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,
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,
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.
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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.
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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
On her "lineage" page, http://www.presentnonexistence.com/lineage.htm,
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
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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 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
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
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