Self-Realization is taught in every mystery school, and is in essence, discovering what lies before consciousness when all transient imagery is dropped for the moment. To move with the flow of consciousness, as opposed to the direction of the karmic monkey-mind, which only leads us towards fulfilling mental conditionings, was the aim for every mystic on this planet. Those capable of looking within the numerous aspects of one's psyche, including the shadow self, were rewarded heavily with "inner completion", or not needing transient material illusions to fulfill one's drive. Such provides a deeper rendering of Jesus' "Render unto Caesar", separating the darsan of the Kingdom of Heaven found within from the workings of the material planes.
Siddharta's tradition of Buddhism has placed heavy weight on "suffering" and "desire", where theologians and philosophers have sought to properly understand "enlightenment" by and through "mindful" practices, which often fail due to keeping the adept mindful to aspects within the body and its numerous sensory triggers to further engage the monkey-mind. Nonetheless, the "enlightenment" concept hinted at by both Siddharta and the Hindu tradition as described in Vivekananda's Raja Yoga, would be the place of moving beyond the monkey-mind, or Samadhi. It is important to note that Siddharta was simply one of many Indian yogi's, practicing many different types of techniques, all with the intent of approaching Samadhi. Similarly, Padmasambhava brought his techniques of enlightenment, as a further step beyond the "mindful" approach to the land of Tibet. Padmasambhava's techniques are quite similar to the Saiva tradition, as both fall under the banner of Tantra, with the higher schools invoking wrathful Goddess energy as meditative purging under the Sakta/Vajrayogini Left-Hand Path. As found in the Sakta tradition, Kali, the Mahavidyas, and the 64 Yogini are quite acceptable to assist on the path of physical and mental stillness to approach Samadhi, should the adept be capable of handling such energies as I would consider these beings as a volume knob for the kundalini.
Though taught in every mystery school including the Oracles of Chaldea, Upanisads (Cream of the Vedas), and the Hermetic tradition, etc., Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta appears to be the quickest and simplest approach to Self. The self-inquiry technique is simply logical self questioning of removing all transient images from one's mind, Neti (not this) Neti (not this), until one is lingering in a psychologically baggage-free state within the moment. One is in the flow of what is being done as opposed to being directed and controlled by the monkey-mind. Such is accomplished when the adept recognizes a drop in the personal-story for an "observer" state of consciousness, hence, ego-death.
Though such practices fall under the banner of "ego-death", where wrathful Goddesses such as Kali make an excellent choice in assisting in turning "off" the matrix, many choose this approach to have a better materialistic transient life. As an example, many may choose the Goddess Kamakhya for earthly pleasures such as love or regenerative family, as opposed to learning the mysteries of the creative sexual energy and its capabilities. Many simply do not understand "ego-death", and hence, wrathful beings such as Kali. When approaching ego-death practices, particularly Advaita, the need to "let go" arises. If you are looking for a spouse, to save the "state of humanity", or some other transient delusion of fulfilling some egoic desire, ego-death practices will be difficult for you. As an example, in meditation, should a blessed thought arise while practicing Advaita that can assist many human beings, etc., many people would choose to assist. Very few people truly understand that, "when you see the Buddha on the road, kill him". The goal is to reach deeper until one is out of the drama of the monkey-mind. The ending result is actually moksha-liberation for the monkey-mind, where the mind feels like a "feather" as one moves in harmony, where the ego works with spirit. Hence, in practice one looks for ego-death in order to enjoy the ego from a non-attached state. Best of both worlds, be in it, but not of it.
Samadhi appears to be the goal of both the Right Hand Path ("RHP") and Left Hand Path ("LHP"), including that of the Western occultists. The RHP can be seen as working on the higher chakras, where the adepts attempt to stay away from practices that would engross them further in samsara. The LHP works on the lower chakras first in an attempt to fulfill, master, and transcend for stillness. The LHP needs to understand that higher self has a reason for incarnating, the RHP needs to understand that after yoga comes bhoga-enjoyment. After Adi Shankara had attained Advaita (Oneness) moving his consciousness beyond transient existence, the Goddess appeared before him and showed him the beauty of merging Spirit with Matter (Shiva with Prakriti-Shakti). Therefore, the adept is to liberate themselves, and enjoy samsara from a non-attached state.
By placing one's consciousness into the 3rd state of the intelligence body, such has the effect of putting one into the "observer" state or the feeling of "presence". Nonetheless, adepts will face issues regarding the physical body and energy body. Techniques such as Hatha Yoga and Pranayama can be used for the physical body, where I personally choose Mantras (shakti) and energy healers for the energy body (and mental). Nonetheless, to tap into the 3rd state of the intelligence body, as depicted in this video, would be the beginnings of Samadhi. It is the beginning of simply being "present" for the moment, where the adept can simply say, "I just am". It is existence beyond the personality self, as the observer, highlighting the clarity of the moment.
Once the adept has noticed the difference between the 3rd state of the intelligence body in comparison to the 1st state of the physical body, or rather the difference between "presence" and the "monkey-mind", the adept then must do the work of anchoring "presence" as the "monkey-mind" will throw tantrums. Basically, there is an oscillating process.
It appears that all Gurus in the Self-Realization camp are saying the same thing, all are simply attempts to get the adept to look deeper within oneself. Nonetheless, those that have accomplished this to a high degree tend to have some "magic" in their assistance of others, which I can only label as telepathic, transmission, etc. Being new to Mooji, it was Bentinho's silent retreats which helped me push my psychological boundaries, and actually was a stepping stone to be able to properly hear Mooji. There is also Panache Desai's immense energy work, which has pushed my understanding of the capabilities of Advaita. Typically, the Guru assists in purging the adept, whereas Ramana Maharshi did that for Papaji, Papaji did that for Mooji.
There is also Nithyanandaji, who has moved his ashram well beyond Advaita into traditional Saiva practices to further push ancient practices in a scientific manner. Though I am not an adept of his ashram, I have paid attention to his community and have also noted his mantras to be quite expansive. If he can help my personal practice, why not? Nonetheless, such Gurus will be hated as the ego must be purged of everything holding it back. Again, this is the practice of ego-death, and ego will try to run. It is important to note that when Nithayandaji speaks of his egoic-self as he has expressed on facebook, he simply states, "I am just a Sakta". Though I may not consider him as Guru, in the sense that I do not invoke him for stillness, he has become my inspiration in the "if he can do it, I can do it" category. Therefore, I do bow to his feet, as we do in the East, to honor the footsteps that he has walked.
Further I will concede regarding Nithyananda, I am someone who has been more than privy to confidential information and legalities of the numerous horseshit allegations against, not just his organization, but Hinduism in general in a Country where Atheists/Christians are attempting to "Fox-News" the numerous traditions of India. As has been quite alleged, people are often paid to go into these traditional organizations and cause a mess, where further, legal "standing" is not a requirement to file a legal complaint in certain Countries. In other words, to get into a legal mess, anyone can "cry wolf" leading us into endless witch-hunts (meaning lack of evidence). Moreover, when a Westerner, such as attorney F. Greene, who quit the job because opposing counsel gave him too much work (as stated in his motion to be removed), discuses Hinduism, it is done through the eyes of a eurocentric self-centered and overly white-privileged mentality who will not do two-minutes of research to get over themselves and understand someone else's culture. Such was the frustration of every moment of sitting in a Courtroom with this conditioned monkey-mind latching onto the inability to see anything beyond his own personal issues, and henceforth, his personal projections were quite noticeable as we had discussed with the State Bar of California. As an example, in India, we bow to others feet as a sign of honoring the footsteps someone has walked, such as our own parents, where attorney F. Greene took that as an opportunity in all of his Complaints and Moving Documents to degrade the Hindu Religion as being a submissively degrading act signifying mind-manipulation. What I have disclosed can all be found in publicly recorded documents. In defending Nithyananda's organization, I had to deal with rich and organized Anti-Hindu organizations and attorneys, who had no evidence, and sadly overall, no clue.
To those wondering about Nithyananda, he's teaching the same thing as every Advaita Guru, which is to de-condition from what we have been conditioned into, for Self Realization. In the Indian traditions, the Goddesses are synchronized with the Kundalini, allowing for clearing and realigning, where Deities thereafter can help the adept navigate their journey, particularly through the practices of yantras. What Nithyananda is doing in India for the traditional Indian population, is the same as what most "Ascension" alchemists of the West are doing for the Western World. He's "downloading" information and providing all of it to his devotees, using the traditional practices in a scientific manner to assess efficacy. Nithyananda has his own Guru which he is constantly admiring, and of course, his Kaula Devi, Village Godddess. I personally prefer wearing Black, listening to Heavy Metal, and isolation, where the traditional means is too far for this Westernized adept. Nithyananda and I have much in common as he is simply teaching Saivism, as we understand Rudraksha beads are significantly more valuable than gold. Nithyananda has clarified that gold maybe more for traditional purposes, but he sleeps with Rudrakshas under his pillow. In addition, I manage to catch a few of his "activations" throughout the year, which provide significant gnosis unlike any other, and is the same current as Sadashiva that I personally tap into using the traditional mantras, which is simply the Atma-Soul expanding itself slightly painfully within the physical vessel. For me, the Rudrakshas are the golden tears of Shiva, as Shiva terrifyingly mourned the loss of his Sati. Moreover, what really is the physical gold of a demiurge monarch in comparison to a multi-dimensional consciousness, or even further, the eternal-bliss of dropping the egoic-mind for Self Realization? The kingdom of heaven is found within, and there are many mansions. Such would be the spiritual teachings of the ashram, I'll leave the political-material-social conduct and continued accusations to those who are equipped to judge (assess and discern from a wider perspective aka "judge not lest ye be judged") evidence properly.
For serious practitioners of both the RHP and LHP, discover Self beyond transient existences (including dogma), and enjoy your time in samsara.
Maharaj: When you shall begin to question your dream, awakening will be not far away. Your world is transient, changeful. My world is perfect, changeless. In my world nothing happens. My world is real, while yours is made of dreams.
1. Guru in Eastern and Western Practices
From my research, the first step in the Western occult practices is communication with what is known as the Holy Guardian Angel ("HGA"). Communion with such will allow the fruition of one's divine will, or soul purpose, pushing the motto propagated by Aleister Crowley, "do what thou wilt". Texts such as the The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, stress the need to bypass working out of ignorance. Such includes studying with individuals working with astral beings that may not necessarily have the highest intent, where such practices are designed more so for material (egoic/samsaric) purposes.
From further researching Western occultists on this path, it appears the modern technique is quite similar to the Eastern Advaita Vedanta. Advaita is simply the technique to remove all images from the monkey-mind, bringing the adept to a psychologically clean blissful state. The technique is self-inquiry where the adept analyzes all that arises before the mind as either transient, or non-transient. As all, but awareness, is ever-changing and thusly transient, the technique is called Neti, Neti, where the adept ends-up telling himself, Not This (It Is Transient, It Is Not Real), Not This (It Is Transient, It Is Not Real), until one has removed himself from the monkey-mind for the momentary state of "presence" found by simply being the "observer" and not emotionally-vibrationally tied down by "persona" and its baggage. The persona and attached baggage, or the personalization of consciousness with the character being played within the matrix, is karma. One may understand bad karma as handcuffs to bad habits, but one may not realize good karma as golden-handcuffs often mistaken as jewelry. Both, good or bad karma, are the product of the monkey-mind attaching one to samsaric-maya-creation, where the adepts goal is to flow with one's higher consciousness out of the monkey-mind.
In further correlation to the Western traditions, my work with Enochian Magick, particularly the Call of The 30 Aethyrs (as worked backwards, 30th to 1st), holds the sensation of drastically clearing the chakra system, realigning the spinal cord, and bringing the adept to a significantly noticeable calm. In addition, my HGA made an appearance during the Call of The 4th Aethyr, an angelic being with "Western" features, which only further pushed me into "presence" beyond imagery, or what I would label "void". I have further taken note regarding this particularly session, where monkey-mind sought numerous distractions. Hence, the adept is warned for the necessity of spiritual hygiene, including banishing practices. (See the works of Jason Louv). For banishing, I typically use the four (4) archangels used in most banishing settings, as well as Goddess Durga. The quick Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is quite effective in aura cleansing leaving the emotional body in a noticeably deeper calm, though I am personally not one for crafty external rituals.
Nonetheless, the sole purpose of the Guru is to move the adept into "presence" beyond the "monkey-mind" which is glued to samsara through "personhood-personalization-ego". The need for Guru arises as the adept oscillates between "presence" where one's inner cranium is essentially void of baggage leaving an "emptiness" feeling with sensory heightening of the current moment, versus the monkey-mind immersed in the clatters of personalizing one's egoic-story and in constant analysis regarding one's environmental circumstances. Essentially, the goal is to drop your baggage to fully show up for the moment. The clarity of the moment is what allows the adept senses to heighten pushing way for the magick to begin. It allows the ego-personhood to step aside, for gnosis.
2. Philosophical Reasons in Choosing Guru
The vast majority of Hinduism falls under Vaishnava, including simple understandings of Shiva. Hindus have provided the G.O.D. model by and through (a)Brahma-Generator, Visnu-Operator, and Shiva-Destroyer. Nonetheless, in this model, Shiva destroys to return to Brahma. Brahma is the creator of traditions, culture, and religion. In other words, he would be the egos attempt to bring heaven on earth, as he is constantly chasing perfection (Saraswati). Nonetheless, the G.O.D. model becomes cyclical, a rat wheel if you will, or the wheel of samsara.
b. Saiva and Buddhist Tantras
The Saiva texts push the G.O.D. model further, with Maheshwara and Sadashiva coming after Shiva. The Tibetan teachers have stated to be in opposition to Maheshwara, as Maheshwara traps atma-consciousness-spirit in the rat wheel. The adept should view such as understanding psychological archetypes, as opposed to a superhero-villain dynamic, where Maheshwara (All That Is) is simply dreaming (maya) his play (lila).
Nonetheless, as Lord Padmasambhava states to Lady Tsogyal, if you want higher truths, you can no longer take refuge in mundane deities, "Mahadeva, Vishnu, Maheshwara". Padmasambhava, Dakini Teachings. Shiva himself evens discuses the transiency of deities, "Gods like Brahma, Visnu, Mahesa and the various Elemental Beings are also perishable". Kularnava Tantra (Prachya Prakashan). It is important to note that these are teachers of truth, who have provided humanity with steps to use the form to find the formless.
Though much of Hinduism is predicated on the traditions of Brahma, propagated through his children, it is important to understand that Sati (Brahma's Granddaughter)-Parvati did not achieve "enlightenment" by and through the traditions-culture of Brahma (though such may be prep work), but when she trained with her father's opponent (Satan=Opponent) known as Shiva. Shiva is known for "strange" or anti-brahmanic practices. Such practices may be rapid psychological de-conditioning in order to remove chakra blockages from the emotional body for one's true-self to flow through. (See the works of Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D). Further, it is important to understand that the word GuRu itself means "ignorance-destroy" where in form, it would be Gu-Rudra, again the opponent to the creator who brings us apokalypsis-revelation. Such revelation is found when one pierces beyond transient existence. Some want to create heaven on earth, while some want to wake up from the smoke-screen movie and truly realize the one who is perceiving the movie.
Hence, "enlightenment" is more of a tantrik concept, where the Hindu Puranas (especially Garuda) are boastful of astral-planetary travel including lower realms giving us heaven and hell dynamics, which are simply more transient existences. It's just another play (Jiva = Mass) dancing (Energy = Shakti) before consciousness (Light = Shiva/Prakasa), or as Albert Einstein would say, "E=mc^2". Enlightenment as defined by the Saiva texts begins with "Turiya", or to be awake within the three (3) states of consciousness: 1. waking; 2. Dreaming; 3. Dreamless Sleep. (Recommendation: Panache Desai). The Shakta tradition takes "awakening" one step forward, where one is not just awake or Self-Realized, but becomes the most beautiful or Self-Actualized.
Therefore, Sadashiva (5 headed) provides us with the archetype of the four (4) corners facing upwards, where his mantras (mantras directly to Sadashiva found through research) create the impressions of extreme cranial pressure forcing the adept to let psychological baggage go, feeling fresh and clean lingering in the moment. Sadashiva feels like the Mahavakya mantra, Prajnanam Brahma, which has an expansive stilling effect but not without a purge feeling. Therefore, I have found that Sadashiva fits the perfect archetype for Gu-Rudra, with his consort, "Sri" Tripura Sundari representing the height of heaven (pinnacle of Mt. Meru) being the most beautiful within the three (3) states of consciousness. Essentially, be Still (Sadashiva) and manifest your heaven (Tripura Sundari). Self Realization becomes Self Actualization.
3. Choosing Grounded Guru
In spirit keeping, having mostly worked with wrathful Shakti energy, I have found that effort was initially required to tap into these energies, as these beings worked on my subtle bodies to further connect with them. Nonetheless, I am currently of the belief based on my own scientific inquiry, that it may initially be easier to "feel" beings closer to the elemental realms, such as the Nagas or Orishas, when one begins opening their abilities. Though I do not recommend beginning with either (unless intuitively attracted), as such beings hold human-like temperaments. Shakti will understand you and see the big picture, where you do not want to piss-off the Nagas or Orishas. Many may be attracted to such traditions as they are reflections of one's past lives, where one's current lifetime may be pulling on information from prior lifetime developments.
A perfect flowering of the Self-Realization meets Self-Actualization archetype would be a return to the Vaisnava tradition with "Sri" Krishna. Krishna would be an elemental incarnation who would be a clear channel for his higher self, by and through the celestial (e.t.) form of Visnu. Hence, Krishna would be an amazing archetype to work with as a spirit keeper. Nonetheless, Krishna is quite expansive and feels closer to Shakti, or rather Shiva (Formless beyond all Forms). Therefore, personally Krishna has not felt as grounded and can be elusive for the beginner, where Krishna typically appears on his own as I am more intrigued with the Saiva tantras.
In terms of looking for a spirit being (being not in body, including angels, etc.) to assist with the Guru aspect of anchoring "presence" where the "monkey-mind" has been essentially thrown into the "Tao" for re-harmonization, I would recommend Lord Padmasambhava. With vows to serve Buddha (Enlightenment teachings-transmissions), Sangha (Community of Adepts), and Dharma (Truth of Awakening; Walking the Tao), Padmasambhava becomes an excellent energy to assist the adept in forging the "monkey-mind" for the height of Yoga as defined by both Hindus and Buddhists as Samadhi, or no-mind. (See Vivekananda's Raja Yoga and Richard Shankman's The Experience of Samadhi).
As Siddhartha Gautama brought the world the teachings of Buddhism, Padmasambhava is often portrayed as the Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Tibet. In actuality, Padmasambhava was another enlightened being who brought his methods of enlightenment to Tibet, as an evolution of Siddhartha's teachings, where Siddhartha taught individuals based on the caliber of the adept leaving only a few to Siddhartha's higher teachings. As an evolutionary aspect, in addition to "stillness" of enlightenment, Padmasambhava is known to shift the animistic spirits of the ancient Bon religion of Tibet, which may have been used for ignorant purposes, to become the protectors of the Dharma. As the Western tradition has extreme forms of dualism, light verus dark, the Eastern tradition has harmony, yin and yang. As Shiva is beloved by both the Devas and Asuras, Padmasambhava seems to hold the same alchemy. Mastery of both White and Black (Chaos-Potential) magick. As many who observe the yin-yang symbol can recognize what the dark yin revolves around, many fail to grasp where yang receives wisdom.
Padmasmabhava, like Siddhartha Gautama, held physical form as evidence by historical records. As grounded in the elemental realms (having a physical vessel), Padmasambhava's presence can feel more solidified as opposed to Sadashiva, like that of the Nagas, and Orishas. Such is valuable when energies are used to work on the subtle bodies, where Goddesses such as Kali will use "attendants" as found through her yantras, to bring an adept closer to the chosen deity. Therefore, grounded energy for the physical body to acclimate higher consciousness makes Padmasambhava ideal to work with. In addition to physical Guru, is the Yidam deity, or meditation deity, where Padmasambhava's Vajrayogini was, I believe based on mantra comparison and further research, the Mahavidya Chinnamasta tying back to the Saiva tradition, and relating to inner completion.
In terms of spirit keeping, Padmasambhava would be an excellent energy to work with in guiding the adept to the stillness of the moment, or "blissful-presence", which also naturally re-aligns the adept to be "in the vortex", as Abraham Hicks would state. In addition, "stillness" provides the adept with some buffer from transient existence, or protection, where should "personhood" face issues, one can return to "presence" to be removed from harsh energy, which further, may also present inner guidance.
With psychic teachers now flooding the internet providing not just techniques and tips in connecting with spirit guides, as well as shops which provide spirit bindings, it becomes important that individuals properly use such energies, where it is recommended that such be used for Self-Realization aka looking for that "kingdom of heaven within". For those still critiquing psychics, take note that anyone can fake a general reading, but to go to a psychic to become psychic cannot easily be faked.
Spirits are phenomenal tools, where I recommend only working with beings who are more than happy to help with Self-Realization, and without the need for sacrifice or contractual vow-oath bindings. For an adept reaching closer to "stillness", much ritual and sacrifice will be unnecessary, though beings that require blood will remove "vital essence" from the adept, creating noticeable exhaustion. Simply, fuel for manifestation. Currently, it is better to be safe than sorry as we forge on in this field.
Guru is necessary to remove the adept from the "monkey-mind" to "presence", where the "stillness" of the moment is like a still pond where one small pebble can ripple the mirage over the water. A necessary blank-slate, which makes mantra work significantly more vibrant, allowing the adept to bypass psychological-conditioning attached to "personhood" to see the "truth" of the moment. Though I do not believe that spirit-energy would be a proper replacement of a physical Guru, who shares the same job of moving adepts from "monkey-mind" to "presence", I feel such invocations have allowed my practice to expand holistically. Physical Guru is still necessary, where such teachings of the Upanisads and that of Adi Shankara and his lineage are telepathic transmissions as opposed to simply "oral traditions", where the adept before a physical Guru is forced to purge "personhood", which will occur even without the adepts immediate conscious awareness.
Therefore, you need to anchor in the "I Am-Presence" for this work. As I've recently found, Guru is a must as the "monkey-mind" will throw fits and distractions meant to make the adept believe they have finished the job. If you have not taken ownership that all before your awareness, is simply a reflection of something within you, like a mirror to consciousness, or rather "as within so without", you need Guru. In addition, psychics, channelers, healers, etc., who have not anchored in "I Am-Presence", run the risk of their own personhood being projected where it becomes necessary to become a "clear-channel".
The first step of spirituality is inquiry to discover one's true self. The last step is of spirituality is becoming one's true self. Spirit work can be an excellent route for this process, but dangerous as one's psychology is being flushed from the emotional body during moments known as the "dark night of the soul". It's best that the adept properly prepare and understand what they are getting themselves into, as opposed to treating spirit work as if it is a simple Quija board reading.
Combining my love of philosophy, mythology, and the occult in pushing my abilities to work with such "permission slips" for my own Ascension. As I have discovered, true power is found in the ability to walk each other home as mirrors. This is where the inner stairwell becomes the inner sanctuary.
Virtue is the Religion of Siddhas" -Jivanmukti