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Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

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Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:06 pm

I am fairly new Vedanta but I sincerely love it. I listen a lot to James teaching and read his stuff and its fabulous! but I also heard from some people that they started with James and moved on to other teachers such as Dayananda, Paramarthananda, Ramakrishna order, etc. I tried to listen to their teaching as well and it sounds familiar but after a few minutes or so I loose concentration. It might be because I am not familiar with Indian English (in general English is not my mother tongue) or it might be that I am not familiar enough with Sanskrit terms. So, in general I am very glad that James made Vedanta accessible for Westerners!

1) what is your take on other Vedanta teachers?
2) Is it necessary to listen to them to get a complete understanding of Vedanta? Or is it at some point even natural to listen to others?
3) Has anybody done the online courses on Vedanta offered by the Chinmaya Mission? Is it completely different from James teaching, so that it absolute makes sense to register for the e-Vedanta courses? Or is it repetitive so that it doesn't make sense for those who listen careful to James?

thanks a lot for your answers :)
Georg
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Re: Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby Stan » Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:15 am

Hello Georg,

I think that you will find that this article by James answers most if not all of your questions....

http://www.shiningworld.com/site/satsang/index.php?r=site/sendPdf&id=1929

I hope you let us know how you get on with this and if you have further questions.

Stan.
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Re: Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby georgschiller » Thu Jun 11, 2015 3:30 am

Hi Stan,

indeed the article by James is really helpful and answered many questions!

Am I correct to say that the E-Vedanta courses offered by the Chinmaya Mission are not absolutely necessary if you follow the teachings offered by shiningworld?

And one question referring to the Ramakrishna order: Am I correct to say that they differ by emphasizing experience? That Vedanta offered by James is rather emphasizing knowledge in comparison?

thanks a lot for your answers :)

Georg
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Re: Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby Stan » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:06 am

Hi Georg,

By way of an answer, I would like to offer you two quotes to start with.....
The first by James taken from an interview in `Advaita vision`.

"In approximately the last one hundred years Vedanta has suffered an apparent change largely as a result of the teachings of Vivekananda around the turn of the twentieth century.

Its basic function as a means of Self knowledge became confused with the doctrines of Yoga because Vivekananda who had a profound influence on the West’s understanding of Vedanta (probably unintentionally) reduced it to ‘jnana’ (knowledge) yoga, one of the many branches of Yoga. In fact, Yoga has traditionally been considered a subset of Vedanta, its purpose being to aid in the preparation of the mind to receive the teachings of non-duality.

Before Yoga sullied the pure teachings of Vedanta enlightenment was considered to be the removal of ignorance about the nature of the Self. But with the ascendancy of the Yoga teachings enlightenment came to be considered a ‘permanent experience of the Self’ in contrast to the mundane experiences of everyday life, which it obviously can’t be if this is a non-dual reality as the Upanishads claim.

It can’t be a permanent experience first, because there is no such thing as a permanent experience and second, it can’t be an experience in a non-dual reality because the subject object distinction necessary for experience is missing in a non-dual reality. If this is true then the quest for a permanent enlightenment experience is pointless and what is needed, as traditional Vedanta says, is the knowledge of reality since the craving for experience, including the experience of the Self, is mAyA, the consequence of seeing oneself a doer who is separate from reality.
Or to put it another way, trying to get out of mAyA experientially is not ever going to happen because mAyA is unreal. How can one be ‘in mAyA’ in the first place if mAyA is only an apparent reality? The only way out of mAyA is to see that mAyA, the belief in duality, is only in the mind and to destroy it with the knowledge of reality.

In any case, the experiential notion of enlightenment has been the dominant view for the last one hundred years, although it goes back to the Yoga sutras of Patanjali. This Vedantic evolution has been labeled ‘modern’ Vedanta, an oxymoron if ever there was one. "


http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/trad_neo/neo_vedanta_swartz.htm

The second from Dennis Waite....also interviewed on Advaita Vision.

Q: I noticed that you rarely cite any work from the swamis of the Ramakrishna Order (apart from a few quotes from Vivekananda). Is there any particular reason for this or is that just that your own interests have lead you to focus on other authors (Chinmayananda, Dayananda, Parthasarathy, etc.)?

A: The reason that I do not often quote from the Ramakrishna tradition is that, following Vivekananda, their teaching began to diverge from that of traditional advaita, embodying teachings from the yoga tradition and blurring the original clear messages.

This has been so significant that their teaching is actually given a name in India – neo-Vedanta (not to be confused with neo-advaita!). This is not to say that many of the books written by monks of the Ramakrishna order are not to be recommended – some of them are excellent – but one does need to be careful if still unsure of the ‘correct’ teaching.


Regarding the Ramakrishna Order, I think the above quotes should answer your question. There is a big problem in using Experiential language in Teaching as it can be very misleading. for this reason, not all `enlightened` teachers are qualified to teach.
Vedanta has to be taught in a very specific and ordered way that has been proven to work over the centuries, up to this very day. It is fiercely guarded by the Sampradaya or Lineage so that it stays that way. James is an authentic link in the Sampradaya lineage and `his` teaching is nothing but pure Vedanta.

The Vedanta `offered by James` does NOT strictly speaking emphasize knowledge over experience as they are not two different routes to Moksha. Only (self) knowledge is.
It is all about knowledge because experience is temporary so in that way, you are right in highlighting the difference. The teaching always points back to the self and, the self is not an experience. :)

I have not seen James recommend particularly the Chinmaya Mission teachings but I know he recommends those of Swami Dayananda who also teaches Vedanta in it`s traditional pure form. I believe he highly recommends his Bhagavad Gita home study course. It`s pretty heavy going mind you !
Personally, after I had complete faith in James and his teaching of Vedanta, I just gave up on all the other teachings and stayed with what works by far the best for a mainly western mind. There are many who have gained Moksha with James. The proof is in the pudding as we say in the uk. Blind faith is not required but an open mind is.
I hope this helps.

Stan.
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Re: Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby georgschiller » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:55 am

Thank you Stan!

The quotes and your answer are great! To be honest they saved me a lot of time since I was planning to meet the Ramakrishna order (there is no Chinmaya Mission here in Germany to meet). But after reading the quotes and your answer I am more laid back and don't care too much about Meeting them. I rather spend the time inquiring and listening to James videos!

However, it is a shame that doubts are still coming up in my mind. I guess this is part of the process. In the end everything is awareness and it doesn't matter if you get to know this by the Chinmaya Mission or by James.

Thanks Stan!!

Best
Georg
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Re: Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby Stan » Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:55 pm

Hi Georg,
Thanks for your kind words. Just a quick comment on something you wrote...

However, it is a shame that doubts are still coming up in my mind. I guess this is part of the process. In the end everything is awareness and it doesn't matter if you get to know this by the Chinmaya Mission or by James.


It`s NOT " a shame that doubts are still coming up". and yes, you`re right, it is part of the process. Vedanta is a provocative teaching. it brings up all doubts and long held and cherished misconceptions about yourself, life and spiritual ideas. It makes you think and there`s definitely work involved....which is not a downside :)

I`d like to leave you a link to a vedanta retreat held by James in Westerwald, Germany in 2014. It is essential to watch it sequentially, step by step, without jumping to videos/teachings that are further along than the next one. Ignorance is broken down in a certain order. The first video describes what the work on the student`s part will be very well. there is a German script available which is mentioned in the main list of the videos. So here`s vid 1 ...`Rules in self inquiry`.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8UHESkSCFU&list=PL6y1kywnAG1wxuv1HSqJPzUQ2Jl89MBnJ&index=1

Here is the link for the rest of the videos and german script.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6y1kywnAG1wxuv1HSqJPzUQ2Jl89MBnJ

The only other thing I would recommend most strongly is that you have one of James` books to study all the various videos along with. I`d say it`s essential.
I`m refering to `Essence of enlightenment` or `How to attain enlightenment`.
I hope you enjoy the videos !
Best wishes to you Georg,
Stan.
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Re: Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:57 pm

Hi Stan,

thanks for all the precious information and links!! All the material is just great :)
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Re: Three questions on other Vedanta teachers/teachings?

Postby Stan » Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:49 am

Hi Georg,

You`re welcome. I really like that Westerwald retreat series of vids...one of my favourites. I`ve seen it quite a few times and never tire of it. There`s always some missed nuance that comes to light. then again, you could say that for all the teachings. can`t get enough ! :D
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