'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general page reviewing the week so far…
There was a comment yesterday which warranted a response… which grew and grew and grew. Therefore the response has now transformed into today's Freeday post!!!
Thank you Pearl! By 'all of this', it is assumed you mean all of Aatmaavrajanam posts. (TattvabodhaH itself, is available with commentary by Guru-ji from any of the CM links on the sidebar...but here is a direct link to the CM-USA site for this publication.)
Certainly, the blog is set up so that anyone can enter at anytime and simply begin at the beginning. It can, in this manner, be read like a book. When setting up, the possibility of collating the first year's posts into an official e-book was a tickle at the back of the mind, and this is still a distinct possibility... your comment, therefore is timely and encouraging. There are of course many Advaita Vedanta items on-line. Many were researched prior to producing Aatmaavrajanam as it was necessary to ascertain what, if anything, could be added to that pool.
One of the things which was striking was that all the sites visited appeared to assume that the reader had already, at the very least, come into contact with the term 'Vedanta'. On-line courses can also be obtained, but to embark on any of these without having experienced the gurukula system would likely seem mesmerising; and any which step outside the system, by default tend to 'dumb down' both the subject and the student.
Then there are those who have usurped the Philosophy to their financial advantage. One must not be overly critical. The Chopras and Tolles of the world at least are raising awareness of a possibility to think outside the body, to think universally.
The fault lies in that the source of their inspiration is not being acknowledged. That source is so ancient, the dating of it is still hotly disputed; though almost everywhere now in academia, it is recognised that Sanskrit texts are themselves young, compared to the content they convey. The tradition is an oral one and the writing of the teachings came about during one of the renaissance periods of Sanskrit history, Sri Veda Vyaasa being credited with the collation and production of the non-verbal form. The oral teaching continued however and all who enter the gurukulas are expected to learn the chanting of the scriptures, not simply rely on print. The whole essence of the Philosophy is to take it into oneself, use it, become it. It is there for any to discover who are prepared to sit in supplication to the Higher, and who are prepared to surrender the ego sufficiently, as the Rsis did, so that the eternal sound thrums through and the truth dawns.
The tradition is so stable, it can be said without fear, that what is chanted today is the same as what was chanted millennia ago. It is now considered that the oral history may stretch back as far as ten thousand years.
The teaching methodology, which you will now begin to experience on Text-days, was that the aachaarya would chant, the shishya would repeat and this would be done until it was set in memory. Then the aachaarya would 'break' the Sanskrit into its grammatical parts in order to reach the kernel of meaning. The shishya thus learned the language, its grammar and its meaning altogether.
In recent times, the need to change the Sanskrit into other languages has meant (as it did with the Bible) that there were going to be challenges in conveying the true meaning. No words can really do this though. It comes down, again, to the shishya taking in the words, working them internally (mananam) and reaching their own conclusions. … Why is all this being told in response to the comment made?! Getting back to Aatmaavrajanam and its place in this 'pool'; this particular blog has been set up as a personal saadhana (daily practice) which also addresses सेवा/seva (service to others), भक्ति/bhakti (devotion) and विभक्ति/vibhakti (sharing). Having had the great fortune of sitting in gurukula and learning from a master, it is a small repayment of debt to now convey the knowledge gained in as pure and sincere a manner as possible. What is more, Gurudev established a system of teaching which both honoured the gurukula system and satisfied the modern mind. Further, it is graded in the manner which Adi Shankaraachaarya himself began and therefore, if followed accurately, cannot fail the ardent seeker.
In this tradition, the shishya makes an offering to the guru, to cover their upkeep (the students always stayed in the home of the master in the same way that apprentices once did in Western tradition). Originally, that would have been to take along food and wood for the cooking fire and such like. Nowadays, of course, the use of 'coin' is unavoidable and it is this which has led to a large number of fraudulent gurus in India - and, it might be said, globally! Greed can bring down the noblest of the noble.
When one finds a true guru, then, it is value beyond any riches this world can offer. To seek to make money from the knowledge of the ages feels very contrary to purpose. That said, aachaaryas can reasonably expect some form of दक्षिणा/dakshinaa ('fee' as exchange for service), just as ministers of the church have stipend.
At this stage there is no plan to place a 'dakshinaa' button for donations here, therefore it could be that publication of posts in more of an actual book-form is a possibility. Or perhaps, more appropriately, a 'work-book' to formalise what is being read on screen.
That said, given the very small readership here, this particular aachaarya will perhaps have to remain in 'austerity' mode. However the key aim outside of consolidating one's own learning is to bring awareness of Advaita Vedanta to an audience which might otherwise miss it altogether; and even if only another dozen folk in the world find a fresh way of living from what they find here, then the work is being done.
Thus concludes the response generated from a single thought… for now…