One of the hazards of a public forum like a blog is that some articles bring out the disappointed and the angry. People with a story to tell/vent about this or that teacher or system. But sometimes the backstory can bring out interesting insights. But you have to look under the drama.
I’ve mentioned one such drama here prior with the Beatles in India.
Recent articles on Isha have drawn a bit of similar. One question I was curious about was Isha’s own spiritual history. She mentioned using the facets for her own process but is vague about their source. What she does teach though is obviously effective.
Awhile back, a friend of mine started hanging with someone into “Ishaya”, taught by a fellow known as Maharishi Sadashiva Isham or MSI. MSI was originally known as Robert Vaughn Abrams and was a TM teacher who lived in Iowa at their larger centre.
The story is that when his life fell apart in 1988, he traveled to India and met an old order of monks called Ishayas who taught him the Keys, what Isha calls the Facets. MSI eventually built a group in N. Carolina and made teachers called Ishayas.
They say that the Indian sage Shankara founded the teaching from a rediscovery. When Jesus was traveling in Egypt some 500 years later, he met traveling monks from Shankara’s tradition and went to India to study with them. He later taught the Keys to the apostles as a higher teaching. After the crucifixion, apostle John went to India and established the Ishaya order to maintain the teaching. (not clear why if there already was an Ishaya order)
This says that the Ishaya teaching was rooted in both the Christian and Hindu traditions. There’s no real way of verifying these ideas. I’ve seen other documentation that Jesus traveled to Egypt and India and it is highly likely he would have been exposed to Shankara’s teaching there. My own practice is derived from the Shankara tradition but is unlike Ishaya’s, although one site does compare meditation and the facets. And the Shankara tradition certainly includes a number of techniques. Certainly interesting, but who knows?
MSI died in August of ’97 and it appears the Ishayas broke into sub-groups.
Isha herself was apparently an Ishaya known as Sakti Ishaya or Sakti Ishaya Maharishi. She migrated to South America, first in Venezuela, and eventually in Uruguay. There are several books published in this name as co-author.
At some point, she evidently broke away from the group and began teaching solo. This is not at all uncommon. The star student comes to feel constrained by the organization and steps out from the shadow. Deepak Chopra has a similar history. MSI broke away from his original teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
From what I’ve seen, she made no attempt to differentiate the technique from what the Ishaya’s teach. Just slight word changes like Key and Facet. For whatever reason she simply saw fit to teach independently.
Some of the Ishaya’s still refer to her as one of their teachers but Isha does not mention them. Given the response I got from someone who called themselves an Ishaya, they have some healing to do. I can see why she might not wish an association in the meantime.
Several people I know that use Isha’s facets found this history very interesting as it explained the power behind them. I find the journey of a teaching quite fascinating, whatever truth it may or may not reveal. It reflects the journey of consciousness in knowing itself.