Picked up a book by U.G.. Krishnamurti, a man who, in his life, knew both Sivananda and Krishnamurti, and rejected them both. He rejected them because he thought that they did not give him the enlightenment that he sought from them.
He eventually did have an experience which transformed his life, which he describes as something completely physical, and which left him with a condition that he calls 'the natural state' , in which there is the experience of 'not knowing'.
His ideas and the way that he expresses them, make sense (though the physical experience he describes can only be accepted or rejected on his testimony). In particular, the logic that he sets against J Krishnamurti makes sense. However I find myself rejecting the man, because he is not able to offer me anything useful. If I would be a person similar to himself, perhaps this would be different. I mean his message serves as an antedode who approach spiritual teachers with a greed for nothing less than the ultimate experience. But the teachers who I have approached in life were able to give something from first exposure to their teachings. They already made me feel a little better right from the beginning. In the case of Swami Vishnu, this was a healthier approach to life. In the case of J Krishnamurti, it was the understanding of the need to decondition myself and accept diversity in a humble way, in the case of Thich Nhat Hanh, it was the value of mindfulness, and a vision of a spirituality that touched everything in the now, without waiting for some distant goal. I feel fortunate for having encountered my teachers, rather than cheated by any of them. Still, I think that the best way to learn from our teachers is to implement their teachings in our lives, rather than place ourselves in the teacher's permanent custody.
Maybe the test of a teacher, for the common man, is whether his influence upon our lives appears to be good from the very beginning.
One interesting but often unspoken thing is the way in which teachers suit their messages to the times, reflecting the knowledge that is available in the real world. Thus Sivananda's message does not seem as timely and relevant today, and this is true of Krishnamurti, Swami Vishnu, and most other teachers whose teachings came a little earlier than today. Perhaps somehow the prophets of earlier periods managed to speak in such a way that their messages carried across the centuries. But it is the job of most teachers to fill out the details, and one is aware when their ideas and insructions do not suit the wisdom that continues to accumulate in the world.