Last updated on 5th Dec. 2018
Facebook post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2356153887934508, dated 2nd Dec. 2018 shared a pic with the saying "If you think you are enlightened, go spend a week with your family." attributed to Ram Dass.
My share-comment on it was as follows:
A great one, IMHO. Family knows virtually all about you, and even if they don't know something directly, they get it indirectly!
In response to some comments on the above post, I made the following comment (slightly edited):
I would not have wanted to comment on these matters related to sister --name-snipped--. Some weeks ago, I felt it best to unfriend --name-snipped-- and so I felt the right thing to do is to avoid commenting on matters related to her.
But brother --name-snipped-- has thrust this conversation on sister --name-snipped--, and as she has responded, it has got thrust on me too! Note that at the time I shared this pic on my post, I was not aware that the same pic had been shared in an argumentative conversation that some were having with --name-snipped-- elsewhere on Facebook. Perhaps me sharing this pic may have been viewed by some as an indication of me supporting those who were arguing against --name-snipped-- there.
But no, that was not the case. I feel this pic is an excellent warning sign to those spiritual aspirants, including me for sure, who get some spiritual insights, about the dangers of viewing those spiritual insights as an indication that they are completely self-realized or have achieved the highest level of self-realization.
I hold the view that there are degrees of self-knowledge (self-realization) with Avatars like Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba showing the highest levels of knowledge of reality or knowledge of self. The Avatars that I mentioned before, I believe, were born with that very high degree of self-knowledge along with divine powers. They did not need to go through sadhana to get self-realized. The formless and all-powerful God took their form on purpose to help the good in the world and to reinforce Sathya & Dharma.
It seems to me that ordinary humans (who are not born with self-knowledge and are instead trapped in body-mind consciousness) cannot achieve that level of self-knowledge and divine powers that these Avatars not only had but also demonstrated convincingly to people around them, which got documented in accounts of the Avatar's lives. If I recall correctly, I read in one of Sathya Sai's books that if a person achieves the highest form of union with divine, that person's body will have to be given up in a short period of time - 3 weeks or something like that. So there is one exception perhaps to what I wrote above - ordinary humans may achieve that highest level of self-knowledge (and divine powers) and union with the divine but they will give up the physical body in a short period of time after that. So ordinary humans cannot achieve in a sustained manner, that level of self-knowledge and divine powers that Avatars had, and demonstrated throughout their long lives.
As sister --name-snipped--'s views are mentioned on my post as comments, I feel obliged to share my view that I don't think sister --name-snipped-- has reached the highest level of enlightenment, divine powers and paranormal knowledge that I have directly experienced of Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Can --name-snipped-- read the minds of people and know what they have done outside of her physical body presence? It is my direct experience that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (physical form) could know what's in my mind and know what I had done outside his physical body presence. I don't think --name-snipped-- has claimed that she has these powers.
Can --name-snipped-- give spiritually in-depth and insightful discourses about the various mantras that are there in Vedas, from the Karma Kanda (Samhita and Brahmana part) to the Jnana Kanda or Vedanta (Aranyaka and Upanishad part)? I have heard such discourses ***Live*** in Sai Kulwant Hall from Sathya Sai (physical form) and read his Vahini books on them. Does --name-snipped-- claim to know all about Rama Avatar and Krishna Avatar and can she give discourses on their lives? I have heard such discourses ***Live*** in Sai Kulwant Hall from Sathya Sai (physical form) and also read many of his discourses for which I was not present physically. I don't think --name-snipped-- can do the above that Sathya Sai did. At least, I have not read anything about --name-snipped-- claiming to do that.
Can --name-snipped-- demonstrate awesome fury and destructive power ability to those who she views are on the wrong track and may harm the well being of society? I have experienced awesome fury and demonstration of destructive power ability of Sathya Sai (physical form) directed at me when I was planning to broach a very sensitive topic with some veteran devotee, which I later realized was very inappropriate. It was only a warning to me. But that warning involved that demonstration of the Avatar's fury and his destructive power. I am not in a position to share details of that. But that's when my doubts about His powers were completely destroyed. And Sathya Sai became Shiva-Shakti Swarupa to me. Note that I come from a Shaivite community with our ancient spiritual teacher-leader being Adi Shankara, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Shankara. So Shiva has always been a fascinating Deva (divine being) to me. Om Namah Shivaya! I don't think that sister --name-snipped-- can demonstrate that power.
So while --name-snipped-- may have had some spiritual/divine experiences, I believe that she has NOT YET evolved to the highest level of self-knowledge that was demonstrated to us by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Further, it is my considered view that --name-snipped-- has got fooled by FALSE CLAIMS of Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Rao Naidu. That, for me, puts a serious question mark on whether --name-snipped-- can even claim to have some reasonable (medium level say) degree of self-realization/self-knowledge. I mean, she is supportive of Asathya and Adharma by promoting Madhusudan Rao Naidu who is going against the public declarations of Sathya Sai that he does not use mediums or enter into other people's bodies! How can a person who has achieved some reasonable degree of self-realization/self-knowledge get associated with such Asathya-Adharma? That's my considered view.
However, I must say that I do not have any spiritual powers by which to assess --name-snipped--'s claimed self-realization. And I ****certainly have NOT**** achieved a high degree of self-realization/spiritual evolution. I clearly have my weaknesses, particularly in the area of Kama (desire) and Krodha (anger). But I am a law-abiding citizen of India and I further follow Sathya & Dharma to a large extent noting that Dharma (social norms/ethics) varies from community to community.
I felt it appropriate to tag others who were participating in that other conversation. --Names-snipped--
In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited): Thanks --Name-snipped-- sir. Your point about 'think' and 'know' is very insightful and valid.
Noted that it was not your intention to 'stir the pot'. Jai Sai Ram!
My understanding of your 'think' and 'know' point is that if you know you are enlightened then there are no issues. ... But if you think you are enlightened then there are some issues/problems. And it is in that context that I said it is "very insightful and valid". [The person responded that it was what he was trying to say.]
In response to a comment, I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
My observation about Sathya Sai and my reading about Ramana Maharishi is that they were sort-of double-role players. They did play the family member role too but perhaps with a degree of detachment and awareness that it is a role they are playing at worldly level. However, on the showering of spiritual Grace and spiritual teachings matters, I think they treated family and others as similar, if not the same.