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!

Listening Discipline

Hari Om

'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general page reviewing the week so far...

A little more on the 'whys and wherefores'. In a face-to-face study group it is often easier to ask 'why?' or to say 'I see it differently" then have the teacher help you to think more deeply, search more widely. In the format set up here, it may be simpler to hide!  Let it not be so.  The purpose of Vedanta is that the student should begin to light his/her own 'fire' for gaining understanding.  The fire-stick of the shishya's intellect, rubbed by the fire-stick of the aachaarya, held over the 'tinder' of the shisya's curiosity first brings smoke. At this level we are talking about shravanam.

Once the smoke is well established, it must be fanned with mananam; deep and meaningful thinking. This is followed by sitting with the understanding which has been reached; dhyaanam.

Shravanam, the listening, can be the first hurdle. In this modern world particularly, where we are constantly bombarded with all sorts of informational input.  Determining what is worth our while and what is not, and what is downright rot, is a daily activity. Then, when it comes down to it, how much do we remember of what was just watched or heard?  How 'present' were we with the item? How important was it to our living?

Listening is not the same as hearing, remember.  To hear is the physical, receptive action.  To listen is to work intellectually with what has been heard.  True listening can only by practiced by being 'present' at the hearing, focused on the task.

Reading is 'visual hearing'.  What the intellect does with what it reads equates to what it does if listening has been properly exercised.  It takes the words in and works them over, holds them up to the light, applies the blow torch of enquiry and comparison, bubbles them in the flask of semantics and elucidation. Well, that is if the subject deserves it.  It goes without saying, perhaps, that if one is in constant perusal of comic books, the intellect is unlikely to be brought into greater heights, whilst reading works of philosophy, history or science are more likely to make us start to ask 'why is it so?' This is not to 'diss' comics.  Everything has its place. However, one of the first steps in discipline of the unruly soul is to make it pay attention to what really matters.

How often, too, do you reach the end of a paragraph or page and find that you have absolutely no idea of what has just been read? Perhaps you dropped off to sleep, or a word at the top set the mind off on a tack of its own so the eyes saw the words without mind registering them.  If you are properly present in the action of listening or reading, you not only will find that understanding is improved, but that your own thinking is deeply stimulated.

These pages are for your shravanam through the visual means of reading. Hurry not. Print them off if you feel the need. Read.  Re-read. Take notes! Be not afraid to ask questions. Above all, be present.


  1. I love reading ever since I learned it !
    The Dalai Lama once said :
    "When you talk you are only repeating what you already know; but when you listen you may learn something new". I think that is very wise !

  2. Hari OM
    Namaste Gattina and thank you for reminding me of this fabulous quote which fits perfectly with theme of today's article. Did you know that Swami Chinmayananda was a great friend of the young Dalai Lama and it is believed that Gurudev's outreach initiative is what encouraged the DL to begin travelling away from Dharamshala and meet his devotees in a similar manner? Such inspirational people are the subject of Saturday's posts. Thank you so much for taking time to visit and comment!


Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

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