No world, no big deal?

Allan Curry acurry at UVIC.CA
Thu Oct 9 14:22:41 CDT 1997


I believe Ram recently mentioned the experience of jnana entailed the
non-appearance of the world. This reminded me of a remark Trevor Leggett
makes in his book "Realization of The Supreme Self" (about Sankara's
commentary to the Bhagavad Gita)...

"They do not usually realize that Identificative meditation on the absolute
away from maya, must involve giving up also the maya of individaul body and
individual mind. A modern teacher has remarked when the meditation comes to
this point, there is usually a sort of shrinking away in the face of what
begins to look alarmingly like a void."

Some traditions call going through this process "ego death" and declare it
to be the sine qua non of real spirituality. I wonder how many of the
"jnani-come-lately" gurus around these days have truly died before their
rebirth as self-promoting saviors. I sometimes think they are trivializing
the whole thing by giving those "instant enlightenment" workshops in which
they "confirm" the "realization" of participants from their paying audience
who so much as smile or giggle.

I think the traditional systems of India do afford us some measure of
protection from this trend in that they are not as quick as we might be to
take everyone at their word. The tradition provides at least some means to
assess the growing number of enlightenment claims around us. For instance,
I think Ramana *was* acknowledged by three leaders of traditional Vedanta
during his lifetime.

Interestingly, Poonja was not, as far as I know, acknowledged to be
enlightened by anybody but himself and his students, to mention nothing of
the assorted Poonja clones (one of whom openly criticizes him after having
been annointed as his "spiritual heir" etc.). To my knowledge, Ramana
Maharshi did not tell Poonja that Poonja was enlightened or that Poonja
should or could enlighten others. The claim of any "lineage" whatsoever
descending from Ramana Maharshi has no confirmation I can find on Ramana's
side. I'm not saying Poonja and his students and his student's students are
*not* enlightened, just that, as far as I'm concerned, their claims must be
taken with a "few grains of salt" whereas Ramana Maharshi's statements are
considered to be on a similar level as the Upanishads by the custodians of
that tradition in India. Do I have this right?

It would be interesting to hear what list members believe would legitimate
someone's claim to be enlightened.


Allan Curry

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