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