GURU RATING: 2 / 5 (QUESTIONABLE)
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.
“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.
- Official website
- Letter from the board of Gangaji’s foundation about her husband’s sexual transgression
“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.