Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Head v Heart

Hari Om
'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…

Swamini Supriyananda is one of the leading lights for Bala Vihar, the school-age teaching focus of Chimaya Mission. This little presentation is simple, clear and plain common sense. Worth listening to. We all need reminding from time to time!

Faith, Hope, Charity

Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

On Wings and Wheels is the publication we are delving into currently. It takes the form of a series of Q&As from devotees to HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. There are many sections and subsections to this book - not all will be given, but it is hoped that the general thought-flow will not be broken for those omissions. To obtain the full picture and essence of the discussions, do consider attempting to purchase the text from the link above; it is currently only available from India.

General Social Consciousness.

Q - Swami-ji, out of feeling for God, is it that a sense of duty arises for others?
A - be it a feeling for God or for any goal higher than oneself. The higher the goal or Love, the more beautiful will the action be. It is best if it is devoid of the sense of duty; "I love my family therefore I do it" has about it a sense of sacrifice (possibly martyrdom!) and, despite the word and presence of love, the act becomes selfish. The sense of "I am doing…" If the action is motivated by concern for society, a larger love, the action is of a higher order; there needs to be that idea of doing for God and not for self or any individual, only then can it be said we are truly serving our duty to others in the name of something higher. That particular, social, duty sees need and serves it regardless of who the other is - they may even be 'enemy', but still we will serve in need, because that is what higher principles require of us. We do not necessarily have to Love the focus of that service, but understand that the duty to the higher is being served. That is to say, emotional concepts of love are not required in order to carry out one's duty. Love of the Universal kind, however, must be present for one to have a sense of duty in the first place. Love for God cannot be restricted to That alone; it expresses as Love for the community, country and so on.

Q - suppose a man obeys a religious commandment that one should give charity and he does, but not because he feels any sympathy; would it not be better to give out of pity rather than just duty?
A - pity is a sentiment, a cheap emotion. To act on that emotion is not carrying out a proper duty of service - it falls back to being selfish, a salve for oneself and not properly for the benefit of the target of that pity. We already know how to love human beings but we don’t - we only love ourselves! ...When an individual enters service in social or national basis, without surrendering the ego to a higher altar, that one does not always serve in true cooperative spirit… despite having many who are working for the uplift of their communities and countries, we find that the world is still far short of peace, plenty and prosperity; all too often it is discovered that the systems set up to help society fail it miserable, either at the individual level of corrupt persons, or at the organisational level, no persons fully taking responsibility and always the talk is of the cost. Financial concerns, whether by corruption or otherwise, affect the exercise of duty towards society. No matter how noble any individual may be, unless they act individually, taking responsbility and with the Higher to the forefront of their mind and intention, it all fails to serve, in fact.

[This is a very concatenated version of several Q&As in the session, but none of the import has been lost, it is hoped. Simply put, the essence of service ought to be without expectation for the ego-self; the service may still benefit others in the moment, but in terms of ethics and spirituality, the individual is demeaned if they do not attend to the purity of their intention for carrying out a duty or service.]

Haunted by Desire

Hari OM
Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

The text under study is BHAJA GOVINDAM, song of despair of time-wasting, by Sri Adi Shankaraachaarya.

The next verse has been attributed to another of the 'inner four', Sri Totakaachaarya.

A¢e viû> p&:Qe _aanu>
raÇaE cubuksmipRtjanu>,
Tadip n mÂTyazapaz>.16.
Agre vahniH pRshte bhaanuH
Raatrau chubukasam-arpitajaanuH,
Tadapi na munchatyaashaapaashaH ||16||
In front of the fire at the back of the sun,
Late at night he sits with his knees held to his chin;
He receives alms in his own scooped palm under the shelter of a tree
And yet the noose of desires spares him not!.

Well herein lies a warning and reprimand, if ever there was one! So often throughout history it has been found that those who would play the part of 'being spiritual', or who make a show of religiosity, fall foul of all the same traps of personality and indiscipline as the rest of humanity.

In the verse before, it was the householders who got the rocket for succumbing to the force of their own desires and persecutions, now the 'sadhu', the wandering monks, are the focus of ire. The tyrannies of desire are universal and affect all, regardless of chosen occupation or lifestyle. The mind of all humans is a fickle and taxing co-traveller!

It would be easy to dismiss this verse if one is of the twenty-first century and living in Western society. Be not so ready. Many of us are seeking to live a life more devoted to self-improvement, whether or not that is with a religious intent. Simply being the very best Human Being that we can be is as noble and just a pursuit as any religious one… indeed, all religions worth their salt have this is the core of their philosophy anyway. However, living up to the core ideals as not as easy as discussing them. Talking the talk is one thing, walking the walk quite another.

Any individual can make the decision to live their life to higher ideals, but unless they have looked at themselves deeply and 'worked their stuff' in order to purify and clarify their mind and intention, the bonds of desire will always anchor them and pull them ever backward. It is important to understand that renunciation of the things of the world is not true renunciation… that has to take place deep within the psyche, at the mental, emotional and the spiritual level. Self-denial without the appropriate mental purity will inevitably implode upon the personality. In Indian tradition - and even today, in the twenty first century - there are those who leave all behind and take to the roadsides, dressed in loin cloths and carrying their kamandalu without at all having proper intention to walk the spiritual path. This results in them seeking only to serve their bellies and find a place to sleep at night. Suppression is unprofitable - this will be further explored next verse.