'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta
FIVE VERSES ON SPIRITUAL PRACTICE. Written by Sri Adi Shankaraachaarya. Please click on the relevant label and ensure to review the posts till date.
Sloka Three. Paada Six.
Renounce Pride. This requires little explanation… but much mananam! As we continue to identify with BMI we have a sense of possession; this is MY body, this is how "I" do it. We can so very easily become self-important, selfish and consider ourselves before, and better than, all others. It doesn't have to be blatantly egotistical, it is just the hard-wiring which grabs hold of our personality and we, the observer Self, forget who we really are. The arrogance that the BMI 'me' is the reality is what is being talked of here. Drop that false attitude. Drop the pride of appearances, what is the status held among all the other bodies. It is your tool, your instrument through which much good and positive work can be achieved. Those works also must not be prideful. Remember the instructions of shloka one. Keep examining and note; where there is any sense of individual identity - me against the world - where there is a feeling of injury or anger or any other such emotion, it is the ego-self which has forgotten who it is. Let it go.
Give up the idea 'I am the body'. This is how the gurus teach. We are being reminded again, but with direct reference now to the greatest mistake the jiiva (ego-self) makes. The Rsis understood that the BMI had developed to such refinement that the Self could begin to bring the roaming soul back home! They had an understanding of evolution. Yes there was creation, but from that creation, all else has evolved and most evolved of all is Mankind. Or so it would think itself to be! It is due to being stuck with the body image that the arrogance arises.
Now we have reached a stage where 'survival' must take a turn into the metaphysical. Despite all around us continuing to evolve in the physical sense, Mankind really has stood still. The very fact that the Rsis of countless centuries past have given us such personal insight to our condition… that it applies as freshly today as it did millennia ago… makes this abundantly clear; there is only metaphysical evolution left to us. Left, as we are, in our physical state, we must learn to use the body for humanitarian purpose. We must develop our mental capacity to a transcendence of the mundane and petty nature of Maya. We must prioritise what is important and what is frivolous, what binds us and what frees us. More and more must begin to question their own motives rather than looking outwards to others. In doing so, the society moves in that direction. After all, the personality of a society is only the sum of the component natures which operate within it. The predominant personality traits are what sum up any community group. We know this. We see it in action when groups of like-mind and need put their 'hand up' to be counted. How wonderful would it be if the largest group was the one which agreed, 'we are not the physical, we are one in Brahman and together we make the difference'?
It is lying there, beneath the surface. The wick has yet to be fully lit.
Give up arguments with the wise. This appears the same as paada three of this shloka. However, here we are reminded that the Rsis, the Gurus, the Swamis and achaaryas are who they are because they have specialised in the subject. To question is one thing. To approach with the intention of going into verbal battle is not only disrespectful, but rather futile.
All teachers have the aim of imparting their acquired knowledge and experience with a view to engendering the spirit of enquiry and analytical processes within their students. It is a true vocation. It is only our gain to be in the presence of one who is wiser than ourselves on a given matter.
Be respectful of the learning before you. Yes of course you must ask your questions and voice your doubts - this is an important component of learning - but do so with open hearts and minds and seek not to tear down or block the responses received simply because they do not fit into the frame you have built for yourself until this moment. Spiritually speaking, the scaffold of your experiences is best when you allow it to be flexible, to be restructured and made stronger. The teachings of the wise help bring you into joy and happiness… if you permit.