'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
Gurudev developed a unique chart which is utilised throughout study and by which we can relate the theory of Vedanta with the physical experience. Known as the BMI chart, it breaks down the aspects of Body, Mind, Intellect which keep the spirit bound and how it relates to the Brahman. Deceptively simple, it distils the essence of our existence, so we shall take some time to familiarise ourselves with it. NB; the chart is truly universal. If at this stage Brahman/OM are beyond acceptance for you, substitute 'God' or 'Void' according to your current stance … the formula applies regardless.
There follows a transcription from a video presentation by Gurudev... all attempt is made at accuracy, though where side comments not affecting the subject have taken time they have been omitted and this is show by use of ellipsis. A link will be given for the talk at a later date. The film is nearly an hour long, so we will take this in smaller doses. Here are the first 10+ minutes.
What is Life? We know it is with us but we don't know what it is. It is a theme of our investigation, our enquiry. When thus there is a factor which we know is there, but we don't know it at this moment, in order to help us to consistently search for it we generally assume that thing as X per mathematics; Gamma, Beta or Theta in science; by assuming that sound, it is only a representation which of itself is nothing, it is the unknown.
Similarly in philosophy, in the subjective science, they say this spark of existence in you, this spring of consciousness in us, this touch of life in all living beings, let us call it as AUM (OM).
It is a sound symbol.
What is that OM is what we are searching. When you don't know what you are suffering from, the doctor starts observing the symptoms, gives symptomatic treatment because we don't know the spring of that disease. In the same way, when I can't directly know this great truth, with all my faculties that are available to me at this moment, I start study of it in terms of its expressions (symptoms).
Life in me expresses, the whole life in the world expresses, through three 'equipments of life'… Body, Mind, Intellect … शरीर /shariira, मनः /manas, बुद्धिः /buddhi (the उपाधि /upaadhi-s - the 'limiters/encasings'). Through these, life expresses in this whole world.
In the mineral world it has got a body only - a shape, a form; in the plant kingdom… the plant has got form and the beginnings of mind. It is able to respond to sunlight and water vapour. Nothing more. ...it has been discovered that [plants] respond to certain types of music… When plant kingdom evolves to be the animal it has got the body/form and a fully developed mind. The animals function as ordered by the instincts and impulses of the mind.
It is only in human beings we have got not only a body/form/shape, but the fully developed mind of the animal plus the subtle instrument of discriminative thinking capacity, to rationalise and think properly, creatively. This ability is called the intellect. We have, every one of us, got all the animal instincts and impulses. We jump into a conclusion and act on it - every one of us do!..."I got so angry I don't remember anything…" ; such an individual is behaving like any animal; barking and biting and fighting...see… but an intelligent one, even though he also has all the animal instincts and impulses, he starts criticizing, critically viewing his own impulses arising and he starts judging it… "is it right? Is it wrong? Will it bring happiness to me? Will it bring unhappiness to others? And when I find that a certain instinct/impulse that comes to me is creating sorrow to others, I give it a deflection, I give it a new direction, make it more creative."
This ability, the animal has not got. Only human beings have got it. So to act permissive, "whatever I felt I did it", that is not freedom. That is licentiousness.
Freedom is the freedom in me to say 'no!' to myself, of things that I understand to be wrong.
This ability of discriminative thinking that you have got is why Man is progressing. Animals remain in their same state. At the time of Adam and Eve, the beehive was built…[such perfection of structure]… even today it is the same blueprint… even their sex life is ordered by nature. Every animal is governed by a season where they feel the sex urge.
Freedom is nothing; but with the intellect developed the sophisticated creature called Man, he has got all the freedom, he can use his own discrimination, to do, to commit or to omit; he has got the freedom to do or not to do, or do it otherwise; all these are in you and therefore the progress, the material and scientific progress.
So [we have] the body with the sense organs, the mind with its emotions, instincts and impulses and the intellect with its rational, thinking capacity.
Note - by reading the actual words of the guru, you are still undertaking the process of shravanam. To demonstrate mananam, you ought now to ponder on what is here and prepare to receive the next part of the teaching. In a live study group situation you would re-read the notes of the previous 'class' to ensure proper connection, is it not? Quite possibly this has already raised questions. You are encouraged now to write these questions into the little note book.
This presentation will take us through four or five Thursdays, following which some questions will have found their answer simply by seeing through to conclusion and others will have arisen or been added to your list. This does not preclude questions and comments right now!