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Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

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Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:33 am

Hi everybody :)

I recently contemplated about sattva guna. From my limited knowledge, sattva guna is promoted by appropriate diet, spiritual discipline (meditation, prayer, scripture reading, listening, etc.) and by living a life based on a noble goal, such as teaching, helping, volunteering, managing, employing or simply doing each little duty in front of us (all of this according to our dharma).

Of course, if we live a sattivc lifestyle long enough there comes a certain danger with it, namely pride and arrogance towards those who don't live such an angel-like lifestyle :)

But I wonder how serious this issue is for those who study Vedanta?
I mean usually people who study Vedanta are quite confident and play around with raja and tama guna; therefore, hardly coming by the luxurous issue of sattvic pride and arrogance.
Do you know what I mean?

I personally haven't really met anybody in the Vedanta sangha who would fit the description of a pride and arrogant sattvic person (I certainly met them in yoga ashrams!!).
Most people I met in the Vedanta sangha had a lot of issues with Raja guna and self-righteousness.

So I wonder, is the danger of Sattva Guna really a big issue for us? and does Vedanta encourage Sattva Guna?
or is the focus on Sattva Guna discouraged because the teaching in Vedanta goes beyond the gunas?

What do you think?

Love, Georg :)
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:49 am

I don't think there is a problem with a sattvic mind. I am unsure how there could be a problem with other people or their values if your own mind is truly sattvic.

A sattvic mind does not entertain any thoughts or attitudes that leads to unhappiness because it is simply not worth it to let negative thoughts take over.

If one has their values in order and is practicing sattvica karma's then there is no possibility of arrogance creeping in because arrogance and sattvica karma's are diametrically opposing values.

A sattvic mind is constantly vigilant in applying the opposite thought to all negative attitudes. If this is not part of one's practice then we are simply not sattvic nor are we practicing Vedanta.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby Mira » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:30 pm

Hi Georg,
How nice to hear from you! What are you up to? Are you still traveling the world? :D

Hi Rishie,
Welcome to the forum! Great name and great first post! I agree with you totally that sattva is highly desirable.

Perhaps, Georg is alluding to the downside of sattva in his post. In the Gita (chapter 14, Swami Dayananda translation) it says that even sattva (although highly desirable) binds one in the form of pleasure.

In my mind, this excessive attachment to sattva might manifest by one being so 'into' their meditation or chanting or whatever, then one might neglect their other responsibilities (like taking care of the kids, working enough to pay the rent etc.).

Luckily, Vedanta prescribes a perfect solution (i.e., guna management). By upping the rajas a touch, one can then get to work and take care of their duties, even though the mind is essentially sattvic.

Ultimately, as the Gita says, with self knowledge, we get beyond all the gunas because we realize that the gunas are just a program playing out within awareness (our true nature).

Again, quoting from Gita chapter 14, verse 23:
He who, remaining as though indifferent, is not shaken by the gunas; he who abides in himself thinking that the gunas alone are acting, the one who does not move from the vision of the self...
...who being wise, is the same with reference to pleasure and pain, abiding in himself, the same with reference to a clod of earth, a stone of gold, the same with reference to censure or praise of himself...
....who is the same towards respect and insult, the same towards the view of a friend or an enemy, who has given up all undertakings--he is called the one beyond the gunas (i.e., gunatitah)


So the Gita in Chapter 14 makes us aware of the downsides of all the gunas (including sattva), and with self-knowledge we see the gunas for what they are, ropes binding the jiva. With self knowledge, we eventually know that we are gunatitah (beyond the gunas).
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:42 pm

Hi Mira,

I've re-read Georg's post, and I don't see any correlation between what he is saying and what you just suggested. I would like to say that your assessment is more accurate, and you have not made one personal comment about certain "people" being tamasic, tamasic, or sattvic. These are indeed qualities and aspects of all people. I'd like to remind us all that when the Gita mentions specific "types" of people, it is only in reference to aspects inside us all and not in reference to specific types of individuals or lifestyle choices. To make claims that there are such a thing as a "rajasic" person involved in a specific school of sadhana is a gross misinterpretation of the spirit of Vedanta and does not belong to the texts, only to the person interpreting their experience of others in these ways.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:42 am

Hi Everybody,

thanks for the nice words, Mira! I indeed think about buying a ticket to India to join Ramji, so far I haven't :)

Mira wrote:He who, remaining as though indifferent, is not shaken by the gunas; he who abides in himself thinking that the gunas alone are acting, the one who does not move from the vision of the self...
...who being wise, is the same with reference to pleasure and pain, abiding in himself, the same with reference to a clod of earth, a stone of gold, the same with reference to censure or praise of himself...
....who is the same towards respect and insult, the same towards the view of a friend or an enemy, who has given up all undertakings--he is called the one beyond the gunas (i.e., gunatitah)


Beautiful quote Mira! Yes, once we cleaned up likes and dislikes and are unaffected by them, then we are free from the Gunas :)


@Rishi
Thanks for your nice replies.

rishie wrote: To make claims that there are such a thing as a "rajasic" person involved in a specific school of sadhana is a gross misinterpretation of the spirit of Vedanta and does not belong to the texts, only to the person interpreting their experience of others in these ways.


I am not sure I understood the reply above.
Do you mean that we should not call anybody rajasic or tamasic because that is a personal interpretation? because we all have the gunas in us to some proportion?

If so, I agree;
however, if we talk about the Gunas we inevitably talk about other jivas who are either predominatnly tamasic or rajasic (hardly any sattvic beings in the West IMO except maybe some monks who have been in monastries for more than 60 years :)
And I do think that certain jivas who are predominantly rajasic or tamasic can change the gunas by spritual discipline such as Hatha Yoga or Praying.

rishie wrote: I'd like to remind us all that when the Gita mentions specific "types" of people, it is only in reference to aspects inside us all and not in reference to specific types of individuals or lifestyle choices.


I am not sure if I understand? Isn't the whole point of guna management to change lifestyles and thereby the gunas in us?

Again, I am not sure if I understood your post correctly so excuse any misunderstanding!

Love Georg :)
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby JamesRam » Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:59 am

Good post!

Vedanta definitely encourages sattva guna. This is the essence of my (almost finished) book on the three gunas. Knowledge only take place in sattva and happiness takes place when sattva guna is predominant.

At the same time, every guna has a downside, so you need to be aware of it. At the same time rajas and tamas need to be monitored and enhanced or reduced as the case may be. The Yoga of the Gunas is basically continual management of the relative proportions of the gunas. For instance, today my mind was very tamasic but I had a lot of things to do for the India event so I had to manufacture enough rajas to get through the day.

Love, Ramji
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:01 am

Georg,

If it's helpful for you to speak about jivas and their predominant Gunas then so be it. I'm just making the point that the more you do that, the more you condition your mind that way - you see jivas conditioned by specific Gunas. Which in my opinion kinda defeats the purpose of the teachings. I also want to caution against parroting Rmajis version or delivery of the teachings and mistaking that for a teaching in an of itself. He has his own issues and problems of mind to deal with, which are apparent to me after studying his version of Vedanta for a while. Focus on assimilating the knowledge itself so that it helps you grow rather than copy catting a personal take on these teachings. There is no such thing as a "sattvic jiva" in reality, it's a reference point to illustrate specific points to aid practice. Only a tamasic mind sees others in such ways, a sattvic mind is not interested in psychoanalysis of other jivas in order to discuss the teaching. The teaching can be discussed in much less violent ways. The way we use language basically determines how we shape our world, don't fall into the trap of using language that does nothing to serve you or pull you out of tamo Gunas grip.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:26 am

Thanks Rishi, I understand now what you mean!

Yes, I do agree that language conditions our mind and thereby our reality and that talking about the Gunas can potentially become quite aggressive.

However, if we want to clean up the mind and assimilate the teaching, speaking of the Gunas is a good sign-post and thereby helpful during that particular stage.

Love, Georg :)
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:53 am

Hi Rishi,
regarding the Perfect Teacher issue:

rishie wrote: I also want to caution against parroting Rmajis version or delivery of the teachings and mistaking that for a teaching in an of itself. He has his own issues and problems of mind to deal with, which are apparent to me after studying his version of Vedanta for a while.


I appreciate your openness and talking about how Ramji teaches his version of Vedanta. However; I don't think this is a particular problem.
On the contrary, to believe that there is such a thing as a totally objective Vedantic teaching seems to be childish as anybody who teaches will bring in their own particular teaching style.
Of course, monks like Swami Dayananda or Paramarthananda have far less issues and problems than a lay person does. Simply because a monk does not need to worry about mundane things, such as food, shelter, wife. Furthermore, a monk also automatically upholds his/her particular monastry values and tradition which to us lay person always appeal as being holy and pure.

On the other hand, a teacher who lives in the world and is in a partnership does have much more experience and thereby the ability to help appropriately.
A monk probably gives advice on mundane things as well, but mostly knows very little about it and even end up giving inappropriate advice.
Last edited by georgschiller on Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:57 am

Yes, I agree, speaking about the Gunas is needed. But there is a difference between speaking about the Gunas as qualities that make up the world and condition subjective minds, and calling out specific people as "rajasic" or "tamasic" or even sattvic. There is an instant disconnect between understanding that people have a "slither" of free will next to talking about people as tamasic or rajasic. The reality is that the Gunas condition and control people outside of their understanding, it's more useful just to talk about how the Gunas do this rather than attacking specific people in yoga ashrams and pigeon-holing them as Ramji likes to do. If you look closely this is a mark of a person who has not assimilated this knowledge but have just made it into an intellectual construct. If you mindlessly copy their style you will become like that yourself. I strongly suggest looking into different Vedanta teachers so you can see this for yourself and so you don't get a lopsided view of reality, a view that has been filtered through Ramjis mind.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:08 am

rishie wrote: If you mindlessly copy their style you will become like that yourself. I strongly suggest looking into different Vedanta teachers so you can see this for yourself and so you don't get a lopsided view of reality, a view that has been filtered through Ramjis mind.


Yes, scepticism is always helpful. I personally prefer suspending judgements and acknowledging that I cannot know for sure what is best or worse. I can only follow appearances, not beliefs.

Yes, I have been looking into other teachers and other traditions and anywhere I look - even Swami Dayananda or Paramarthananda - have their own little rants coming up.

If you read some Pali texts of the Buddha you will even find him ranting about others. I don't think that is a big issue per se, it is not like we are robots and just copying what we have learned; on the contrary, our tiny, subtle likes and dislikes always change (even if for some tiny extent) what we have learned.

That of course, doesn't change the basic message, that we are whole and complete awareness and everything is just a miraculous thought :)

Love, Georg and happy new Gregorian year :)
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:10 am

You're free to do what you like. You're not going to take my perspective on because you believe Vedanta is working for you. But you clearly have a black and white view of reality, a concrete operational cognition, which Ramji also has. There is more to reality than these black and white distinctions. This is brought about by parroting texts rather than doing the work of assimilating the actual knowledge. There is indeed an objective Vedanta, the location of objects teaching cannot be interpreted because it is the truth. That's what people need to focus on rather than parroting Ramjis personal views on the matter - or Dayanandas or anybody elses. Once you assimilate the opinion of the teacher you are already lost in a belief system and have missed the point, it's now a construct. I'm just saying be careful because all Ramji has done has made a belief system from this information. He does not actually live the teachings himself.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:13 am

But you clearly have a black and white view of reality, a concrete operational cognition, which Ramji also has.


Thanks Rishi, you are indeed a rishi, a seer! Your wisdom is so great that you can see across the internet and psychoanalyze those who sit at the other end.

I bow to your wisdom!

In eternal gratitude,
the eternal student
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:18 am

Now you're being aggressive and defensive. You get defensive and attack and call people out for "psychoanalysing" yet you have done the very same thing in your original post. This is an example of the subtle body distortion, where you use emotional reasoning to uphold false beliefs and contradict yourself and attack your own relflection. It's clear to anybody that weak minds talk about people, and that's what you have done, you talk about things that are not really there. Don't be so quick to pigeonhole people, that's all I'm saying, it's a trap.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:23 am

Okay Rishi, but if you have such a complete enlightened understanding, then you would have seen that you do "pigeonhole" as well and psychoanalyze others by telling them how they apparently perceive reality!

But yes, in general I agree, it is not helpful describing others by their gunas.
but neither is it helpful telling others what kind of person they are, what they lack or what they have to do on a forum :)

Krishna talks about it in the Gita as well: "Let not the wise disturb the mind of the unwise"
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:40 am

Why are you parroting Krishna now? You did not want to see what I was saying, so I used your own hypocrisy to show you. I'm not actually interested in giving you specifically any advice. It's clear to me you are not interested in discussing anything, but would rather throw religious dogma around to protect your blind beliefs. This advice is for smart people who are at the point of questioning this stuff. There are many things Ramji says that don't match up or resonate with me. Clear investigation reveals a dogmatic religious belief system, identification with very sophisticated ego defences in the disguise of the "highest teachings known to mankind". Who can argue with someone who has the teachings of Shankaracharya behind them? What sort of spiritual teacher posts other people's intellectual property on their own YouTube channel without the owners consent? Is this the role model you want teaching you Dharma? Ramji knows that his BATGAP interview was withdrawn, yet stirs up the pot by posting it again. This is normal short sighted behaviour and is not what he is teaching in his talks. No enlightened person is beyond Dharma.

Don't believe anything I say, even if I say it, unless it corresponds to common sense and reason.

That's my main mantra. Ramji is not Vedanta and he's not above criticism for his teachings.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby georgschiller » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:18 am

HI Rishi,
may I ask what you real name is, your writing style sounds more and more familiar. There are many people like you already on facebook.

Regarding youtube: how do you know that he uploaded the video? Do you really think he has the leisure to do all this online stuff alone next to setting up his India seminar, writing books, managing the shop, managing taxes, having a wife, travelling around the world and replying to 20 emails per day?
I can assure that Ramji has never yet uploaded a video on youtube; especially not the BATGAP video!!

Regarding James: Is that the purpose you are here, to denounce, criticize James and safe us poor students??
There are several people like you on facebook already, it would be a shame if this forum gets full of you guys as well...
If you don't like James teaching style, fine. Nobody forces you to listen, but please don't waste our time.

I hope you find another place to criticize and denounce people, you are certainly not welcomed here; that I can assure you.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:39 am

Very factual George.

The more you talk the more you just come over like a Ramji fanboy.

What you meant to say is "there are many people in my mind who I have boxed into a category as an "outsider" and I have met another one today".

If you had said that then I would take you as a serious student of Vedanta. You miss the basic teaching, all the objects are inside you. You don't even see that, you create dichotomies enemies and divisions like every other brainwashed religious parrot.

No spiritual community is immune from groupthink and brainwashing. If your discouraged from critiquing the teacher or even engaging your critical faculties then you have just joined a cult. You conflate critique of Ramjis authority for someone out to defame him. This is not healthy.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby Stan » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:59 am

Hi Rishi,

It would seem that you havn`t read the forum rules. Can I introduce you to them here ?

" FORUM AIMS AND RULES

This group is for discussion and postings about the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and James Swartz.

Feel free to respond to posts, submit questions, post quotes of Vedanta by James Swartz and other teachers if the quote is relevant to Advaita Vedanta.

Guidelines:

1. Are you trying to promote other teachings than nondual Vedanta? Are you bored and just looking for someone to talk to?

2. No hateful nor dualistic speech towards any members of the group is to be tolerated.

3. Please note, that the language to be used is English. Please make sure that your post is readable and easy to understand, otherwise the posts may be deleted. If you post in another language, you should also provide an English translation.

4. If you don’t have constructive criticism, please do not criticize others.

5. There is no restriction on the number of posts.

6. The administrators reserve the right to remove any posts that they feel are contrary to the groups purpose.

7. Guideline on posting: Any advertisements, offensive material, inappropriate images, etc. will be removed.

8. Nondual quotations by other teachers which fits well to Vedanta are encouraged. Postings by other nondual teachers which show no link to the teachings of Advaita Vedanta will be deleted.


Apart your earlier aggresive and attacking posts, I have just seen that you wrote this ...

"
Very factual George.

The more you talk the more you just come over like a Ramji fanboy.

No spiritual community is immune from groupthink and brainwashing.


It`s very obvious that you came onto the forum with an axe to grind....your hidden agenda. I am a moderator of this forum and would respectfully ask you in the interests of openness and good manners to identify yourself and be very specific as to what your disagreements refer to. Otherwise we are just having to put up with your perceived projections and ill will.
Please point out where James` teaching is wrong and explain why. calling people deluded followers is pointless and shows up a certain state of mind which is none too pretty.

I put up the batgap recordings on facebook as I thought they would be of interest.
They were originally put up free of charge with permission to record them. Once they were put up on the internet, they were free to be used as desired. how could you recall them once you have done that ? That they are no longer available on batgap proves nothing other than Rick no longer wanting them on his site. There could be any number of reasons for that and it is his prerogative. He doesn`t state why he took them off which is a pity as it looks like he has something to hide.

If you respond in an objective and well mannered way, you are welcome to stay on this forum. It`s entirelly up to you. Thanks.
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Re: Danger of Sattva Guna for us who study Vedanta?

Postby rishie » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:13 am

I suggest you read my posts again. All my criticisms are there to see.

As far as the public is concerned, if you have your own name on a business or a teaching then you are responsible for its output. It does not matter if you yourself posted the interview, it was taken down for a reason, and you should have observed Rick's right to do so. Lease don't play dumb by assuming that the interview is public domain, if Rick took it down even a five year old would have understood that he did not want it on the internet.

Are you so brainwashed that you have forgotten basic social norms?
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