Ignorance of SB Devotees (3)
One thing that we should consider about spiritual ignorance is how prevalent it is in other religions and traditions too. For example, some Muslims are often criticised for drinking alcohol when this habit is strictly against the principles of Islam. And whereas vegetarianism is considered to be a penultimate virtue among Hindus, you will often find such people consuming meat and mat products. Similar inconsistencies are there among people of all faiths, yet we still find them acknowledging themselves as a member of that faith. And I am not even going to start on the level of spiritual knowledge that such members may have of their respective faiths.
In some circles this would be considered hypocrisy whereas in others it might be considered human nature. I, therefore, do not find it out of line to consider SB devotees to be ignorant despite paying lip-service to him and his organisation's works. Judging by the philosophical content in SB's books I find them often lacking in depth and substance, and also judging by my discussions with devotees over the years it appears that not very many of them spend much time studying his teachings either. In much of the discussions that I have viewed and/or participated in, most participants invariably paraphrase a quote that they have "read somewhere but can't remember where." Devotees who quote from his books as a result of due study are quite rare to find and such study seems to be very much of a recent trend.
It is interesting to see how Sai Baba himself highlights the problems in one of his more famous discourses: "Your worldly intelligence cannot fathom the ways of God. He cannot be recognized by mere cleverness of intelligence. You may benefit from God, but you cannot explain him. Your explanations are merely guesses, attempts to cloak your ignorance in pompous expressions." And yet this is precisely what most devotees do; speaking in vague terms without direct reference to SB's books or mainstream scriptures.
To admit ignorance is a hard thing to swallow, but there is nothing inherently shameful about that. To admit to not reading SB's books or studying them very well and yet participating in discussions on convoluted subjects such as the nature of God, the soul's relationship with Him, our duties, and so on, would be a truthful expression of honesty and an admittance of one's own faults. After all, this is what SB himself preaches all the time; admit your faults, be humble, work on your ego.
And I would have to repeat what I said in an earlier blog: What the devotees need to do before they do anything else is to educate themselves.
It would be an expression of humility and truth for devotees to accept that they know very little philosophy. And what they would need to do is to follow the teachings of their own guru:
"If they learn the Sastras or scriptures, or if they cultivate direct experience, they can understand me. Your innate laziness prevents you from the spiritual exercises necessary to discover the nature of God. This laziness should go. It has to be driven out of man's nature in whatever shape it appears."
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