How to Tell an Enlightened Being

Dear Ram,

I hope you remember me. I met you in India seven years ago at Tiruvannamalai. I met you in that restaurant across from the Ramanasharam. If you will recall I was with X and I didn’t like what you had to say about him. I thought you were very unfair and judgmental and I was happy that our conversation ended. I never expected to see you again to be honest.

Then the other day I was on the internet and I came across your website. It is a beautiful website and it was such a relief to find it. I read several things and then I became interested to know who put up this wonderful site and I discovered that it was you. I was amazed because as I said I didn’t think much of you.

I won’t bother you with the details but I want you to know that you were right to warn me about X. I was completely in love and was not thinking clearly. I really thought he could set me free.

But he turned out to be a monster, greedy and sexually depraved. I left him two years ago but I still feel betrayed and used by him. I’m still trying to get my life together after him. It has been awful. Maybe I don’t want to believe that I could have been so silly. Others told me about him too and told me about the websites of people who had the same experience but I wouldn’t believe it until it happened to me. At the same time I am starting to see that I put myself in this situation and wonder how I could have avoided it. I wish I had listened to you when you warned me but that is water under the bridge. Even though it hurts it is a good lesson I think. However, I don’t know if I will be able to trust a teacher again and this makes me sad. Perhaps you will reply and give me some words of advice how to deal with this.



Dear Pamela,

I’m sorry but I don’t recall our conversation but I’m obviously not surprised that this happened.

X is notorious in the spiritual world. It is a wonder that people still fall for him. No offence but most Western people are quite naïve about spirituality. They wrongly assume that because someone is ‘spiritual’ they are together and practice what they preach. Some are OK but there are many self deluded ‘enlightened’ people out there who can’t wait to be gurus and there are some downright scoundrels, as you discovered. Yes, it’s a good lesson. This happened to me with my first guru. It wasn’t on the same level as yours but he wasn’t what he said he was and I figured it out soon enough to escape unharmed…by the grace of God.

It’s probably best that you don’t ‘trust’ a teacher. My guru used to say that the more spiritual a person was the more suspicious you should be. If you want to trust anything trust the scripture.

It will not try to get you in bed and take your money. And the problem wasn’t really about trusting the teacher, it was about trusting your feelings for the teacher. Feelings are notoriously unreliable…sometimes they are right on and sometimes they are completely wrong. So you need to not base your actions on your feelings. There should be a higher standard. And once you do act you should be ready to take any consequence as a gift from the Self. You seem to be coming around to this point of view when you say that you think it was a good lesson.

~ James Swartz –

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 10:31:04

    I also live in the west and I don’t see how you can judge either. OMG–I know that we aren’t brought up in the eastern culture, but man, don’t you go judging me–that is NOT very enlightened, even if it is true. I do agree with the trust–don’t go and trust everyone that says ‘I’m enlightened’, because for one thing if someone has to say ‘i’m enlightened’–they probably aren’t. I’m saying this because that comes from ego. If one is enlightened they are supposed to let go of ego. Just take what works for you from the teacher and don’t give money or your soul–just trust yourself and your own intuition. 🙂 Good luck to you all sisters and brothers. Remember no one is better than anyone.


  2. Anonymous
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 06:39:39

    I live in the West and I really don’t think that you can judge where someone is enlightened or not. In fact, I’m sorry, but calling someone a name doesn’t sound loving–people are on soul journeys and love is all that its about–it’s our journey back to love and we must not judge others–please–and the one love that starts is self love. Don’t judge because you have been there before! please, we all have. Love is everything–and to be truly enlightened you must know this!


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