Mooji is a contemporary Advaita teacher. He is one of the numerous disciples of Papaji, that started teaching on their own, and probably the most famous of them. Like his master Papaji, he teaches Ramana Maharshi’s method of self-enquiry.
Mooji was born in Jamaica. At the age of fifteen he moved to England. He became a self-taught artist, and for many years was painting portraits on the street. For a while he was teaching art in a college. At the age of 33 he met a christian mystic, that inspired him to change his life radically. He stopped teaching, left his home and started living a simple life. For the next few years Mooji lived almost penniless, absorbed in his spiritual experiences and oblivious to the outer world. In 1993 Mooji went to India with an intention to visit Dakshineshwar temple, where Ramakrishna lived and taught. But instead he came to Rishikesh, where he met the followers of Papaji, and decided to visit their master. He stayed with Papaji for a few months, and eventually recognized him as his master. Next year, after receiving the news of his son’s unexpected death, Mood returned to England. In 1997, just before Papaji’s death, Mooji came to see him again. His first formal satsang happened in 1999, and since then Mooji is teaching through satsangs, retreats and personal meetings. A few years ago he created an ashram in a rural area of Portugal, which became his base. He often travels to India, as well as many other countries, to conduct satsangs and retreats.
Now, Mooji’s teaching… it is the essence of that “non-duality” stuff you hear all around. And once you heard one talk, you heard them all. Literally. The essence of it is expressed in the subtitle of his new book – “The immediate awakening for everyone”. Nothing to learn, nothing to experience, nothing to practice, just realize that “you are already that, what you are searching for”. And then you can simply sit and listen to Mooji talking about the same thing over and over again. If you cannot come to his place in Portugal physically to participate in a retreat, no problem. He offers online participation! “This is a beautiful and profound way of experiencing Satsang directly and intimately from the comfort of your own home,” his website says. And a wonderful opportunity to realize that you are already enlightened right in your cozy armchair, with a cup of good coffee right next to you!
Here is the main difference between the modern neo-Advaita and the traditional Advaita Vedanta. And the main point of criticism of Mooji and the like. Traditionally, Advaita was one the the highest teachings, that was given to a disciple after many years of preparation and practice of meditation. Only when the master saw, that the disciple is mature enough, that he developed the necessary qualities, that he did everything possible and just one last drop is missing… only then these teachings were delivered. they are meant to be a thunderbolt, a strike, a sudden realization. But that is only possible after a deep preparation, otherwise it simply becomes another theoretical knowledge. But how many of the western middle class intellectuals (which form most of Mooji’s audience) will consider whether they are ready or not? Especially when Mooji tells them they are “overripe” for truth? Ramana Maharshi (who by the way still insisted that practice is necessary) expressed Advaita ideas in a simple and practical way, and made the practice easier for the common people. His disciple Papaji already taught that practice is not needed. Now comes Mooji, that promises immediate awakening. This idea is definitely very attractive, particularly for those who don’t want to get out of “the comfort of their own home”. That’s why Mooji’s videos are popular. Just sit down, relax and let Mooji put you into trance with his deep soft voice telling you everything is perfect and you don’t need to do anything. And by the way, if you still have signs of ego, thoughts, emotions, it is all fine, because anyway only self is real, and everything else is an illusion. So better forget everything about the spiritual search and go to sleep.