G: Uh hum.

David: Something that I have learned about through doing research on the internet. And I thought maybe you’d have a few things to say about that since Kundalini, as you suggested, it launches a central, if not the most central aspect, of your own teaching.

Swami-G: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Like we were saying in the midst of lunch that Shankacharya who’s one of the most well respected for non-dual, that people look up to. That when he was first realized, and this is what happens when one first enters realization, the only reality is Absolute. OK? That’s it. The only reality is Absolute and everything else is only dream and illusion. But then as one settles, one settles after realization and the depth comes, then the world comes back into view. And after the world comes back into view, then one sees also Shakti is not two, not two. So, the odes to Shakti were written after realization and it was said, the latter part of Shankacharya’s life, that he wrote the odes to Shakti. It wasn’t before realization. And then everything blew out and then it had no relevance anymore. No, he saw the beauty and the play of God that Shakti and the world after realization is no longer Maya or the illusion. It then becomes the play of God.

David: And isn’t it ironic that Adi Shankara is invoked and evoked by the advaita Vendantists for his “I am That” declarations -- at the same time ignoring this entire latter movement of his life, where Kali became the supreme focus of attention; the Divine Mother, the Shakti. He even opened up Divine Mother temples toward the end of his life.
Swami-G: Yeah, yeah. So, it’s amazing, I think, that people, they don’t understand that the Shakti also is not two that one comes back into the play, back into the play of the world, at the end. Yeah, when one is going through the path, of course, then one’s saying, “It’s illusion, it’s delusion,” because it’s the mind that’s caught up into it, that’s the delusion. OK, one is not seeing the purity, and that’s why when they say, “Before the path, mountains are mountains, during the path they become something else; at the end of the path, mountains become mountains again.” So, one goes full circle.

David: This is absolutely correct about the “I am That” phase of dissolving the world and entering into a Supremely Impersonal Condition, that that, actually, begins to fade away and what reasserts itself is the world, but within That, not as separate from That.

Swami-G: Yeah. It’s never been separate from That. When one starts the path, it’s something separate, one is looking for the Absolute, and they don’t have the Absolute. Therefore, what they’re involved in, in the world, is maya; because they don’t know anything other than that and they’re in the suffering mind and in the suffering persona. But then when one transcends, then the “I” falls away and there is no more of that persona, that one is seeing as this “I”. When that falls away, then one comes back into the world and one sees that it’s the flip side of the coin. Absolute runs like a thread through all of existence. There can be no existence without Absolute – impossible.

David: And many people are claiming, I think inappropriate realization based on this experience of falling away, or dropping in. And you also see the creation of a spiritual strategy around that experience to try to “maintain” the Absolute, as though it’s something that needs to be practiced. And so the way I term this in my teaching is that there is an inordinate fascination with jnana yoga. In other words, taking a yoga and trying to raise it to a level of a description of Enlightenment itself. And you see this going on in what I call the Neo-Advaitic circles or the more recent expositions that have come forth in the last ten years or so. There’s this focus on emptiness. Everything has to gravitate toward emptiness. And there’s this worshiping of the dissolution of the human personality, when in fact it’s the relative world that ought to be worshiped within that Supreme Reality -- that That is the Godhead manifesting. This world is the Divine and nothing else but That.

Swami-G: Uh hum. Yeah. The other problem I see is the flip side of the coin with the Neo-Advaita that says, “Well, since that’s already it, there’s nothing I need to do. Therefore, you know, within my illusion I’m realized.” Well, no one is realized within the illusion. You can’t say that the world is only that divine play, Therefore there’s nothing to get. Because at first one is in the illusion, they’re in Maya, they’re in the delusion. It only becomes the play of God after realization, that one understands what it is.

David: Exactly.

Swami-G: Otherwise, this is why it’s called Maya. Because it’s not what people take it to be. So, the Neo-Advaidic thing, when they come out with, well, “I’m already That, so there’s nothing to get. You know, there’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing to get. I don’t need to do anything. I’m already That. This is already the Divine.” But they’re in illusion and suffering. So yes, there is somewhere to go.

David: Or even if they are partially immersed in That, that too is not Full Realization.

Swami-G: Exactly. One can have a falling away experience and then mind re-routes to try to figure it out and persona comes back and the driving desires, and the driving forces come back. But that’s not it. I think that Ramana is very clear on this. There are many types of samadhis. You can focus on the top of your head and you can have samadhis all day. You can hold on to them with effort. That’s what this is called - holding it with effort. But one has to get the Sahaja State where the mind is then at most points still.