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Gurukulam

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Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:41 pm

I was at the cinema recently where I saw trailer for a movie called "Gurukulam" which features Swami Dayananda (and his Vedanta teachings it sounded like). The preview looked good and I am super excited to see it when it comes to town. Has anyone already seen it?

The movie that I actually saw was also pretty cool. It's called "Dying to Know" and features the friendship of Timothy Leary and Ram Dass and it's about LSD, life, death and dying. Ram Dass' guru was Neem Karoli Baba and so there is some infusion of bhakti (and some vedanta) in there.

But mostly, it was great seeing the counter culture movement of American in the 60's. I was born a couple of decades too late to experience that. Leary and Alpert (Ram Dass) were pretty smart,visionary guys (both professors at Harvard) who went in very different ways in life, so their insights are interesting. When Leary was dying, they re-united and have some frank and interesting discussions on death. It's got a lot of terrific humor and some great footage, including Timothy Leary testifying before congress against indiscriminate use of drugs.

While on the topic, it would be great to see a movie on the life of Ramji. Maybe we have a talented documentary film maker at SW ;). Just throwing it out there :).
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Vinay » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:39 am

Hi Mira,

I think this is the movie trailer you must've seen: https://vimeo.com/159894323

The movie website says that it will release later this year: http://www.gurukulamfilm.com/

I would love to see "Dying to Know". I don't think it is available to view online anywhere at the moment.

I think Neem Karoli Baba is more famous with Western spiritual seekers than with Indians. Neem Karoli Baba has become famous in India recently because Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in an interaction with the Indian PM that Steve Jobs told him to visit the Baba's ashram when Facebook was going through a difficult time.

There is also a movie on Swami Chinmayananda called "On a Quest" : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWTGRd3w-xI

The actor playing Swami Chimayananda has an uncanny resemblance with him. I don't think the movie is available for purchase yet.

I have read his biography, and it was interesting to know that Swami Chinmaya, who was a journalist at the time, had initially gone to Rishikesh to expose the "fake" Gurus :D

Vinay
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:44 pm

Hi Vinay,
Yes, that is the trailer for Gurukulam. When I saw Swami Dayananda on the screen I gasped and people were wondering what was going on!

The movie on Swami Chinmayananda looks wonderful---Do you know if the full movie available online? If so, where?

Funny story about Jobs/Zuckerberg and Neem Karoli Baba ashram :D.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Vinay » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:30 am

Hi Mira,

I don't think the movie on Swami Chinmaya is available yet. It should show up here (http://eshop.chinmayamission.com/dvds.html) when it is available for purchase.

While we are on the topic of biographies, I would also recommend reading this book on Swami Tapovan (Swami Chinmaya's guru):

http://www.amazon.com/Himalayan-Hermit- ... 8175973803

By nature he was very different from Swami Chinmaya, and practiced great dispassion till his last days.

Vinay
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby georgschiller » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:36 am

Here is another link regarding pre-booking of Chinmaya's "The Quest" movie

https://www.facebook.com/questthefilm/p ... 14/?type=3
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:22 pm

Vinay wrote: While we are on the topic of biographies, I would also recommend reading this book on Swami Tapovan (Swami Chinmaya's guru):

http://www.amazon.com/Himalayan-Hermit- ... 8175973803

By nature he was very different from Swami Chinmaya, and practiced great dispassion till his last days.


Hi Vinay,
Thanks for this recommendation. What a great read this was! Swami Tapovanam was indeed a great mahatma. As you say, he practiced great dispassion and austerities even in his final days. It is such an inspiring book. Even after he had firm self-realization and a deep knowledge of the scriptures, he was so vigilant in his dispassion.

The descriptions of his wandering journeys in the Himalayas, with no footwear, barely any clothes, hardly any food and he was scaling passes and lakes at 15,000+ feet, are inspiring to read. I've myself hiked to those elevations and I know that even in the dead of summer it can be incredibly cold, windy and rocky and the weather can change in an instant. So humble and inspiring he was to have scaled those distances on foot with so little. I used to romanticize the lives of the sages who lived (and still live) in the Himalayas and in the forests. This book is a clear reminder of just how difficult that life is. I think Western readers might also find some possible parallels with the life of the Buddha (how he performed austerities, eventually left his family, and dedicated his life in his search for the truth).

The book is also not just a biography, it is also full of Vendatic teaching reminders. For example, here is an extract from when Swami Tapovanam (who was very close to death), was visited by his student Swami Chinmayananda.
"I have already left the body. There is nothing in it to regret." were the words that he said to me with a smile and the sparkle in his eyes, at the time, was to say the least, rather mischievous. My reaction to these words was rather tragic. Perhaps he created the situation to hammer into me the insignificance of the phenomenon called death. Looking into my brimming eyes, he expressed his regret "so, this is the Vedanta you have studied from me? What is strange in death? Death is only one of the experiences which the Atma illumes. We are not that dying stuff. We are the Self."


The end of the book has wonderful essays on Swami Tapovanam by Swami Sivananda (his friend) and Swami Chinmayananda (his student). The book is full of the Vedanta message lived through the life of a great sage. It is full of reverence, bhakti and wisdom. Thanks Vinay, for this recommendation.

P.S. Have you read Swami Tapovanam's own books like Ishvara Darshan or Wanderings in the Himalayas?
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Vinay » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:01 am

P.S. Have you read Swami Tapovanam's own books like Ishvara Darshan or Wanderings in the Himalayas?


No, I haven't. In fact, initially I did not know that there was a book called Himalayan Hermit. I was looking for a book on Swami Tapovan, and when I did a search, Ishvara Darshan and Wanderings in the Himalayas showed up. So I ordered Wanderings in the Himalayas and the online store mistakenly sent me Himalayan Hermit. How lucky! If they hadn't made that mistake, I wouldn't have known about the book.

~

For me, the biggest takeaway from the book was how much effort is required in Self Inquiry. Even though Swami Tapovan realized who he was at a young age, he kept on practicing dispassion till the day he died.

There is no magical moment when you become enlightened and all your work is done. Even after knowing who you are, you need discipline, Karma Yoga and practice of dispassion till the end of your life.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:35 pm

Agreed, Vinay. Swami Tapovan's ability to be detached from (almost all) objects in maya was exceptional. But it did not strike me that it was an effort for him. He knew who he was and his perspective was from the self always.

Anyway, "Wanderings in the Himalayas" by Swami Tapovan arrived in the mail today! Given that it was written by Swami Tapovanam, I think it will provide more clear insights into his thoughts than Himalayan Hermit (which was a biography written many years after he died).

I can't wait to start reading the book.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:31 pm

Hi,
I wanted to chime in about Wanderings in the Himalayas by Swami Tapovanam. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and I am really enjoying it. It is an absolute privilege to read a memoir of such a great, self-realized person. His writing style also happens to be really fun to read. It's full of curiosity, insight and humor.

The places he visits are described with reference not just to the nature/scenery but also with respect to the Puranic significance (i.e., which stories from the Puranas took place there) and from a bhakti point of view. And best of all, I love his musings on the Vedantic teachings and about life in general. His insights as to how wandering in nature are so essential to a satvic mind, samadhi and self-realization make so much sense to me since I also run in the mountains everyday as a meditation.

It's interesting how this thread arrived at just the right time too. I was going through a phase when I had sort of lost interest in reading the scriptures. On the other hand, reading memoirs of great Vedanta sages seems to be really inspirational right now :D.

I highly recommend this book (available for $5 on Amazon). It's a book that you read slowly since you don't want it to be over too soon! And I've even bought extra copies to give to friends.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Vinay » Sun May 08, 2016 5:26 am

I have ordered Wandering in the Himalayas, Isvara Darshan and a small booklet of Swami Tapovan's letters to one of his students. I also need some inspiration right now!

Also, "On A Quest" (movie on Swami Chinmaya) DVD is now available for purchase here: http://eshop.chinmayamission.com/index. ... -1280.html
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Sun May 08, 2016 3:02 pm

Hi Vinay,

Thanks for the info---but "On a Quest" does not seem to be available outside of India yet. I'm waiting anxiously for it to be released on Amazon. Sort of like my kid was waiting for the release of the new Star Wars movies 8-).

I'm now 3/4ths of the way through Wandering. It just keeps getting better and better. Let me know how you like it. And Kailash Yatra is waiting in the wings. Let me know how you like Guidance from a Guru...since I have not yet ordered it.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:56 am

I saw Gurukulam the movie this week. It was an interesting couple of hours showing life inside Swami Dayananda's Arsha Vidya Ashram in South India. It was great to see Swamiji on the big screen.

However, the movie lacked any narrative. It seemed like just random scenes from daily life in the Ashram which might have been fine if the movie was shorter. Anyway, perhaps my expectations were too high in the first place. But the lack of a narrative or even a cohesive structure to the movie will prevent the movie from giving the lay audience an idea of what Vedanta is and its practical use.

So overall, I think there remains a place for a well-made movie about Vedanta.
Maybe someone from the Shining World community will oblige :D.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby georgschiller » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:52 pm

Thanks for the review, Mira!

I wonder if it is possible yet to watch On A Quest in USA?
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:14 pm

Here is a link to an interview with Neil Dalal, who is the director of the film Gurukulam.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojv2_Ufd-hI

I enjoyed the interview. The director is a professor who specializes in the study of Advaita Vedanta.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby georgschiller » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:13 pm

I had the chance of reading Wanderings in the Himalayas by Swami Tapovan a little bit at one of James friends in Portland. It was a fun read, although I personally found Swami Tapovan excessive dispassionate lifestyle and his recommendations (which were partially directed towards his disciple Swami Chinmayananda) at times too much:
I read one passage to James and Dave which was about Swami Tapovan recommendation not to seek fame because it is rooted in egoistic desires (I don't remember the exact words) even if it is for the sake of religion, nationality, etc. James had a good laugh because apparently Swami Tapovan was giving a recommendation to his rajasic disciple who later became "the pope of India", namely Swami Chinmayananda
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:30 am

Hi Georg,
Good to hear from you! Thanks for sharing the story. It's pretty funny! I remember reading that part, but did not realize that the advice was for Swami Chinmayananda.

Swami Tapovanam did have a pretty austere existence, didn't he? I think he was also a real adventurer at heart. Some of the feats he accomplished would seem near impossible these days given his lack of preparation/gear. I guess that is what Moksha does for you---allows you to live life as an adventure without getting caught up in expectations :D.

Speaking of these kinds of things: Your Vedanta knowledge must have grown by leaps and bounds by spending time with Ramji. How is life going for you? Thanks again for all the little videos. The are such a great resource.
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby georgschiller » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:36 pm

Hi Mira,

Yes, my self-knowledge leaped by leaps and bounds :) I shared it all on the videos on shiningworld-youtube and the posts on james swartz facebook account :)

Regarding: "I guess that is what Moksha does for you---allows you to live life as an adventure without getting caught up in expectations"

Yes and no.
I personally think that a simple lifestyle without a job makes you more prone to an adventurous lifestyle.
Moksha makes one more willing to live a peaceful lifestyle, right?
So, as a consequence a simple lifestyle which leads to peace of mind is more likely with self-knowledge.

What do you think?

Love, Georg
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Mira » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:58 pm

Hi Georg,
As always, you pose interesting questions. Thanks :D.

Here are my thoughts:
I completely agree with you that a simple lifestyle which allows peace of mind is highly desirable for self-knowledge and assimilation. It is my guiding principle these days :D.

However, moksha (which I define as freedom from suffering) allows one to cope with and even enjoy life during tough times (i.e., when life is not simple).

To give you a personal example, as I said, I value a simple lifestyle highly. In fact a few months ago, I made a decision to simplify my life at work. What happened? Ishvara had other plans! Instead of my work life becoming simpler, I had to take on a major administrative responsibility for one year. I could have said no (to make my lifestyle simpler) but that would have violated dharma as it would have put my department in big trouble. Now I feel like I am in the middle of the Mahabharata battle everyday---putting out fires and preventing crises :shock:. But with the karma/dharma yoga attitude and constant application of the teachings it's actually not so bad.

So even though a simple lifestyle is desirable, it is not possible all the time. But no matter the outward situation, if there is moksha, then there is a lack of suffering inwardly.

I used to think that moksha referred to some exalted state like nirvana where one was blissed out all the time ;). Now I realize that moksha happens every day. Every time a vasana does not bind, every time a difficult situation is accepted naturally and effortlessly, every time you laugh when people think you should cry---it is moksha, in my opinion. And moksha is possible for all vedantins with the application of the karma/dharma yoga attitude and the knowledge that you are whole and complete.

I also saw this karma-yoga based moksha in Swami Tapovanam's writings. He could be in a very difficult and physically dangerous situation (such as having to spend the night at a high mountain pass where it was bitterly cold and he had no proper footwear or food) and he would have the perfect karma yoga attitude. He would do all he could in the circumstances and then say something like (and I paraphrase), “It's Ishvara's will what happens next, let's see what he will do. Lets see how Ishvara will provide!” He was not really bothered that he might die. There was little or no suffering (even though he acknowledged that he was sometimes in extreme physical danger and physical pain).

So while it is highly desirable to simply one’s lifestyle, sometimes it is not possible. But with the constant application of the teachings and karma yoga attitude one can have moksha (freedom from suffering) when life gets tough. Nidhidhyasana and moksha are lifelong pursuits for some of us who have complex lives (spouses, children, careers etc).

Finally, if you consider a continuum from A to D of jivas with self knowledge:
So, A is someone like Swami Tapovanan—who is a total renunciant who lives in the mountains, B people like Ramana or Swami Dayanada who are renunciants but also active teachers with organizations etc, C would be Ramji who is married and may be considered worldly but has the temperament of a reunciant and D is people like many of us who have complex lives (jobs, careers, spouses, kids). I would say that moksha is easier for people in the A-C categories and hardest for people in the D category. But nevertheless Vedanta makes moksha within reach of people in the D category. We just have to work much harder at it! Of course, this is a very gross generalization--I realise that.

Hope this makes any sense! Thanks again for asking questions which allow us to think and contemplate. It’s what make this forum great ☺

I would love your thoughts too!
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby Stan » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:04 am

Hi Mira and Georg !
I`ve enjoyed reading your conversations and I too would like to ask you George, could you tell us more of your experiences of living with Ramji for two months ?
I imagine many impressions and teachings must still be soaking in...and possibly will continue for quite a while. What is it like living one to one with our exalted teacher ?
Do you have to get a job now ? if that`s not too personal a question. I imagine going from Bend with Ramji to a job in Germany would make quite a change.

Either way Georg, thanks for all your input with the James interview vids and work on the facebook pages. There is a lot of interest heading shiningworld`s way, that`s for sure.

Mira, I always love your enthusiastic and knowledgeable input :-)
I enjoyed reading this ...

To give you a personal example, as I said, I value a simple lifestyle highly. In fact a few months ago, I made a decision to simplify my life at work. What happened? Ishvara had other plans! Instead of my work life becoming simpler, I had to take on a major administrative responsibility for one year. I could have said no (to make my lifestyle simpler) but that would have violated dharma as it would have put my department in big trouble. Now I feel like I am in the middle of the Mahabharata battle everyday---putting out fires and preventing crises :shock:. But with the karma/dharma yoga attitude and constant application of the teachings it's actually not so bad.

So even though a simple lifestyle is desirable, it is not possible all the time. But no matter the outward situation, if there is moksha, then there is a lack of suffering inwardly.


Good old Isvara can always be relied upon to throw up some new kind of challenge for us ! more of an invitation to contribute really...
What I can confirm is that...even after retirement from work, not a lot seems to change . just different priorities to solve. one might think that retirement from work pressures make things smooth and easy but really it`s self knowledge that does it. it just seems to get better and better but that`s just the experiential part of course. no complaints !

My wife Maggi and I have been completing the renovation and conversion of our house...an old Wesleyan chapel that has been taking eons to do somehow. not that we`re in a rush but when it`s done, we`re going to sell it. it`s far too big for us so we`re going to simplify that by buying two smaller houses. one for us and one to rent out so as to supplement our meagre retirement pensions. nearly finished !
Maggi works freelance doing technical work for the garment industry as the pay is great and she loves the work. it`s her svadharma.
We recently bought a really complicated cad design system so we can do the work from anywhere in the world via the internet. maybe the other house could be nearer James and Sundari ? big learning curve with the program first.
Then there`s all that time I need to watch Ram`s vids, read the satsangs, play the guitar, put my feet up...I just don`t know how i`ll cope with the stress Ha ha ....

The only thing that pressured me slightly of late is trying to re-jig the forum into it`s newer format...designed to be a bit more teaching focused as per Ramji`s book format. again, getting close.
I`ve been quite ill for a couple of months and am only just returned to feeling well again. I did feel a bit guilty in not being able to give things my fullest efforts but i`ve just not been capable really. Many apologies to all for not keeping adequatelly in touch as to progress etc.

I just wan`t to get the introductions section filled out a bit and invite some teachers and other folks to see if they would like to show themselves. I`ll pluck up the courage to go first Ha ha .. really, i`m hoping that the personal section will also be a record of how our sangha develops going forward into the future...even beyond Ramji. It would be helpful I feel to have a good western, down to earth place for `vedantins` to meet up, feel at home, and enjoy some more of shiningworlds resources.
Now if I could just get our web guy to put "Forum" somewhere on shiningworlds headings bar, I would be one happy bunny. It`s amazing how few people who know of shiningworld, know that we have a forum at all. I guess "community" doesn`t really make one think to click there for a forum. a minor problem in the grand scheme of things. one day, i`m sure that will be addressed.

I guess i`d better stop talking now ! it must be because of feeling well again and the clouds of tamas lifting ! It has been nice to get back in touch though. :-)
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Re: Gurukulam

Postby georgschiller » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:13 am

Hi guys!

If I get it right from your last message Mira, the topic goes towards what is the fruit of Moksha.

I enjoyed reading your post:
I used to think that moksha referred to some exalted state like nirvana where one was blissed out all the time ;). Now I realize that moksha happens every day. Every time a vasana does not bind, every time a difficult situation is accepted naturally and effortlessly, every time you laugh when people think you should cry---it is moksha, in my opinion. And moksha is possible for all vedantins with the application of the karma/dharma yoga attitude and the knowledge that you are whole and complete.


This is more or less in accordance with the Bhagavad Gita, verses 35-42, The Fruit of Self Knowledge:
(1) Conflicts disappear.
(2) Inadequacy disappears and self confidence appears.
(3) There is no sense of separation and you do not see differences.
(4) Both negative and positive vasanas are destroyed

Another quote:
"moksha (which I define as freedom from suffering) allows one to cope with and even enjoy life during tough times (i.e., when life is not simple). "


This is certainly true but I suppose moksha - knowing I am limitless, whole and complete awareness - is not absolutely necessary for that. I suppose simply having faith in God and/or a strong community is good enough to cope and enjoy life even when it is supposedly difficult.
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