Thursdays with Aatmaavrajanam will be a little more technical. We shall look at specific texts and consider how to approach them.
|15th Batch Brahmacharins at work; Sandeepany Sadhanalaya|
Ideally we will get to the stage of reading a full text together and exploring it at depth. To do this, however, it is necessary to make lots of introductory steps. Vedantic thinking is complex and requires that we leave behind the modern approach of 'infobytes' and the 'thumbs up or down' responses to which many are now accustomed. Much of modern education, in all fields, is about information gathering, collation and regurgitation. Only once we move into the level of Masters studies do we find that we are having to be more original, less of being simple processors of 'stuff'. At PhD, we are forced to become as original as possible, to form fresh thought and perhaps admit that, after all, we do not know…
Advaitic study at its fullest is a PhD discipline. BE NOT AFRAID! Just as in standard educational practice with which you are familiar, it is possible to rise. All that is required is that you wish to attain the prize, or at the very least strive some way towards it.
What exactly is the 'prize' for following the path of knowledge to its ultimate end?
A total integration of being-ness, attaining sat-chit-ananda; truth-consciousness-bliss.
Looks simple when put like that! This elusive state, however, has been the subject of philosophers of all colour and variation for as long as Mankind has been able to rub thoughts together to create the fire of knowledge. What is more, take note, there is no mention of 'god'. No mention of 'I'. Spirit is beyond religion. It is beyond plurality, my-ness and otherness. It is worth considering also, that all the material 'knowledge' cannot prepare us for spiritual Knowledge. Part of gaining Knowledge is to release all ownership of 'knowledge'.
There will be terminologies which are inescapable, so the little notebook you were asked to begin yesterday will be an essential companion for you. It is not that you will be expected to learn Sanskrit (neither could this poor scholar ever think to teach it!), however it will be necessary to carry a small lexicon for the reasons explained yesterday. A good deal of understanding comes from an appreciation of how Sanskrit itself is structured; language has many levels as the wordsmiths among you well know, but for conceptual and contextual depth Sanskrit cannot be beaten.
The asking of questions is encouraged. It is said that the student who asks not, learns not. Be assured, if you have a doubt or confusion, there will be others with the same. A question asked and answered will help all and also, hopefully, generate further enquiry. This is an appropriate process. It is asked above... Participate!
Now, a small video of Gurudev, whose erudition is second to none. Once the ear is attuned to his accent it pays to listen rather than read the transcript. Practice listening (sravanam) as it brings a tone, a dimension, which may be missed by the distraction of reading.