'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
We have completed studying Aatmabodha. Please do consider purchasing the text.
Last week, you were invited to take up the sadhana of re-reading and checking out your understanding, as well as seeing how the thinking flows throughout the text. What did you discover?
Essentially it is that the text offers an introduction of the purpose of the text and to whom it is directed. It defines what is Knowledge and what is Ignorance (vidya and avidya). It posits that these are mutually exclusive, where one is the other cannot be. Once Knowledge is present, ignorance can no longer reside. Knowledge has to be continually added to through diligent practice in order to peel away all ignorance. Of what are we ignorant? That the world is an illusion. How is the illusion manifested? Through our delusion that 'this matter is me', our attachment to the external. Only that which can be proved to be free from change, from birth, life and destruction, can be said to be eternal and for the purposes of this text It is called as Aatman. We are to apply the gift of our intellect to assessing and re-evaluating what is Real and what is not. We can do this by first understanding properly our current nature and then making comparisons. Classic examples are those of the rope and the snake, the clay and the pot, the ghost and the post. We must negate what is false and supplant it with concepts of what is Real. With full preparation we can settle ourselves in deep contemplation and meditation upon That. Once we establish a solid practice of 'I am not this, I am That', there follows a long flow of descriptions of the indescribable. An attempt by one who is Realised to convey what might be expected if one puts the work into this Self Discovery. Finally it is made clear that this is not just for anybody, the Final Truth; it is reserved for those of spiritual quality, who have made the necessary ego-sacrifice and applied the disciplines of the philosophy.
Does this mean we ought to just give up now, because we lack the necessary quality or stamina for this task? Of course not! Not all of us can be mountaineers, but most of us can still admire and will at least go to the foot hills and look up with a degree of interest and imagination of being higher. We will breath deeply of the finer and cleaner air and be the better for that. Even if all we achieve in this lifetime is those foothills, it is still further than we would have gone had we not had the example put before us by those who truly made the grade. Every step up a slope is a step higher.
Now, as hinted last week also, here are a few questions. You can certainly go away and answer these all by yourself… but how will you know if you are properly hitting the mark? Please consider placing your responses into a Word document and attaching it to an email, delivered via the contacts form. Yamini-amma will review these responses and return the page to you with any remarks which may widen your understanding, or tweak your knowledge. There are well over fifty regular readers here now - that is an entire class! Do not sit silently, start now to join in and gain just that little bit more. All these questions pertain to latter section and any or all stanzas, starting at 56. You should indicate which shloka/s your are referencing to build your answers (unless given a specific to assess), and of course your answers must come from your own understanding and not be seen simply to be parroting what has been written here. As Gurudev would say.. 'THINK!!!' This is what Vedanta is about.
- How does Adi Shankaraacharya reflect upon the all-pervasiveness of Aatman?
- What is the extent of Aatman's Bliss?
- Explain the description of Self (for this reference should be from sh.60 only)
- How is Aatman the mighty illuminator of all illuminaries?
- Give your understanding of the significance of sh.63
- Explain and expand upon the metaphors of Gold and Sun in relation to sadhana and Aatman.
Enjoy the process everyone!