Hi Sarlo. I used your site around two years ago when I began seriously looking for a teacher and it was quite helpful and informative. Having most of the known teachers in one place with some ratings and links to their sites is a great public service and thank you for having made the effort.
I was a big devotee of Muktananda from 79 through his death and spent some time , around two years with his two successors Gurumayi and Nityananda. All up around around five years of my life was spent with them in the various ashrams but mostly in the Ganeshpuri ashram in India. The stories of this particular group has been fairly well documented and I left like many ,very disillusioned and and humiliated by the experience. It took about twenty years to really get over the experience and begin to contemplate having another attempt to find a teacher that might be able to help me.
When I arrived in the Ganeshpuri ashram I heard for the first time about the beedie baba Nisargadatta and met some Muktananda people who had been to his satsang in Bombay which is about two hours travel from Ganeshpuri. Unfortunately he died before I got a chance to see him but the I AM THAT book which I read while I was in the Ganeshpuri ashram left a long lasting impression on me. When I felt the beginnings of a second " awakening" around three years ago I decided to work with that book and not to give up until I succeeded and I swore to myself I would do it on my own and under no cicumstances turn to a teacher for help [no more gurus].
I worked with the book, reading contemplating and meditating. Every thing "progressed" well for around a year . I then found that I was stuck and had to admit that I needed some help to understand what exactly the meditative state I always seemed to arrive at actually was. It was then while looking on the net for former Nisargadatta students who were now teachers themselves that I found info on sailor Bob.
I was still pretty wary after getting burnt with Siddha Yoga but I threw caution to the wind and flew to Melbourne to attend a meeting at Bob's house. When I walked in his door I knew nothing more about him or what kind of organisation he had or how he operated than what I had read on the website. When I arrived I was asked to pay $10 to attend the meeting which I did willingly. I found an old man relaxing in a recliner chair in his living room with about six or eight fairly ordinary looking people sitting around paying close attention to what he had to say. I took a seat in the front and pretty much dominated the whole hour and a half as Bob and I and the others in the room got into a full on discussion of non duality.
I will skip the rest of the story in detail but about twelve months later I was able to pick up the phone and say "Thank from the bottom of my heart, I no longer need any more help."
The contrast between my experience with Muktananda and Bob was extreme to say the least. With Muk. you could not speak directly to him. In the three years I was around him I never spoke with him in private, that cost money. When I left Bob's house that first night I had his phone no. in my pocket and his last words
were, "don't forget to ring me, I want to know how you are getting on". We talked regularly by phone and I went to his house for four more public meetings and I met him privately twice for two one hour talks. I had read somewhere on the website or in a book that Bob charges $50 an hour for telephone conversations. He never once asked me for money and I never offered him any. For the two private one hour dialogues I paid him $50 each time, he never asked me to pay, I did that cause I was taking up his time and it was one way to show my appreciation.
He never once asked me to believe any thing he said, it was always the opposite, look at your own direct experience and judge from that. No dogmas , no beliefs, no practices, no bullshit. Absolute democracy in the meetings. Everyone is invited too participate and he encourages people in the group to answer peoples questions on his behalf if you think you
can. He NEVER asked for ANYTHING from me.
The relationship was always that of equals but I felt he had something that I lacked, he was able to show me that we are all already that. I can't speak highly enough of the bloke and all those that are associated with
regards, Brad Halfacre