From a recent e-satsang by JS:
Gary: Hi, James.
You said, “Okay. You are in charge of your sadhana. But you need to know that you can’t read or practice your way to moksa if that’s your goal, because of the mind’s tendency to self-deception.”
And I agree. There is the tendency of the likes and dislikes of the mind to interpret the scriptural teachings, and thus hinder the enquiry and removal of ignorance. But this happens in any situation, listening to a teacher in a seminar or at home reading the scripture.
James: Well, it doesn’t happen in a seminar if the person knows how to listen. Listening is keep one’s attention on the words of the teacher and simultaneously dismissing the mind’s reaction to what is being said. A professional is someone who knows the difference between what he or she thinks and what he or she hears. It is very difficult when the mind is rajasic. A rajasic mind hops from thought to thought so you miss some logical steps, which are necessary to know. In Vedanta hearing (sravanna) is called dhyan, focus on one thought or one train of thoughts. The qualification is called samadhana. If you have that skill, you will get Self-realization very quickly by listening to a qualified teacher.
James said something similar at the seminar I attended. Something like: you should listen to me and dismiss any critical thoughts arising in you. This opens students up to being programmed, if indeed they dismiss their own critical thinking. If they don't, they might start to wonder: what is a "qualified vedanta teacher"? James keeps talking about the importance of the qualified teacher and ridicules other teachers and calls them unqualified. But is James Swartz himself a qualified teacher?
Here's a description of the requirements for a vedanta teacher to be qualified (culled from standard Vedanta texts like Vedanta Sara, Vivekachudamani, Shankaracharya’s commentaries on the Upanishads etc.):
Five essential qualifications of a spiritual teacher (Guru):
A spiritual teacher or Guru should be
(1) Well versed in the scriptures and aware of the inner, subtle meanings, born of his own realization. (Sanskrit phrase: shrotriya)
(2) Devoted to constant cultivation of higher knowledge. (Sanskrit: brahma-nishtha).
(3) Sinless (that is, without any commercial or selfish motive). (Sanskrit: avrijina, apaapaviddha).
(4) Free from petty, demeaning desires. (Sanskrit: akamahata).
(5) Supremely compassionate and loving towards the disciple and eager to impart knowledge with infinite patience, overlooking the limitations of the disciple, (Sanskrit: parama karunika).
In this thread you can find an abundance of reasons for why James doesn't meet these requirements.
Just based on the discussion of the last few days, we've seen that James demands non-voluntary "donations" for his teachings, so he has a commercial/selfish motive, proving that he doesn't meet requirement 3.
His reply to Jane ("you don’t want to do that, because you would have to abandon shagging the exciting young counterculture guys with stiff dicks..." etc.) proves that he doesn't meet requirements 4 and 5 either.
We also recently discussed JS's claim that he's in a constant state of savikalpa samadhi, and Earthquake explained how that can't be right. And Earthquake gave many other examples of a mistaken understanding of the scriptures by JS. So JS fails requirement 1 as well.
Only requirement 2 is left: Brahmanishtha — devoted to constant cultivation of higher knowledge. James spends much of his teaching time ridiculing other teachers/people and ranting about things like politics and transsexuals. He says that in his free time he likes to drink beer and watch Netflix. Is he devoted to constant cultivation of higher knowledge? I don't think so.
James fails every one of the requirements for qualified vedanta teachers.James Swartz is not a qualified vedanta teacher.