Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
We are in a constant state of choice. Not just big choices, life-changing choices; but cellular-level choices like, 'will I move my finger this way or that way?' Some of these choices are at such a fundamental level of our daily living that we give them little thought. To act upon a thought is a choice. If we are giving no thought to the thoughts which are generating such actions, then how are we ever going to claim self-control?
Control of our mental faculties is a key component in vedantic practice. The saadhana chatushtaya elaborates fully the method through which we can start to think about our thinking, by assessing the results of thinking.
This of course can become a little … what shall we say? Dense? Mesmerising? Many who read about these four qualities of the well-balanced personality for the first time (and for quite some time after that!) have been known to pick away at the different components, vainly attempting to show how impossible they are to achieve. What happens is that some attempt is made but not full attempt. At best, minor errors slip in and undo any good work. At the most, there is conscious sabotage; "This cannot be done so no attempt will be made to do it" or "Let us try it, but only if….(alteration to parameters substituted)". Scientific approach demands that if a theory is to be disproved, it is necessary to carry out the experiment within the exact parameters given by that theory. Reproducibility of results is the scientific method.
This is why vedanta is often referred to as the 'science of spirit'. There are formulae to be used and, if used correctly, will give the predicted results.
Sw. Chinmayananda started out as a great sceptic. His was no mean intellect and he was ready to tear down the 'myth' of this philosophy. That same towering intellect, however, could not deny the effects of the experiment. For all that he wanted to decry the swamis of the Himalaya, he could not. He was a fair and honest personality, who would follow to the letter any given formula and he reaped the rewards of that. It is not that he did not question. He questioned fiercely! That too is required. However, once an answer is provided, it must be given due respect and considered deeply. Further questions may arise, but where the mind is well-tuned, the answers of themselves begin to arrive.
Gurudev, once he had undergone all his own studentship, found that there was a need of the people to have access to such wonders. One of his earliest publications was "Kindle Life". To be fair, it is not a 'book' he wrote, but is a collection of transcriptions from talks given to complete novices in vedanta; it has become an absolute staple in beginners' groups and is one of the most widely read items both within the Mission and also to those outside, looking in. This is because it lays down the logic for taking up spiritual research for oneself and proceeds to a straightforward introduction to the structure and basics of vedantic philosophy.
It was mentioned that we would be looking at this book and that, too, through the 'workings-day' thread. It will be picked up from the start of the vedanta teachings as promised. Until then, however, the earlier chapters will be touched upon here on choose-days, as all the reasons for choosing a spiritual path are given there.
This will begin next week. Till then, please consider purchasing the book from Amazon or your local CM centre. It is very few 'paisa' for such enormous value gained. It is for everybody. Whilst it is, quite naturally, couched in terms of Indian society as was necessary for Gurudev's audience, it is not at all restricted to Indians, neither only to Hindus. This page will not contain any facsimile of the book and neither will there be verbatim typing of the script. What will happen is that reference will be made and explorations and examples given. Here is your chance to consider participating more fully.
The writing will continue in any event. The more involved you become, the greater the interaction, surely better the results which will follow.
As always, the choice is yours.