'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…
On Choose-days, Workings-days and the last two Free-days, we have been exploring the introductory text of Chinmaya Mission, "Kindle Life". It is a book for all people at all stages of spiritual undertaking and, indeed, of all faiths. Whilst Vedanta is perceived as 'Hinduism', it is actually a universal philosophy in which much will be found that is familiar; one of the great joys of exploring it is the sense of 'oh yes, I knew that' but also discovering that the 'knowing' of a thing is not the same as 'living' a thing.
One thing that can be said about Vedanta (and indeed was said by Gurudev himself!), is that it can bring life to the scriptures with which you may be more familiar. Specifically, knowing Vedanta can make one a better Christian. 'How so?!' asks the astounded reader. Well, amongst a host of other things, the methodology of learning and 'breaking into' scripture which is provided through the deeper study of Sanskrit texts helps one 'get behind' the words of Christ - shedding a fresh and wonderful light. In this very last chapter of KL, number 32 to be precise, Gurudev points to the sort of approach which ought to undertaken if one is truly serious about growing spiritually. As you will have been gathering, if you have been reading here for some time, growing spiritually means growing emotionally, psychologically and intellectually. It is a 'whole person' system which you tailor for yourself. As much as you are prepared to give to Vedanta, so much more will Vedanta give to you. Now for Gurudev's words.
...WHAT TO DO...when you have your books (or Aatmaavrajanam!)
Vedanta is a science and so it must be studied in a systematic way. Start reading Kindle Life. Even here don't try to read through; it is not a novel or something of semi-heavy reading. These are books for the students to reflect up all by themselves. So don't read more than five to ten pages a day. [AV note; you have the advantage here of having KL presented to you in appropriately sized posts, use the label in the side bar to revisit and spend more time!] Read slowly, carefully noting all the ideas developed therein. This may take 20-30 minutes; and always make it a point to read your scriptures after your morning bath, before breakfast and work.
As you read thus, a lot of tiny doubts will arise in your mind; sometimes you may question the very logic of certain conclusions in what you read. Please note them all in a notebook which you have kept separate for this purpose. Clearly express your doubts. After having recorded your doubts, forget them and continue reading your daily quota of pages. On a day where you have more time (weekend or holy day), please take up the note book and a pencil. Start reading your own doubts collected during the week.
You will find, surprisingly, that you can check off many of them because you have already the answers with you. The week's reading has widened your vision.
May be there are some questions which you have not had answered. Leave them alone. From the next day, continue the regular program of daily study, recording doubts whenever they arise. Repeat the checking on a weekly basis. By the time you come to the end of the book, very many questions will have their answers. For those which do not, there is always the next book!
Go slow. There is no hurry. Your independent thinking is of the utmost importance. Don't blindly believe; question every statement; accept no action greater than your own understanding. Then alone we enter into the Science of Vedanta - then alone our Knowledge can enter us.
[Gurudev then points out his Scheme of Study list; all the relevant texts in a structured order. It is this which is being embarked upon here at AV, TattvabodaH already begun.]
:: If you demand but a life of money and power, of sense pleasures and fleeting joys, seek not God and His help. Sweat, toil, strive and achieve.
:: If you demand a life of Peace and Love, of Self-control and Pure Bliss, seek Him and His Grace through study, prayer and meditation. KINDLE LIFE; learn, live, share.
:: In this introductory book (Kindle Life) for the study of Vedanta, the topics are unfolded in graded doses, lucidly and with minimal technical trouble.