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!

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

Are you noticing a difference here at AV-blog? It happened that there came a natural end to all the different texts being read and a decision was taken to rest from pure learning for a while, in order to focus on practice. Saadhana. Knowledge is nothing if it is not demonstrated through action.

Advaita Vedanta is a philosophy. Philosophy is an abstract guide to life which is to be manifested through application to our daily activity. We first have to understand the philosophy and then test it out. This implies the use of mind and its higher-functioning relative, intellect. In day to day use, we do not necessarily study the two as separate parts of our being. Indeed, to a large extent, we are inclined to mix them together. From the point of view of rising above our thoughts in order to eventually still them, it is necessary to be a little more pedantic on the components which work under the umbrella title of 'antaH-karana' - the inner workings. Confusion can enter when the term 'intelligence' rises in the discussion. It is important to understand that training the intellect does not result in intelligence. Rather, intelligence comes into being when one acts in perfect harmony with emotion. There is a vast distinction between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is merely thought, functioning independently of emotion. When intellect, irrespective of emotion, is trained in any particular direction, one may have great intellect, but one does not have intelligence because in intelligence there is the inherent capacity to feel as well as to reason; in intelligence, both capacities are equally present.

Without intellect (the cognitive 'governing' function), we are set adrift in our emotions only. For purposes of Vedanta, it is considered that the component known as the mind is, in fact, the emotional centre. Thoughts, unhindered by proper application of reason, carry us into all sorts of trouble. Intellect, therefore, is an imperative for the pursuit of knowledge in raising ourselves above animal existence.

Okay, so how is this experienced? Every time we face a decision we have the thought component (mind/emotion) which is driven by desire, and we have the judgement component (intellect) which guides us in that decision. The stronger our intellect, the more rational and beneficial to our longer-term well-being is the decision likely to be. If the mind is dominant, we may cave into desire and immediate gratification and come to rue our lack of rational assessment. This is the case even at the basic choice of what to drink in the morning to the big, big stuff such as moving home or town.

What must be guarded against, is getting caught up in the pursuit of knowledge, being stuck in our intellect alone. It leaves us dry, cold, barren. None of the antaH-karana is to be confused with spirit, either. They are merely tools by which we can clamber over ourselves.

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Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

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