This explains the utter difference between Traditional Advaita and Neo-Advaita 
delusion. Cohen's statement is at the bottom.

 A Fallen Yogi
 Recently I received an email with a link to a web blog by a reasonably famous 
teacher, Andrew Cohen. He said he was stepping down so that he could work on 
himself and become a ‘better person.’ It was a surprising event because 
arrogant people invariably live in an ironclad state of denial, the better to 
project their emotional problems on others. In any case he is definitely a slow 
learner…evidently the chorus of angry voices that has followed him for 
twenty-seven years swelled to such a din that it became too loud to ignore. His 
statement will undoubtedly be seen as a courageous act of contrition, the 
uplifting resolve of a reprobate taking the first halting steps on the road to 
redemption. We wish him well and hope that he becomes the person he needs to be.
 The real lesson here is not his personal story but what it says about his view 
of enlightenment, since it was behind this view that he perpetrated so much 
misery. Had he been taught by a proper teacher…he was one of the first Papaji 
Neos…he might have actually known what enlightenment is and hundreds of people 
would have been spared so much heartache. Papaji, a shaktipat guru, propounded 
 experiential view of enlightenment.
 Mr. Cohen was obviously not enlightened by even the most liberal definition. 
What he called enlightenment was merely a ‘deep awakening,’ an epiphany that 
had a profound effect on his ego. It convinced him that there was something 
‘more’ than his way of seeing. It convinced him wrongly, that ‘he’ was 
 In fact. enlightenment, as it is popularly conceived, is not enlightenment 
because enlightenment is not a special experience, an ‘awakening.’ It is the 
hard and fast knowledge, “I am awareness, the ‘light.’ It is not something that 
 because you, awareness, were never unenlightened. You are unborn and never 
die. Experiences are born and die. They do not change you, make you into 
something else. If you take yourself to be an ego, an experiencing entity, you 
 be apparently modified by what happens to you, spiritual or otherwise. We do 
not like the word ‘enlightenment’ because of its experiential connotations but 
if you insist on using it, enlightenment is simply shedding ignorance of one’s 
 as awareness. It is not the gain of a special state or status.
 Any experience is only as good as the interpretation of it. If I am awareness 
there is no way to conclude that I am special or unique and that I have 
something that you don’t, because everyone and everything is awareness. The 
understanding I
 am awareness neutralizes the ego, because the ego is just a notion of 
specialness and uniqueness. It does not mean that the ego disappears or is 
transcended. It means that it is known for what it is, an idea of separateness 
appearing in me, awareness.
 We do not doubt the profundity of Mr. Cohen’s experience. We question his 
interpretation. Because anyone is free to define enlightenment in any way he or 
she chooses, he is free to call his epiphany enlightenment. However, it should 
 noted that most of the mischief in the spiritual world in the last thirty 
years from Muktananda to Osho and Adi Da right up the present…the examples of 
fallen gurus are too numerous to mention…can be laid squarely at the feet of 
the experiential view of enlightenment.
 What actually happened? Under the spell of apparent ignorance, the 
self…limitless awareness…mistook itself for an experiencing entity, an ego, had 
a particular type of experience known as an ‘awakening’, declared itself 
enlightened and imagined that it had transcended itself. It came to believe 
that it now inhabited a special experiential niche reserved only for the few 
and that said experience empowered it to enlighten others not so blessed. 
Evidently, in Mr. Cohen’s case his exalted status came with the companion 
belief that the end justifies the means, opening the door to abusive ‘teaching’.
 This is the story: an ordinary ego had an extraordinary experience, one that 
changed its idea of itself but little else. The impurities that were there 
before the epiphany survived…as they do…and immediately out pictured when the
 experience ended…with predictable results. I recall hearing many stories of 
abuse at Mr. Cohen’s hands over the last twenty plus years.
 The enlightenment scenario he envisioned, which he obviously did not 
critically examine, is classic duality. It amounts to splitting the ego into a 
transcendental self and a self to be transcended. To make this idea work, the 
ego needs to be in
 a state of complete denial. It must imagine that the  non-transcendent part of 
itself doesn’t exist. It didn’t exist for him but sadly it existed for everyone 
else. To keep the myth of transcendence alive, he was forced to lay the problem 
at the feet of those who hadn’t yet ‘transcended’, so his problem could easily 
be transferred elsewhere.
 He finally admitted his folly. Without a trace of irony he said, “My ego is 
alive and well.” What an epiphany! It should be brought to his attention that 
ego death or ego transcendence, contrary to popular belief, is perhaps the 
number one
 enlightenment myth. Nobody is transcendent because reality is non-dual. It is 
not a duality. There is only one self. You are awareness and awareness is 
‘other than’ what it perceives, although what it perceives is only itself. 
 ‘awakening’ moments you are actually experiencing yourself as you are but 
ignorance survives these moments and it projects the experience on the ego. 
Vedanta calls this phenomenon superimposition (adyaropa). You think that what
 something other than your ego. You declare yourself ‘enlightened’ and imagine 
that you are qualified to teach others.
 The name of the organization that Mr. Cohen founded tells the story, 
‘Evolutionary Enlightenment.” It is an idea fit for doers who want to improve 
themselves. But enlightenment is not about becoming a better person. It is 
about discovering who you really are. Before you are a person, you are non-dual,
 actionless, ever-present, ordinary perfectly full awareness. The assumption 
underlying the evolutionary approach to suffering is incorrect…that reality is 
a duality, that you are in need of fixing, that you can do something to get 
what you
 already have, that you can ‘transcend.’ Even in the unlikely event that he 
happens to become a ‘better’ person, he is in store for further disappointment 
assuming he actually wants to be free. He will have to start his seeking over 
 from ground zero because his idea of enlightenment is incorrect.
 Both people who imagine they are transcendent and those who accept the 
experiential view of enlightenment often fail to understand that life’s number 
one value is non-injury. Non-injury is the most valuable value because reality 
is nondual. Non-duality means that you and I are non-separate. I will only 
injure something other than myself. Furthermore this fact implies that I love 
everyone as I love myself…because they are myself. When Mr. Cohen finally wakes 
up, this
 is a lesson that he will do well to contemplate.
 Here is his statement:
 I’m fifty-seven years old and currently find myself facing the biggest 
challenge of my life. I’ve been a teacher of spiritual enlightenment for 
twenty-seven years. Enlightenment has always been and always will be about 
 the ego. Over the last several years, some of my closest students have tried 
to make it apparent to me that in spite of the depth of my awakening, my ego is 
 alive and well.
 I’ve understood this simple truth—that we all have egos no matter how 
enlightened we may be—and even taught it to thousands of people all over the 
world throughout my career. But when I was being asked to face my own ego by
 those who were nearest and dearest to me, I resisted. And I often made their 
lives difficult as a result.
 I’m aware that many of my students over the years have also been affected by 
my lack of awareness of this part of myself. And for those of you who are 
reading this, I apologize. As time passes I intend to reach out and engage in a 
process of dialogue with those of you who would like to.
 In light of all this, for the sake of my own integrity as a spiritual teacher 
and as a human being, I’ve decided that I need to take some time off so I can 
make the effort to develop in many of the ways that I’ve asked other people to. 
Starting this fall, once I’ve fulfilled some prior commitments, I’m going to 
embark upon a sabbatical for an extended period of time. During this hiatus, I 
will be stepping
 down from the leadership of my organization, I won’t be publishing anything 
here on my blog, and will not be doing any public teaching. My intention is to 
become a
 better teacher, and more importantly, a better man.

 One of the most beautiful fruits of my work over the years has been the 
international network of people who have studied, collaborated, and trained 
with me for so long. They are all examples of Evolutionary Enlightenment in 
their own right, and I couldn’t imagine a greater community of people to carry 
forward this
 movement. I’m looking forward to working with them in a very different way in 
the future.

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