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Chapter XII: Value of Values

Prakriyas?

Words as a Means of Knowledge, Values a Secondary Means for Self-knowledge, Universal Values – Samanya Dharma, Situational Ethics – Visesa Dharma, The Knower-Doer Split, A “Better Person”?, 1. Inquiry into Pride, Vanity, Conceit, Self-Glorification, 2. Pretension, Affectation, 3. Non-Injury, 4. Accommodation, Commodiousness, 5. Straightforwardness, Truthfulness, 6. Service to the Teacher, Steadiness, Constancy, Perseverance, Mastery of Mind, Dispassion Toward Sense Objects, Absence of Excessive Attachment to Loved Ones, Unswerving Non-Dual Devotion to God, Love of Solitude, Constant Practice of Self-knowledge, Restraint.

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Prakriyas?

Postby Mira » Sun Aug 30, 2015 3:25 pm

Hi,
Hope everyone is well.
I was wondering if there were specific prakriyas that you found useful to chip away at some pesky vasanas? e.g., applying the opposite thought, asking whether a desire can really complete you (given that you are limitless, eternal).

I've found that for career/work related situations, a reminder that life is a zero-sum game has been useful.

For family situations (I have a pre-teen child--need I say more!), it is often harder since there is more attachment. But applying the opposite thought here might be useful.

Anyway, I'd love to hear any of your experiences. Thanks! Mira
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Vinay » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:17 am

1) The zero-sum game aspect of life is my favourite method when it comes to tackling my materialistic Vasanas.

2) Whenever there are good times and bad times, I remember the Sukha-Dukha cycle (Happiness-sorrow cycle). Both happiness and sorrow are transient, so better not get too attached to joyful situations, and not get too depressed during bad times as it too shall pass.

3) However the main technique to purify my mind is Karma Yoga. I've recently come to realize how in every situation we are basically responding to Isvara. Whatever situation we find ourselves in at any moment has been brought to us by Isvara, and the result to our response to the situation will also be given by Isvara.

So it's just you and Isvara. Others in our life, whether family members or any random strangers are just mediums for Isvara to deliver our Prarabdha. This knowledge means that there's no point getting angry at the other person. It's just that Isvara chose that particular person to deliver your Karma Phala. And when you see Isvara in everyone, you accord the same respect to everyone, whatever their station in life.

This sameness is response should not only be towards people but also towards all situations. Every situation whether mundane or "seemingly" important is also given by Isvara. Whatever is given by Isvara cannot be un-important. So I should try to reduce categorization of situations as important or un-important through the filter of my likes and dislikes.

This is my understanding of Karma Yoga.

Hope this helps

~

Also on another sad note. Swami Dayananda is nearing the end of his life journey. He requires regular dialysis and he has decided to stop it. All the Swamis of Arsha Vidya have gathered in Rishikesh. And despite all this pain he still tries to take a Vedanta class everyday. He's truly a Mahatma.

Vinay
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Stan » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:38 am

Hi Vinay,

"
Also on another sad note. Swami Dayananda is nearing the end of his life journey. He requires regular dialysis and he has decided to stop it. All the Swamis of Arsha Vidya have gathered in Rishikesh. And despite all this pain he still tries to take a Vedanta class everyday. He's truly a Mahatma. "


I must admit it was a bit of a shock to hear this news Vinay, thanks for letting us know.
AS you know, Swami Dayananda is Ramji`s main guide in the teaching of Vedanta. As such, he is a major link in the sampradaya and will be greatly missed. What a great hearted and loving man he is. A Mahatma indeed. may our thoughts be with him. Thanks again for posting this news.

Stan.
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Mira » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:21 pm

I agree about Swami Dayanandaji. He is a true mahatma. I have deep gratitude towards him. Please keep us posted, Vinay.

Thank you also for your reply. It was very helpful. In fact, I wanted to try the method for a few days before replying and I can report that it works wonderfully. Of course, it makes total sense that all situations and people are simply Ishvara delivering your karma phala (or prasad). I love that way of seeing it. As you say, even the mundane situations (e.g., simply sitting and typing on my computer) are Ishvara delivering my karma phala. The best part is that this perspective allows gratitude to surface naturally and spontaneously in simple, everyday situations. So thank you for delivering that karma phala :D

Since I find your replies so beneficial, I was hoping to ask another (related) question:
Do you have a main guideline for choosing the most appropriate way to respond in any situation. For example, one could say that the best choice is always one that results in peace of mind (e.g.,due to the alignment of the action with inner/universal dharma)? Peace of mind, in turn, is of course is crucial for assimilating self-knowledge. Just wondered if you (or others) had a central guiding principle that works well for you.

Thanks very much, Mira
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Vinay » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:59 am

I'll keep you guys posted on Swami Dayananda. I'm getting updates via Facebook. If you are on Facebook you can join a group called Swami Paramarthananda Followers where people in Rishikesh post updates on Swami Dayananda.

~


Do you have a main guideline for choosing the most appropriate way to respond in any situation.


If I think about it, this would be my process before undertaking any action:

1) Is the action really needed? If I can avoid the action, I will not act. I'll elaborate on this later.

2) Does the action follow the rules of Universal & Situational Dharma?

3) On the other hand, does avoiding the action break Dharma? Just as Arjuna trying to run away from the battlefield.

4) If I have to act, I should act in Karma Yoga spirit.

About point no# 1. The reason for avoiding any action is that basically overtime you have to reduce your Karma if you're serious about Moksha. Even though Karma is not opposed to Moksha, it's a distraction if your goal is Moksha.

Karma Yoga helps us in purifying the mind, but it's not a direct means for Moksha. Only Jnana Yoga can give you Moksha. So a Jnana yogi is superior to a Karma Yogi. That is why people take up Sannyas so that they can exclusively focus on Self Inquiry. Even though we may not take on the orange robes, internally we have to become a Sannyasi to achieve Moksha.

Hope this helps..

Vinay
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Andrew » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:57 pm

Vinay - Thank you for letting us know about Swami Dayananda.

I was going to answer Mira's original post with my favorite prakriya from Swamiji's "Spiritual Heritage of India" series. In fact, it was hearing Dayananda teach that made me realize that this teaching was so fantastically precise and pragmatic.

He says this is a "shock absorber" in that it won't remove every problem in life but it will help smooth things out.

Basically there are only 4 things that can happen to you in life. Things can either be:

(a) Better than expected
(b) As expected
(c) Less than expected
(d) Opposite of expected

The example he gives is of a man waiting to catch a bus. His friend drives by and offers the man a ride home. He gets to go home and spend time with a friend. Prasad!

The man waits to get the bus. Gets on the bus and goes home. Prasad.

The man gets to the bus just as it pulls away. He has to wait for another. Prasad.

The man steps off the curb to cross the street to get the bus, trips on a banana peel and wakes up in hospital 2 days later. Prasad.

Found this was great for streamlining and simplifying life.

Andrew
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Mira » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:53 am

Vinay, please keep us posted about Swamiji. The facebook group is closed, but I was able to read some posts from Rishikesh on the Advaitin yahoo group and they were very moving.

Thanks also for your reply. As usual, it was very helpful.
I think that my approach to karma is similar. But I keep peace of mind as a main guideline. This helps reduce action (which is important as you describe) and allows action to be taken which aligns with dharma. However, sometimes it can be really hard for me to figure out the dharmic response (esp. with regard to career and raising kids). And in that case, if whatever action is taken is taken with the karma yoga attitude then there is peace of mind. Peace of mind appears to be necessary for this mind to assimilate self knowledge.

It's interesting that in my case I was able to understand the nature of reality (as awareness) quite quickly (once I encountered Vedanta), but because the mind had not been purified, there was no moksha. And it was quickly apparent that self-knowledge in an agitated mind is pretty useless for moksha :shock:. So karma yoga and jnana yoga are needed in parallel, it seems (at least for this jiva).


I also wanted to mention that the prakriya of assuming every situation/person is Ishvara (karma phala datta) delivering the prarabhdha really works well. It not only applies to situations and people--but also to thoughts. I find that it neutralizes the subjective reaction to any situation and allows the mind to become/stay sattvic. Thanks again for sharing this.
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Mira » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:57 am

Thanks, Andrew. That's a great matrix of all possibilities! Would be interesting know the probability of each outcome in any given situation (but then we would be Ishvara!).
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Andrew » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:33 am

Mira wrote:Thanks, Andrew. That's a great matrix of all possibilities! Would be interesting know the probability of each outcome in any given situation (but then we would be Ishvara!).

Hi Mira,

I dont't think we could assign probabilities to the 4 outcomes which, I think I am going to call the '4 fold prasad matrix' :)

However, from what I recall of Swamiji's talks, life is weighted more to options 3 & 4. He explains that if you think of all the things that you wanted in life, how often do they come under outcomes 1 or 2?

This was a prelude to his follow up teaching on redifining success. Typically people define success based on how many of our desires are fulfilled. He said kind of definition produces low self esteem. "I wanted x, y & z from this life....and I only got x and even that wasnt that good. There must be something wrong with me because my neighbor has x, y & z!"

Given that we can never always get what we want, then the new definition of success is the grace & skill with which we conduct ourselves when Isvara doles outcomes to us whether better, same, less than or opposite of expected.

Whatever happens its only one of 4 things and all of them are prasad. My wife isnt into vedanta but she really liked this teaching. "Less than expected" is a frequent catchphrase in our house now!

Andrew
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Mira » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:39 am

Hi Andrew,
This is so brilliant and so lovely. Thanks for the elaboration. As you say, Vedanta is not needed to intuit this. I wish this was how 'success' was defined everywhere. I hope to share this with my daughter too. Thanks again. Mira
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Andrew » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:38 am

Hi Mira,

When I first started looking into Vedanta, someone had uploaded about 22 segments from "The spiritual heritage of India". Took me ages to find that many episodes and then watch them in the correct order.

It is a really beautiful series and I would like to buy the whole thing at some point. Each clip is about 10 mins or so in length and the teaching logic flows brilliantly. The way its laid out is very pragmatic too. Bite size chunks of vedanta that the viewer can learn and apply quickly. I was sold immediately on the teaching and how excellent Swami Dayananda is at unfolding it.

Of the episodes I watched, I think the 4 outcomes and the new definition of sucess made the biggest impression on me. Wonderful stuff.

Andrew
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Re: Prakriyas?

Postby Mira » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:40 pm

Thank you, Andrew. I just found them on utube. I plan to watch them with my daughter.

I love the comprehensive nature of Vedanta---it offers esoteric teachings on the nature of reality and cosmology, as well as pragmatic prakriyas for jivas in everyday life.
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