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Re: [Meditation Society of America] re: dealing with the guru/Shadow of the Enlightened Guru

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  • Sarojini
    Namste Thank you so very much for posting that excerpt from George Feuerstein. I had read it before and think it really relavent to what is being discussed.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 14, 2003
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          Thank you so very much for posting that excerpt from George Feuerstein.  I had read it before and think it really relavent to what is being discussed.  I'm going now to read it once again.  Thanks.
              Having lived with a true "guru" in Rishikesh, India, Swami Sivananda, this is a subject close to my heart.  Swami Sivananda was a true enlightened soul.  I have met, during many years, many so called "gurus" who were not even close.  Thanks again for the article.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 10:16 AM
      Subject: [Meditation Society of America] re: dealing with the guru/Shadow of the Enlightened Guru


      I feel like the following article fits in with the discussion
      on guru/disciple,  therapist/client,  parent/child,  teacher/student  etc.

      To me,  there is conceptually a fine distinction
      between the ultimate function of 'guru'
      in its truest meaning, and the function
      of the other "relationships".

      A realized being playing the role of 'guru'.....or, being the vehicle
      through which another gets realized, so to speak, may not necessarily
      have an integrated personality.

      As illustrated in this article,  not all supposedly
      'realized beings', in other words, where there exists
      no-identity,  have integrated personalities.
      No identity and an "integrated personality"
      don't go hand in hand.

      I think it's a distinction worth paying attention to,
      because i believe it causes confusion.

      The guru/disciple relationship isn't about
      fostering personality intergration.   While
      that can be a by-product,  it's not a cause and effect
      kind of thing.

      This isn't that easy to convey, because,
      it can be said, if there is no-identity, then
      what personality is there to integrate?

      Which leads me to say that personality integration,
      in itself, is to start with, a made-up creation of mind.

      I think that the paradigm shift of 'realization' which results
      in the complete absence of identity-- and that which cannot
      be spoken about-- is different from the intergration of

      What does anyone else think?


      As posted by Gill on Sufimystic:

      From: 'Meeting The Shadow'

      Edited by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams

      The Shadow Of The Enlightened Guru

      by Georg Feuerstein

      In his book The Lotus and the Robot, Arthur Koestler tells of an incident
      that happened while he was sitting at the feet of the female Indian guru
      Anandamayi Ma, who is venerated by tens of thousands of Hindus as an
      incarnation of the Divine. An old woman approached the dais and begged
      Anandamayi Ma to intercede for her son, who had been missing in action after
      a recent border incident. The saint ignored her completely. When the woman
      became hysterical, Anandamayi Ma dismissed her rather harshly, which was a
      signal to the attendants to swiftly conduct the woman out of the room.

      Koestler was taken aback by Anandamayi Ma's indifference to the woman's
      suffering. He concluded that the saint was, at least in that moment, lacking
      compassion. He found it perplexing that an allegedly enlightened being,
      acting spontaneously out of the fullness of the Divine, should display such
      abruptness and seeming callousness. This story highlights the fact that even
      supposedly "perfect" beings can and do engage in actions that seem to
      contradict their followers' idealized image of them.

      Some "perfect" masters are notorious for their angry outbursts, others for
      their authoritarianism. Of late a number of allegedly celibate super-gurus
      have made headlines for their clandestine sexual relationships with women
      followers. Spiritual geniuses-saints, sages, and mystics-are not immune to
      neurotic traits or to having experiences much like psychotic states. Indeed,
      even apparently enlightened adepts can be subject to personality
      characteristics that consensus opinion finds undesirable.

      That the personality of enlightened beings and advanced mystics remains
      largely intact is obvious when one examines biographies and autobiographies
      of adepts, past and present. Each one manifests specific psychological
      qualities, as determined by his or her genetics and life history. Some are
      inclined toward passivity, others are spectacularly dynamic. Some are
      gentle, others fierce. Some have no interest in learning, others are great
      scholars. What these fully awakened beings have in common is that they no
      longer identify with the personality complex, however it may be configured,
      but live out of the identity of the Self. Enlightenment, then, consists in
      the transcendence of the ego-habit, but enlightenment does not obliterate
      the personality. If it did, we would be justified in equating it with

      The fact that the basic personality structure is essentially the same after
      enlightenment as it was before raises the crucial question of whether
      enlightenment also leaves untouched traits that in the unenlightened
      individual might be called neurotic. I believe that this is so. If they are
      true teachers, their overriding purpose can be expected to be the
      communication of the transcendental Reality. Yet, their behavior is, in the
      outside world, always a matter of personal style.

      Devotees, of course, like to think that their ideal guru is free from whims
      and that apparent idiosyncracies must be for the sake of teaching others.
      But a moment's reflection would show this to be based in fantasy and

      Some teachers have claimed that their conduct reflects the psychic state of
      those with whom they come in contact, that their sometimes curious exploits
      are, in other words, triggered by disciples. This may be, because
      enlightened adepts are like chameleons. But such mirroring still proceeds
      along personal lines- For instance, some gurus will not sit on garbage
      heaps, consume human flesh (as did the modern Tantric master Vimalananda),
      or meditate on corpses to instruct others, while few of those who engage in
      such practices would consider training their intellects or acquiring musical
      skills in order to serve a disciple better.

      The personality of the adept is, to be sure, oriented toward
      selftranscendence rather than self-fulfillment. However, it is
      characteristically not on a self-actualizing trajectory. I use
      self-actualization here in a more restricted sense than it was intended by
      Abraham Maslow: as the intention toward realizing psychic wholeness based on
      the integration of the shadow. The shadow, in jungian terms, is the dark
      aspect of the personality, the aggregate of repressed materials. The
      individual shadow is ineluctably tied up with the collective shadow. This
      integration is not a once-and-for-all event but a lifelong process. It can
      occur either prior to enlightenment or afterward. If integration is not a
      conscious program of the pre-enlightened personality, it is also unlikely to
      form part of the personality after enlightenment, because of the relative
      stability of the personality structures.

      The claim has been made by some contemporary adepts that in the breakthrough
      of enlightenment, the shadow is entirely flooded with the light of
      supraconsciousness. The implication is that the enlightened being is without
      shadow. This is difficult to accept as a statement about the conditional
      personality. The shadow is the product of the near-infinite permutations of
      unconscious processes that are essential to human life as we know it. While
      the personality is experiencing life, unconscious content is formed simply
      because no one can be continuously aware of everything.

      The uprooting of the ego-identity in enlightenment does not terminate the
      processes of attention: it merely ends the anchorage of attention to the
      ego. Moreover, the enlightened being continues to think and emote, which
      inevitably leaves an unconscious residue even when there is no inner
      attachmerit to these processes. The important difference is that this
      residue is not experienced as a hindrance to ego-transcendence simply
      because this is an ongoing process in the enlightened condition.

      A few adepts have resolved this issue by admitting that there is a phantom
      ego, a vestigial personality center, even after awakening as the universal
      Reality. If we accept this proposition, then we could perhaps also speak of
      the existence of a phantom shadow or a vestigial shadow, which permits the
      enlightened being to function in the dimensions of conditional reality In
      the unenlightened individual, ego and shadow go together; we can postulate an
      analogous polarization between phantom ego and phantom shadow after

      Even if we were to assume that enlightenment illumines and evaporate the
      shadow, we must still seriously question whether this illumination
      corresponds to integration-the basis for higher self-trans formation. This
      means that it involves intentional change in the direction of psychic
      wholeness that can be observed by others. When I examine the lives of
      contemporary adepts claiming to be enlightened, I do not see evidence that
      such integration work is being done. One of the first indications would be a
      visible willingness not only to reflect disciples back to themselves but
      also to have disciples be a mirror for the adept's further growth. However,
      this kind of willingness calls for an openness that is precluded by the
      authoritarian style adopted by most gurus.

      The traditional spiritual paths are by and large grounded in the vertical
      ideal of liberation from the conditioning of the body-mind. Therefore, the
      focus on what is conceived to be the ultimate good-transcendental Being.
      This spiritual single-mindedness jars the human psyche out of focus: its
      personal concerns become insignificant and its structures are viewed as
      something to be transcended as quickly as possible rather than transformed.
      Of course, all self-transcending methods involve a degree of
      self-transformation. But, as a rule, this does not entail a concerted effort
      to work with the shadow and accomplish psychic integration. This may explain
      why so many mystics and adepts are highly eccentric and authoritarian and
      appear socially to have weakly integrated personalities.

      Unlike transcendence, integration occurs in the horizontal plane. It extends
      the ideal of wholeness to the conditional personality and its social nexus.
      Yet, integration makes sense only when the conditional personality and the
      conditional world are not treated as irrevocable opponents of the ultimate
      Reality but are valued as manifestations of it.

      Having discovered the Divine in the depths of his or her own soul, the adept
      must then find the Divine in all life. This is, in fact, the adept's
      principal obligation and responsibility. To put it differently, having drunk
      at the fountain of life, the adept must complete the spiritual opus and
      practice compassion on the basis of the recognition that everything
      participates in the universal field of the Divine.

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