More doubts cleared:
Is spiritual enlightenment warranted?
NO. Even if you find the most awesome Master in the entire history of humankind, spiritual enlightenment is never warranted. It is just about probabilities. If you find a genuine spiritual teacher, the odds are in your favor, but by no means that amounts to warranting you spiritual enlightenment. Spiritual enlightenment is always the possession of the Self and His Power. No human being can control them. Not even higher entities can do so. The Self and His Power are fully Free. Hence, these two can give spiritual enlightenment to anyone whenever they wish. Nonetheless, the usual process involves the accumulation of merit and experience, which in general takes many years. Finally, when the disciple is ready, the Self concedes spiritual enlightenment to him or her. Nobody knows when the Self will do that.
When one is rookie, he thinks that he will get spiritual enlightenment faster if he goes to a big spiritual organization headed by an awesome spiritual teacher. But this is false. There is no warranty at all ever. The level of the spiritual teacher, as I taught you in previous posts, must be the adequate one according to your own level as disciple or you will never understand him properly. Therefore, people looking for the most impressive spiritual organization in order to attain spiritual enlightenment faster are just childish. For the most part, the great spiritual teachers will not be in big spiritual organizations, but hidden somewhere. This is also true with reference to other areas of human knowledge. For example, my Sanskrit teacher was not in an astonishing university giving courses. NO. He lived alone and was very poor. Anyway, he could devastate any intellect around him by his knowledge. This is the way that His Power works for the most part. His Power likes to be hidden. The ones who think that a spiritual teacher who attracts masses of people will be better for that very reason, are not still spiritually mature. In general, it is exactly the opposite. As there are never masses of genuine disciples, the question about a spiritual teacher being greater if he has more people around is not relevant.
Therefore, the Self will never give anyone the exclusive rights to warrant spiritual enlightenment. That will not happen ever. You can make the odds be in your favor by means of a vigorous effort, but this does not guarantee that the Self will reveal Himself to you. He will do that when He wishes so. If the Self could be forced, He would not be absolutely Free. Spiritual teachers telling people that they warrant spiritual enlightenment are false ones. No true spiritual teacher who has experienced Freedom of the Self will say that.
Is there any practice that is better than the rest?
NO. All practices depend on the level of the spiritual aspirant. Even if you were given a powerful practice which is known for taking spiritual aspirants to Self-realization quickly, you will not be able to perform it if you are not a powerful disciple. As a result, one should choose the practices that are more suitable for his current level. The practice which suits you better, that is the better practice for you.
Why does one have to perform spiritual practices in order to advance toward Self-realization (spiritual enlightenment)?
If someone is already an advanced spiritual aspirant from the start, he will not need to perform any practices at all. He will realize the Self immediately. Obviously, as this kind of spiritual aspirant is rarely seen, the norm is that the spiritual aspirants will have to perform practices one way or the other. Spiritual practices are necessary in order to accumulate merit and experience. Without these two, the Self is highly unlikely to reveal Himself to you. You might know all the theory about how to meditate, but until the moment you start to meditate you do not understand what meditation really is. The more you meditate, the more merit and experience you will accumulate. For example, I have been meditating for almost 28 years. This means an enormous quantity of accumulated merit and experience, which allow me to enter trances easily. Trances are states where one realizes his Self directly. Most people that have just begun their spiritual path cannot enter trances that easy, NOT because they are not the Self like myself, but because they lack accumulated merit and experience. This is very easy to understand, isn’t it?
The way of meditating changes too. Every aspirant, according to the degree of his progress, will meditate in different ways. For example, rookies will have scheduled meditations (e.g. 1 hour every day at 6 a.m.), while advanced disciples will meditate spontaneously every time the Self approaches them by His Free Will. It all depends on the stage a spiritual aspirant is in then. The more advanced the disciple is, the more spontaneous and natural his practices are. The less advanced the disciple is, the less spontaneous and natural his practices are. Very easy to understand.
Why are supernatural powers considered despicable?
Supernatural powers are, for example, the capacity to become as tiny as an atom, the capacity of flying through the sky, the capacity to read others’ minds, clairvoyance, etc. All those powers are a pile of garbage to one who has realized his Self at least once. Even omniscience and omnipotence are of no use to someone who has realized his Self at least once. All these powers are a distraction and pale in comparison with Self-realization. In Self-realization you do not want anything but the Self and His Power. From the viewpoint of a person who did not realize his Self yet, those supernatural powers might look interesting and highly desirable. However, once that very person realized his Self, he is not any longer interested in them. Self-realization is the most awesome experience a living being can have. As a result, when you have it, you do not want anything else, even supernatural powers, omniscience, omnipotence, etc.
There is a supernatural power by which you can subjugate any living being. It becomes available when the Power of the Self activates your Sahasrāra (the cakra located on the crown of the head). It is like high-voltage in that cakra. You feel like a turbine being turned on there. The experience is completely jaw-dropping. Nonetheless, nobody who’s had the experience of his Sahasrāra turned ON, will be interested in that stupid supernatural power. Maybe if such a person is pursued by a ferocious bear in the woods he could find some use to that power, which is pretty improbable. On the other hand, trying to subjugate other people who are totally defenseless is just a despicable course of action. All in all, this supernatural power might look desirable to a lot of people but is absolutely useless to someone who is about to achieve Final Liberation. In fact, it is a distraction. One should not touch those powers then.
Anyway, all those supernatural powers are always around a person who realized his Self. Why? Because along with the realization of the Self, he also realized the Power of the Self. As all those supernatural powers emanate from the Power of the Self, they are always ready to serve someone who is a Self-realized one. In fact, they act spontaneously around such a person. This is one of the reasons why it is never recommended to bother or offend a person who has realized the Self. Even if he remains peaceful despite your offenses, those powers might attack you. Not even an offense is necessary sometimes. For example, if you, out of sheer stupidity (e.g. by taking a photograph of him), disturb someone who is in deep trance, you could be “disturbed” by the powers that patrol around him. This might look like science fiction to many people, but believe me, it is real. In this way, to bother or offend people who have realized the Self is never recommended, “just in case”. The wise course of action is always to be nice to them or simply leave them alone.
Do you recommend practicing respiratory exercises?
Yes, provided you are under the guidance of a genuine spiritual teacher who is proficient in this matter. To mess around with your breathing process is another dangerous thing if you are on your own (e.g. practicing respiratory exercises after reading a Yoga book). The problem lies in the fact that there are two systems controlling your breathing: one is involuntary (i.e. automatic) and the other is voluntary (i.e. manual). When you practice respiratory exercises, you need to use the manual system. Meanwhile, the involuntary system has to wait and wait. If the delay is too long, viz. if you practice respiratory exercises for too long, the involuntary system might, in the worst of the cases, just stop. This means you will die soon.
Generally, that will not happen, because there is a security fuse that will make you lose your consciousness much before you break something. Anyway, there are other risks too. I have personal experience in this, because I was also a rookie with great ideas. I read books and decided that this or that respiratory exercise was the best practice for me to do. The consequences were that my scalp burnt like hell, I experienced pain in my throat, etc. When my Yoga teacher at that time realized my stupid behavior, he told me to stop practicing respiratory exercises on my own. All my trouble was gone then. Therefore, one should not underestimate ever the power of the respiratory exercises. If you do not have a proficient teacher to properly guide you, just do not do any respiratory exercise. The consequences are always nasty if you cross the line with reference to respiratory exercises.
Is relaxation recommended?
YES. For a simple reason: one wastes too energy when his muscles are tensed uselessly. For example, when one is sitting on a chair, one can easily notice how his legs are too tense uselessly. But relaxation is generally not performed in the right manner by the Yoga teachers. They often start with the biggest muscles in the body (e.g. relaxing the legs), but the right procedure is exactly the opposite. One must start with the smallest muscles, i.e. the ones to be found in the face. If you cannot relax the muscles of your face rightly, you will not be able to relax the rest of your body properly. One must always start with the muscles of the eyes and keep advancing to forehead, cheeks, mouth, etc. Next, move on to the neck, shoulders, arms, chest and so on. This is the right way to relax the muscles.
Why shouldn’t one meditate more than one hour and a half every day?
This is true only in the case of rookies and middle disciples (99% of the spiritual aspirants), not in the case of advanced disciples. There is a technical reason which has to do with the way the vital energy works through the respiratory process. This is too advanced to be explained here. If a rookie or a middle disciple needs to meditate for more than one hour and a half, he will have to be celibate to start with. In the vast majority of the cases, no rookie or middle disciple needs to meditate for more than that period of time, except for simple curiosity or vanity. If it really is necessary, the spiritual teacher of that rookie or middle disciple will teach him or her the requirements in order not to harm his/her system in the process.
I think God to be only one, but you always talk about the Self and His Power as two realities
Of course, there is only one God, one Lord, one Absolute, etc. It is always one and only one. But in order to explain the processes, Reality is made two: the Self and His Power. The Self remains completely detached from and not even aware of the existence of anything else. It is His Power the one in charge of all, not Him directly. This is intriguing. For instance, if you could ask the Self about the existence of so much pain in this world, He would answer: “What world are you talking about?” He remains alone, always Free and Joyful. He has nothing to do with this universe and its various processes. It is His Power then. Therefore, whether appearing as spiritual ignorance or as Gurú (giving Grace for you to achieve spiritual enlightenment), it is always His Power and not Him directly.
That is the reason why someone who attains Final Liberation cannot understand how he can be so Free, Detached, Indifferent, Impartial and so on, when one moment before spiritual enlightenment he was always worried about and attached to everything and suffering accordingly. The state of the Self is essentially Absolute Freedom. All that is not Absolute Freedom is only the manifestation of His Power, which, paradoxically, is always in unity with Him. One cannot understand this mystery without actual Self-realization.
I will keep removing more elementary doubts in my next post.