Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Spiritual Armoury

Hari OM

'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]

Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. The chanting for the oncoming posts was given last week - use the TattvabodaH label to access all posts relevant to this text. We are currently studying the text on the shamaadhi-shatka sampatti. You may wish also to review the chanting of this section, which you will find here.

The last of the six inner wealths is samaadhaana.

समाधानं किम्   चित्तैकाग्रता। /samaadhaanaM kim?   cittaikaagrataa. What is samaadhaanam? It is the single-pointedness of mind. It is the placing of the mind on a place and never wavering from that.

The mind is a butterfly! Even when we say we have a goal, we are too easily distracted from the progress towards it. To remain focused, we need to have strong feeling for that goal. Such a goal has to be of primary desire to keep us working towards it.  In spirituality, the goal is "God" (heaven) if we wish to keep within the solid and "Brahman" (moksha) if we accept the non-solid. Once the goal has been determined, then, focus full attention and take no side routes!

Thus we find, if we take overview of the 'six jewels', that we have a process of detachment followed by attachment.  Shama, dama, uparati and titiksha all help us to detach from the material world and shraddha and samaadhaana re-attach us, but to the spiritual and higher state of being. What? If the point of Vedanta is to release all of Maya, then why some attachment now? !

Image result for non attachmentHere we find the methodology of the novice and moderate student who must still rely on what is provided by Maya in order to climb to the goal. It would be a very rare individual indeed who could simply jump from being a low human thing into the status of God-hood! It is a process. Detach each and every day a little more from the material world and to do this, to steady the ship so to speak, attach to the 'captain' (Guru) and the 'hull' (scripture) and traverse samsaara with courage and determination.

Thus we find six small gems contained within the third of the chatushtaya. Why like this? Why not just make them individual and have ten spiritual disciplines?

If put as ten, then the inclination would be to 'tick them off' as if the list was ordered thus.  However, these six are so closely inter-related and inter-dependent, that they are really not able to be separated. Rather think of them as six sides of the one thing, which is to self-contain and self-manage. Each assists the other so very closely, they are like the bricks in the wall of a fortress. Think of them thus.  That these spiritual 'walls' protect us from the ravages of the transactional life. If one of the bricks is damaged or absent, the fortress is greatly weakened. Therefore we must work on all of these as a single unit.  This is why they are clubbed together in one item.

The same cannot be said with regard to the first two of the chatushtaya; viveka and vairaagya. Without viveka there can be no proper vairaagya. Vairaagya without viveka is dry, misguided, cold. In fact there is no vairaagya without viveka. To simply hold the world at bay and the nose aloof is nothing more than disdain. Vairaagya alone means that one has gone through the first process of discrimination, noting how the world is filled with nonsense and deceit and traps for the unsuspecting and only then can one withdraw, with knowledge and understanding, into true vairaagya. Vairaagya still holds warmth and compassion inspite of the world. Disdain holds no warmth and is against the world. Vairaagya is courage and aids us in making clear decisions and dropping away the excess trappings of modern life. Disdain is fearful and continues to make ego-based decisions.

In the third step, the shamaadhi-shatka sampatti, we find a group of inner actions which nourish and support our vairaagya. It can seem that in utilising these six alone, much can be gained.  This is true. However, they are not likely to enter our life, our 'ken', unless we have first adopted true viveka and, subsequently, vairaagya. It is really only within the greater withdrawal from transactional mayhem that we have an inner atmosphere conducive to the nurture of these jewels.

There is an assessment which can be done (this is applied to all texts in Sanskritam) whereby we look at the हेतु /hetu (direct cause),  स्वरूप /svaroopa (the benefit, the common theme), कार्य /kaarya (the effect associated) and अवधि /avadhi (conclusion). For the sampatti how are these applied?
  • Hetu - यम /yama and नियम /niyama… the don'ts and do's…(see below)
  • Svaroopa - a mind tamed (चित्त निरोद /chitta niroda)
  • Karya - the mind decreases its activity and reduces in extrovertedness
  • Avadhi - the world of objects, starting at our own physical level, starts to fade the more we move towards Brahman.

The 'don’t's' (yama) are अहिंसा /ahimsaa - cause no harm, सत्य /satya - truth at all levels (ie no falsehoods), अस्तेय /asteya - no theft,  ब्रह्मचर्य /brahmacharya - keeping 'continence', which is not simply sexual abstinence, but also proprietous behaviour at all levels, अपरिग्रहः /aparigrahaH - no possessivness, non-grasping.

The 'do's' (niyama) are सौच /saucha - purity, cleanliness in body, mind and intellect, संतोष /santosha - contentment, तपः /tapaH - austerity, स्वध्याय /swadhyaaya - spiritual study, ईश्वर प्रणिधान /iishwara pranidhaana - offering all actions and ourselves to the Lord.

So if the six are so interconnected, why are they ordered amongst themselves the way they are?  Why shama is first? Earlier it was said to think of the six together as a fortress - but now think of them as your armoury and purpose viz;-

Shama = sword
Dama = shield
Uparama = visor
Titiksha = body armour
Shraddha = the 'noble steed'
Samaadhaana = the 'noble cause'

Think deeply on this for the next week - giving full mananam. Check out the logic. Find out your doubts. Voice them in the comments box of via the private contacts box.

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Hari OM
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