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The Private Lives of “Enlightened” Teachers

An Interview with Gangaji and Eli Jaxon BearOn July 17, 1896, a sixteen-year-old in India had a sudden experience of liberation that led him to renounce his own name, his family, his Brahmin caste, and all earthly possessions. He moved to a sacred mountain where he took the name Sri Ramana Maharshi and spent the remainder of his life living in caves in a state of apparent bliss while attracting thousands of people worldwide to bask in his presence. His primary teaching was silence, although he also taught a method of rigorous self-inquiry. Even as he slowly died of cancer, Sri Ramana reportedly remained in a state of bliss and continued his teachings. When he died in 1950, millions in India are said to have mourned.Gangaji and Eli Jaxon-Bear are American spiritual teachers in the tradition of Sri Ramana. The couple has been married for more than 30 years and have been sitting in satsang (Sanskrit for gatherings of people seeking truth) for 18 years. Three years ago, however, their community erupted in scandal when it was revealed that the tools for inquiry used in their first-ever couples workshop had b …

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