"Be wary of words - the true master does not ask you to empty your Zen tea-cup in order refill it with his own brew!"
Contemporary satsang teachers, fakirs and yogis might give you the occasional one once in awhile. If you are lucky, Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) may give you it during an all night long hugging session - but come the morning, the bliss has gone.
Why is it that you feel so great in a teacher's company and so wretched later on?
It is because you have been given a taster, a tempter, a nibble - and like all snacks they are temporary. They have nothing to do with real enlightenment (liberation or self-realisation), because that would still be with you. Ramesh Balsekar calls them "free samples". HWL Poonja (Papaji) called them 'lollipops' and he declared that he had dished out ice cream van loads of them.
So when you got 'it' from Amma, was that 'IT', and when the guru gave you 'one' did you contact the 'One'? No, you just experienced the energy of bliss.
Pretty bold statement, huh? But what is it going to take to get you going for the Big E?
Alternatively, you may have had a temporary awakening; these are less common, can last for months but are not 'IT' either. The most popular type of awakening on offer on the contemporary satsang scene is 'no-mind' or 'satori' - this is where the awareness is taken outside of the mind and an ecstatic state is achieved.
These mini-satori-glimpses, like monosodium glutamate, provide only temporary satisfaction - leaving you parched and wanting more at inconvenient times (like 4 o'clock in the morning), and may lead to hot flushes and palpitations when you anxiously realise that the your favourite bliss merchant is out of town until next year.
Types of Awakenings
There are many different types of awakening. Any part of a human being can wake up. Take for example the mind, body, heart (emotional centre) or intuition - any of these can awaken. When awareness is put into the body then it becomes more alive, more skilful.
For most people the awareness is absorbed by concerns of the mind. It is not free to travel into the body, intuition and heart. If it were free it could even go outside of the mind and into places far from the body.
'No-mind' is where the awareness rests outside of the mind. However, the awareness being constantly in motion will inevitably come within the gravitational pull of the mind and descend into it.
What must be done to have a permanent awakening?
The awareness must be taken far away from the mind, not just into the No-Mind Zone, because this area is still within Creation. All created forms pull the Awareness into themselves.
Awakening is not Enlightenment
For some teachers, awakenings might be easy to create, but like every created thing in this Universe, they are subject to change, at very short-notice.
Enlightenment is 'coming home', the final resting place, where elephants and other sentient beings go to die, i.e. put their memories to rest.
Enlightenment is a full, permanent recognition of what one truly is, free of all false positions, speculations and other mental encumbrances. At the end of a hard day trading, it is enlightenment that is the only thing worth taking home from the spiritual marketplace.
Awakenings will fade and wilt long before the thousand-petal lotus does.
If a spiritual teacher doles out awakenings in much the same way that Italian newly weds shower eagerly awaiting children with sweets from Venetian balconies, should one stay with them? I cannot answer this simply. It depends on the person. If getting psychically blissed-out stops someone abusing alcohol, then it is useful. However, if a seeker gets addicted to the bliss and stops looking for a real enlightenment teacher, then they will be unsuccessful in making the final discovery - enlightenment.
Enlightenment is 'IT' par excellence - not Coca Cola or Pepsi. Accept no imitations or inferior products. Enlightenment is the true living waters, the fountain of eternal life.
Awakenings are novel, but they are not good enough. Jaded spiritual travellers have that far-away look in their eyes. They have not seen heaven but had a million experiences and can wearily say that they have 'seen that miracle, done that mantra, read the latest life-changing book, been around the planet a few thousand times' and are still wondering 'now what is going to make the final difference?'
Many modern satsang teachers do not clearly explain the difference between awakening and enlightenment, and possibly do not know the difference. A Master would hammer away at these concepts like a sculptor carving into a rock to reveal the ultimate form, No-Form. It is from within No-Form that all form is created and held. However, words are not the most important thing that a teacher has; 'transmission', which brings enlightenment, is his real gift.
Some see Advaita as a tradition, a philosophy and a lineage about Truth. This is a misleading concept. Papaji, like Lao Tsu, declared 'there is no teaching'. Ramana Maharshi stated that the teacher is not the external physical form. There is no teaching, teacher or lineage.
This has not stopped some industrious 'teachers' and their evangelical supporters publishing massive teaching tomes. It seems that in the minimalist Advaita Bauhaus Kamp, it is reading that will make us free.
Enlightenment happens by transmission. Books are bondage. It is time to stop reading, and start receiving. Transmission is a mysterious thing that may never be explained. My research in this area continues, and at some point may be documented, but for now the only useful work is that of creating enlightenment, rather than writing about it.
A semantic Berlin Wall has been erected by certain disciples anxious to preserve the purity of the 'true' Advaita teaching. There have been some escapees: these fugitives from truth, realising that the daily porridge of bliss for breakfast, lunch and dinner is both unfulfilling and unlikely to lead to enlightenment have plagiarised the world for new ingredients for a luxury muesli -Advaita Deluxe - which, suspiciously, seems to have been sourced from Eastern yoga and Western psychotherapy. They now offer an Esalen-like range of activities: men and women's groups, art therapy, dancing, singing, meditation, self-hypnosis and yoga.
The Acid Test
This is all circus entertainment. The acid test is this: Can the teacher produce enlightenment? If a teacher is real, they can give enlightenment very quickly.
The Perpetually Empty Tea Cup
Be wary of words: the true master does not ask you to empty your Zen tea-cup in order to refill it with his own brew, but simply to encourage you to remain empty.