Nome +/- Russell
(consisting of four items of support / testimony, 
the first three not including Russ, the fourth including him)

1.  I have just finished reading all the letters from ex-disciples who did not have very positive experiences to report. [Link at page bottom]  What can I say, and who of these people would believe or change their view, based on what I say?   No one.   So this letter is written to No One, and it will be very brief. 

For the ego to die it takes an unbelievable willingness to LET GO of everything.  And that just about tells it all. 

When someone eager for enlightenment goes to a spiritual master they open their heart, surrender, and allow the Self to do with one as it pleases.  This is not easy.  I feel especially blessed that I found a Self-Realized Sage in Nome, recognized him to be so, and allowed, little by little,  that spiritual relationship to flower into liberation and completeness.  Though the path taken was one of devotion (not the expressed path of Self Inquiry), this was of no consequence for the relationship was an authentic one of guru (Self)  and disciple, and all power and potential lies within that intimate, cosmic bond.  

Infinite thanks are due to him for being the pure conduit of Self, for without that solid stance in Self, how could it have been possible to go through the eye of the needle?

G. George  (disciple of Master Nome since 1990)

[In answer to a question about why Russell left, Gina replied:]

A great part of [my hesitancy in replying] has to do with realizing the pointlessness of it all: of engaging in discussion of events, perceptions of events, of characters, etc. - all such would be illusory and of no substance whatsoever.

Each person embarks on the path of Enlightenment and each person has to find their balance, their sanity on the path. So there will be acceptance or rejection according to what brings one to a safe and balanced place in their being. This is as it should be always, and without question.

Some of us, however, are ready to throw all such caution to the wind, step out on that twig and allow that twig to be broken, allow ego to die and thus be liberated from the finite, from the dream of life and death. 

So, from this vantage point, there is neither right nor wrong, nor anything in between, there is just Consciousness pure. 

If this seems an unsatisfactory answer to your question about why Russell Smith left, then I invite you to step to a higher level of perception and see that God, the Self, Consciousness does everything perfectly in and through all of this seeming life. 

~Gina George~

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2. Having just read Gina George's words I am deeply moved. Her words reflect the Wisdom of this Teaching at its depth. With the utter humbleness of these remarks it should be evident, to those searching for complete freedom, what an extraordinary opportunity exists to step beyond the illusory, limited sense of a supposed individual.

Thank you

~L. Read~

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3. I would like to comment on your rating of Nome. I have studied with him for about ten years, and found his teaching of Ramana Maharshi's inquiry and of Advaita Vedanta always at the deepest level. I have heard him respond to many questions, in and out of satsang, and always do I see Nome responding in such a way to take the questioner deeper than the level of the question. I have never seen him respond in any “personal” manner. He teaches the impersonal Truth always. I have seen a number of other seekers become immersed in the teaching, and continue to deepen in their own practice. Certainly that is my own experience, for which I feel deep gratitude.

There have been people who studied with Nome who have come to great spiritual depths. One recent case is Cee, who now offers satsang in Berkeley, CA. She has expressed her appreciation to Nome on her web site,

On her "lineage" page,, she says:


If you want to know Truth directly, if you want to know what enlightenment is--you should go to Nome. There is no doubt that he is the most authentic Spiritual Teacher alive today in the Western World. Nome teaches pure Advaita Vedanta in the manner of Ramana Maharshi. Nome is a fully awakened sage of the highest realization. There is not even the slightest trace of ego left in his satvic human form. Radiating with bliss and humility, he seems to function in the world as a sage yet he is not of this world.

Why do so few people come to him? Perhaps it is because he offers no entertainment or consolation to the persona of the seeker. His hair does not blow in the wind and he doesn’t dole out shaktipat. He has written no popular bestsellers (preferring to translate the splendid Vedic Classics). He simply abides as the Self. His Teaching has been the same pure Truth for 30 years. He will not let you stop at partial awakening. If you would only listen and take this perfect teaching to heart, he will take you all the way until there is absolutely no doubt and nothing left over.
While one might question her enthusiastic characterization of Nome as "the most authentic Spiritual Teacher alive today in the Western World," that is her experience. She has studied with a number of teachers in the US prior to finding Nome, and exposed herself to many more.

~Richard Clarke~

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4. Most of the masters you listed represent qualified nonduality, the 2nd best of all human endeavors, and yet it remains very distant from absolute nonduality. Confusion between the two in part explains the two sides of commentary about Nome and Russ.

For example, Ramana Maharshi represents absolute nonduality and deserves all of your right-on praise and more. By the time the chain of student-teachers evolves, qualified nonduality often appears and this is not a bad thing, all part of the play. One example would be the two step removed Andrew Cohen with whom I have personally spoken at length. He is clearly holding to a real world and body, thus qualified nonduality. On the other hand Nome represents absolute nonduality indistinguishable from the Maharshi.

The same is true for Nisargadatta Maharaj, absolute nonduality deserving appreciation beyond measure. But his physical manifestation was one of poverty with essentially no funding for publications by himself. I love Maurice Frydman's I AM THAT books and they capture Maharaj but they were not written by Maharaj. This is why various other wonderful renditions of Nisargadatta sound so different, as good as they all are. This would include the works of Ramesh Balsekar. My personal dialogues with him and his own non-Maharaj teachings again show clearly qualified nonduality with a real world and body. Mr. Balsekar's financial connections helped to launch his publications but perhaps he could have offered more material support to the teacher, Maharaj, who he claims to succeed.

Sri Atmananda, Krishna Menon is a third completely nondual sage who would get a higher rating than you give him if you were better acquainted. In his case family involvement led to the control of his publications by his son who has limited our access to them.

So poverty or family complications can rob the world of precious teachings after the sage passes on. Ramanashram itself has evidenced qualified nonduality inroads over the years but by and large has enjoyed adequate funding and inspired family involvement by Maharshi's own brother, all allowing good access to the absolute nondual teachings.

Nome and Russ seem to have felt that their curious family relationship might be an irrelevant distraction when first pressed by those who knew them to share the teachings. Once acquainted there was no big secret but perhaps doing it again they might have presented that connection sooner or differently, or maybe not. They do not seem eager to be promotional experts nor are they especially better at organizing and running organizations than anyone else. Like Christ's Kingdom, realization is "not of this world" and they would be the first to admit mistakes in communication and so on the human level. Motiveless and egoless always, but not always the most tactful to the tastes of the various visitors.

They actually did not teach at all for years after realization and have never evidenced a motive in doing so since other than the sharing and preserving of the absolute nondual teaching. That includes Advaita Vedanta represented by Nome in white, Buddhism represented by Russ in black, Taoism also taught by both, especially Russ, nondual Christianity, Sufism, Greek and Jain texts, and so on, whatever captures that truth. Maharshi, Atmananda, and Maharaj also displayed sympathetic appreciation for Buddhism, as did Gaudapada the guru of Shankara's guru, and so on.

Most spiritual aspirants come and remain in a context of qualified nonduality however absolute be the teacher, as in the case of Balsekar and Maharaj, and so on. If the world really is unreal then money is empty. Funding the building of a meditation hall, the publishing of texts, the acquisition and translation of disappearing treasures, these would be some of the best ways to deploy money. Nome and Russ whose home and lifestyle I personally know very well is modest and not "grand" by any means as mentioned. If anything is emphasized besides preserving the teaching it might be safety and health care for the sage bodies that are instruments as much as the computers and tape recorders.

I personally also know essentially all of those who spent time at SAT around Nome and then did leave almost en masse, many, but not really a "hundred." Many consider me a friend and vice versa though for their sake I regret their current course and would be happy to see any change their mind back again, as some have done and all could do. As little as I agree with their conclusions, at the same time I have some understanding for how they came to those conclusions and I empathize, but not to an extent of not wishing them the most help in realization. Let me explain.

Building a mediation hall proved financially precarious and wealthier friends were asked to help if they wanted to. The lesson of Maharaj's underfinanced and lost teachings was a lesson well noted, just as was Atmanada's family complications. Like the Maharshi, many of his disciples had nothing and in spirit all do well to be that way on the inside for best success in applying the teaching.

As with money, so with personalities. As "God is no respecter of persons" so it is with absolutely nondual sages. Full dedication to liberation from the illusion of ego would often include seeing the benefit of critically calling to account clear expressions of ordinary ego. But voluntarily submitting to critical feedback can seem painful, just as voluntary depleting one's finances can be. So many unvolunteered themselves. Prior to that point, eager for assurance that we were making progress, many fell prey to seeking approval from the sages however many times they advised against such foolishness. I sure did. I even donated past reasonable limits, and did let my younger body go with less sleep, but never because I was taught or asked to. Yuppie competitiveness in a contradictory manner seeks to one-up fellow disciples for assurance of self-progress and wrongly-sought approval, even as a pampered background resented lost sleep and poverty self-imposed. Many thought the only way to give less was to quit, but tithing and donating were always optional.

Finally, the personality interplay. When you or I are liberated the bodies others see will tell many of the same jokes, speak with same accent, be as adept or inarticulate in communicating, and generally as skillful or unskillful in human relations. Love is unlimited in the sage but awkward expression of that love is still possible. Nome happens to be angelic, Russ more of a wild card with a great sense of humor that may resemble that of Don Rickles (or Chris Rock) for some people. Some had feelings hurt and could not see why Nome would support Russ in his wit. Well Maharshi let Ganapati (a qualified nondual disciple) carry on a bit and Ch'an stories are replete with eccentric sages. Ultimately, those details are not in focus when eternal liberation and unlimited happiness is taught to be at hand.

Ultimately most aspirants coming to SAT really sought qualified nonduality and some did imagine they were given a rough ride at times in the mismatch with absolute nonduality in which personalities and bodies and money have no meaning. Nome and Russ and other enlightened disciples have ever offered humanity the very highest liberating teaching with no ulterior motive or agenda of any kind. Many did get their egos bruised and again, for all I know, the sages might have tried to have it come out differently if they could.

Many enjoy the teaching today and will do so in the future. All who came admit to me the treasure they received while remaining confused at not being able to reconcile their personal image of a saint with what they feel someone did or said when they were at SAT.

I love all the former students and wish them well, and cannot further presume to speculate about how the two sides of commentary come to appear on your web site. I can only say with certainty that Maharshi, Maharaj, Atmananda, Nome, Russ and many other women and men and a few children throughout history merit all the stars you can give them as absolutely nondual sages. "Rumors" might better be sent to the National Enquirer.

~John Stiga~

See also MORE, –ve rumours

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