On this episode of the Mindrolling Podcast, Raghu and David share an honest conversation around the enigmatic teachers they have encountered along their spiritual paths.
What is a guru? What is a teacher? Raghu and David offer thoughts and definitions of a “realized being” a “Siddha” and of a teacher – some of whom are benevolent and some actually harmful. They discuss their parts in the saga of Joya Santanya, and talk about the grand nature of her Shakti and her ego…
The Accomplishment of the Guru (Opening) – Raghu and David talk about what a Guru’s role really is about and what distinguishes them from an “ordinary” spiritual teacher.
“In his book, Be Love Now, Ram Dass gives a definition of what that ‘realized being’ or Guru or whatever you want to call it is. In its most simplistic terms, it is someone who is not in time and space; who is prescient and has access to anything that is needed in the moment to help others become free.” – Raghu Markus
Grist for the Mill (6:15) – Our hosts share their difficult experiences with Joya Santanya, aka Ma Joya, who was an embodiment of the harm that can come from certain teachers. They share these stories not to defame or belittle, but to help us in our understanding so that we may practice skillful discrimination and use their experiences as grist for the mill for transcending this stuff ourselves.
“Joya was incredibly articulate, very strong and a very amazing speaker. She was sometimes funny, sometimes brutal, sometimes gentle and she could swear like a sailor. What that did was show the amalgam that she was, and I have to say that I was drawn into it. I rationalized it as, ‘This is a hard path of self-awareness and to get there you need a teacher like this – like the classic Buddhist monk with a stick who will smack you when you start to fall asleep.” – David Silver
Cult of Personality (22:00) – On the topic of teachers who came with a mixed bag of blessings, ego, and danger we hear about David’s recent encounter with the teachings of Franklin Jones; a teacher who has gone by nearly a dozen names – including Bubba Free John and Adi Da.
“This was not someone any of us wanted anything to do with, but I got a lot out of his book. The question is: is it possible to gain insight and Loving-kindness out of a situation that wasn’t pure or does the impurity of the source become a pollutant?” – David Silver
The Big Difference (33:30) – We look at what sets individuals like Franklin Jones and Ma Joya apart from a realized being and how we can cultivate an awareness and discernment between the two when we meet one for ourselves.
Photo via Elephant Journal