Shambhavi Sarasvati Transcript

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Shambhavi Sarasvati Interview

Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is jumping the gun here. That was Shama V. Who is my guest today? And what are the ASBO? Let me just say is a ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people have done little over 650 of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to and look under the past interviews menu. And also while you’re there, check the various menus on the site, and you’ll find some interesting things. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a Pay Pal button on every page of the website, and then a page that explains some alternatives to PayPal. So Shama V, who was whose name I just mentioned, is the spiritual director of Jaya Kula, a nonprofit organization offering opportunities to learn and practicing the traditions of Tricos Shaivism and Jhana. Zog Jen, so Jen. So, Jen, so there’s three questions in that sentence what is what is Jai Kula mean?

Shambhavi: Jacqueline, well, j means victory. Okay. And Kula literally means family. In Sanskrit. It’s a very special word though in the in the traditional Chica Shaivism. If we look on the most micro level, it means the family of practitioners working with a particular teaching teacher,

Rick Archer: so excited Taurus family of practitioners,

Shambhavi: right. But if we look on the macro cosmic letter level, it means the family of all beings and things like all worlds, all creatures, and so the idea is that we graduate from a limited family to that larger, unlimited family. And then it means victory to everything and everyone. Great.

Rick Archer: Yeah, there’s that famous saying such a Neva Jaya Day, which means truth alone is victorious. And, and then there’s that other Sanskrit saying, which means which is the world is my family. So got both of those things in there. And then another term that we just brought up is Tricos Shaivism. Is that the same as Kashmir? Shaivism. It is, it is Trica does that mean three something tweaker is

Shambhavi: a reference to threes and the proliferation of threes in the tradition. One of the Citizen Scholars of the tradition of being of a Gupta said that Trico was Shiva Shakti and they’re unison. Okay, so both duality and non duality together.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And then Zog gents, pronounce it again.

Shambhavi: xOP. Chen,

Rick Archer: I’ve heard it a million times. I just don’t pronounce it. Right. And that is, how does that fit in?

Shambhavi: Well, trigger Shaivism and Xiao Chen have both historical commonalities. They both kind of grew up along the Silk Road, and there was lots of exchange. And they’re very similar in their view, and in some of their most core practices. They also have a lot of esoteric connections that I’ve discovered practicing in both of those traditions. But I started practicing and trigger Shaivism. And then one of my teachers suggested that I go study with Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is such a teacher. And I just stayed, practicing with him and studying with him for many years. And discovering that those two traditions are really very, very similar in their view and practices.

Rick Archer: Then, I guess, would it be true to say that, Kashmir Shaivism, is kind of more aligned or associated with Hinduism. And so if Jen is more aligned with Buddhism in some way, despite their similarities,

Shambhavi: I would say that each of those traditions, by their own self report, do not align with Hinduism In the case of Trico, or Buddhism in the case of Chimp, okay, so there’s some sense that each of them has a self identity or considers themselves to be somewhat different or oppositional to the more mainstream traditions in their native countries. Not that there aren’t similarities and that’s a long discussion. What the similarities are because, for instance, historically how trigger has been practiced and promoted by teachers and scholars who were also practicing Vedanta. Yeah. And, and the same for as of Chen in Tibet, but they are they both each have a kind of an oppositional stance that they take also to those indigenous traditions.

Rick Archer: Okay. So continuing with your bio, you have studied meditation with teachers in the Kagyu and Nin gut, meaning you believe, traditions, and

Shambhavi: which are what embrace, those are both Tibetan Buddhist traditions. So there’s a kind of meditation that is done with open eyes. And I’m sure you know about that. That basically, it’s the instruction for that kind of meditation is are called pointing out instructions, or instructions for how to do something that is impossible to give an instruction for. And so the the pointing out instructions are different or slightly different in each tradition. And one of my teachers who thought I would be a good meditation teacher told me to go around and study this particular kind of meditation with as many different teachers as I possibly could, and learn all of the different pointing out instructions. And so that’s what I did. Good.

Rick Archer: And your guru is an undermine Ma, and people may remember her from yoga on this book Autobiography of a Yogi and of course, she’s very well known in her own right. And as an interesting story about how you came to regard her as your guru, which we’ll get into in a minute. Somebody emphasizes direct encounters with the wisdom of the heart to the more explicitly devotional teachings and practices of Tricos Shaivism. And so again, in addition to offering teachings in spiritual practice, in view, you are trained as a joke to share and diviner. At one time you taught at Northwestern University, you left academia in 2004, to devote yourself to practice writing, and teaching in your spiritual traditions. Okay, so someone named Joanne from Seattle asked, Have you actually met a Nanda, my MA, and I gathered from reading your website that you did not meet her in the flesh. But um, and then Joanne would like to know, how did you decide that she is your teacher, and you have a great story on your website about your experience on her balcony in Varanasi? So if you feel like it’s not too soon to go into that whole story, and let’s, let’s do it?

Shambhavi: Sure. So, the way that I met her was kind of kicking and screaming. She started coming in my dreams. And I had been taught by my other teachers that have like saying, or thinking that a dead person is your guru is a very dangerous road to embark on.

Rick Archer: And it goes Adi Da who said that, that gurus don’t kick ass.

Shambhavi: Exactly, yeah. So I was, I thought that was very good advice. And I really understood that teaching. And so when mom started coming in my dreams, I was suspicious of myself. I was suspicious of her. And I would, you know, say, are you really none of my mind? She would say something like, Yes, I might go there, lots of miles, which Ma. So you had

Rick Archer: obviously heard of her before. So when she started coming in your dreams, it wasn’t like he didn’t know who this was right?

Shambhavi: I had seen pictures of her I hadn’t read any of her teachings.

Rick Archer: And when she started coming in your dreams, how vivid and real was that?

Shambhavi: extremely vivid. And what would happen was, something would go on in the dream. And then when I woke up the next morning, I would be in an extraordinary condition, just, you know, feeling completely re embodied in some way. And that seemed to be the hallmark of what are sometimes called true dreams. You know, as opposed to just karmic churning. Just something just felt clarified, and very, very different when I would wake up from those dreams.

Rick Archer: Yeah, the most profound experience I’ve ever had was in what one might call a dream, but it didn’t seem like a dream. It was just so Oh, man just blew me away. So the laughter

Shambhavi: i i went to India for the first time, and I went to Nanda my massage. I’m still feeling very suspicious of myself. And whatever was happening. There was a young man who worked full time doing Seva As Ron, who greeted visitors, and he was having a conversation with me, and he referred to him as my guru, and I said, She’s not my guru. And then he just laughed at me. And I had no, I didn’t really understand why he was laughing at me, I still don’t understand why he was laughing at me. But in any case, he said to me, then you should go up on this balcony, ma used to teach there. And he said, Westerners never go up there. I don’t know why they don’t go up there, but you should go up there. So, you know, I went, and I just walked up these beautiful stairs that overlook the Ganga. And I literally put one foot on the balcony. And that was like, the sky just opened up. And this grace just started pouring into me. And the sky turned into an ocean of, you know, intelligence and compassion and clarity in there was just brilliance that was just everywhere in the sky, and flooding my whole body. And I just fell down on my knees and started weeping. And I recognized that this was my like, This is who she really was. And I also, you know, another hallmark of these kinds of experiences, is that they aren’t just experiences. They impart understanding, they impart wisdom to you. And it was the very first time. I mean, I was already when this happened. I was, you know, in my early 40s, so I’d already been practicing for a long time. It was the first time I really understand stood what God meant. It was the first time I understood what reality actually was, like, she revealed to me the nature of reality in that moment, or as actually a couple hours that went on. So the definition of gurus, the one that reveals the nature of reality to you, nice. And after that point, I could not deny, you know, whatever that was, and whoever you want whatever name you wanted to give that, you know, and I call that mom, there was, it was just undeniable that this was grew for me, and, and I still felt some embarrassment. And it was many years before I ever admitted to anyone that this had happened. It was kind of funny, because, you know, I thought people would think I was kind of new agey, or God realm or something. But then I realized, no, they’re actually going to believe me and think I’m something really special. And that’s, that might even be worse. So. So I kept it to myself for a while, but then eventually, you know, I just came out more about it. Yeah.

Rick Archer: What do you what’s your best take on the actual mechanics of a thing like that? Do you think that? I mean, MMA was said to be an avatar. So that’s part of the mix. But there have been a lot of teachers like Yogananda talks in his book about, I think it was true, you have to show his teacher coming to him in a vision and having this whole experience with him. And people see Jesus. And I know a lot of people who’ve had encounters with Ramana, Maharshi, sometimes before they even had ever heard of him. You know, the things like that. So what do you think is actually going on? How does that work?

Shambhavi: Well, what my revealed to me that day, is that everything is full of intelligence, that compassion is built into the foundation of reality. That Ananda, is full of clarity, this brilliance, it’s not just like, a super nice feeling. That I mean, I really it was just this encounter with the two predominant things, compassion and intelligence, this this intelligence beyond anything you could conceive of, and that intelligence and that creativity, and that brilliance, can create any circumstance out of itself. If you know, it can appear to you in any form, and I think it appears to people in the form that will speak most to them. If it needs to be Ramana Maharshi it’ll be Ramana Maharshi. But all of those forms are that none of my mind just called that, you know, I related to the form of Ananda myoma and very much to her teachings, which are really just uncannily in line with Rigpa Shaivism. And, you know, that suits me but I think that, that alive, aware reality when someone is ripe, and they have a possibility to receive that It appears in whatever form works for that person.

Rick Archer: Yeah. I mean, even on Earth, being like that is really just, you know, a divine divine intelligence, operating through a physical form. And I imagine that their association is much more predominant with the divine intelligence than with any kind of individual human quality. But some also feel that you remember in Star Wars were, who was, I think Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi were fighting and Obi Wan Kenobi said, If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. I think some people believe that, you know, when a saint or enlightened being drops the physical body that they still exist as a unique expression of the divine with all the qualities that they possessed as human being, but with much greater omniscience and omnipotence than they could have had in a human body.

Shambhavi: Well, I don’t really make that much of a distinction between the physical and the divine. So, from my, what has been granted to me to perceive everything is made of and permeated by that same intelligence. So, but nonetheless, there are plays of limitation, you know, that form show up that have limitation. And, and those are part of the artistry of this alive, where reality. And my experience is something like what you just said, particularly when my teachers have died, just feeling like somehow they were more available after they died, or even friends who have died, loved ones feeling that they’re feeling their release from suffering, you know, especially the ones that died of an illness. And somehow feeling their joy. Now that they were released from that, you know, it’s kind of wonderful.

Rick Archer: I had that when both my parents died, and another friend just told me that her mother died, and she experienced that also, but there was this upwelling of bliss in me, not that I was happy, that had died, but that I was somehow partaking of their experience of, you know, tremendous freedom from suffering. Um, you know, these days, it’s pop, it’s quite popular in, in some spiritual circles to say that the age of the Guru is over, you know, and there’s this projection of a hierarchical teacher student relationship. And I think that’s partly because teachers have taken advantage of their position to abuse students. But um, you know, there’s also the sentiment that, hey, we’re all in this together. And we shouldn’t be thinking in terms of inferiority and superiority or any such thing. And you’ve probably heard all this, what do you what’s your take on that sentiment?

Shambhavi: Well, I agree that it’s, it’s, it’s a in part, you know, what has come about through the importation of certain spiritual traditions into the West, where this kind of relationship is not native. And also the revelation of what has probably always been the abuse of students, by teachers, particularly in more patriarchal traditions. So I don’t think there’s more abuse now, necessarily, I just think now, it’s being revealed more and it’s easier for word about it to get around. So and people are more wise to that possibility of abuse. That being said, I think that to see the guru disciple relationship as hierarchical in that way, is not the teaching in the traditions that I’ve studied in most. So the job of the teacher is to show you directly, that your essence nature is the same as the teachers is to break down that sense of hierarchy, and to show you that all of the wisdom that the teacher has, is contained within you, and it’s just been obscured. This is the main job of the teacher, is to help you to destroy impediments to recognizing that you’re that you have enlightened essence nature already. So I like to say sometimes if the teacher says they’re giving you anything, like giving you energy, or something like that run away because they don’t understand And that you already have everything. And you have just forgotten that or it’s been obscured. And then there’s something else which gets, I think mistaken for hierarchical illness that’s unpleasant or dangerous in some way, and definitely promoted by teachers. I mean, that hierarchical way of looking at student teacher relationships is not just coming from students, obviously. But it makes a lot of money for a lot of teachers, and gives them whatever ego satisfaction they crave. But there’s natural devotion. When you meet someone who in their presence, you feel your own goodness, or you feel the possibility of being really seen and recognized for what you really are. If you can, let yourself enter into that feeling of wonder, and relief, then natural devotion just arises. And you want to serve that person, you want to push him to reciprocate what you’re receiving in terms of the revelation of your own nature, and you feel it felt anyway, just a sense of wonder that this relationship exists at all as a possibility that we even have teachers, and can enter into these really intimate, revelatory relationships with them. It’s a technology for discovering what reality actually is what you actually are, it’s a natural technology, it will never be superseded, you know, it’s always going to be around, it’s an apprenticeship. And just like any other apprenticeship, you have gratitude, and you feel tenderness and devotion toward the person that showing you what you want to learn. And that’s what I think people miss when they have these kinds of conversations.

Rick Archer: I remember, back in the 90s, I taught my great art to meditate. And she was she must have been 92 years old, she ended up living to 107. But so I was I was a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. So I was doing a puja. Alright. And she was watching me. And at one point, she said, Are we worshiping this man? And I said, No, no, it’s just a traditional ceremony of gratitude. And, you know, we won’t go through this every day. I’m just this is part of teaching you and everyone says, But the answer was really? Yes. Yeah. But um, anyway, some people are put off by that kind of thing, especially a 92 year old, great arts, but um, you know, because they feel like, there’s something cultish or weird,

Shambhavi: I don’t know, maybe it’s a past life thing. But I have always gotten teachers, like I just have always, immediately felt and understood what it was about, and how to work with teachers. And I’ve just really been all about grew in my life. I love this relationship between the teacher and the student, whether I’m the student, or whether I’m the teacher, it’s such a rich field of relating. It’s so subtle, it’s so nuanced. It really draws out of me everything that I have. And that’s what I love about it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve heard some people say that, you know, even though they had been in a relationship with a teacher that was that they eventually realized was flawed in certain ways, that they’re still grateful, because they, you know, they still learn to derive something, and maybe that person, you know, they’re not with them any longer. They’ve moved on. But there was something gained.

Shambhavi: Yeah, I mean, to say, there isn’t any such thing as a teacher who doesn’t still have karma. I mean, unless we’re talking about someone who’s an avatar, you know, already born awake. Every other kind of teacher that we have on Earth, even those whose students say, oh, so and so’s totally enlightened. You know, everybody has their sticking points. Everybody has some things they’re still working out. It’s really a matter of how much of that is there, and how much does it hinder the process of revelation of the self? So I think it’s, in a sense, it’s kind of cheating ourselves if we think that the teachers have to behave in some cookie cutter way to demonstrate Enlightenment, from our perspective, I think we should just recognize that the nature of the self can be transmitted even by someone who was only partially enlightened and not fully enlightened and that Mi is mercy. That’s mercy that that can happen. Otherwise we’d really be in trouble. If we had to have these perfect teachers.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, and, you know, I mean, typical educational system that we all go through, you know, when you’re in the third grade, you don’t need a pH, a Nobel Prize winning an astrophysicist or something to be your teacher, you can learn a lot from a third grade teacher. Exactly. Yeah. And then move on.

Shambhavi: That’s a very good analogy, I think.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And of course, you when you mentioned avatars, not having karma and stuff. There’s also a lot of people who claim to be avatars, and you have to be a little careful that are their skins claim that they’re an avatar and so on. So I’ve take that with a grain of salt. But there’s a nice passage in your book about teachers you said or not, in your book, on your website, you said, you have to ask yourself, Do I want to be in the condition I perceive this person as being in? Do I want to embody the virtues and wisdom that they embody? Those are a couple of good questions to ask if you’re checking out a teacher.

Shambhavi: Yeah, the, you know, the teacher, at least in the kind of traditions that I study, and is supposed to show you, in a sense, your own best self. And if you look at a teacher, and you don’t feel inspired by how they are in the world, you might learn something from that person, but they’re not your route teacher, by any means. A lot of students, in my experience, go to teachers with needs, you know, they want some sort of emotional needs met. And then when that those needs aren’t met, which is not the teacher’s job to meet those needs, then they get disappointed. But if they went to the teacher with a feeling of inspiration, or a feeling of, Oh, I could be in that condition, I want to be in that condition. That’s really the better way of working with a teacher.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, there have been some very well known teachers who are raging alcoholics and had all kinds of other horrible attributes, then, you know, I would ask myself, I think, do I want to be a raging alcoholic? Or whatever? I mean, if this is Enlightenment, am I really interested in Enlightenment? I think that’s a valid question to ask,

Shambhavi: that person might also be hugely compassionate to you never know. I don’t want to like discount all raging alcoholics here. But I agree that is, you know, definitely something a question. What I would say is this, and this is just something I’ve learned fairly recently, like, and maybe the last seven or eight years, there comes a point in your practice where, or just your path of unfolding, where you really deeply do not want to hurt anyone. And of course, not being totally enlightened, you might inadvertently hurt someone, you know, you make a misstep, or you make a miss judgment of some sort. You know, that happens to everyone, but you have never a speck of desire to do that. And when it happens, you feel deeply regretful, and you have no desire to manipulate anyone, you only want the best for people, this is just something that comes about naturally, after some time. So what I came to understand from that, and this is part of my just stop teaching campaign. Is that it was

Rick Archer: you were telling me beforehand, but the people haven’t heard it yet.

Shambhavi: So yeah, so you know, when teachers are abusive, and then they issue all sorts of apologies and letters and from their lawyers, and they go on private retreats to try to, you know, reassemble themselves, and then they start teaching again, my ideas, they should just start teaching because they’re not really qualified

Rick Archer: for life, or would they reach a point at which they could resume?

Shambhavi: I don’t know. I mean, everybody’s trajectories? And how would you measure it? Yeah, well, what I do know is that someone who’s serving as the person who’s going to show other people, the nature of the self, that person should not have a desire to hurt people should not be able to manipulate people for their own gains and pleasure or money. And that that would just naturally subside, that that behavior would not be possible. If those people were in the condition that they say they’re in or their students say that they’re, that’s what I learned. It’s just simply not possible to manipulate or abuse people on purpose. When you get to a certain point in your practice. Yeah,

Rick Archer: I think that’s a really good guideline that one could use to evaluate a potential teacher. And when you told me that phrase, I also came up with one which is the don’t start teaching campus. Yeah, exactly. There’s a lot of people rush they, you know, Mariana Kaplan coined the phrase I believe, premature ejaculation. Love people who seem to be in a rush to get into the teaching game and yeah, especially in this country, for sure. All right, we don’t want to bitch about this too much. But it is an important issue and it keeps coming up again and again and again. And it hurt and people get hurt. So it’s worth discussing to a certain extent, and maybe some people have some questions about it, which they’ll send in. Okay, do you have anything on top of your mind right now? Or should I go into some notes here?

Shambhavi: Please? Just go ahead.

Rick Archer: Okay. So you said something in your notes about something showing up as an inner prompting that guided your choices, you called this round world guide, the friend, I hadn’t heard the term round world guide. But what’s that about?

Shambhavi: Well, the friend and is something that was has been part of my life since I was very young round world is something I just learned, maybe like 20 years ago. But in any case, the friend is a felt sense of being guided by in some kind of wisdom that feels internal, but it’s not really internal. And it’s that prompting that tells you what’s actually good for you what’s actually a benefit and what actually isn’t of benefit. And where you should put your next step where you should step next. So I felt this very strongly from a very young age that there was a kind of wholesomeness and sweetness that I was following. And when I didn’t do that, when I did ignored those promptings I really suffered. And eventually, I call this the friend and I wrote some poetry, some despairing poetry, when I was in my teen years related to this idea of the friend. And then later, I found out that, you know, other people on the spiritual path also talked about the friend most notably Rumi, that this is something that comes to a lot of people. And then later I, when I was living in Berkeley, and I don’t know, when this was, I might have been in college, or it might have been later than that. I’m not sure. I heard someone talking on the radio, about having left their country, I think it was China. But again, it’s I really don’t remember who it was, I really did my best to try to find out, but I never could find out. And that they had felt they had left the round world and entered into the flat world meaning here. And the round world is the world where there are ancestors and other unseen beings and magic, and more possibilities and more layers to reality. And the flat world is like the wiziwig world, what you see is what you get, where everything is just kind of boring and dull and materialistic. And he’s this young man said this, you know, there was just so much yearning and despair in his voice when he talked about this. And I at that moment, I recognize that the round world was where I had been living since I was born pretty much, and why I felt so at odds with people around me when I was a child, because they were in the flat world. And I felt like I was in the round world. I didn’t have this idea. But so since then, I’ve really been using that phrase round world to talk about what we enter into more fully when we do practice. And when our senses become more subtle, and we’re able to perceive more about how things really are.

Rick Archer: That’s nice. I didn’t have a conscious sense of this friend principle myself until, you know, I was through my adolescence and in my into my 20s, I suppose, but um, when I think back on it now, I feel like it must have been there and I might not have even lived if it hadn’t been protecting me and guiding me to some extent, you know, yeah. Same here. Yeah. And, and like what you just said, you know, I mean, on the one hand, you can think of it as in your own deeper intuition. But on the other hand, I really do believe that often discussed on this program, that there’s a world of intelligent beings or impulses, or whatever we want to call them that aren’t ordinarily perceived by people but that are very much concerned with and involved in human affairs and guiding and protecting us. Guardian angels, if you want to call them that. So, you know, I think, you know, as we go along, we get more and more tuned to that and more and more for cooperative, we could say, any comments on that before we Continue?

Shambhavi: Well, I would I mean, I think those beings are other aspects of the oneself. Just like we are, like every much like everything is. So now my experience of the friend is just that alive, aware reality. Speaking to me in a sense, and not really attached to any particular form,

Rick Archer: here’s a nice phrase from your website that I like, I wish more people had this attitude, don’t get stuck thinking I have arrived or ever will. I don’t want anyone else to get stuck either. So do you feel like there that anyone ever, there is an ultimate Terminus point at which one can arrive? Or do you think that even those who arrive at our conception of that, realize there’s yet another horizon and the potential for more refinement or development in some, some respect?

Shambhavi: Well, I don’t know if whenever arrives. And I think that’s nothing at one anyone could know until they did. But I do know that all of our human definitions of Enlightenment fall short, most of them fall very, very short, in my estimation. And I know, and I know this, because of none of my MA. So through encountering her, she is the one that keeps me unstuck. Because all I have to do is think of her and, and feel her and understand I’ll never be that ever. And so just keep putting one foot in front of the other and forget about it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good.

Shambhavi: So she keeps me unstuck, right. But there’s a lot of definitions of Enlightenment out there. And some of them are very minor, like not thinking, you know, if you stop thinking, then you’re enlightened. And then there’s other things where somebody just has one spiritual experience of note, and they think they’re enlightened. And some of this is perfectly innocent, they just don’t know. And some of it is not, you know, but, you know, I really think it’s hopefully what you said that they would get stuck, but then get unstuck eventually.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I think that raises the point that it’s good to have. It’s good to keep your knowledge lively. I mean, not only culture, your experience through practice, but culture, your intellectual understanding of the path and suppose a goal and all that, because you really can sell yourself, sell yourself short, and reach erroneous conclusions about, you know, what level of attainment you have. And so both to two teachers, I respect, Alma and, you know, Amritanandamayi and Adyashanti. Both often say, it’s good to have the attitude of a beginner.

Shambhavi: Yeah, that’s a very wise Buddhist teaching.

Rick Archer: Yeah. Because relatively speaking, we are compared to possibilities, no matter how advanced we may be.

Shambhavi: Well, we’re I say, we’re always somewhere in the middle of an infinite field. That’s even more groundless than being a beginner, because there’s no timeline.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And I also sometimes use the example of, you know, if you feel like you have arrived, it’s kind of like saying, I’m educated. Yeah, you are. But does that mean you can’t learn anything more? I mean, is anybody ever ultimately educated? Yeah, I

Shambhavi: think that, and I’ve said this in so many different places, that when you engage with wisdom traditions, whether they be spiritual traditions or crafts, or things like Jyotish, and divination, you know, anyone who engages really deeply and honestly, with the wisdom tradition, understands that there’s no mastery, that it’s that’s not actually something that you can achieve. And that’s the pleasure of it. The pleasure of wisdom traditions is that you can learn infinitely you can refine infinitely there, incidentally, nuanced. Otherwise, you know, it would be a little bit boring. Yeah. Now, some

Rick Archer: people say that, okay, well, that education example doesn’t apply to the field of Enlightenment, because Enlightenment involves realization of something which is absolute. And once that is realized, it can’t be improved upon. And then there’s the whole question of direct versus progressive paths, which I’d like to get into with with you a little bit. And so some people feel like if they’ve glommed on to some absolute level of consciousness or reality or realization, that they are truly done, and that relative refinements could go on endlessly, but those aren’t very Significant? Well, we’re

Shambhavi: not, we’re not improving on the absolute, that that is something that’s not possible. But we are improving on our immersion in it, our degree of immersion in it. So sometimes I’ve, I’ve compared that to, you know, a big swimming pool, you can be in the shallow end of the pool and you’re in the water, but it’s not the deep end. So, you know, if we have an infinite pool, and you just keep walking in deeper and deeper and deeper, then you recognize that there’s no arrival, but there is greater and greater immersion, greater skillfulness, greater embodiment of the wisdom virtues of the Absolute.

Rick Archer: Yeah, embodiment is a key point. If we think of ourselves as channels for the absolute or sense organs of the infinite or some such thing, then then, you know, we have to ask ourselves, well, to what extent extent Am I actually reflecting or expressing this in my human existence? And, you know, have I reached the ultimate possibility of that, in terms of my intellect, my heart senses all the different faculties? And I think the answer is going to be no, I would

Shambhavi: refine that a little to say that we never know where we’re going until we get there, and we don’t have a measure of where we are. So we can’t say, you know, I’ve arrived at the absolute at night, do I actually embody it? I don’t think that’s a possible question. We can ask of the wisdom that I’ve been granted of the direct knowledge of the nature of things that I’ve been granted right now. And here. Am I embodying that? But I don’t think it’s actually possible to say that, that that whatever that is, it’s the end. Good. What do

Rick Archer: you think? Have you ever heard that kind of debate between those who advocate the direct path versus the progressive path?

Shambhavi: Sure.

Rick Archer: What’s your take on that?

Shambhavi: That’s a big part of cheaper. And also Sachin? Well, there are many inner both of these traditions have at their heart, very, very simple practices of encounter with the big base state of reality. But they also both have enormously complicated other practices that people can do, that are more gradual in their way that they unfold for people. And the reason both of these ways of relating to the traditions that I’m in are completely valid, there’s no argument between them. There’s people in different conditions, who need different methods, in order to be able to wake up to whatever extended spouse vouchsafed them in this life. So I’ll give you an example. The first kind of meditation I ever learned was overnight, non conceptual meditation, which is basically you know, you’re just sitting with open eyes, and there’s some very subtle instructions. And most of the people that got taught this at the same time, I did stop doing it, because they just, you know, it didn’t mean anything to them. And I remember a friend of mine asked me to teach him to meditate. He was a very nervous person, he was always trying to control the environment. And this was the only kind of meditation I knew. So I taught him how to do this open i nonconceptual meditation. He told me, he was up the whole night before he was going to do it in the morning, he was so nervous. And then he was like, terrified, sitting in the chair. And he didn’t understand why he was so terrified, just sitting there. And I realized, oh, you know, this is not the right practice for someone in his condition. And so in Trita, there’s this beautiful progression from practices that involve more of your body, like doing puja, or doing other kinds of practices, where you’re engaging your body or energy in your mind, through to practices that are more of like an energy based level where you’re working with subtle energy and internal channels and things like that through to the more direct practices where there’s just some kind of piercing through to the nature of things using very simple means. And these three, we could say levels of practice are meant for people have different conditions, or they’re meant to be done in a way that they support each other somehow. But this is all just part of the generosity of these traditions. I don’t see them in opposition at all. They’re trying to answer to different kinds of people and it’s also part of the oppositional the embodiment of their oppositional stance to more mainstream traditions that exclude people from doing spiritual practice. So particularly in India, the tantric traditions in general, not just trigger, we’re trying to make room for other kinds of people who had been excluded from doing practice. And having all these different kinds of practices that address people who have less capacity or more capacity is part of that. And part of the compassion, I think, in generosity of those traditions.

Rick Archer: I’ve often observed over the years that a lot of people have a hard time sticking with a spiritual practice. That was true when I was teaching meditation. And, you know, many people have known. And I have a really good friend these days, who I’ve been giving some pep talks to about trying to, you know, find a way to meditate successfully and regularly. And you know, she has an ardent desire to meditate regularly, but always has a hard time just finding something that she can do that works for her. And do you feel like if, you know, if someone had a teacher, or some ideal teacher who really had the whole Swiss Army knife of practices in mind, there would be a practice for almost anybody that would that could be tailored to their need and makeup, that they would find it possible to do regularly? Or, I mean, that might be part of it. Maybe Maybe that is true, but then I guess there’s still going to be the need for a little bit of individual gumption you know, I mean, it’s not just going to take you by the seat of your pants and carry to Enlightenment, you have to apply yourself no matter what the practice, what do you think about all that?

Shambhavi: Well, yes, you have to play yourself. No, no teacher ever has ever made anyone becomes like, right, that’s not how it works. Yeah. But in any case, I will say that, for instance, after having that experience with my poor friend that I put through that bad night, and also watching other students of my teachers drop out and not to practice. I instituted three different levels of meditation teaching for Jeddah Kula, you know, starting with something that gives you more to keep you busy, into an intermediate kind of a practice, and then open eyed meditation. And by the time people get to that non conceptual meditation, they understand it, they haven’t, they already have some experience that helps them to stick with it. That being said, you know, in any tradition, traditions are specific, you know, they can have as many practices as they want, but they still have a view. And then each person coming to a teacher has their own karma. So there’s always going to be some students who aren’t going to practice, you know, they’re there to get a date, or do whatever. And that’s completely fine. You know, but many more people, many more people will stick to practice, if there’s a teacher who can sense the specificity of the condition that that student is in and work with them. To find the right practices for them, I consider that to be one of my main jobs. And my suction teacher had a really beautiful, sweet and humble thing he used to say, which is working together student and teacher, find a way

Rick Archer: nice. Have you ever run into the new advisor crowd who say things like, you’re already enlightened, you don’t need to do practice, because practice only reinforces the notion of a practice or just accept that you’re already enlightened. And, you know, this is the way it is what you’re seeing now. And they go on forever. Have you ever run into that?

Shambhavi: Yeah, I’ve run into versions of that. That sort of non dual bypassing. It’s very easy to do. So it’s interesting, because in this country, we’re very competitive. And we always want to be the best and the top, and we always want to win, etc. So when you have traditions that have sort of levels of practice, like everyone wants to be at the highest level, and this is certainly true about trigger Shaivism. You know, there’s, it lends itself to someone who wants to say, it’s about instant Enlightenment, we don’t have to do anything. You know, it’s all about grace and instant Enlightenment, just sit around drinking your beer and a Florida decides you’re going to be enlightened. But this is actually a gross misunderstanding of the tradition. So that kind of idea of instant light, men are just sitting around doing nothing. You’re already enlightened. So why bother? That is our that’s for someone who’s already been practicing for lifetimes of fun lifetimes, and then they arrive in that, you know, almost fully bloomed condition. So it’s a misunderstanding that that is for most people. It doesn’t it doesn’t discount it. It’s not that it’s untrue. It’s just untrue for most of us.

Rick Archer: Yeah, good point. There’s a variation of that theme where there used to be a beer out where these guys are sitting in a boat fishing, and one of them says, It doesn’t get any better than this. And the in the spiritual arena, there’s some teachers who say things like, Well, there’s only this, you know, I mean, don’t expect anything, don’t expect some big enhancement of, of what you’re experiencing. And I always feel like that’s kind of cruel. I mean, do you say that to a chronically depressed person, or a psychotic person or something, of course, is an enhancement. That’s the whole idea. So I don’t know, I just react to that kind of notion. Picking up?

Shambhavi: I can, yeah, do you know, that’s that kind of admonition and sort of damping down of any expectations, I’ve noticed that that’s part of the culture of some traditions. And also, I think maybe some teachers do that. Because everyone’s so addicted to the big experience and the big win here, that it’s hard to get people to just like, Be okay with the dailiness of spiritual practice, and it’s ordinariness most of the time. And but you know, that I think there has to be a balance, because spiritual practice does allow you to enter into the extraordinary to extraordinary perception. So we can’t like lie to people and say that that’s not a possibility. And also just, like, depress the hell out of them, because why they’re doing it. But I do think that there needs to be some way to get students to just sit down, be an ordinary person doing this day to day, and the things will come, you know, whatever is gonna happen will happen if you just do that.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good. I, I once had a teacher who said to me, every day is life don’t pass over the present for some glorious future. So obviously, one could be being moaning one state and totally ruining, you know, the life you are living. pining for something you want to be living. So there’s some kind of a, you know, balancing act of being content with what you’re experiencing, but also realizing that there could be many upgrades yet to come?

Shambhavi: Well, I would say maybe content is too strong of a word reconciling oneself. Right, because discontent and yearning is the desire to experience something differently is the great engine of spiritual life. True, you know, without yearning, that sense that things could be different for you, you would never do anything. So we want to actually have that grow stronger and stronger and stronger. But at the same time, we have to be reconciled with the condition that we are actually in. Because we can’t build an authentic practice on fantasy.

Rick Archer: Yeah. But I guess getting back to the education analogy, if we’re in the third grade, and we think, Oh, the third grade sucks. I know there’s higher mathematics. Why do we have to study this stupid stuff and blah, blah, blah, you know, then you’re not really taking advantage of what the third grade has to teach? Yeah. Yeah. But eventually, contentment does Dawn, you know, Santosh, I think they call it and that doesn’t mean you’re finished. But it doesn’t mean you’re agonizing or yearning or, I don’t know, that’s my own experience, that there’s a back in the 80s, and so on. I used to think, Oh, God, kind of Enlightenment or bust kind of attitude. But these days, it’s like, Hey, I’m having a great time. And I know that there’s more to come, but I’m good with this also, and, but dampen my enthusiasm. You know,

Shambhavi: I kind of went through that for a few years thinking I was content and then something shifted, and I went into a new phase of yearning. We’ll see what happens.

Rick Archer: Yeah, we’ll see. So picking up some more things. Well, let’s ask a question here. This guest has been patiently waiting. This is Bob Routh in Whidbey Island, Washington. Hey, we’ll trade houses with the Bhamati we always look at what a nice place would be Island. His question is, I have experienced death and rebirth several times, wants to comfort and accompany a friend by holding her hand while she passed over. My feeling was drawn out of my body and into hers and together we went through a vortex. I felt both of us going in. But then she said, It’s okay, you can go back now, that then ended. My question is, is this something others have experienced? It seems like no big deal to me. But everyone in the room became uneasy with me when I described it. I then assume I am different.

Shambhavi: Well, there’s reams of books about experiences of close encounters with death or near encounters. Yeah. When we you know, when we don’t actually die, but I’ve interviewed

Rick Archer: a lot. I interviewed a guy all about shared death experiences, which is what this guy?

Shambhavi: Yeah. So I think for sure you are not alone in that experience. And not not a one off.

Rick Archer: Yeah, Bob, you might want to watch my interview with William Peters. If you haven’t. He was the one about shared death experiences. And he has he has a book in which he recounts numerous experiences like that. I think it’s a whole field of study. It is yeah, there’s there’s nd ease near death and then Ste shared death. And then OBE is out of body experiences. And all these things

Shambhavi: I never heard of shared up before. Yeah.

Rick Archer: William Peters is interesting. There’s so many examples where people kind of entrain with the person dying and share in their experience. Wow. Yeah. And here’s another question that came in. This is from a Shima Earhart in Virginia, I’m 57 years old, and took early retirement to deepen my sadhana. I feel such longing to absorb into her presence without the many demands of a job. How can one discern if one is simply running away from the stress of the workforce, or truly being guided by her to go into the next phase of life?

Shambhavi: I Ashima, I think, I don’t know for in person, but I’m pretty sure Facebook friends. So you know, being able to take retirement, and being able to support oneself adequately, so that you can do spiritual practice more, is a privilege, and it’s one you should take advantage of. It’s a gift. And we should, yes, I’m not retired it by any means. But I did spend several years only working 10 hours a week and spending the rest of the tangerine practice. So you know, kind of the minimum I needed to survive. And I feel like if we have that possibility, this was Grace in our lives. And you shouldn’t worry too much about leaving behind the stress of the workforce. I mean, who wouldn’t do that if they could, even if they didn’t have a spiritual practice? So just consider this a gift from God and do your best to take advantage of every aspect of it? Good,

Rick Archer: good answer. Okay, I’m taking some more points you sent me from, from your notes, direct real direct realization? Where does that phrase come from? And was it mean? We may have already covered it, but I think there’s more you can say,

Shambhavi: Yeah, so there’s in Sanskrit, it’s Pratt Yaksha Darshan, and it means to see for yourself or to see directly for yourself. And there are a number of spiritual traditions that are direct realization, traditions. Triq is one of them’s of change on Buddhism, there are other ones. But it means that the view of the tradition and the experience of the practitioners in the tradition is that the nature of the self or of reality, if they don’t call it a self, is, is there to be discovered directly through our own senses, through our body energy and mind, we have everything that we need to actually perceive directly the nature of reality, or the nature of the self. So all of these traditions, all of their practices that they’re doing are done with this attitude, that we can without any intercession of or interceding of anything, use our own sense Orient, to perceive the direct the nature of things.

Rick Archer: Well, how could there be any realization other than direct realization? Because I mean, if you know, Guru such and such says he has a realization that doesn’t do me any good. It has to be direct, right?

Shambhavi: Well, ultimately, I guess, but that’s not the view of traditions that don’t subscribe to this sort of thing. So you know, there’s some traditions for whom the goal of the practice is not this kind of direct realization. It’s, you know, being good so that you’ll go to heaven. Right. You know, there are other there are other sort of end results that traditions want other than this, and there are many traditions that say we are very are different from God, we’re very different from the Divine, we don’t have what it takes. And you know, you are only going to be saved by God, or you’re only going to have an intellectual revelation of things. It’s there’s not in many other traditions this sense that with your own perceptions, without, without any other tools, you can perceive how things actually are.

Rick Archer: That’s true. I mean, as I understand Christianity, at least as it’s currently understood, you know, the attitude is that deep down, we’re all sinners. And the idea that God dwells within us, as us is blasphemous. And we need a priest to intercede between us and God, we can’t have that direct relationship, at least some forms of Christianity have felt this Catholicism,

Shambhavi: the view of the direct realization traditions, and that phrase, was a phrase that’s used in Tribeca, and also an undermine my use that I don’t think I’ve ever seen that particular phrase. And so Chandra, you know, I haven’t read as widely and so Chen. In any case, it’s based on the understanding that the nature of you is the same as the nature of everything else. So that you should be able to perceive your own nature directly, if you remove the obscurations that are in the way.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, that makes such total sense. Or even if we want to put it in terms of God, if God doesn’t permeate every bit of us, and if there’s anything that is not God, then God is not on the present. You know, he’s got holes here and there where there’s some non God. And

Shambhavi: yeah, but even if we look, you know, to the traditions that are more closer in geography to the ones that I study in, you know, some of them have as a goal, to stop thinking, or to be desireless. Or to be good or to be to be very compassionate or something like that, you know, they just have different goals. It’s not that we don’t care about compassion, that that comes naturally. But it’s not. It’s not the endpoint. Right?

Rick Archer: I think all those points you just mentioned have their place to stop thinking, for instance, you can go into a state of Samadhi, where you have stopped thinking, but you can’t live that way all the time, necessarily. Although I have interviewed a couple of people who say they really don’t think thoughts. And but I think what they are, what’s happening with them is that the mind has gotten permanently more settled. So they don’t have the discursive thoughts that most of us have, there’s just more subtle impulses that comprise their their thought process.

Shambhavi: Well, to give you an example of the difference between the kind of tradition I’m in and some other ones that people are very familiar with, where mindfulness is really an important practice and many different techniques for that, in this direct realization traditions, the instruction is unmined the mind Don’t worry about the mind. The mind does, what mind does Don’t fuss with it all. Don’t fuss with it. All. Right. Right. And, you know, as regards to thoughts, there’s a wonderful story in a tantric texts from India called the Tripura Rahasya. Where there’s a sort of a, it’s sort of a combination between straight ahead view teachings and Uparati, which is a teaching story. So there’s a husband and a wife, that are their stories kind of threaded throughout this text. And the husband thinks that he’s a yogi, and his wife is just an ordinary housewife. Oh,

Rick Archer: yeah. This is one of the Puranas I think, go ahead. Yeah.

Shambhavi: But she actually is the great practitioner, he’s sort of much has much more minor chops. Anyway, at one point, he’s meditating, he’s got his eyes closed, you know. And she interrupts him and says, husband, what do you want for lunch? He tells her that he says, no, go away woman. So I can close my eyes and enter Samadhi again, and she says, husband, if your Samadhi depends on whether a quarter of an inch of skin is open or closed, I don’t really think it’s all that much. And I think the same could be said for thoughts. You know, if your Enlightenment so called, depends on whether there’s a stray thought here or there. You know, it’s really not all that much.

Rick Archer: There’s a second verse in the Yoga Sutras that says, yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, the Citta vritties. And I think that that has its place as a temporary experience. And I think when that is cultured and stabilized and integrated, one doesn’t have a very noisy mind usually,

Shambhavi: I think that’s true, but it means caring. Mind patterns. So it’s not that thoughts themselves have to go away. But habit patterns of the mind conditioned, habitual, conditioned habitual. Yeah, right. So vritties are like some scars of the mind. Right?

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s good.

Shambhavi: And this is kind of what happens when things get translated, sometimes, you know, they get, they get a little bit dumbed down, and we lose some of the nuance, and, or we reinterpret them through other stuff that we’ve learned. Or we don’t understand a word like Vritti. So then then it becomes like, oh, all thoughts have to subside. Right? Yeah. It’s just the pattern thoughts, the habitual thoughts?

Rick Archer: Yeah. So in light of what you just said, it seems like there could be two kinds of thoughts. One would be, you know, conditioned, driven by impressions and action impression desire cycle. But the other could be, you know, totally unconditioned and just arising appropriately given under whatever circumstances.

Shambhavi: Exactly. And so the mind does quiet, because some of those vritties upside. But, you know, we thinking is a natural phenomenon. I don’t think it ever Yeah.

Rick Archer: In fact, I think of a person is acting, they’re thinking, you know, I mean, if I pick up this glass, there was a mental impulse that before my arm moved, and I can’t imagine how there could be any action without some preceding mental activity. You think? Well, there’s

Shambhavi: also I don’t know, no, there’s

Rick Archer: muscle. Great. No, I mean, Steph Curry doesn’t think about, Okay, I’m gonna do that. But there is some mental impulse to, you know, do this or do that, that is just that we’re not. Yeah, it’s spontaneous. Yeah.

Shambhavi: It’s more spontaneous. Yeah. But one thing that does happen is that as you start to relax on this very deep level, traces of other lives start to become more obvious. And, you know, images and words and little scenes and things that have no seeming relation to one’s current life can sometimes flood your mind. They’re not exactly thoughts, because you’re not thinking about anything. But it’s almost like some sort of reservoir has been unleashed these impressions.

Rick Archer: So do you feel like that’s the clearing of deep scars is taking place?

Shambhavi: You know what, I have never had any idea what it is. I just assume it’s, you know, something related to this jumble this collection? That I don’t know if it’s past present future, how it’s related to me. I don’t know. Sometimes they’re more obvious, sometimes they go away completely.

Rick Archer: But we don’t come into this life as a tabula rasa we have had past lives and we have deep impressions. And that’s right. Yeah, would make sense that we’re not just going to clear with the impressions that we’ve accumulated in this life, that older ones deeper ones have to be cleared up

Shambhavi: exactly. What one of my friends who was also a spiritual teacher called it the treasury of worms.

Rick Archer: That’s pretty good. Okay, one question that about an hour ago, you said something and this, this question has been in the back of my mind about how you don’t transmit Enlightenment from one person to another. And I was wondering what you think of the phenomenon of Shakti pot?

Shambhavi: Well, Shakti pot, as you know, it often gets translated as a town coming of grace or descent of grace and undermine my said, there’s no doubt coming in, there’s no upgoing there’s just Grace everywhere. So what is Shakti pot is when we notice when we when the conditions are right, for us to notice more of our real nature, more for us to be able to experience directly for ourselves more of how things actually are. So there’s certain conditions that can help that that to happen. And then we call it Shakti pot. But what it really means is we’ve just noticed something that was always there and always true. But now it’s like, you know, a curtain has come apart and we can feel that and see that. So in terms of Shakti pot, I’ve been of a Gupta, one of the citizen practitioners of tricker said that the yearning, the longing that we feel, to realize this evidence of Shaktipat that that As Lord Shiva, you know, giving a Shakti pot in the form of our own login, which I just always thought was so beautiful. But in terms of how teachers and students work together, and what is called transmission or some version of Shakti pot, you know, that’s a really alchemical and very mystical occurrence. I couldn’t say exactly what is happening. But my own experience of it is that I’m sharing. I’m including students in my own experience somehow, and then they’re able to experience that in themselves. And what I tell my students, when we do that kind of work together, I say, anything you experience is you. It’s something you already have, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to experience it.

Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s good. Yeah, like that. I mean, I think of it Sharkey putting out as a kind of zapping of spiritual Thunderbolts from A to B, but more like an entrenched and entrapment process, you know, where you’re in the field of the teacher, and there’s some alignment, like a damp log next to a brightly burning log, and the damp log gets dried out and starts burning. Anyway, that’s awesome. I like that. Yeah. And, okay, good night for that. So a bunch of questions have come in, I want to. First of all, we have one more from Bob route, and which would be Ireland, he said, When we reach what we think is Enlightenment, is that just one perspective of what we think is the hole. Once we we arrived, I feel if I alter my current perspective, even the smallest amount that I realized, I know, little in my education has just begun. It’s kind of what we were talking about earlier.

Shambhavi: Well, as I said earlier, I don’t think there is any arrival. I just think there’s a deepening a deepening immersion. So that that question wouldn’t be answerable on its own terms for me. And the fact that one is worrying about arrival, I think is something worth investigating. Because most of us are so far from anything even we could call arrival. Even if we had that concept. Really, what is the point of thinking about it? Right, our job is to just put her as I say, put her head down, walk barefoot on the road and just keep going.

Rick Archer: There’s a great movie called The rival but it doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re talking about. It was had to do with ETs.

Shambhavi: Did you know I’m a science fiction fan, or is that

Rick Archer: or no? I didn’t know that. No, no. Yeah. Oh, cool. Are you a kind of a movie buff?

Shambhavi: I don’t know if I’m a buff. But I’ve been reading and watching Science Fiction since I was very, very young. Oh, cool.

Rick Archer: Interesting. I’ll talk to you about that later. Here’s a question from tamas go back again. Luton, UK. Can somebody compare her experience to Jane Roberts, who was channeling Seth is in an experience that compares to channeling.

Shambhavi: I don’t know who Jane Roberts is. But

Rick Archer: she was a channeler. And there was this entity called Seth. And she wrote all these books, Seth books, and there have been a lot of people who who channel anyway. Yeah. You know, a channeling is. I’ve heard

Shambhavi: of it. Yeah. Yeah. Well, channeling is kind of a dualistic way of conceiving of an experience. So no, I’ve never conceived of my own experience. That way. I just feel that I’m entering into the heart space where that infinity of wisdom is manifesting in the form of in within a human being. And I’m calling on that wisdom, and I’m calling on my teachers to help me to help students. Yeah, and, and just sort of sharing the field of wisdom that I’m experiencing. So I don’t have any sense of channeling because I have the experience that I’m already that so there’s, I’m just trying to get out of the way of it.

Rick Archer: That’s good. I think that the key here is that you’re you use the word field and you say I am already that. Whereas channeling involves an isolated entity, that one is becoming a mouthpiece for. And that’s a big difference.

Shambhavi: Yeah, I’ve never, I’ve never had that experience. Yeah.

Rick Archer: Good. Here’s a question from Elle Shankar in Atlanta. You mentioned that while you’re on the balcony, you had a profound experience where Marsh showed you the nature of reality. What did you see or experience you alluded to it, but maybe you could elaborate a bit.

Shambhavi: I think maybe other than just feeling her utter mercy and grace and Ojai just felt so overwhelmed by that. One of the most significant things I learned during that afternoon was that, that everything is made of wisdom, or, or virtue, or what I call wisdom, virtue, for instance, that compassion is not something that we have, or that we cultivate, that there’s natural compassion, just filling all of space and time, all of existence. And then we just embodied that more as we relaxed. The same with that intent, like I learned that there’s this intelligence that is, so far, not what we call the intellect that is permeating everything. So I, I really discovered that what God is, is wisdom, or wisdom, virtue, and I had never understood what God was before. You know, the words that had been used to describe God or Shiva when I was receiving view teachings and Trico, you know, was omnipotent and omniscient. I mean, all of these like relatively dull, dry words, that really didn’t inspire anything in me, I just like, okay, Yatta, Yatta, yatta. You know, I don’t even know what that means. It doesn’t move me in any way. And then what Mosh showed me what God actually is, and then I realized also that devotion just comes naturally with that understanding of the nature of things, that that, that the experience of devotion, and the knowledge of the nature of the self arise simultaneously. Because there’s no possibility that you would not experience devotion, in light of this revelation. And I had also not thought of myself as particularly devotional before this, although my friends laughed at me when I would say that they, it’s a, you’re just like someone who’s lost their sunglasses on top of their head. But then I really entered into a much more devotional phase of my life. And I just felt like I found, I found out who God was. I don’t know if I could say more than that.

Rick Archer: It’s so cool that you just, you know, you went up the stairs, and you got on this balcony. And there’s this whole thing happened. And it must have taken you quite some time to unpack it all and be able to articulate it like this. But it’s beautiful that that one can have a download like that, if you want to call it a download. And you know, there have been other examples throughout history of, you know, Saul on the road to Damascus, or the Prophet Muhammad or various others, just getting a big opening, and just being flooded with wisdom, and then, you know, eventually integrating it and being able to express it. So it’s great.

Shambhavi: Yeah, it does take time to integrate. And I think that’s a really important point, right? Because many people just are after spiritual experiences, and they have an experience. I think that’s it. I had the experience. But, but really, there has to be sometimes years and years of integration. The experience itself is as the Kundalini American Kundalini yoga teacher Rudy said, the experience is the work order. The end, it’s the beginning.

Rick Archer: That’s good. Okay, here’s a question. Are we getting a lot of esoteric questions here today? Here’s a question from Sarah McDougal, in Maine. I would love to hear what what you know about the rainbow body phenomenon? What actually is going on both scientifically and spiritually? Have you ever witnessed this? Or do you know, anyone who has had any scientists research this that you know, of

Shambhavi: waynebow body relates to the five elements, earth, water, fire, air and space, which have both concrete gross forms and subtle forms. And if we sort of walk backward along the cascade of becoming toward the absolute, you know, if we say, here’s the absolute and here’s our everyday life. And so if we kind of walked backward, we here we have the more concrete versions of the five elements. But eventually, we have the lights of the five element, the light forms of the five elements. So when people take a light body, they have basically resolved their karma to such a degree, that instead of displaying ordinary five element displays, like our bodies, they now are displaying the subtle forms of the five elements as colored light, rainbow light. So that’s the explanation that’s given by those traditions. As far as scientists go, I am really not of the mind that scientists should be offering proof through their view of the methods or results of spiritual practices, which operate with a different worldview. And I, you know, I love science, I’ve studied science, I have my undergraduate degree in science and have studied science my whole life, but their explanations are further down on the chain of, of the cascade of becoming more gross. And so basically, I think that the yogi should be explaining things to the scientists, not the reverse. And I won’t say more about that, because it’s one of my pet rants.

Rick Archer: But it’s one of my pet rounds. So I gave a whole talk on it at the sand conference. And I think there can be some kind of mutual benefit. Obviously, spirituality explores a huge range of realms that science doesn’t even have any idea exist. And if we really want to have total knowledge as a civilization, we need to explore those realms. But science is good in terms of its empirical, systematic approach, and a lot of times spirituality gets too ungrounded and to imaginative, and you know, and we could use a little bit of rigor in terms of actually empirically verifying various ideas. So

Shambhavi: the idea that something is empirical, or objective is already an epistemology in a view, that’s antithetical to the epistemology of the traditions that I study and how we come to know things. So when we say they would benefit from an empirical view, we’re basically from my perspective of imposing a kind of epistemological violence on this traditions, from the perspective of people, scientists who don’t actually practice or understand what’s going on, they’re coming into multi 1000 year old traditions, and saying, we’re going to apply this lens of empirical science on you on something they don’t understand.

Rick Archer: That’s not quite how I imagined, it’s not that the scientists are going to come in and impose this on the spiritual people, but the spiritual people could borrow from science, sometimes more of an empirical attitude than in and, you know, just be a little bit more rigorous in terms of wanting certain not certainty, what’s the right word, just the experiential genuineness of what they’re experiencing so as not to get off, and I’m sure that the traditions you’ve studied, have had warnings about getting lost in imaginal realms. And you know, fooling yourself about,

Shambhavi: well, in the science in the world of science, there are bad scientists or scientists who aren’t that great. Right, right. And then there are the scientists who do a really, really good job. Same thing in the spiritual world, there are practitioners who maybe get lost in imaginal realms, but really, who cares about them? You know, there, I would say, as a practitioner myself, I don’t think any scientist is any more rigorous than I am. And any more precise, any more sober. Any more, having any more clarity than I have? So I again, I think I don’t want to get into this too deeply, because that could hijack the whole conversation. But I think, again, there’s something being imposed here that is being imposed through a lack of understanding of what it actually is, to practice in a rigorous way that there is no lack of rigor in spiritual traditions, no, to say that there shouldn’t be. And that’s what I’m kind of saying, we need to borrow that from Western tradition.

Rick Archer: Well, I’m just saying the Western tradition has some merit. And, you know, can extract the juice of it maybe. And it could be that because you have some academic training and science that you have this rigorous attitude, or it could be just that you have a rigorous attitude, that your innate rigorous attitude attracted you both to science and to a rigorous application of spirituality. So

Shambhavi: you’re assuming that the rigor that I practice came either from my engagement with science or something I brought in prior to practicing, you know, I say that the traditions have rigor already inbuilt, okay.

Rick Archer: So you don’t think that religious or other spiritual traditions have any thing? There’s nothing valuable in science that they could learn?

Shambhavi: I don’t know. I really don’t know why. When I was at Stanford in graduate school, I was part of a roundtable Well that included artists and technologists and physicists and all kinds of crazy people. And we will we really just had a blast together. And but there were these physicists that were working at an institute where they did something called boundary physics, which is they looked at phenomenon that could not be explained by ordinary physics, and particularly phenomena that seemed to engage the idea of consciousness. So they were doing all these experiments of, for instance, they would measure the how probabilities turned out, when many people in the globe are all paying attention to the same event, like the Olympics or something. Oh, Dean Raiden has done that kind of work. Yeah. So they would discover that, that the laws of probability were slightly tweaked during those times. Or they would do other kinds of experiments like that. I won’t go into it, but they were doing that, while I was like going on, and none of my mouse balcony and having an experience of grace. You know, I felt sorry for them. You know, they wanted to engage with consciousness. They wanted to understand more about consciousness, but they were measuring measuring probability statistics and dropping coins and little plastic tubes to see which side they went on. You know,

Rick Archer: yeah. Sure, I know what you’re saying. And I’m not one of those people myself, that would get totally bored doing that kind of stuff. But, you know, science, in a way is the language of the age. And, and, you know, I think and the Dalai Lama, for instance, has great respect for scientists, and he loves it. Yeah, I just think it has a contribution to make, and that somehow, there will be a marriage of science and spirituality and you know, 100 years from now, we might not really distinguish between them that much.

Shambhavi: Well, that would be wonderful for scientists. Yeah, I would

Rick Archer: see where your sentiments. I think it’d be wonderful for all concerned. But I think yeah, okay. I agree with you that I think spiritual holiday has more to teach science than the other way around. But there’s some kind of amalgamation that might be more than the sum of its parts.

Shambhavi: As my and Avena Gupta said, God makes the impossible possible, and also the possible impossible. Anything can happen.

Rick Archer: Anything can happen. Here’s a question from Prachi Dixit in Torrance, California, without the conscious desire to seek the divine, is it possible to get pulled towards it? For me at least once a day? It seems it turns into an uncontrollable motion with tears. Am I doing this unconsciously?

Shambhavi: Well, if you’re feeling if those tears are tears of devotion, then I think that’s wonderful. I don’t know what kind of tears we’re touching. Here. There’s, yeah, there’s all kinds of subtle ways that we’re pulled toward discovering more about who we are, and what’s really happening here that are pulling us even before we have any conscious notion of what’s happening. This was certainly my experience as a child. I thought I had no spiritual life. Really, until I was in graduate school. I just thought I had no spiritual life. I didn’t identify anything that was happening. That spiritual I would have said I was an atheist. I didn’t know anything about India, until I was in my, in my 20s. And but yet, all these things were happening, and pulling me in some direction or another. And eventually, you know, I arrived at where I needed to be. But yeah, I think we get pulled along in all kinds of wonderful, weird ways.

Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, if we want to bring past lives into it, I feel like a lot of us had a momentum going. And then we came into this life. And we had our stumbles and kicks and dead ends and whatnot. But there was a destiny, you know, and somehow, eventually it clicked in. We’re knocking on wood as if to say, No,

Shambhavi: I just put my teacup down.

Rick Archer: I thought it was like, you know, good luck, knock on wood.

Shambhavi: Good luck. I will say that when we do become aware that we’re being guided, or when we when something rises to the level of our awareness, that’s a great time to go for it. Yeah. Because if we sort of push it back down, we don’t know when it’s going to rise again.

Rick Archer: That’s a really good point. Make hay when the sun shines. Exactly. Yeah. And a lot of teachers say that. I mean, a lot of teachers say, well, Was it somebody else was it you? Maybe I heard it was one of the sites on zero I was listening to. I listened to a whole lot of your podcast last week. But there was one, I think, where you’re talking about the sort of inevitability of death and the the unexpectedness of it, you know, and it could happen at any moment. So we just want to take advantage of the, if we realize this possibility, we want to just, you know, take full advantage of it is with whatever time we have available. I know this in India, there’s some people who have the attitude that oh, you know, I’ll become a sanyasi when I retire. And meanwhile, I’m gonna do all this other stuff. And I guess sometimes the option is presented to them where you can renounce the world now and get into spirituality, but you can balance both and, you know, integrate spirituality into a householder life and so on. He talked about that on your website.

Shambhavi: Yeah, absolutely. No, we don’t have to wait for anything.

Rick Archer: Right. Okay, jumping back to some of your notes here. This is this the centrality of the heart and devotion in Treeger? Shaivism?

Shambhavi: Yeah. So in Trika, all of reality is considered to be the heart. And then the heart space inside of us, which is in the center of the chest is also sometimes called the heart space, or the Cave of the Heart is like the living symbol, or the microcosm of the heart everywhere. And what the heart is, the the heart is the outpouring of wisdom. It’s that fountain of wisdom that’s coming out and are emerging as worlds, worlds and beings. So that’s happening everywhere, all the time, this fountain of becoming our cascade of becoming. And we can experience that both the absolute and the fountain of generosity happening in the heart space. So there are many practices that are heart based, and much that can be discovered in we could also call it the Santi of the heart, that gap or opening that we experience in that space.

Rick Archer: So the way you described that just now made it sound to me, like what you’re saying is that there’s a kind of a cosmic heart. And from which all this fecundity all this creativity is pouring forth. Yeah. Pardon? Yes, yeah. And then there’s the individual heart, and that, which is the microcosm of the cosmic heart, and that is perhaps the portal, which connects the individual with the cosmic Is that

Shambhavi: That’s right, are you getting that out? Are in Trica, and other traditions like it? Everything that is in existence, is also in the human body. And so that’s why we can practice with a human body and realize everything. We as you know, there’s a beautiful teaching, and a lot of the ancient Tantra is this, this teaching texts that say, there’s no need to go on external pilgrimages, because the greatest pilgrimage is the human body, that we can discover everything. So the heart space, which is not our physical heart, it’s just the center of our chest inside. The heart space is the same as the heart everywhere, but it’s it gives us a focus. It’s basically meant for sadhak like all of the subtle anatomy is vouchsafed to us so that we can do sadhana with it and discover the nature of reality.

Rick Archer: Perhaps that’s what’s meant by man is made in the image of God.

Shambhavi: Yeah, everything is but yeah, not just human beings.

Rick Archer: But there’s a correlation. There’s also this thing and some of the Vedic understanding that the the that there’s a correspondence in various aspects of the human physiology with the Veda or the impulsive and other impulses of intelligence which give rise to an orchestrate the creation that you can find correlations between different aspects of that field of of primordial knowledge and our human physiology.

Shambhavi: Yeah, I think that this this way of experiencing the human sense orient bodies recapitulate recapitulated in lots of different traditions. And that’s a good word. Sure. Yeah. Good. Um,

Rick Archer: okay, I’m just gonna go read down your notes here because I think You’ll have gems with each one, the nature of salts on.

Shambhavi: So Satsang the word site means reality or existence. And some is kind of a prefix or a suffix that often it means a confluence are coming together. So well the way that I like to translate Satsang is being in reality together, or coming together in reality, at Satsang is a really ancient form of spiritual practice, perhaps the most ancient, where you just gather together with a teacher with someone who has some realization, and you just sit in that field together, and you experience more of who you really are, to whatever extent that you’re capable. And at the same time, you reenact the basic form of the dualistic conversation between the Enlightened essence nature and yourself. So, this gets a little bit esoteric, but this alive aware reality, which is one is throwing out remitting or giving rise to innumerable experiences of self and other. So the all of reality of manifest reality in Trica is called a city

Rick Archer: Sid, ahi,

Shambhavi: or c i, t, y, t, y, okay, city, so so this is like the grand city of manifest life, or where you go, or you can say, where God goes to experience meeting all the diverse manifestations of which God is capable. So it’s this incredible conversation that’s happening throughout manifest life. And Satsang is mirroring that or echoing that or giving us the chance to enter into that. So it’s in the form of call and response. Just like everything else, here is a conversation that questions are being asked and answered, generally, students ask questions of the teacher and the teacher answers. And then there’s calling response singing kirtan. So this is a practice that is like a microcosm of what’s happening in all of life. None of my ma only taught in Satsang in my first are pretty much the only written encounter one can have with her is through the people who wrote down her Satsang the conversations that she had with 1000s and 1000s of people, and listening to her and Satsang and audio recordings and reading her Satsang I just completely fell in love with this way of being with students. And I just started doing such fun. And at first people just really didn’t know what to make of it. I mean, they’re kind of sit there like a little nervous. It’s very informal, it’s very intimate, you know, sort of anything goes. And eventually though, now the students that have been doing Satsang with our community for a long time, you know, that they really understand the richness of it, and how beautiful it is. Ma compared Satsang to water dripping on a stone. She said, You know, it is spiritual practice, but it’s slow, but like water dripping on a stone, eventually the water will go through, you know, eventually you’ll recognize who you really are. Yeah,

Rick Archer: look at the Grand Canyon. Yeah, that’s what your podcast is, essentially is just recordings of your songs. And yeah, each one is on a different topic, or sometimes one of them is on several topics. And so people can find a link to subscribe to your podcast on your website. And do you do these podcasts on Zoom now so people can participate all over the place?

Shambhavi: Yeah, we don’t do pipe the podcasts or

Rick Archer: thoughts on the other side? Yeah, we do.

Shambhavi: Right now we’re doing them two days a week. So on Sunday afternoons at 330, and Thursday evenings at 6:30pm. Pacific time, people can get the Zoom link by joining a Facebook group called Jaya Kula news. So we don’t publish that link. Publicly, you have to join the Facebook group. Okay, in order to get the link,

Rick Archer: make sure I have that link so I can put it on your BatGap page. So then people can go there and join us. Okay, good. I’m going down your list here. A lot of these are questions that everybody’s heard a million times, but I’m liking your answers to them. What is self realization?

Shambhavi: It’s really very, very simple. Although the words will not mean anything until you start to enter into a direct experience. But Self Realization just means knowing the nature of reality, and that the nature of reality is the same That’s the nature of yourself. That’s really all very, very simple. Good.

Rick Archer: Son. Yes, and leading an improvisational life.

Shambhavi: So son, yes, is a, you know, an ancient tradition from India, where people renounced and in various ways, and some of them are wanderers, you know, not staying in one place for very long. But the type of sannyas that I’ve taken really doesn’t have much to do with those external forms. It has to do with, renouncing, or living without view. So we all have these views of everything, even spiritual views of things. And from the perspective of the Ultimate Teaching of Ma, about sun Yes, is that we would be in life in an utter state of utter spontaneity, with no view, simply responding and being embodying those wisdom virtues and responding spontaneously, she called this spontaneousness kale, which is a Sanskrit or maybe it’s a Hindi word. I’m not sure. That word that means improvisational music, that she said she never did anything other than via kale, and that she was just moved by reality to do or not do to say or not say, and in this way, she lived her life.

Rick Archer: What do you make of the Osho? People calling themselves and Yazidis?

Shambhavi: I don’t have any view on that. I don’t know much of that.

Rick Archer: But you’re right up there in Oregon.

Shambhavi: Well, yeah, but, you know, I don’t I’ve seen that documentary. I didn’t really occur to me to ask why they were if they were sannyasins. I mean, there’s many, many different forms of sun. Yes. All over the world. Ma Ma just talked about natural versus sort of more ordinary sun. Yes. You know, you could take vows and whatever put on robes but you might not have natural Sun Sun. Yes. Or you could have natural sun Yes, but not be wearing robes or doing anything, right.

Rick Archer: There was one of your podcasts that particularly interested me, I can remember exactly where I was riding my bicycle while listening to it. You said it was a discussion of Vedanta versus Kashmir Shaivism. And I thought maybe we could get into that a little bit.

Shambhavi: What did I say?

Rick Archer: Let me see if I could do justice to it. So you were talking about Vedanta as regarding the world, being kind of emphatic about the illusory nature of the world, and the non existence really of the world. And whereas Kashmir Shaivism gives greater respect and credence to the kind of creative play and display you could say of creative intelligence. And you were favoring the latter. But I don’t know it kind of

Shambhavi: talking about Advaita Vedanta a little later. Okay. Shun, because the Vedas if we’re gonna call something Vedanta from the Vedas, they are more similar to Triq than Advaita Vedanta, which is a later truth or later take on Vedanta, let’s just say, and Advaita Vedanta has many, many different forms, just like the tantric traditions do, but in general, tends to be more transcendental than the tantric traditions or than Triq. In particular, in that there’s some idea that even though it’s it’s supposedly a non dual tradition, the there’s still this denigration of lived experience, ordinary lived experience and ordinary bodies in ordinary life. And so Amina Gupta wrote about this kind of humorously. And he said, If you divide, you know, he was talking specifically about Advaita Vedanta, if you say there are certain things that are real, and other things that are illusory, then you’re already being a dualistic tradition, you’ve already fallen off your nondual horse. What trigger says is that we have limited wisdom or less limited wisdom. So it says that everything that’s happening here is real, and nothing could be unreal, that the unreal does not exist, which makes kind of a certain kind of sense. If we have a limited understanding of something that’s still a real experience of of limitation, and then we enter into less limited experience, when we do practice are some other thing happens to us. So this idea of illusion doesn’t really play out in Tariqa. The way that it does in a lot of versions of Advaita Vedanta.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s what you said. But as he was saying it, I was thinking of that Gita verse which says, The Unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be. And so it’s like, it’s unreal, therefore, it actually doesn’t have any being and all there is all there is is the real Go ahead.

Shambhavi: If it doesn’t have any beam, then why are we talking about it? Well, what I mean, what are we talking about? I guess I would say,

Rick Archer: well, that’s a good question. I mean, obviously Advaita Vedanta uses examples like the rope and the snake, and so on. And there, there never was any snake and just seem to be one.

Shambhavi: Well, what Trico will say is that we had a real experience of a snake, right. And then we had a real experience of a rope. But that everything happening here is an experience. It’s an experience of the nature of the self, for the self to enjoy. So ontologically, in terms of it’s the nature of its existence, there’s nothing, there’s no difference between the experience of a mistaken experience of seeing a snake versus an experience of seeing a rope, they have total equality on the level of their ontological significance.

Rick Archer: But it really is there no difference? I mean, I guess one way of

Shambhavi: well, there is a difference. Yeah, there’s a difference. In fact, each of those experiences is completely unique. If I see a snake, it’s unique experience, if I see a rope, it’s a different unique experience. But on the level of what they actually are those experiences. They’re both made of what I would call Shiva nature. They’re both made of the intelligence and wisdom of that one reality. on that level, they have equality, they don’t have non difference on the experiential level. They have glorious difference on the experiential level, but on the level of what they actually are, they have equality.

Rick Archer: I think I understand that. What you’re saying, I guess, I would, say, the experience of the snake, it’s definitely an experience, but it’s a mistaken view of what’s actually going on. Because it really, actually is only a rope. And so if you kind of see the rope as a rope, then you’re you’re, you’re having a clearer view of what you’re looking at.

Shambhavi: Which, what what, what, what I would say is, you don’t exist in the way you think you do. And only this one reality is having a funny experience of seeing a snake and enjoying that and enjoying the mistake and also enjoying discovering the world equally. Yeah,

Rick Archer: that’s good, too. I’m not even sure. I guess as I was listening to this, I was trying to think, you know, maybe these two things are more reconciled than one might think. Because I hear Advaita Vedanta teachers sometimes talking that way, too.

Shambhavi: Yeah, I think that there are much there are Advaita Vedanta teachers who are much more sophisticated than the cartoony version, for instance, that Abyanga Gupta was making fun of. So I think that’s very important to say,

Rick Archer: Yeah, I study a lot with Swami Sarvapriyananda. And I really appreciate his nuanced and respectful view of, of all these things.

Shambhavi: Um, so the word illusion itself doesn’t I think, mean. non existent or unreal to every Advaita Vedanta teacher?

Rick Archer: It’s more like a misperception.

Shambhavi: Yeah, misperception? Yes. Right.

Rick Archer: And then I guess the question is, well, is there really a world or not, you know, which is like saying, Is there was there ever a snake or not? And then you have things like the Mandukya Upanishad, which say, no, nothing ever happened is total misperception to

Shambhavi: be seen. Treecko would say, No, nothing happened. But it’s glorious.

Rick Archer: I would do that. Yeah, exactly. It’s like, if this is an illusion, like, holy cow, what an amazing illusion. I mean, look at a single cell under a microscope and watch what’s going on in it. What a show.

Shambhavi: Well, what I like to say is, this is what God does, yeah, this is that this quote unquote, illusion or this magical display, they would say in searching is the life process of God. And it’s here to enjoy once I start recognizing its real nature,

Rick Archer: yeah, I really feel that myself. I just feel like sometimes Advaita is too dismissive of the marvel of God’s play. And

Shambhavi: that’s part of its Transcendentalism. Yeah. And also, the effects of patriarchy on traditions where bodies and earth and things associated with the female are denigrated,

Rick Archer: yeah. Could also be the fact that they didn’t have dental care in ancient India or many of the other things that made life tolerable. And you just wanted to get out of here as soon as possible.

Shambhavi: They had some guy down by the river, you could call your teeth.

Rick Archer: All right, we’re only 10 rupees. No more questions coming in already looks like no. But I have some more points you spoke of in your notes about? Let’s see, well, yeah, there’s several different points here. Here’s what I’ve probably said this, quote 2030 times on the show. But there’s a quote that’s attributed to Padma Sun bhava, which I heard, which was that, although my, although my awareness is as vast as the sky, my attention to karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour. And I thought I’d bounce that off you because it, it sort of, to me is important. It’s it has a lot to do with the ethical stuff that you and I were talking about before we started and that you don’t get a pass. If you’re cosmic as all get out, there still has to be a sort of a impeccability in your behavior and attentiveness to that you can’t just do any old thing and say, well, it’s only God doing it, which some people have used as an alibi.

Shambhavi: I think I relate that quote to us as practitioners and students, that we have this bigger view, or what we could say, of the Absolute, but our actual lives are the material we have to work with. So we are we are given these lives with all their fine grain. And, you know, some less wasn’t green than others. With this is the material that we’re working with that helps us to discover the nature of things. So if we bypass this, we really don’t have a practice. As Bina Gupta says, that we find Shiva in Shakti meaning we find the nature of things in the lived experience in our lived experience. Or in other words, that the Divine is imminent to everyday life or imminent to everything that’s happening. And so if we try to bypass this, then we have no we have no spiritual life, we have no practice, really, that’s going to help us at least to get to some version of self realization that’s prevalent in the traditions I’ve practiced in has

Rick Archer: really good um, some people like to say the world is my guru, meaning that there is evolutionary potential and significance and everything that happens to us. And and guidance if we can discern it, and follow it. That things aren’t happening arbitrarily and accidentally and capricious Lee and meaninglessly that there’s some wisdom in every little leaf that falls that

Shambhavi: there’s wisdom and everything, but it’s also playing. So it’s not necessarily that everything has meaning and is heading somewhere. Why did that leave fall? It’s really a lot of it’s like high jinks.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. That’s true. I mean, look at a watch a Discovery Channel documentary about some of these goofy animals and the way they carry on these funny birds and the things they do. It’s like, God has a sense of humor.

Shambhavi: Absolutely. Yeah. That’s one of the that’s one of the things you can discover. That’s everywhere. The sense of humor.

Rick Archer: Yeah. And a sense of drama. You could say, if you think of God as a playwright, you know, all the dramas and they’re not just comedies, there’s, there’s tragedies, comedies and, and just, you know, Master playwright writing the script. Have you noticed in especially in the last couple of years, perhaps even in your own Sangha kind of an infiltration of what is called can spirituality, where people have kind of gotten sucked into conspiracy conspiracy theories, like Q Anon, perhaps swung to right wing politics or any of that kind of stuff.

Shambhavi: I’ve noticed it in some people like No, but I have never had a student who was into that stuff.

Rick Archer: They have a good teacher

Shambhavi: if I if I have they left so quickly that no one ever Yeah, I feel like you know, ma just weeds people out who don’t really belong with the teacher like myself. And yeah, I think that I’m so sober and allergic to that kind of stuff that somebody wouldn’t they wouldn’t last long. Yeah, they wouldn’t they wouldn’t enjoy themselves. Maybe that’s good. I have known some people who have gone that route of late.

Rick Archer: Yeah, yeah. Maybe that’s what’s happening. So I’m kind of weeding out process because there have been dozens, dozens of articles about this phenomenon. We’re, you know, kind of new age and wellness community and spiritual communities and so many people like and friends in Sedona told me about 75% of the people down there at one point were in the queue and on, you know, Donald Trump and the whole thing,

Shambhavi: where I encountered it, most disturbingly was around the pandemic. Yeah, exactly. Like lots of Magical Thinking about being protected from COVID without being vaccinated or wearing a mask or whatever.

Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s why I said the last couple of years the pandemic seem to kick this into high gear.

Shambhavi: Yeah, absolutely. People want to feel safe. But they also want to feel like they’re in charge. Yeah, those two things don’t always go together.

Rick Archer: And what I distilled from all this, and I gave a lot of attention to it for a while is that the development of critical thinking skills is a really valuable tool on the spiritual path.

Shambhavi: I agree with that. And clarity is one of the qualities of reality. So we’re moving in that direction? By thinking more clearly.

Rick Archer: Yeah. All right, we have a little bit of time left. Is there anything that comes to your mind that you’re gonna wish we had covered? If we don’t? I guess

Shambhavi: I would just say in terms of the round world that anything you can imagine from whatever vantage point you’re at right now, I don’t mean you. I just mean anyone listening, or anyone who will

Rick Archer: listen, remind us what you mean by round world, just so

Shambhavi: people. By the round world, I mean, the world as seen with more depth and nuance, than we normally experience it with the world that includes many other kinds of beings and ancestors, animism, animism, yeah, magic. That or whatever you think the fruits of practice are. You cannot imagine that or decide that in advance. You can only know that by walking the path and discovering how things are you anything that you think about things is possibly going to be an obstacle on your path. And for myself, personally, every important thing that has ever happened to me spiritually wasn’t surprised. Not anything that I read in a book or things teachers told me, everything was a surprise that was of any significance at all. So really, it’s you get there, you get there by getting there. Not by projecting or having expectations and the excitement and the adventure of spiritual practices in that process of being taken by wisdom. Yeah.

Rick Archer: And on the one hand, you know, we read inspiring books about unenlightened people and all that stuff. And we get a sense of, you know, we might not, it might be quite different when we actually realize it ourselves than what our concept was. But at least we have a sense of, oh, there’s something really great, you know, and I should, I should aspire for that. But, I mean, a classic example of, of this was there was this woman named, she wrote a book called collision with the infinite, what was her name? I forget, it may, it may come to me. But in any case, she had, you know, been an ardent meditation practitioner, and so on. And it studied all this business. And then she kind of drifted away a little bit, and she was married and pregnant, and just coming back from a swimming session in Paris and getting on a bus and all of a sudden, boom, she had this big shift. And she couldn’t locate a sense of personal self. And it’s Suzanne Siegel. That’s right. And it totally freaked her out. And she spent 10 years being totally freaked out. In this state where she couldn’t she desperately trying to find the personal cell. And finally she got she met John Kline, the teacher and and he said, stop looking for it and only relax. This is good. She relaxed into it. And then, yes, this is an event she would then later realize this is exactly what her teacher had been talking about, but she had completely the reality of the experience had been so different than her conception of it. That she didn’t put two and two together.

Shambhavi: Yeah, I mean, I love reading books about other practitioners for many, many, many years. Send. That’s wonderful as long as you don’t get attached to having experiences.

Rick Archer: Yeah. But just the inspiration that you know, there’s more to life than Yeah. And you ought to apply yourself to discovering what it might be without being really rigid about, you know what? Yeah, I need that inspiration.

Shambhavi: I agree. Good. Well, that’s

Rick Archer: a good note to end on. Well, I really appreciated this. I hope I didn’t talk too much. I tend to get a little talky. And I really love what you’ve had to say. And I really enjoyed listening to your podcasts throughout the week. Thank you so much. Yeah. And I’ll link to all that stuff on your page that I’ll put up about this interview on BatGap. So people can hop from there to your websites. And don’t forget to give me that Facebook link where they can join that group.

Shambhavi: Thanks so much for having me wreck. It was really fun. Yeah, it

Rick Archer: really was. We’ll be in touch. Okay, lots of love everybody. Okay, and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching next week, I’ll be interviewing Dr. Penny Sartori. Her name is and she’ll be talking about near death experiences. Which question? Yeah, goody. So, talk to you later. Thanks. Talk

Shambhavi: to you later. Bye.