Gangaji is a neo-Advaita guru that teaches the self-inquiry method of realizing your true nature, much akin to Ramana Maharshi and her own guru, Papaji. She was one of many Westerners authorized to teach by the latter, though this is disputed by some.

Her experience with Papaji led to her spiritual enlightenment when, at his prompting, she stopped pursuing the matter. In the depths of silence, she became self-realized and continues to be so. That’s the official story, anyway. Her own master disputes her spiritual enlightenment — see the video below.

Spiritual enlightenment on the cheap

While Papaji may have been spiritually enlightened, he had a knack for gifting questionable spiritual teachers to the world, including Mooji and Andrew Cohen. Like Gangaji, they both advocate the Advaita path to liberation.

Gangaji with her guru, Papaji

Gangaji with her guru, Papaji

“One of the tragedies of Poonjaji’s teaching ministry is that he either told, inferred, or allowed hundreds of individuals to believe they were fully enlightened simply because they’d had one, or many, powerful experiences of awakening. These “enlightened” teachers then proceeded to enlighten their own students in a similar way, and thus was born what is known as the “neo-Advaita“, or “satsang” movement in western culture.” – Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path.

The unfortunate consequence of the influence of these neo-Advaita teachers is that they have discouraged spiritual practices which have helped students bridge the gap between the mind and Spirit for aeons. You’re simply meant to “get it”. The mind, however, can easily deceive itself.

How many thousands of students have stayed exactly where they are, deluding themselves into believing they are enlightened by simply thinking along certain lines? Many of these same people have gone on to teach others. It’s a perpetual cycle.

In the meantime, Gangaji and her husband, Eli Jaxon-Bear, a fellow spiritual teacher, have grown wealthy and run their organization like a business. That’s in spite of her husband admitting to cheating on her for 3 years with a younger disciple. Yes, this same husband was also proclaimed enlightened by Papaji and asked to teach Westerners. Doesn’t say much.

The bottom line

Last we checked, self-inquiry does not necessitate a guru. Be discerning in where you place your time, energy and money. These gurus talk a good game, and this may be helpful as self-inquiry is a proven method, but it is doubtful that they have achieved any lasting spiritual enlightenment beyond the experiences they had at the feet of their own guru, Papaji.

“Self-realization is the willingness to stand as the Buddha, as the Christ, as every great icon we have had throughout time. Self-realization is not for the faint of heart.” – Gangaji.



  1. Gangaji is amazing!!! One of the greatest teachers I’ve ever seen in my entire life!!!

    • How can she be a great teacher if she doesn’t even have a teaching? Simply being charismatic and lovely doesn’t make someone a good teacher.

    • If ya do some research Papaji said he was tired of the Americans as they were like parasites and he wanted them gone so he told them to go back to America as they were already enlightened.

    • For me, the teaching – or message or idea – that resonated most with me was the idea that it is a mistake to take a concept like enlightenment and turn it into an object that can be “got”.

      I don’t understand the purpose of this website. If it’s an attempt to warn people about predatory ‘gurus’ I’m all for that. Where’s the article on Sogyal Rinpoche?

      But if it’s just a ranking of gurus, I find that a strange approach to spirituality. There are many paths, many teachings and many teachers. Two people might have exactly the same teaching but one may use words that resonate with some people while they mean nothing to another person.

      It is interesting to note you don’t rate any female teachers very highly.

      • Ya get a predator if you don’t research.
        Why spend 20 years with someone that hasn’t had the Kundalini awakening?

        • Yes there are predators in the group, a violent sex addict domestic abuser ,they have been told about him but it makes no difference, they are hiding what he is to the women because he pays lots of money to attend these fake self obsessed gurus

  2. I have listened to Gangaji, and she strikes me as a MESSENGER – not a teacher – as Papaji himself has said (see above video – Papaji Satsang: The fake messengers). Listening to her one hears a message of the possibility of liberation, but if ego inserts itself then a hypnosis takes over the messenger and the listener – then both believe they are on a privileged path of liberation.

  3. This review demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of Gangaji’s teaching (an yes, she DOES have a teaching, though she prefers to call it an “invitation”, because she doesn’t want to play the role of guru.) The Diamond in Your Pocket is by far the best distillation of her teaching. ANYONE who presumes to “rate” Gangaji, and hasn’t read this book in its entirety, is offering nothing but ignorant, journalistic blather. For example: contrary to what the reviewer claims above, Gangaji is only discouraging of spiritual practices that are undertaken in a such a way that the practitioner presumes the existence of an “un-enlightened” self, which is somehow going to become “enlightened”, and thereby encourages all the tail-chasing mind-activity, associated with the “eternal seeker” … on the contrary, she is totally in favor of practices (of which there are many, she affirms) which quiet the mind and its constant chatter around the belief in the existence an un-enlightened self, which is somehow going to attain something called “enlightenment”. Practices of that sort are like trying to clear muddy water by doing a lot of stuff to it, in an effort to get rid of the mud… which only stirs it up more. Practices of the authentic sort are analogous to letting the mud settle, and thereby revealing the pure water that was always there. Nowhere does she ever say that this only needs to be done once! ( It’s true that there is a serious semantic problem with the word “practice” … do you mean it as in “I practice medicine”? Or do you mean it as in “I practice the piano, to become a better player.”? I tend to use the former meaning, and Gangaji often implies the latter meaning… but once I get how she’s using it, I have no problem at all with what she’s saying… and my daily practice is entirely in accord with her teaching … which is very profound. Check it out, and read (or listen to the audio mp4 download) The Diamond in Your Pocket, instead of listening to half-baked opinions about Gangaji. She’s not a “neo-Advaita” at all in my opinion.

    • Perhaps the last couple of sentences about “practice” need to be cleared up: according to Gangaji, if our spiritual practice is of the type as in “I practice the piano, to become a better player,” then it’s not a true spiritual practice — perhaps it’s about the future, and about obtaining future power, but it’s NOT about Realization. (Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with power in itself … but beware of confusing it with spirituality!). True practice is NOT about becoming something in the future, it’s about being who you are, here and now… it’s more like the usage of the word as in “I practice medicine.”

  4. As far as my research has revealed, Papaji never authorized any of his students to become teachers. It’s my understanding that he went so far as to say that these students went out and built kingdoms unto themselves. When asked, he never mentioned any of his students as being fully enlightened. My question is, is it necessary for them to be authorized in order to teach? After Papaji passed away, I would hope that their spiritual paths didn’t stop but continued to evolve. Yet, I have heard questionable things about all of the above mentioned students who went on to teach in of themselves, so I’m confused. I find it particularly confusing when some of these teachers who were under Papaji, put a picture of Ramanamaharshi on the wall or table when they teach, as if to infer that they are on a par or in that lineage, which is impossible. Ramanamaharshi didn’t authorize anyone to teach. Perhaps it’s just a show of respect, but it feels like more of a statement of their standing which again I find a bit confusing.

    • I asked myself the same questions regarding the pictures of enlightened masters surrounding Mooji, Is it a form of respect as he claims or does he want to give an impression that he is on par with all these great masters? I believe it is impossible for a normal person to evaluate if a certain guru is enlightened or not, by the way, and criteria like how much they charge or how social they are will not work at all. Even their teachings or intellect will not give it away. (Look at Hari Krishna) Therefore I think rating them is useless and I hope people are not put off a certain guru because of that. However, the web page still has a purpose. It works as a useful platform to discus and find new gurus, So thank your for that.

  5. I also wanted to mention that Papaji NEVER charged for Satsang. I also find it truly confusing that the above mentioned teachers and many others have built huge financial empires through retreats, talks, and merchandise. Spirituality it seems is a very big and lucrative business indeed.

    • Thank you for your comments, CK. Many teachers past like Ramana, Nisargadatta and Ramesh never charged for Satsangs. They opened up their homes for total strangers to walk in – free of charge – just so they could share and learn more of the Truth. This simple test of money for admission is a good one to detect the frauds and liars from the real gurus, prophets and Messengers.

      • I don’t agree with that and as you mentioned Nisargadatta – he himself made it very clear that there is no way for the non-enlightened to determine if someone is enlightened or not. He warned to look at the traits of the guru-person that appear in front of us and take that person to be the guru. Nisargadatta’s person smoked and ate meat and was quite vicious in character and saw no reason for charity at all. And yet, his teachings and insights show a clarity that leaves no doubt that he is one of the great spiritual masters. Osho is another example. His character amassed great wealth and he lived a life totally opposite to Nisargadatta and yet, Nisargadatta himself confirmed his enlightend status but didn’t think high of his teachings. Don’t get ahead of yourself by rating gurus. You have no idea until you reside beyond your mind. But you still do a good service providing a platform for discussion and I guess the rating create a bit of energy to make people comment. So well done,

        • And what if you do reside beyond the mind and still judge these people by their failings and their broken ness. Why make excuses for obvious ills that your heart can feel. Isnt that a form of lying?

          Also interesting how you make a distinction between their “person” and them. Smells like non-wholeness to me.

  6. The one thing that concerns me is that this all seems to be very ME centered. What about serving others? In that way we do find out who we are, our mission and lots of peace, gratitude in serving etc.

  7. I’m glad that this helps people but it’s all very simple:
    Who am I? a child of God
    Why am I here? to serve God through the service of others (which brings peace etc)
    Where am I going? Through faith and good works to get to Heaven

  8. I’m really shocked at all the critics on this page?
    She is an incredible teacher who has a lot of depth and I don’t find she overcharges for her seminars either. Any good teacher in the west who is competent is skilled at the practical application of making money – so what?
    I’ve attended two of her retreats and have seen the powerful transformation in the workshop participants.
    She doesn’t proclaim herself to be anything special and doesn’t ‘rope’ in the audience in any way to glamorize herself as a teacher. She is very humble.
    Have these people that criticize her ever even met her?

  9. In the East, spiritual guidance is so valued that entire communities rally to support their teachers in every way. Eastern gurus don’t need to charge money to have their physical needs (food, clothing, shelter) met. Western societies do not value spiritual guidance in the same way. Given that these Western teachers have to operate within the structures in which they exist, how else could they continue sharing what is being asked for WITHOUT charging for their own immense investments in time and energy? They cannot teach from a place of destitution. As long as what is being offered is shared with integrity and is of actual value, I have no issue with exchanging my own energetic investment to learn from someone else’s.

  10. Papaji’s message amounts to “Nobody’s enlightened except me, and anybody who I didn’t authorize to teach is going to Hell, and all their followers are going to Hell.” Notice how the audience laughed, but he didn’t laugh. He was dead serious. He really believes that he is such a high God-Man that anybody who crosses him will go to Hell. Really, this guy’s no better than the ones he repudiates.

  11. There is a man in the group now who is teaching and on the board of ‘ friends of the world ‘ who is with Lisa with Satsang and also Jared, he is a violent sexual predator who has a police record who is obsessed with porn, sees prostitutes, has been violent to 5 x partners to point of having a police record, they dont care who they get in the group as long as the money Is paid .

  12. J.Krishnamurti repeatedly admonished any sort of deliberate “spiritual” practice.

  13. Gangaji is Adyashanti’s teacher but you rate her lower than him. It seems odd. He talks extensively about her in Spontaneous Awakening. She also has one of those voices. You can hear the peace in it. I always marveled at Elkhart Tolle’s and Michael Singer’s voice but when I heard Gangaji, it was like another level of unimaginable depth.

    • yea i think you might be a bit confused?
      i remember one talk by Adya where he mentioned a responce Gangaji made to someone that he just loved when he went to one of her satsangs but I got the impression it was after his awakening and gangaji definatly wasnt one of his teachers

  14. Isn’t Gangaji the lady who got a facelift to look young and sits up high in front of everyone on plexiglass to make it look like she’s levitating?

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