ADVENTURES IN ADVAITA VEDANTA...


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

THE ADVENTURE

HARI OM!
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!

Word Contemplations; A

Hari Om
Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation

As mentioned last 'Free-day', the next 26 AUMdays are going to be taken up with the articles which occupied a full month over at Yamini-amma's personal blog. The articles did not appear here first for reasons explained in this first entry. As they will be cut and pasted here from that other blog, during this time there will be the occasional reference to your aachaarya in the first person. 

Use these articles for deeper contemplation either before or after your regular meditation activity. We begin with - 

 
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
ego
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
individualization
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
pride
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
concept of individuality
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
haughtiness
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
self-consciousness
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
thinking of self
अह»a>
m.
ahangkaaraH
arrogance
अह»a>
m.
ahangkaaraH
self-conceit
अह»avl!
adj.
ahangkaaraval
selfish
अह»avl!
adj.
ahangkaaraval
Proud

Formed from Ahm!/aham = "I, myself" and kar/kaara = the process of doing. Thus, ahangkaara = in the process of 'being me'. The subtext to ego is Attachment.
It is a good place to start with as, necessarily, it is how we identify. As a Vedantaachaarya, it might have been possible (or made more sense) to have completed this series on the teaching blog, but there are two reasons for not doing so.
  1. It has a set flow and 'curriculum' and to interrupt it for this challenge, which is purely a personal activity-choice, would be exerting the ego upon that blog
  2. On that blog, at no time do I, as the teacher, ever refer to myself in the first person pronoun. What I teach is not mine to own. To claim it as such would be highly egotistical - not to mention a flat-out lie.

While the A- Z presents an opportunity to share some insights to Vedanta, it will also be good to have a little more personal freedom, to be able to say 'I' in order to relate examples and to point to myself as a 'work in progress'. Am looking at this challenge not to teach Vedanta, per se, but to give insights as to how life can be viewed through its lens and how that is exceptionally close to how most would wish to live.

When I first went to the Sydney ashram, I was asked by the aachaarya, "Who are you?' I, of course, responded as almost everyone does (and as you thought right now on reading it) - with my name. When I went to Sandeepany, the same question was asked, and the first response was our names. We were asked again, more firmly, and the next response was to fall to identity with occupation -'I'm a homoeopath and counsellor'… then the question would come again, even more pointedly, 'WHO ARE YOU?' By the completion of our studies, having peeled away the layers of identity, we all knew we were something other than our small, individualised selves. We are but beams shed by the Source of light. The Source never diminishes, but the beams only have a finite time to shine. Sadly, each individual forgets its Source and thinks that it shines of itself. It identifies with its shape and form. The Source is forgotten because each individual is busy basking in its own light.

Overcoming the ego is central to progress not only as a Vedantin but as a human being whose driving force is Love with the capital 'ell'. Spreading Love can, however, become an egotistical act. One must always guard against self-serving motivations, even for acts of charity and compassion. The ego seeks approval, it hungers for attention, longs for recognition. It wants and needs to feel good about itself. Balanced self-esteem is vital for healthy social interaction, but it is fragile if we attach everything to it. To attach is to open oneself to a sense of loss when that attachment is no longer available to us. We all fall prey to it, some more than others.

To break our attachment to the material world (and, therefore, our ego), we must do it in stages. Gradually shift attachment to something Higher; for example - substitute chocolate with the ideal of rising half an hour earlier each morning, substitute caffeine with the ideal of regularly giving to charity… it is not that you must not have these things, but that you must not have an attachment to them. Attachment is recognised by the 'I must have…' which precedes the taking of these things. It is known by the feeling of a sense of lack if the objects of our desire are not obtained. Gurudev used to say, "You enjoy the coffee, let not the coffee enjoy you!" It may seem mundane to talk of chocolate and caffeine, but it is to demonstrate how the human psyche grows attached, dependent on so much. If one cannot break these peripheral attachments, how much harder will it be with the deep and powerful attachment to family, and to the body?

Of course, there will be those who are reading this wondering why would we want to do this at all. Mind you, they probably haven't read this far down the page… if you have, then you have the intellectual curiosity for delving into the human condition. You may not subscribe to 'God' - and be clear, neither does Vedanta, in the sense that most think of it - but you almost certainly do subscribe to the concept of 'being human', which is something very much 'other' from the rest of the existing world.

It is that wee, small spark of deeper awareness which has enthralled Mankind since thinking began and which has been brought down to our level, rather than us raising ourselves to That. History is littered with the saints and sages who proved time and time again that it is in rising above our physical and mental limitation, in the superimposing of Higher things to quash the ego, that great things can be achieved. Not material things, but purposeful, meaningful, life-assuring things. Just such a sage was Yeshu, the carpenter's son.


Who are you? 
Will you choose to roll away the stone of ignorance to reveal the True You, the Self at Source?

2 comments:

  1. Good morning Yamini. I'm starting my reading journey with you today. And I think I'm writing this note more for myself than for you. If I write it, chances are that I'll continue with my commitment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hari om
      Arti, a joy to see you! Your responses are always welcome... Yxx

      Delete

Hari OM
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