Testing the realization of "gurus"

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Thu Jul 3 09:42:19 CDT 1997

On Wed, 2 Jul 1997, Allan Curry wrote:

> Dear All,
> "That which is ever awake even in sleep, sending forth the variety of
> ideas, is the Real Self, and all immortality; all the worlds are held in it
> (as it were, in suspension), there is nothing which transcends it.
> It is this".    -- Kathopanishad
> I've assumed that quotes like this imply the awareness of realized beings
> is continuous 24 hours/day during all three states. I asked a supposedly
> enlightened person by email recently if he experienced such continuous
> awareness during the sleep state. His response was to the effect that his
> body/mind experienced what every other body/mind did. When pressed for
> details, (given that most body/minds do NOT experience awareness during the
> sleep state), he replied that I was clinging to a mere idea I had about what
> an enlightened person should be and he was (by implication) beyond such
> silly ideas.  The sleep state of the A.Curry body/mind has been witnessed
> without a doubt, (although far from ALWAYS), so I know its possible. Why
> would anyone with similar experience not have simply answered the question
> "yes" or "sometimes". I strongly suspected therefore that this "guru"
> hedged the question because he did not actually have Brahman's point of
> view (ie. Avasthatrayasaksin).  I can't think of anything worse than
> pretending to be a realized being who's in a position to guide others,
> but maybe that's just another silly idea of mine!
> Question: Is it OK to try to ascertain whether a "guru" actually is a realized
> being by asking such questions of them, or are we supposed to just "take it
> or leave it"? Is witnessing the sleep state a legitimate criteria to use to
> determine who is a realized being and who is not?
> Question: Can a teacher help AT ALL if they are not a completely realized
> being themselves?
> Sincerely,
> Allan Curry

In the deep-sleep state, all of us [Realized, also non-Realized]
experience the same: nothing. The turiya state, which is a witness
to all the states, is there in the deep-sleep state.

May be Allan's question (to whom he calls a Realized person) should be:
How does the Realized person's waking state differ from our waking state ?
It is the waking state when we indulge in all our activities. If the
Realized person's waking state differs from the waking state of ours, then
we may say that X is a Realized person. For that, we do not need to take
the word of the person. That person's actions, and re-actions to normal
incidents in life are ample evidence whether X is realized or not.

Further, there is no need for a worldly statement that X is a guru and
Y is a disciple. That relation between a guru and a sishhya comes out
naturally and the mutual trust which Shri Vidyasankar mentioned will
evolve also naturally.

Obviously, in the modern age, we do not have the outward guru-sishhya
relations which prevailed in Shri Shankara's time, but still gurus and
sishhyaas are there and communicate by different methods.

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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