Sunday, February 3, 2013
January 24, 2013: Mooji and discussion of gurus presented by Skye
This week Skye introduced us to a man whom he feels is one of his more important recent gurus. We listened to Mooji expressing some thoughts on consciousness and happiness. There are literally dozens, maybe hundreds of Mooji dialogues and oral dissertations on YouTube. You can Google his name and find these for your own edification.
Mooji, or Anthony Paul Moo-Young was born January 29, 1954 in Jamica. Having grown up in San Antonio, Jamaic, after his father died, when he was 15, he imigrated to London, England to live with his mother whom he had not seen since he was a baby. In England, he taught himself art, making stained glass, ceramics, and sculpture.
In 1993,Mooji met Papaji in India under whom he studied for a time. Papaji is a well known Indian guru who studied from Sri Raman and who taught among many others Andrew Cohn. However, Papaji has also been criticized for either telling, inferring, or allowing hundreds of individuals to believe they were fully enlightened simply because they had one or more powerful spiritual experiences. Then these people encouraged the same thing in their students. Thus out of Papaji came the so called "neo-Advaita", or "satsang"* movement in western culture.
In the case of Mooji, people seem to be moved by his simple thoughts and his soothing voice especially on his You-Tube videos. He teaches the advaita Vedanta tradition. He left Brixton, England in 2011 and has operated an ashram in the Alentejo region of southwest Portugal.
He has written 3 books: Before I am: The Direct Recognition of Our Original Self -- Dialogues with Mooji. Arunachala Press, 2008. ISBN 978-81-89658-18-2
Breath of the Absolute - Dialogues with Mooji. 2010. ISBN 978-81-88479-61-0
Writing on Water: Spontaneous Utterances Insights and Drawings. Mooji Media 2011. ISBN 978-1-908408.
*Satsang is a word in Indian philosophy that means 2) the company of the highest truth, 2) the company of a guru, or 3) company with an assembly of persons who listen to , talk about, and assimilate the truth. the "satsang" typically involves listening to or reading scriptures, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing their meaning into one's daily life.
At our meeting Skye asked the attendees what we thought of Mooji. I think we all felt that we didn't hear or know enough about his teachings to make a judgement. Then Skye asked: "If you met a guru, how would you know he is a guru? What would you ask this guru?"
The discussion shifted to indeed what is a guru anyway? I thought I could just look up the word guru and come up with a definition that would help answer this question. But it turns out that it is not that easy. The pure Sanskrit word means "teacher." But there are other origins that might apply as well. In Pali, the word may mean "heavy with knowledge" or "heavy with spiritual wisdom." Another traditional etymology of the term guru is based on the interplay of darkness and light. In some texts, the syllables gu and ru stand for darkness and light, respectively. Some believe that the two syllables mean respectively "gu", light, and "ru", to push away. Well, it does seem that all of these etymologies have great meaning.
Indeed, our group of this morning's attendees came up with all of these ideas as well as some others. Paul says that everyone he meets has some wisdom that he does not have. So many are truly gurus in his view. Someone else said: "A guru is someone who makes you see your own guruship." Heidi put forth the name of Dr. Seuss, because his writings show that the questions are often complicated, but the answers are simple. You need a child's eye sometimes to see the truth. The idea of bringing light into darkness was known to the group. If a person can bring light into your darkness then for you that person is a guru. We all have different sensitivities and different views and different ways of transferring knowledge and wisdom work for different people. There is really a part of each of us that is a guru. We all felt that some might criticize Mooji, but if someone thinks he brings light then he does. Thinking it makes it so. One member said that certain people have a "presence" and he cited the Lubavitcher Rabbi Samuels as one with such a "presence." Likewise Muktananga would be another with a "presence." I think also the 14th Dalai Lama would be such a person. But these folks seem very enobled -- they may be satgurus. It has certainly been interesting to consider the meaning of this word.