'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.
Shloka Three; Paada Three.
Avoid perverse arguments. Most of us use the word 'argument' in relation to having a verbal stoush, a barney, a froth of words in defence or offence over a point of difference. Generally that difference is something trivial. Here, though, argument is used in the relation to intellectual concept. It is the working with an idea and putting voice to it. In mature circumstances this can lead to healthy debate. In lesser cases, it can indeed collapse into verbal warfare!
Sound arguments, based on solid premise and deeply considered, are able to bring out nuances and subtleties of a subject under discussion. However, if arguments are put forward which are based more on personal preference, say, or misinformation, then they will only confuse the situation further. Sometimes this is done purely out of lack of knowledge and can be corrected in short order. If, though, the one pontificating is seen as having authority and others less able to put forward any counter argument take this misinformation on board, then things can really begin to fray.
Be sure of your arguments. Avoid engaging in petty disagreements with those who would say that 'blue is really green because…' Blue is blue and only ever becomes green when altered by presence of yellow. Only one who has given appropriate study and has undertaken full experimentation can confirm this; the well trained eye can perceive always the blue, even within the green.
Likewise, there are those who have trained long, and practiced deeply in order to grasp the spiritual and philosophical subtleties of the Upanishads. Become discerning; know when false-hoods and misinterpretations have been raised.
To do this, read and contemplate deeply for yourself.
Certainly follow the discriminative rationale of the shruti. To develop sound argument, we must find the basis, the very logic, underpinning Upanishadic thought. Vedanta is a clear and pure thinking model, or, as Gurudev puts it, 'process of intellection' ( ज्ञान/jnaana). The very best way to engage in discussion is to educate ourselves; we must learn to think about and use the examples of the Upanishads. Any mind which truly delves into the teachings and applies the practices advised for removing doubt, establishing validity and so on, can only find itself strengthened. What is more, the student will find that base argumentation becomes tedious and unnecessary. By living the example, most 'arguments' (as in objections and oppositions) are automatically destroyed.
Be absorbed in the attitude, 'I am Brahman'. (Here are Gurudev's words directly from the booklet for this one.)
"As we are, we live in the assumption that we are the limited ego-self (jiiva) tyrannized by our equipments (BMI), shamelessly struggling to eke out our happiness from the world outside (OET). We have lived in this false notion for such a long time that any amount of study and reflection cannot end our tendency (vaasana) to consider ourself as a helpless, hapless ego (अहंकार/ahankaara). The only antidote for this erroneous attitude (संस्कार/samskaara) is to unwind them by the nobler and self-recreative attitude that 'I am Brahman'.
As the timeless Self, I am not the body-mind-intellect and so I have none of their imperfections or sorrows. Birth, death, health, disease, the ashramas, ...all the distinctions, as all based upon and with reference to the body. Joy and sorrow experiences are determined by the mind and as I am not the mind, they too are not mine at anytime. The intellectual restlessnesses are not mine, as I am not the intellect. To keep the attitude that 'I am Brahman' under all sets of circumstances is to bring an indomitable amount of equipoise and joy, balance and bliss into our inner life."
This is a moving into the very high level of vedantic thinking and there is much to learn before reaching to such heights of self-containment. It is necessary to be alerted to these things, though, so as to know something of what is being worked for. The remainder of this booklet all pertain to this level of sanyaasa and should be read with the understanding that it is a place to travel. Many have been there. As with any guidebook about a foreign place, you can enjoy it for what it is… or you can become inspired to make the trip yourself!