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Chapter I: What Do I Want?

Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Motivations , The Unexamined Logic of Your Own Experience,
I Want Security, Pleasure and Virtue, Does Happiness Exist?
Is It in Objects?, Definition of an Object, I Am Not an Object,
Am I Separate from Objects?, Definition of Real,
The Objects Are Me, But I Am Not an Object,
Definition of Non-Duality, Life Is a Zero-Sum Game,
The Fourth Pursuit.

Moderator: milarepa

Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:54 pm

I would like to start off our study group with a simple question.

What brought you to vedanta in the first place ? how was your life up to that point ?
Did you `find` vedanta via a fairly stable, if subconscious underlying inquiry or did you feel driven to it as something of a last hope for peace of mind ?

Can you say what you were seeking for up to that point and if possible, why you hadn`t found it yet.
As most of us will know from prior study, happiness is not in the object but, isn`t vedanta an object ? why study it ?

From here on, we are all open to sharing our experiences, questions and knowledge.
It doesn`t matter in what order the allied and pertinent topics come but, they need to be kept on track. ie. confined to chapter one.... What do I want ?
Please make all posts in Chapter one of the forum in the study group topic.

Please ensure that you have read the first topic in the `Study Group` section of the forum before making your first post. Thanks all...i`m looking forward to this !
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Andrew » Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:05 pm

Hello to everyone participating in the Study Group!

Right, time to dive in...

What brought me to Vedanta? I will try to be brief(ish). I am 42 years old, I first heard the word 'enlightenment' when I was about 9 years old because of an episode of Dr Who in the 1980s. Had absolutely no idea what it was but it sounded cool and the word stuck in my head as being something significant.

In 1986, I quit Judo classes in favor of Ninjutsu because the 1980s 'Ninja Boom' was in full swing. Because of that, I came across a variety of new ideas - Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism. In particular, I was reading the works of the American ninja Stephen K Hayes who always included some kind of 'spiritual' chapter in his books. The notion of enlightenment featured prominently in his writing and that aroused a certain curiosity. This wasn't just some notion from a sci-fi show but an actual 'thing'. Also Hayes had referenced methods from Japanese esoteric Buddhist practices that suggested the development of certain siddhi or occult type abilities. As a dorky 12 year old, what's not to like about that? :)

I maintained an interest in Buddhism up until my late teens into early 20s. Mostly of the DIY Tibetan vajrayana variety, particularly because of the 'Tibetan Book of Living & Dying' that had come out in 1990s. After a while though I found the idea of 'being a buddhist' too limiting and dropped the pretense of that as an identity. I instead opted for 'I am sympathetic to a lot of buddhist ideas, just don't want to be one'....lol..

A little while after that, having learned some things about Eastern spirituality & esoterica I began wondering about the Western equivalent. And so I plunged down a rabbit hole of Alchemy, Gnosticism, Qabbalah, Hermeticism, Magic, initiatic orders and more besides.

By this point I was pretty heavily engaged in this and had all but lost any contact with 'Eastern' stuff. I was working with a teacher in a Hermetic/Thelemic/Qabbalistic/Ceremonial Magic vein. Initially this was a useful relationship that consisted of me being left to my own devices to study and experiment but having someone I could check in with periodically for advice/suggestions. I also expanded my interests into Theosophy and began participating with a local Theosophical group.

Eventually, my dealings with this teacher took a turn for the weird and I had serious doubts about the direction of the work or even if there was a point to it. Cutting a long story short, it consisted of some form of 'experiential enlightenment','higher selves' and some wonky notions of Bhakti. Something was not adding up for me and so I exited and instead concentrated my attention to Theosophy.

Not too long before I left, my teacher had recommended reading some Upanishads which I did through Eknath Easwaran's translations which I particularly like. One evening at a theosophical meeting, the then secretary read the second chapter of the Baghavad Gita and that was like a shot in the brain! From there I started tracking down Gita translations and commentaries on same because there was something very compelling about it.

First stop was Swamis Vivekenanada & Shivananda. From there I happened upon a Vedanta website that was run by students of Swami Dayananda. I jumped from there to watching Dayananda's satsangs through the 'Spiritual Heritage of India' series. I think I watched about 20+ episodes and learned more in a few weeks than I had done in years. And not only that, the clarity, logic and immediate practicality of his teaching impressed me deeply. It made me realize that I needed to be connected with someone who was coming from a deep, authentic lineage.

I began checking out other people connected to Dayananda, both here in the US and the UK. It wasn't long after that I found some interviews with James Swartz and learned that he had a book out 'How to attain enlightenment'. I was greatly relieved to see an 'ordinary guy' talking about enlightenment in a very precise yet, informal way. I bought the book and took him up on the offer to email him questions. And that's how I ended up here.

What was my life like?
Pretty much like everyone else's! Good days, bad days with no rhyme or reason. Some of the spiritual study and meditation brought a certain amount of sattva and dispassion but lacked coherence and wasn't liberating.


What was I seeking?

I don't think I knew. I was searching for something 'unusual' or 'unworldly' that was experiential that perhaps involved some element of saintliness. I think I thought that said experience would make me 'different' somehow. Of course, I can only say that in hindsight from a Vedantic p.o.v. - At the time I was just stumbling from some vague notion to another hoping for a one off 'unearthly' event to permanently fix whatever I thought might be wrong with me.

Why didn't that work?

It didn't work because I didn't have any precise definitions of what I was seeking in the first place. I was like someone who had been told there was good money in gold, but having never seen gold and knowing nothing about mining, geology or metallurgy I started digging randomly around in the hopes that I would just uncover some. (Not that I'd recognize gold even in the unlikely event I was successful.)

Right, I think that covers it. Hope that wasn't too long :)

Best wishes,

Andrew
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:55 pm

Andrew--I enjoyed your post! Dr. Who and Ninjas---brought back some good memories. I have also enjoyed Eknath Easwaran's commentaries on the Upanishads. I found his writing very elegant (among spiritual texts).

Stan, thanks for getting the SG started with introductions and insightful questions. I have ordered my copy of EofE--but its not arrived yet. However, I did read the chapter from your link.

Stan wrote: What brought you to vedanta in the first place ? how was your life up to that point ?
Did you `find` vedanta via a fairly stable, if subconscious underlying inquiry or did you feel driven to it as something of a last hope for peace of mind ?

I recall seeking ‘something more’ to life even as a child. I was always stricken with existential angst even before I knew there was a word for it. I recall reading Dostoyevsky and then pacing the streets like Raskolnikov, searching for the purpose of life (in a teenage poseur sort of way, of course! :lol: ). I mean there had to be some meaning beyond the everyday mundane existence I seemed to lead. Perhaps because of this subconscious quest, I became an overachiever of sorts. I needed to excel constantly and when I achieved whatever it was that I sought—the same question would remain. Is this all there is to life? That just can’t be. And then I would start overachieving all over again! I felt James captured this endless treadmill of desires perfectly in the opening chapter of EofE.

The only real peace I ever found was in nature. I would go for long 3-4 hours runs into the desert or later I would spend all weekend climbing high mountains. And I would come back peaceful and desireless (except to climb an even higher mountain, perhaps!). Now I realize, of course, that, for me, nature was a very powerful symbol of the self and I was feeling immense love for the self.

I turned to self-help books, Buddhism-lite—but that made the treadmill only worse.

Then, serendipitously I read a reference to Eckhart Tolle in the NYT. So, I sought him out and he made a lot of sense. For a long time, I thought I had “it”. I would sit around with a beatific smile on my face, being 'present'. My family would howl with laughter and ask me how long was the “now” that I was in ? I would look at them condescendingly and tell them they just did not get how awesome the “now” was. Needless to say this caused even more laughter.

And then more serendipity lead me from Eckhart to the Shining World site and to traditional Vedanta. And the rest, as they say, is history. It made sense to me immediately. I found Vedanta extremely stable. The weight of the scriptures behind the teachers gave it credibility. James’ no-nonsense style appealed to me immediately. I loved his analysis of Knowledge vs. Experience and his matter-of-fact deconstruction of the neo-style of teaching. I corresponded with Ted. I will always be grateful for his time and his precise words which removed doubts.

While I was grateful to Eckhart for introducing me to the concept of non-duality, I started to agree with my family about how hilarious my trying to be in the ‘now’ had been. However, I will say that the title “How to Attain Enlightenment” has also raised some eyebrows around the house. We’ll see what the reaction to “Essence of Enlightenment” is, when it appears next week ;).

Stan wrote: As most of us will know from prior study, happiness is not in the object but, isn`t vedanta an object ? why study it ?

This is a great question to start us off. As I described above, my personal experience verified beyond a doubt that happiness was not in the objects and more importantly life was a zero sum game.

Vedanta is an object but it is also an effective means of knowledge. Without Vedanta, at least for me, self-knowledge would not have been possible. So, it is an object worth having.

Ultimately, like any object you can discard it. And I had already started doing that. I was ‘getting bored’ of the scriptures lately and thinking I did not need Vedanta. Well, of course, Ishvara delivered a well-timed thunderbolt and re-kindled some doubts. Needless to say, I went straight back to SW and the scriptures and I am here to stay :D . Nidhidyasana will be with me always now.

I think of Vedanta as a mirror. If it’s an object that reflects the self then it is a valuable object. Sometimes you might have to remove dust from the mirror or polish it, but it always reveals the self. So even though it is an object, it is the most precious object that there is in this life (both for self-knowledge and later for assimilation).

Finally, I wanted to add that I thought Chapter 1 does such an excellent job of describing the human condition and then delivering a solution. As this post is already too long, I plan to write later in the month on more insights on this important chapter.

Can't wait to read everyone else's introductions :D.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Albina » Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:45 pm

Thank you Andrew and Mira for sharing your stories. Here is mine☺

I grew up in a multi religious family. My mother was Russian Orthodox and my father was a Sunni Muslim. By the time I was 20, I’ve explored but wasn’t satisfied with neither Christianity nor Islam. Logically things were not making sense to me and I couldn’t follow advice to pray and “just have faith” in things I didn’t understand.

I moved to the US when I was 19 and went to college. As I learned English, I discovered authors and books I never had access to in Russia. I gave up on religion and instead read Alan Watts, Louis Hay, and Wayne Dyer. I learned about meditation and yoga. That seemed to be enough until I went through a personal crisis. Looking for guidance and solution to my relationship and self problems, I joined a local meditation group.

People in the meditation group were absolutely lovely. I asked advice and I received many. I learned about Mooji, Rupert Spira, and James Swartz, in that order. James Swartz was my last stop and my final destination☺

Vedanta makes logical sense to me as no other religion or philosophy ever could. It calms down my mind and brings me lasting peace. Although, I have to say that without James Swartz I would have never appreciated Vedanta. Only with Ramji’s way of teaching, the beauty of Vedanta became accessible to me. As a very comprehensive teaching, it would intimidate me before I saw any light in it, if it wasn’t for the beloved Ramji. Words will never be enough to express my gratitude to him and everyone making Shining World happen.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:42 pm

Hi All,

I wasn`t sure how to write up about my search and finding vedanta without on the one hand writing a book, and on the other, posting a note that makes little sense.
In the end, I decided to copy an email of mine ( with some small ammendments )to Sundari of four years ago when I had volunteered to undertake the task of finding a home for James and Sundari in Spain.
We had communicated a few times before I thought I should say a little bit about myself without hopefully indulging too much in `my story`. I knew how busy they always were so tried to keep it short.

Sundari (Isabella Viglietti) - December, 2012
Stan: Hello, Sundari. I have always been a seeker… brought up in Christian boarding schools and had many of the standard epiphanies in my youth. In my late twenties I embraced “flower power,” indulged in copious amounts of LSD, etc. and somehow became convinced I could find God/my self. I would go to the country and just sit very still… meditate, and have many samadhis.

One day I nearly set the hill alight by accident and this brought me up sharply. I thought I had got it all wrong and my seeking life came crashing down. However, this also brought with it a certain relief. On the way home I experienced what I now know to be a samadhi with thought, savilkalpa samadhi… plus an extra step. From then on, I knew that there is no death and that it is all `within me`.

From that time on, this became my foundation. However, I came to the knowledge without a teaching or being taught. I had no words to make sense of the relationship between Isvara and my psychology. This left a subtle doubt that steadily grew.

Life went on… it was very stressful running my father’s business, which was failing. I took LSD as a diversion and went against my nature enough to really hurt. Pretty soon I had a huge kundalini experience which did not stop for about six months. For three months I didn’t notice any sleep… just a constant downloading of energy, like a greater consciousness. I experienced terror when it wouldn’t stop and was afraid I would lose my sanity. I wasn`t worried about my life as such. My foundational knowledge got me through eventually. long story that one.

Nobody knew what this kundalini was, and I had to really get my act together. I’ve had the carrot and now I had to get the stick! I learned of Eastern religions… even a brief connection to Vedanta (not ripe yet!) and I settled on Zen Buddhism. I became a zen monk but gave up when I realised the sense of doership could not be resolved.

I left, married my present wife, and as she didn’t want children, it suited me perfectly. We went into business, which grew and was successful, and searching went onto the back burner. It was time consuming and stressful, and I started sitting meditation again. Pretty soon, seeking was full-on again and more epiphanies came. I was desperate to get out of the business, and Isvara came through on my request. We had an extraordinary business year and everyone threw money at us.

With my wife in agreement, we shut up shop and left for the Polish mountains. After an extensive search on the internet, I found a beautiful old hunting lodge with spectacular mountain surroundings. We took Maggi’s mother with us, who had cancer and needed 24/7 care, and headed for the hills. We were there five years in all. Mother died in our care. In the meantime, we had a wonderful, stress-free life.

Over time, I became so grateful to Isvara that I literally begged for some way to show my gratitude… what task could he give me so I could give a little back? Boy, did he come up trumps… I should have seen it coming. My life came up for full review, complete with the unfinished kundalini experience I still feared. I knew I would be taken to the very edge, but would make it somehow.

After about three months of being slowly stripped bare… much desperate hand-to-hand combat… breath by breath sometimes, I came to a point where I would look squarely at the thing that knew me perfectly, yet I could never locate in return. I looked, and the balloon deflated instantly. Nothing spectacular; just like a car struggling up a steep hill and getting to the top. It felt like a weight that had been on my shoulders for lifetimes, had suddenly been removed.

I realised I was not the doer but the knower of the doer.. It seemed incredible and simple. Why could I never see it?! From that time on, if Stan had a problem, well, he could just send an email in future! I was no longer particularly interested in Stan and his story! However, a silent voice clearly said: “It is not the end yet!”

I had one of those wonderful dream messages from Isvara, a review of the past, present and future to come. I couldn’t understand many of the symbols then, but I think I do now. ( I wrote to James and he decyphered it for me in vedanta fashion )

Shortly after that, mother died and we returned to the UK. Poland had served its purpose for us all. We bought and renovated a beautiful old house in beautiful surroundings, and life was rather blissful for eighteen months or so. I got a little bored with the bliss and became interested in the “it`s not the end` message. It niggled at me.

On the internet, I came `somehow` across Ramji’s writings and the enlightenment test. I did it and found out that I was a great sage! LOL ☺ I was concerned somewhat, as I didn’t see myself as a great sage and thought Ram’s teachings would be a bit “lite.”

I needn’t have worried. The teaching ripped like a forest fire through me. I read the e-satsangs… difficult at first… and the many wonderful articles and teachings… a couple of the videos too. I got the book shortly after and thought I would read it quite quickly. It turned out to be a three-month project. I followed the wonderful, perfect logic, sometimes contemplating a sentence for an hour at a time. I didn’t want to burden Ramji with a question without at least having read the book, fully assimilating as much as I could. I read everything at the website several times over. I was totally possessed for those three months. There was no warning about spontaneous samadhis!

It might give some people the wrong idea, I suppose. At the end, the Vedanta virus cleared out all the ignorance infections.

Prarabdha karmas seem to have pretty much run their course, and now it’s all so simple. Where did everything go? I have to laugh! It’s wonderful, magnificent, inspiring and utterly boring, all in one go!

When I watched Ramji teaching in the videos, I was deeply impressed how he gave so utterly of himself. Giving his life to Isvara in unfolding the teaching, never failing to be inspired… wanting to see the faces of the students to see if they got it. How generous he is with the latecomers in the Indian satsangs. The interruptions to the flow of the teaching… blessed Ramji must be a tired man by now. I know there is a balance and it is not my place to comment, but in the Zen monastery we learned how to sit still with reverence and respect in front of the teacher. I loved to see Ramji doing the opening chant with what seemed to be his fingers crossed… they seem to subtly come together at the end… the namaste position… maybe I’m just projecting it. I would dearly love to see Ramji and yourself enjoying a less exhausting lifestyle together.

So much travelling… let the students do the running. Sorry, shouldn’t project too much. I just feel so grateful and full of joy. I can never repay the debt of gratitude I feel to Isvara, Ramji and Vedanta. It is a privilege and a genuine pleasure to do what I can to help. I know I wouldn’t have finished the job of cracking the code on my own.

I am rich in all respects now. A loving wife, beautiful home in a beautiful area. Not much money but plenty of time… you can have as much of it as you need. My wife, by the way, is not involved in the house search… that was for our own previous nine houses, so no problem there. As you can see, I seem to have house-searching vasanas which obviously Isvara knows all about… they’re his vasanas after all, hence our connection.

Anyway, another result of this house business is that we will try to sell our home. With the proceeds we could buy two or three cheaper houses… one being in Spain. My Maggi is in agreement. I wonder if a ShiningWorld community of Vedantins could grow together. So I even have a vested interest in the search! Really, I have plenty of time and give it gladly.

So in future, rest assured… I’m not stressed with the searching. Thank you for the appreciation and the thanks… not too many needed if I’ve explained where I’m coming from now.

Sorry to go on for so long, Sundari… I suppose I’ve been a bit indulgent. I did want you to know more or less who this funny chap Stan is!

Next email is back on the job… plenty of details. Just stopping for lunch! Very much love to you both.

~ Stan.


Sundari: Hello, Stan. What a lovely story, Stan, thank you so much for sharing it with us and with ShiningWorld. We are so honoured to have an insight into the lives of the many extraordinary souls who have travelled the path to the pathless… and shared their story with us! As for Ramji crossing his fingers during the chant, I can assure you that that is a projection of yours! ☺
Thanks again for your invaluable help.

~ Much love to you from both of us, Sundari

Although I knew I was always a seeker....brought up a Roman Catholic in Catholic boarding schools at first, I knew that the priests only had indirect self knowledge at best. This was more of a shock and let down that was able to admit to when I was young. I gave up on Catholicism but the seeking could not be got rid of. It just became more subconscious. eventually, I gave up on Christianity and joined the " I don`t believe in God and I hate him" brigade. Ah well, learning curves !

In my late teens, I met some vietnam draft dodgers who I put up for a while. They turned me on to Hash , LSD and eastern religions. I took to them like a duck to water.
Although later on I had a major savikalpa samadhi that taught me that there is nothing outside of me and that the joy in objects depends on me, it still wasn`t full knowledge, even when a nirvikalpa samadhi followed on from it. Everything else stayed the same ! I couldn`t figure out what the role of Isvara / Maya was between me and the world.

Later when I became over stressed at my father`s business, I tried to distract myself in the old ways I knew very well wouldn`t work. It caused a huge amount of suffering and a crisis that took me many years to fully resolve. even then, a blissful life became boring. I couldn`t just finally join up all of the dots to give me the total panorama of non dual reality which is my self. It needed a completelly impersonal teaching to do that because..tara..i`m not a person ! not a doer.
It seems impossibly difficult to come to the truth and only vedanta could finish the job. That and Ramji`s wonderful, compassionate, sublime and effective teaching that removes all ignorance ! For a while I equated him literally with Isvara until somehow he removed that notion from me too. I can never fully repay my gratitude to him and the sampradaya.

I won`t make a long post any longer but will add a link that explains the last part of what I said in case anyone`s interested.

http://www.shiningworld.com/site/satsang/index.php?r=site/sendPdf&id=509

My name`s disguised as Stewart for my privacy. ( Ha ha .. )

It is ony in the years since "Enlightenment" was seen as the starting point and not an ending that I felt I had really come home and to rest...once and for all.
To quote James from the above link...

Whether you are thinking or teaching or not the mind will purify naturally if the knowledge is firm, which it seems to be because you say that it is laughable that you can forget the knowledge. If you know that “the knowledge” means you – awareness – then knowledge has nothing to do with it. It sets you free, and once you are free it goes away


" The mind will purify naturally if the knowledge is firm." There`s nothing like a purified mind. :-)

I will add some more topics to ponder from chapter one shortly. particularly as not everyone wants nor should feel they have to, give their personal take on what vedanta means to their lives.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:38 pm

To all:

Very much enjoyed the chain so far. Here are my responses to the simple question put:

What brought me to Vedanta in the first place was a a desire to understand the purpose or meaning of life. I don't remember a particular time that inquiry started, but I do remember seeing the book "In search of the miraculous" by PD Ouspensky in there ninth grade and being fascinated by it. Anyway, I was a philosophy major in college, and also in college connected with what in the States was called "The School of Practical Philosophy", that was a branch of the School of Economic Science in England" whose founder was an attorney by the name of Leon McCalren. The teachings of that school was a combination of Gurdjieff material and Vedanta material as Mr. McLaren had come under the influence of the Shankaracharya of the North.

My life up till that point was what I would call fairly normal, being raised in a sort of dysfunctional family with not tragic or extreme deprivations, but basically not much happiness. I wouldn't therefore say I was driven to it as a last hope for peace off mind,nor even as a subconscious underlying inquiry. The inquiry was actually fairly conscious in the sense that there was something that questioned what the nature of the ego was, i.e.. whether it was real or not. As things turned out I spent 20 years in the school of philosophy during which time I almost never missed sitting twice a day for 30 minutes each with a mantra based mediation practice basically similar to TM. I also went to law school two years out of college, and became a somewhat unwilling practitioner of law, not knowing how else to earn a living.

I left the Philosophy school after 20 years, feeling that I was getting "lighter and brighter" through the work, and certainly had given the process enough time. I also began to feel as if the mediation had been a crutch and was acting as a kind of anesthetic that kept me in a tolerable state of suffering. I lost interest in meditating, and for the next 10 years or so, started sitting with various non-dual teachers, beginning with Andrew Cohen a little, then Llama Suryas Das, Charles Genoud, Dean Sluyter, the later of whom were all in the vein of Tibetan Buddhism, Francis Lucille, Mooji, Rupert Spira, Stuart Schwartz, another teachers and then James Swartz.

With the knowledge and teaching from James in the last 7 years or so, I would say I had't "found it yet" when I met James, because I had not cultivated enough Sattva in the mind,nor had any of the other teachings been as complete as what James offered,both in breadth and depth, and also in the spirit of generosity, friendliness and accessibility with his "clan". I was able to have wonderful email exchanges with James, Sundari, and the Christian Leeby. Those exchanges have clarified and allowed a substantial assimilation of the difference between knowledge and experience, and clarity around the issue of doership.

I have now Albina of this group who I met in a New Jersey mediation group that I co-lead to thank for bringing this group to my attention. With regard to the question of knowing that happiness is not in an object, but isn't Vedanta an object, so why study it, one of the other replies answered this nicely. I am not comfortable navigating back to that reply, but briefly, if it is conceded as implied in the question that Vedanta is an object of study, than it is an object that can lead to happiness because the study will eventually dissolve itself. I would rather classify Vedanta as a way of living, instead of as an object of knowledge.

Finally, I would like to address a question to the group with regard to the point in the first Chapter of life being a zero-sum game. That you lose as much as you win. While on one level this is not difficult to understand, as the various examples in that short section point out, but isn't the life of a jnani supposed to be wonderful in its freedom that can savor all experiences? So for example, is it the case for anyone that intimacy is always at the expense of attachment? I guess the need for intimacy is always at the expense of attachment, but what about a preference for intimacy?

Thank you Stan for your efforts in organizing this forum.

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:26 pm

Hi Bob,
Welcome to the forum and the study group! Thank you for sharing your story. Thanks also to Albina and Stan for their introductions. It's so nice to be able to get to know one another on this journey.

Bob wrote: I would rather classify Vedanta as a way of living, instead of as an object of knowledge.

I agree with you. The Vedantic lifestyle is the best lifestyle on the planet!

Bob wrote: Finally, I would like to address a question to the group with regard to the point in the first Chapter of life being a zero-sum game. That you lose as much as you win. While on one level this is not difficult to understand, as the various examples in that short section point out, but isn't the life of a jnani supposed to be wonderful in its freedom that can savor all experiences?

Here are my thoughts: Life is a zero-sum game for the samsari (i.e., the self-ignorant jiva). However, after self knowledge, life is a win-win for the jnani. Since the jnani knows firmly that he/she is the self and not the doer, then what happens in life is to be enjoyed. I believe it's called a bhoga vasana (enjoyment vasana). What happens in life is not important, but life is important. You get to live life from the perspective of the self.

Bob wrote: So for example, is it the case for anyone that intimacy is always at the expense of attachment? I guess the need for intimacy is always at the expense of attachment, but what about a preference for intimacy?

Personally, I don't believe that intimacy and attachment are always connected. For example, I deeply value my husband and close friends but I am not necessarily attached to them. Since they are adults (as am I) I know that no matter what happens in mithya, we'll all be fine since we are all the self.

However, I do have a very deep attachment to my daughter. As anyone with a child knows, this attachment is a very hard one to let go of. Children when young and completely dependent on you. My strategy has been to try to give her some of the wisdom of Vedanta. But now it's clear to me why the great sages never had kids--- it's a very binding attachment. If kids suffer, then you suffer. However, as I said, we can give children knowledge and raise them in an environment conducive to self-inquiry. When they are older, the attachment to them will decrease naturally. And ultimately, we know that everyone is the self and so is fine regardless of what happens.

But between adults, a preference for intimacy is fine. And if you approach the relationship from the perspective of self-knowledge then attachments don't develop or bind. And you can enjoy intimacy withouth the downside.

Thanks for posing a great question!
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:57 pm

Mira

Thank you for your welcome and also your wonderful responses. Ishare your experience and viewpoint .

Since posing the question, there is another aspect of the zero-sum point that doesn't sit well. Even for samsaris, there will be various degrees of happiness and sufferings based on the quality of ones actions. In my mind (which admittedly has its biases) zer-sum is too simplistic and glosses over this fact. I am willing to just have my bias pointed out, so maybe you could comment on this.

Thanks again for your response.

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:54 am

Hi Bob,

Thanks for joining our little (as yet) study group and the forum itself. It`s good to have you with us.

Thanks for your kind remark to me re setting up the Study group. It was more of a group effort really.
I`d like to come back and answer you in a day or two as i`m having trouble with my eyses at the moment. it`s one way of keeping away from that computer screen I suppose !

One thing you said made me laugh though.....

" My life up until that point was what I would call fairly normal, being raised in a sort of dysfunctional family with not tragic or extreme deprivations, but basically not much happiness. "

I guess that sums up `normal` life in the dualistic realm of samsara. you just can`t win.

Catch up soon....thanks Bob.

Just seen your new post Bob and i`ll reply later as I need to write up my post in intervals.
.
I would just say that the `zero sum game` notion is fundamental in vedanta and impacts on the understanding of non-duality. It is also a foundation of the qualification of having a dispassionate mind. consequently, one needs to be clear about this point as otherwise it will skew one`s understanding down the line.
I would also like to say that `zero sum` doesn`t mean that there are no wins or losses. it`s just that you can`t have it all one way...ever.
More soon and thanks for raising such good points !
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:54 pm

Hi Stan,
Hope your eyes feel better soon.

Hi Bob,
Thanks for asking some great questions about chapter 1.
Bob said: Even for samsaris, there will be various degrees of happiness and sufferings based on the quality of ones actions. In my mind (which admittedly has its biases) zero-sum is too simplistic and glosses over this fact. I am willing to just have my bias pointed out, so maybe you could comment on this.


Perhaps it might be useful to view the zero-sum aspect over an entire lifetime (rather than related to particular actions/events). Everyone faces suffering in life (and to varying degrees, as you point out). A poor child in India might suffer less missing a meal than the suffering faced by a CEO if he looses his cellphone for a day! But everyone has known and will know suffering. And our natural reaction is to want to avoid suffering. Even for those people whose life is relatively easy, there is the prospect of the final suffering (i.e., death). No one wants to die. Even those who welcome death or commit suicide, only do it as a way to get rid of their suffering. So suffering is indeed a fact of life.

The other side of the zero-sum game is joy/happiness. Most of us also have happiness in our lives (again, to varying degrees depending on our actions and circumstances). But these moments of happiness are always limited. They always come to an end.

So, for most people, life can be summed up as limited joy and guaranteed suffering. But what most humans are looking for is 'no suffering' and 'unlimited joy' :D. So the average life, taken as a whole, starts to feel like a zero-sum game.

For me, it was important to see the zero-sum nature of life--because that made clear that there were no answers in samsara. This is hard sometimes for even spiritually inclined people to see. For example, ‘law of attraction’ or the ‘secret’ are ways that people are trying to escape suffering within samsara. But it’s not possible. What happens in your life is decided by Ishvara (in the form of your prarabdha karma). There will always be suffering in life.

But Vedanta offers an elegant solution to the zero-sum problem. When you know you are the limitless self, then all happenings in life are seen through the lens of the self and this allows suffering to be minimized and happiness to be maximized. In fact, it is revealed that you are happiness/peace itself.

It’s important to be clear on the zero-sum aspect of life, since Vedanta overturns this equation, allowing peace/happiness as the primary guiding experience of life.

If one can achieve this deep satisfaction by another way, then Vedanta is not necessary for that person. But as our introductions show neither religion, nor philosophy gave us the answers we were looking for to go beyond the zero-sum nature of life.

Again, thanks for your honest and open-minded questions. Don’t hesitate to ask follow-up questions or to elucidate further on your inquiry.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:49 am

First to Mira:

Thanks again for responding. Your comments were very helpful and clarifying for me. The following was particularly striking:


"So, for most people, life can be summed up as limited joy and guaranteed suffering. But what most humans are looking for is 'no suffering' and 'unlimited joy' :D. So the average life, taken as a whole, starts to feel like a zero-sum game.

For me, it was important to see the zero-sum nature of life--because that made clear that there were no answers in samsara. This is hard sometimes for even spiritually inclined people to see. "

I am reminded of what I heard recently on listening to Ted Schmidt's Bhagavad Gita talks from India, in a discussion on the gunas, and that one can become attached to sattva, which would express as an attachment to pleasures in life. So maybe what gave rise to the thought or feeling of "not sitting well", is this kind of attachment, wanting to enjoy the pleasures without feeling the pains, which the zero-sum nature of life dashes hope for. As you beautifully write it:

"Vedanta offers an elegant solution to the zero-sum problem. When you know you are the limitless self, then all happenings in life are seen through the lens of the self and this allows suffering to be minimized and happiness to be maximized." The point is the feeling of the pain is not a problem when seen through the lens of the Self.

Very grateful for our exchange, and to acknowledge that on the national holiday here of Thanksgiving.

Bob

Stan:

Thanks for your warm welcome, and pointing out the importance of resolving any doubts about the zero-sum teaching. Mira has helped with this, and I look forward to anything else you may wish to add.

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:28 pm

Hi Bob,
Happy Thanksgiving to you too :D.
It is a beautiful day here and I'm thankful for the study group, the forum, Shining world, and the entire sampradaya, and vedanta of course.

Bob wrote: The point is the feeling of the pain is not a problem when seen through the lens of the Self.
You nailed it! Pleasure and pain will always be there for a human--but it's not a problem as the self is not affected by any of it.

Since I don't have any cooking to do and we're not leaving till later to do the eating--I appear to have time on my hands on Thanksgiving ;) . So I just wanted to add something more on this topic:

As Stan said, the recognition of the zero-sum aspect of life is important to cultivate dispassion (vairagya)--one of the qualifications for moksha.

As we see that life naturally has highs and lows, we don't get too affected anymore by either a high or a low. The highs and the lows are just Ishvara delivering our prarabhdha karma.

As Rudyard Kipling has said:
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same


Triumph and disaster are all just mithya and as the self we are not bothered by it.

This equanimity or dispassion results in peace of mind regardless of the circumstance of one's life.

This detachment or dispassion allows the jiva to live his life with clarity and peace, thereby allowing him fully enjoy the perfect satisfaction of self-knowledge (called trupti in sanskrit).

Without dispassion, there can be self-knowledge, but not trupti, as the mind will be agitated when highs and lows occur.

Thanks for such a great discussion :D.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Andrew » Thu Nov 24, 2016 3:49 pm

Hello all,

Just a quick post to welcome Albina & Bob to the study group and to thank everyone for their contributions.

Also, Mira, your "limited joy, guaranteed suffering" quote was pure gold. That would make a great book title or chapter heading.

I was going to comment on the zero sum topic but it has been covered very well, so nothing to add here.

Happy thanksgiving to all (if you are into that kind of thing) :)

Andrew
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:33 am

Mira:

Thanks again for adding the bit about "trupti". I am not familiar with that term/idea, and helpful to hear that there is both self-knowledge, but that self-knowledge will not result in enjoying the perfect satisfaction of self-knowledge without a dispassionate mind.

Would also add maybe would be useful to distinguish between "pain" and "suffering". In my understanding, suffering is optional for the human being, but pain is not. When Andrew wrote in his latest email about "suffering being guaranteed" wasn't he actually meaning "pain"? Pain is built into the human species, but suffering is a reaction to pain, and a result of resisting the feeling of pain, and isn't that what the lens of the self can totally eradicate for the jiva? In other words, there is no resistance to whatever Ishwara presents as our experience whenever our perspective is through the lens of the self.

Bob

To Andrew:

Thanks for your welcome.

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:05 pm

Hi Bob,
You are correct on both counts.

With regard to your second point, the way I see it is this:

Without self-knowledge whenever there is pain, there is likely to be suffering for the jiva.

After self-knowledge, there is pain, but there is minimal or no suffering since it is known that who you truly are (the self) is not affected by what happens in the jiva's life.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:34 am

Hi Bob,

Back again....my little visual problem has abated somewhat thanks to wearing dark glasses. I`d just like to finish my reply to some of the points you raised earlier.....even though most of them have been comprehensively answered already ! You can`t turn your back around here for a minute without some person or other removing Ignorance left and right ! Ha ha ....

If you don`t mind Bob, some of my comments will not be strictly limited to just what you said but will be more general too ....for the benefit of possibly new people following this study group. thanks.

First of all, a pretty straightforward topic...

" Since posing the question, there is another aspect of the zero-sum point that doesn't sit well. Even for samsaris, there will be various degrees of happiness and sufferings based on the quality of ones actions. In my mind (which admittedly has its biases) zero-sum is too simplistic and glosses over this fact. I am willing to just have my bias pointed out, so maybe you could comment on this".

It looks like we`ve covered this little doubt earlier. As written in chapter 1, the topic is "LIFE" is a zero sum game. Not that `even for samsari`s`happiness and suffering don`t exist. they of course do.
You could be born to billionair parents and be assured of more money for the rest of your life than you can spend, but, that is only financial security taken care of...even if seemingly permanently. How about the fear of being kidnapped or robbed ? finding someone who loves you and not your money ? the list never ends. The money can`t buy you happiness although it can buy you the yacht that sails you up right close ! close is not the desired aim though ...bummer...
You continued ....

"So, for most people, life can be summed up as limited joy and guaranteed suffering. But what most humans are looking for is 'no suffering' and 'unlimited joy' . So the average life, taken as a whole, starts to feel like a zero-sum game.
For me, it was important to see the zero-sum nature of life--because that made clear that there were no answers in samsara. This is hard sometimes for even spiritually inclined people to see."

Yes, hit the nail on the head here. at this point we can say we have arrived at some maturity. enough to be able to start genuine inquiry from this point onwards. If we believe that even one single thing in the world of duality can completely fulfill us, we are still comprehensively stuck in samsara !


Here are two of your points that go very well together...

1. " I would rather classify Vedanta as a way of living, instead of as an object of knowledge ".
and...
2. "
" but isn't the life of a jnani supposed to be wonderful in its freedom that can savor all experiences? So for example, is it the case for anyone that intimacy is always at the expense of attachment? I guess the need for intimacy is always at the expense of attachment, but what about a preference for intimacy? ".

I would agree that "vedanta is a way of living" dependant on what you mean by that.
For example, vedanta isn`t a philosophy, religion or a "Way". As the self cannot be objectified, vedanta acts like a `word mirror` to show who we really are . the subject of vedanta being our selves.
As we have to unravel all of our conditioning in the process, all aspects of our lives have to come up for review and placed under the disciplined study that is Inquiry. This means that our lives have to be examined on a constant moment to moment basis and see if they conform with what the scriptures teach us. not only that but, we have to put the teaching of vedanta into practise.
It`s essential from the very start to understand how that is done....

The `practise` of vedanta is to distinguish the subject ( you / awareness ) from the objects. It is the practise of knowledge.
Ultimately, we discover that the subject and object (anything other than you) are `one` ...non different. We discover that `duality` is only a belief. The Objects are not `Out there` ....
So yes, vedanta has to be a way of living as Inquiry should be constant and all encompassing.

Returning to point 2. .... " but isn't the life of a jnani supposed to be wonderful in its freedom that can savor all experiences? So for example, is it the case for anyone that intimacy is always at the expense of attachment? I guess the need for intimacy is always at the expense of attachment, but what about a preference for intimacy?" .

Yes,....if you`re a jnani.... a `person/individual` who knows he isn`t a person but the self !
A jnani, one who has assimilated self knowledge, wouldn`t actively seek Intimacy because he is intimacy itself ! you cannot get more intimate than being the self as the self is non-dual. now that may sound a bit cold and intellectual but it in reality isn`t. It comes down to knowing what non-duality means and how it plays out experiantally.

There is no greater love than for the self. everything we do without exception...even if we don`t know it, is for the sake of the self. the self is non-dual love and it plays out as such in life as we experience it. How could you have a preference for yourself if there is only yourself to prefer ? It`s quite funny really.

Now for the samsari, it`s a different story. The moot question is... can the samsari really have a "preference for intimacy " ? or is that really just the vasanas / ones conditioning exercising it`s firm grip ? Is there a difference between a preference and a desire ?

A `preference` implies that there is a real choice that can be made by the samsari. to a limited degree there is. we can choose to have an apple instead of an orange for example but we can`t choose to have all the apples in the world over an orange.

That chooser is limited because he thinks he is a `Doer`who wants to enjoy the results of an action. ie he wants to become the enjoyer as there is no point in `doing` otherwise.
The problem with identifying as a doer/enjoyer is that it entails believing that the objects really are ..out there... in other words, real. If you believe that objects of desire are real, then you`re sure to suffer whatever degree of attachment to them.

Choosing between two brands of toothpaste is not likely to ever cause much of a problem as it`s not a choice that is likely to disturb the mind. now intimacy ...where does that end ? whoopdy doo, there`s a real roller coaster ride ! the problem here is that a samsari lacks discrimination. It`s not so much that the objects are the problem, it`s the attractions or aversions to them ! The samsari lives in his own projected world due to lack of self knowledge and so must endure endless cycles of pleasure and pain until it is realised that limited pleasure equals suffering. Mira put that really well. It comes back to the fundamental teaching of life being a zero sum game. It`s no accident that it is one of the basic teachings and so is in chapter 1 of the `Essence` book. It`s also why we can`t skip teaching bur have to follow the logical progression laid out in vedanta.

If we say `Yeah but !`, I choose to have it my way, we are only following our nature and acting purely subjectively. We will not be learning anything but giving free reign to our desires. This is only ever done from a feeling of lack or incompleteness. That incompleteness drives the desire for intimacy...wanting to be completed. when in doubt, the scriptures are our infallible guide.
In fact, faith in the teacher and the teachings are crucial qualifications for success in our sadhanas.
James Swartz - Vedanta is a Way of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5_6bmHuikI

In the preliminary stages of the vedanta teaching, as in chapter 1 of the Essence of enlightenment book, our core basic uninvestigated beliefs and motivations are laid out.
This leads on to some core definitions that have to be logicaly understood and signed up to before going further.

Objects are defined ...as is the knowledge that `I am not an object`and why this is so. This is the foundation of the future Satya teaching of `the self`, what is Real.

The teaching about objects and how to separate the self from the objects is next introduced. This will be the foundation of the apparently real/ Mithya teaching. As discrimination between the self/ the real and the apparently real is the basis of vedanta from finish to end, it is essential to get a firm grasp on this teaching from the very start.

Discrimination between the Real (you) and objects (apparently real) reveals the meaning of non-duality... why I am the objects but they are not me. fundamentaly, if non-duality is understood, all else is understood. if these terms all found in chapter one are unclear, then repeated study of that relevant chapter are highly recommended. If in doubt, all are invited to bring their questions, doubts...and insights ( ! ), to this study group. I will see if Arlindo has the time for a bit of input although I know he is busy moving to another continent !

Sorry for my delay in replying folks...blame it on the five elements malfunctioning.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:53 pm

Stan:

Thank you very much for that generous reply. Glad to hear that your visual impairment has been helped with the dark glasses. Your response at some points refers to "my points" when you are actually referring to points made by Mira, where she hits the nail on the head. No big deal with that, just so you are aware of it

I do have some questions about your comments and maybe you can clarify the following:

You write:

As we have to unravel all of our conditioning in the process, all aspects of our lives have to come up for review and placed under the disciplined study that is Inquiry. This means that our lives have to be examined on a constant moment to moment basis and see if they conform with what the scriptures teach us. not only that but, we have to put the teaching of vedanta into practise.
It`s essential from the very start to understand how that is done....
The `practise` of vedanta is to distinguish the subject ( you / awareness ) from the objects. It is the practise of knowledge.
Ultimately, we discover that the subject and object (anything other than you) are `one` ...non different. We discover that `duality` is only a belief. The Objects are not `Out there` ....
So yes, vedanta has to be a way of living as Inquiry should be constant and all encompassing.

Question: I am guessing the process you are referring to is that which takes us to knowing who we are. In that process do we really have unravel all our conditioning? I think this overstates what needs to be done. As you state further, the practice of vedanta is to distinguish the subject from the object, which in my mind means abiding as best we can as awareness. That awareness is not touched by the conditioning. I would rather say that the conditioning only has to be unraveled to the extent it permits there to be an active discrimination of the subject from the object. That object is very often out conditioning, in fact, we might say, it is always our conditioning.

You also write:

Yes,....if you`re a jnani.... a `person/individual` who knows he isn`t a person but the self !
A jnani, one who has assimilated self knowledge, wouldn`t actively seek Intimacy because he is intimacy itself ! you cannot get more intimate than being the self as the self is non-dual. now that may sound a bit cold and intellectual but it in reality isn`t. It comes down to knowing what non-duality means and how it plays out experiantally.

There is no greater love than for the self. everything we do without exception...even if we don`t know it, is for the sake of the self. the self is non-dual love and it plays out as such in life as we experience it. How could you have a preference for yourself if there is only yourself to prefer ? It`s quite funny really.
Now for the samsari, it`s a different story. The moot question is... can the samsari really have a "preference for intimacy " ? or is that really just the vasanas / ones conditioning exercising it`s firm grip ? Is there a difference between a preference and a desire ? ...the problem here is that a samsari lacks discrimination. It`s not so much that the objects are the problem, it`s the attractions or aversions to them !


My response:

Beautifully put. I am in complete agreement. I fully understand that a jnani would not actively seek intimacy. I also can see where a jnani as a jnani would have no preferences either. The point as I see it, is that depending on what Ishawara has in store for us, a jnani will be seen as having preferences, either for example for intimacy, or non-intimacy, but there will be no identification with that preference.


Anyway, hopefully our discussion will be of use to others too. Thanks again.

Best wishes

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Arlindo Nagar » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:21 pm

Mira: “I think of Vedanta as a mirror. If it’s an object that reflects the self then it is a valuable object. Sometimes you might have to remove dust from the mirror or polish it, but it always reveals the self. So even though it is an object, it is the most precious object that there is in this life (both for self-knowledge and later for assimilation)”

Hi Mira, ;) it is a good analogy to picture Vedanta as a mirror composed by logical concepts based on Jiva’s practical non-examined experience. Such as a mirror, which reveals reflected light and the objects in it, Vedanta will reveal the nature of the Jiva as the pure “light” of awareness with or without objects in it.

I am mentioning this because Vedanta is pure knowledge, the clear apprehension of the nature of reality (Satya and Mithya), and hence, it needs no further polishing or purification. What needs constant polishing and purification is the subtle body of the Jiva in pursuit of self-knowledge.

Vedanta is pure and clear knowledge, but it will reveal the self (as one’s own self) only to the qualified Jiva with purity of mind and heart. Vedanta does not need polishing - the “polishing” analogy, refers to the mind, which is by the way, a "must". Vedanta works by neutralizing Jivas wrong notions of self and the nature of reality.

Vedanta is pure knowledge and as such it is just an object of experience among an infinity of other objects. And you are right to say that it is the “most precious object” because it has the potential to collapse the apparent phenomenon “subject-object”, by revealing the non-dual nature of reality as pure non-dual awareness. It is an object that initially proves itself to be just “more of mithya”, but in the process, it reveals the nature of the Jiva as pure Satya, which is not an object of experience.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Arlindo Nagar » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:43 pm

Hi Stan, hi Bob, hi Mira, hi everyone. I am still jetlagged… got to Italia two days ago, and am already living to Tiruvannamalai this coming Monday. Looking forward to see India after 20+ years away. I followed some of the above conversations and would like to add some comments; Life in mithya is a “zero sum game”. It means to say that we cannot win here, but the good news is that we cannot lose either. :D This is the nature of this apparent order of reality composed by the suborders; Maya-Isvara-Jiva-Jagatha, of the same one non-dual reality we call awareness (among many other names giving to the formless, “It”).

In this apparent zero-sum “play” or “platform” where no human Jivas ever win or lose, every gain comes with a price tag attached to it, and every loss comes with reward prize to it. We call this dualistic field of experience, Mithya; it “does” exist but it is “not real”! It is apparently real… a superimposition or projection which produces the causal, subtle and gross manifest fields of experience.

For experience to exist we need this apparent dualistic platform in which the primordial duality “subject-object” arises. Within this apparent reality, we find an infinity of objects and physical laws intelligently designed to govern and operate the entire cosmos. Among the objects in creation, some become sentient beings and develop the ability to subconsciously respond to the stimulus from their environment.

Among those sentient beings, some develop the self-awareness; I know, I “consciously” respond, and I know that I do so. Of course, I am referring to the “object” called, human Jivas, and the complexity of psychological, ethic, and moral laws governing its experience.

Only then, and in reference to human Jivas karma is relevant. But, is it at all Real? Not really - but it is felt and experienced by all Jivas - before and after self-knowledge is hard and fast to produce moksha. What is then, the difference between the liberated Jnani and the Jiva? If Jivas and Jivamuktas are both subjected to the laws governing this apparent reality, what is to be gained by self-knowledge and moksha?

The sense of freedom and limitlesness derived by the hard and fast self-knowledge belongs to “another” order of reality we refer to as, satya, pure consciousness or awareness. Awareness is ever infinitely and limitlessly free. Within its infinite and limitless freedom, universes appear and disappear, but no universe ever touches awareness, because they are not real. How then, the Jivamukta (which is not real) benefits from self-knowledge?

The benefit comes from the fact that Jivas and jivanmuktas are “in reality” not the experiencing entities (either operated by knowledge or ignorance) they seem to be, but the ever-free awareness. Jivas or Jivamuktas will never win or lose in mithya. But when self-knowledge is firm and solid, the jivamukta will apparently live in this world but with a tremendous sense of freedom because it knows that it has nothing to win or lose in here. It knows its essential nature to be of fullness, limitlessness and completion.

It knows to “belong” to satya; the non-dual reality existing beyond the pair of opposites. Jivamuktas will exhaust their time in this “world” but from the stand point of self-knowledge or awareness. Nothing will touch or attach to the liberated Jnani. Apparent karma comes to end.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:01 pm

Hi Arlindo,
Good to have you here! Thanks for your posts. That is quite a round the world journey you are on!
I'd love to hear of your impressions of India after 20+ years. I expect it has changed dramatically! Hope you have a wonderful time in Tiru. Will you be giving some satsangs there?
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