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!

...And So We're Told.

Hari Om

'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…

During this week, Chinmaya Mission You Tube has been broadcasting live sessions with Guru-ji giving talks on Yoga Vashishta Sara SangraH; his own distillation of the massive Yoga Vashishta into an 'essence' of 86 shlokas only. The absolute highlights, if you will, of the teachings of the Guru Vashishta to an unnamed shishya. The focus of the teachings is given, as always, in the mangala charana (first shloka) and it is clear that this is a text of some advanced level, for it goes pretty much directly to the key goal of the spiritual seeker... attainment of The Knowledge of Truth of the Singularity of Existence. 

Image result for yoga vasisthaThis can seem a grandiose and mighty claim. However, by presenting us with the Sara SangraH, Guru-ji has truly brought big concepts down to a level for even moderate readers of Vedanta. The second shloka, according to tradition, advises what type of student is likely to gain the greatest benefit of the text. It is so clearly defined, that it could, in fact, stand for the entirety of Vedantic study.

अहं बद्धो विमुक्तः स्याम् इति यस्यास्ति निश्चयः| 
नित्यन्तमज्ञो नो तज्ज्ञः सो$स्मिन् शास्त्रे$धिकारवान् ||
aham baddho vimuktaH syaam iti yasyaasti nishchayaH, 
naatyantam-ajno no tajjnaH so'smin shaastre'dhikaaravaan.

He is qualified to study this scripture who has an understanding of "I am bound - let me be liberated"; (also) who is neither totally ignorant nor a Knower of Truth.

This is being brought to light on today's post as it is such a good general-purpose verse. Firstly it addresses those who, at some point in their own journey, have stopped and raised their hands to the sky and wondered deeply, meaningfully, with ardour and intent..."Is there not more to life than all this which drags me down?!" The recognition of being caught up in so much which holds no lasting joy and that there is surely another way of living is what underpins the philosophical search.

Image result for yoga vasisthaFurther, there is again the hint that if one genuinely desires that liberation (or at least has a curiosity about it), it is going to require some brain power. This is not a 'pay and play' bit of software! The info-bytes need not just to enter the storage area of the mind, but be pulled out by the intellect and thoroughly examined and tested. Such enquiry requires thinking. Controlled and applied thinking. There is also the suggestion that an absolute beginner may find themselves out of depth if they do not take the correct steps. No skipping texts! There is a strong and logical progression of the knowledge dissemination within Vedanta. Sure, one can read any text and get something from it. However, the fullness and depth will only unfurl with correct approach and preparation.

Conversely, there are those who are highly educated in  many areas. It is an ego hurdle for such folk to go back to learning appropriately and not letting the "I know..." part of them block appropriate inculcation of the philosophical subtleties. Having a high level of literacy is not of itself a passport to the mystery of Vedanta. If at all any of the following are present, in the view of Vedanta, one is 'ignorant';
 - thinking that "I am the body, I am tall, I am fair, I am handsome..." and so on
 - thinking that "this world I see is real, there is no truth or Lord beyond the perceived world"
 - thinking that joy is obtained from objects (external world), thus building a craving for the obtaining of such objects
 - thinking that the goal of life is to 'eat drink and be merry', resulting in seeking to indulge thus, by fair means or foul.

It is in the 1st Mundaka Upanishad (dated approx 500BC) in chapter 2 that we find verse 8;
"Living in ignorance, the deluded ones think they are wise. They lead others as well, like the blind leading the blind.

Guru-ji says, "There can be a tendency to downplay spiritual study as being for the retired or the retarded!" Thus, the 'knowledgeocracy' are creating walls against their own advancement. 

Having the ability to apply one's little grey cells, but also being able to swallow ego and take on board the challenges of gathering truth, to let go of preconceived notions and destructive habits... all this and more are required of the ardent seeker of Truth.

Which all implies something else. Courage. The determination not to be pulled any further into the mire. Such a seeker is called in Sanskrit as 'mumukshu'. One who knows that they do not know and wish to do what is required to actually know, with courage and determination, is called 'jijnaasu'. Those who are at early stages and working towards a state of mumukshatvam or jijnaasatvam is still considered to have spiritual courage and determination and are referred to as 'saadhaka'. The process of dedicating oneself to applying the learning and using its principles to guide daily life is known as saadhana. 

Daily reading here, meditation upon what you read, counts as saadhana.

We shall eventually be exploring the whole of Guruji's text - but if you wish an advance glimpse and also the experience of listening to a true Guru, you can find the recordings of the broadcasts on the CM You Tube channel.

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