Lesson 14 Webinar Transcription - The Value of Values
Welcome. Chapter 12 Value of Values.
1.Why are ones values the means of knowledge for liberation?
Normally, we say that Vedanta is a means of knowledge for liberation because liberation is knowledge that I'm awareness and not this body-mind entity. So if you only need Vedanta, if you only need knowledge, why do values enter into the question? Why would values make a difference to me?
The reason is...and this is a problem with the modern neo-advaita teachings...there's no analysis of values. I don't know why but I guess values are suppose to be off the table for some reason. Maybe that's thought to be religion or whatever. But Vedanta is very insistent that one take a fierce moral inventory and analyse one's values because, even though moksha is knowledge knowledge has to be assimilated by a mind. Knowledge is for the mind. And you can't assimilate knowledge if your mind is disturbed there's a reason for that disturbance and it's because you're violating some kind of rules, some kind of dharmic rules. Your values are skewed.
I spoke to a person who was involved in a relationship with two women. And he couldn't understand why they didn't like each other and why he was disturbed. The question was entirely wrong...why they don't get along and why he can't have a relationship with two women at the same time. And the reason is very simple. The problem is greed. He just couldn't be satisfied with one, he had to have two. And that's a violation of dharma in relationship to people. So this value that he had for pleasure was disturbing his mind to such a degree he couldn't discriminate and he was feeling unhappy.
So, if your values are not sorted obviously your mind is going to be full of conflict and how are you going to discriminate properly and understand the teachings. So values are a means. They're not a direct means of self knowledge but they're an indirect means of self knowledge.
2.Why can words deliver direct knowledge of the self?
Normally we think direct knowledge is an experience of something. Normally you get your knowledge from experience. You don't get your knowledge from words. Like the knowledge of love, you don't get that from words, you get that from experience. But why can words deliver direct knowledge of the self? You can get direct knowledge of something that's immediate present, but if the self is far away. If the self is not present then you can't get direct knowledge with words can you?
For example, if you want to know what San Francisco is, I can tell you about San Francisco but you will not get direct knowledge. You'll get a memory or an indirect knowledge of San Francisco. But if we're in San Francisco together, San Franciso is there in our experience, and I say this is San Francisco you'll get direct knowledge.
So Vedanta is a word means of knowledge and the reason it works to give direct knowledge is because the self is never apart from your perception. In other words, everything you're perceiving every minute of the day, every second of the day, is nothing but the self. So all I need then is words to what I'm already experiencing. This is why words are not only useful, they're essential.
Of course both of these questions relate to the idea of experience versus knowledge. Because it's assumed that when you say words can deliver direct knowledge, you're assuming that words can't deliver direct knowledge. That they're only intellectual and they don't deliver direct knowledge. But here we're saying absolutely...the only thing you can do that's going to work for the knowledge of the self is words because you're already experiencing the self. If you're trying to experience the self then it means you think the self is somewhere else. And all of your experiential notion of enlightenment is based on the notion the self is not immediately available and immediately present and not always experienced. But the self is always or ever experienced and therefore if I don't know who I am it's simply an ignorance problem and the only way to get rid of ignorance is knowledge and knowledge is delivered in the form of words. And this leads to the next question.
3.Why can't an inquirer simply read scripture and get liberation? If words are good than why can't I just read the books?
Because you need a context in which to understand the words. The only context that you have if you're ignorant of the self, and the self is present and you read that I am the self, the only context you have is your own experience. But your own experience won't contextualise the self cause your own experience is limited and it's based upon ignorance of the self. So using your experience, the knowledge you've gained from your experience to interpret the words, is not going to give you true meaning of the words. Therefore what's the conclusion? Therefore I need to be taught.
And what does Vedanta do? It creates a context in which the meaning of the words can be understood. Not just the definition of a word but we create the context. So Vedanta is a complete means of knowledge and when we can unfold this complete means of knowledge, the big picture, then it provides a context for understanding the words. And these words in Vedanta have very precise meanings. The words are connected directly to the objects they're talking about. So the definitions of those words need to be understood so we can communicate together. And they have to be unfolded according to the methodology that is Vedanta. In other words, I as a teacher cannot define the definition of the terms according to my experience. Even though I may have had incredible experiences of the self you don't know how the words I'm using relate to my experience. So I have to just teach a methodology which means we have to help you understand the words correctly together before this can work.
In this context that we create it eliminates vague understandings. In the spiritual world if you read the literature and listen to these satsang teachers when they try to figure out what the self is, nobody can put their finger on it, what it actually is and how to actually understand it. It's always vague. Why? Because they're actually assuming that the self is something that you're not actually experiencing, that you don't already know. Whereas with Vedanta we assume you do already know the self and already are experiencing the self. You just don't know that you know and you just don't know that you're experiencing the self.
And approximate meanings, general ballpark meanings don't work for this. I get a lot of emails from people who say, 'Well Christianity is saying the same thing.' Well yes they are but no they're not. They're approximately saying the same thing but they're not actually saying the same thing because those teachings don't produce liberation. They're in the ballpark, they're talking about it, but they're vague incorrect approximate meanings that come. So, Vedanta is extremely careful and precise about words and you need to be very careful in your understanding on these words.
4.Why are dharma and adharma universal?
In other words, why does dharma and adharma apply to everybody everywhere? Why isn't it just culture specific or family specific or person specific? People say, 'What's right for you isn't right for me.' But dharma and adharma means this is right for everybody and wrong for everybody. So why is it universal? Well, because there's only one self. If there's only one self, what's right for the self is right for everybody and what's wrong for the self is wrong for everybody. So dharma and adharma are based upon the nondual nature of reality. What applies to one applies to everybody. There's this notion in the spiritual world about 'my truth'. But we're not talking about your truth. We're talking about the truth and the truth applies to everybody. So, dharma and adharma are universal.
5.If I know that dharma and adharma are apparently real, as good as non-existent as far as the self is concerned, am I free to violate dharma?
If dharma and adharma are apparently real...looking at it from the self's point of view, cause there's no dharma or adharma for the self so they're apparently real. So what? It means I can just do anything I want, right? I'm free to do anything I want. I'm free to violate dharma. I'm free to do adharma willingly. You see that notion...the reason we point this out is because of this crazy wisdom idea. This crazy wisdom idea is precisely this...because I'm beyond adharma and dharmaI can do any actions I want, and therefore abuse you, or whatever. That since I'm beyond I can violate the rules.
And what is the answer to that? Yes. The answer is yes you can but what? But you won't. Why won't you do this? See you can violate dharma but why won't you violate dharma if you know that the apparent reality is apparent, that it's not actually real. That it's as good as non-existent. Why won't you do that? Because you have nothing to gain by it. These people who do it and say that they're beyond it say they're only doing it because they think they have something to gain by it. But you don't have anything to gain by it because you're whole and complete and you're full. So if any teacher is telling you...this is very important and you have a teacher who's putting you in a particular situation that's causing you to compromise your own values then you need to understand that that teacher is not enlightened. That that teacher is what? That teacher feels that he or she has something to gain or lose by abusing you.
Everyday, weekly and monthly we get spiritual reports in this same thing happening where teachers think they're beyond the rules and violate dharma and hurt other people. That means they're definitely not enlightened because they have nothing to gain by that. Even if they say 'I'm doing it for you. That it's good for you,' they have nothing to gain by you getting enlightened either, so their notion that it's good for you, that they're stealing from you or abusing you in some sort of way is good for your sadhana, for your growth...that doesn't hold water either. Cause they have nothing to gain by it...if you're enlightened or unenlightened. Because a true teacher sees you as enlightened already and knows the problem you have is just an ignorance problem and any kind of violation of dharma is not going to solve an ignorance problem.
6.The teaching t'hat the world does not exist' opens the door to the abuse of dharma because it allows the doer to believe that there are no consequences for adharmic behaviour. so what is the cause of this belief?
Super imposition. Confusing the self, which is beyond dharma and adharma, with the doer who's always caught in the dharma-karma field. Understand! Projecting what belongs to the self on the doer and projecting what the doer belongs on the self. We call that mutual super-imposition. So that person believes because he's the self he can behave as a jiva. But no you can't because the rules that apply to the jiva apply to the jiva in the apparent reality.And the rules that apply to the self—which are no rules—stay in that dimension. So there's no actual connection between the two. Which means there's no justification for violating dharma. Understand.
7.In general guilt is a useless emotion, particularly in a person who's fundamentally dharmic?
There are very good people who don't violate any rules, who are moral upright and straight forward, yet they feel guilty all the time. It's totally useless. Why would you feel guilty if you're doing everything right, cause guilt is just a sign you're doing something wrong?
Why can it be a useful emotion? In other words, what's the upside to guilt? In the apparent reality there's an upside and a downside to everything. Well what's the upside of guilt? The downside it's useless cause if you're doing everything right to the best of your knowledge, to the best of your ability, you're applying the rules, not breaking the rules, so there's no reason why you should feel guilty about anything.
So why is it useful? It can alert an individual to unconscious violations of dharma. You may unconsciously be violating the rules in some way or the other. So whenever you feel guilty you should investigate yourself and see why it is that there's some guilt there. Like I've felt guilty the last couple of weeks cause I'm overeating. I thought, 'Why do I feel guilty?' Because I've been eating too much and I gained some weight. So there's a little guilt there in my mind and that guilt alerts me to the act that I'm eating too much. I'm not eating to live I'm living to eat. I'm enjoying the food. So there's a little guilt there pointing to this unconscious violation of dharma. You don't think about it when you're doing it, when you're taking some pleasure or something like that. You just don't think about it. You just think, 'Oh this is wonderful, this is good.' But then you go beyond the limit and creates guilt and that shows you that you're breaking some sort of rule there. So guilt is not good but guilt is good.
8.If my personal value for non-injury to animals causes agitation in the light of society's value for eating cheap meat, how should I remove the agitation without surrendering my value for non-injury?
Do you see the conflict here? I have a value for non-injury but society wants cheap meat. So I have all this problem. I'm always agitated because the people are eating meat and destroying animals. You find this with vegetarians particularly. And you can apply it in any field where you have a personal value that conflicts with the society's values. So how can you deal with this feeling, this agitation that you have that there's violence and injury in the world, and keep your mind quiet rather than going around being disturbed whenever you read a newspaper or you see somebody eating some meat or something like that.
Karma Yoga. Take the agitation, take the guilt as prasad, and understand that dharmic values can cause as much agitation as adharmic values. Understand. Attachment to dharmic values can cause you as much agitation as attachment to adharmic values producing a disturbed mind. So I need to not allow my mind to be disturbed. Understand it and take it as prasad and neutralise the problem with that attitude of gratitude and see that it's necessary for to have dharma you have to have adharma and to have adharma you have to have dharma. Both of these things are necessary in this apparent reality, so you accept them both as a gift from Ishvara, and keep your mind peaceful.
It's not wrong to have good values. But good values can cause as much problem as bad values. These people who are always complaining about what's wrong with the world. Well what's wrong with the world is that it's full of adharma. But that shouldn't mean I should be agitated by that. I should see that that's necessary for some purpose, that Isvara has some purpose for putting adharma into the mix. Obviously there is a adharma. I mean, Isvara is all-powerful, could have made it all dharma but then what? Then we have no problem. We're like animals aren't we? We're like the ducks, like the geese, they just follow dharma perfectly. They have no conflicts.
It's spring over here for those of you out there listening to this on the internet. The geese are all mating and having children. It's very beautiful here. They just do their job parenting perfectly. I was watching the other day. Within ten minutes two families of geese came down the river, with the mother in front and the dad behind. And between in each case were six little tiny geese. It was really cool. They were just all in a line. But the babies, some of them wanted to stray out of the line. They were almost perfect, but some would try to stray. And the dad was behind there and he would put out his neck, stick it way out in a weird way an bad vibe the little kid to get him back in line. And then if another kid would try to get out of line in the other way, he'd stick his neck out the other way and send some bad energy at the duckling and then he'd get in line. So he was keeping the geese in a straight line all the time. And they were happy with it. The kids were happy with it. It was working. The parents were happy with it. There was no agitation, 'Oh my daddy was so mean. He won't let me do this, he won't let me do that, etc.' Each one of them was following their dharma impeccably.
So we're going to be reduced to animals if we don't understand this relationship between dharma and adharma and the necessity of adharma to keep the apparent reality going. Cause we're not here to get a particular result in the apparent reality. What are we here for? To gain moksha which means to look at the apparent reality from the self's point of view and set ourselves free of it.
So dharma provides a valuable service just as dharma does...to an inquirer. Obviously if you're violating dharma you need to get your ducks in line. But at some point the virtue that comes from being a righteous person and following dharma becomes an agitation and a hindrance to self realization.
9.Here's a good one. Why do dogmatic black and white values mitigate against inquiry? Like religious values. For example jihad...if they don't believe in all the way we believe than they should be killed. That's an extreme but good example and it happens. Or like in America, marriage is between a man and a woman and therefore all same sex marriages are evil. That's it. There's no in-between ground, it's either good or evil.
Because they keep the individual locked in duality and keep them from appreciating the zero sum nature of the apparent reality. Cause life is not an either/or, it's both/and always, cause both the light and the dark, positive and the negative, dharma and adharma are operating continually all the time. So only when you understand that all values are mithiya can you appreciate the self is the highest value. So if you're stuck on one side or the other, the good side or the bad side, you're not going to appreciate the self as the highest value. And our teaching is that you, awareness, are the highest value.
A mind locked into a value position is incapable of discrimination. Discrimination implies what? Looking at things from two sides, from both sides...understanding the upside and the downside of everything. But if there's only an upside and no downside for you, or only a downside and no upside for you, than your mind is totally locked in duality. And therefore you're going to be continually agitated because the opposite is always going to be operating. The opposite of what you believe, or what you want, or what you think is always going to be operating and it's going to continue to disturb you.
And there is no clear line between a value and its opposite. Like, if you're in a room, is the room hot or is the room cold? Some part of the room is cold and some part of the room is hot...where's the difference between the hot and the cold? At what point does the room become hot or become cold? Or light, right now the sun is bright, but there's also darkness here isn't there? This brightness depends upon the presence of darkness. So there is no absolute value in this apparent reality. There's only one thing appearing as two and the line between the two is very, very blurred...in fact it's shades of grey.
Some woman was talking to me the other day and said, "I have such a problem with my husband because he only sees things in black and white and for me things are shades of grey." You find this in politics particularly. You'll see in our political system in America, this fight between the liberalism and the conservatism and there's people on both sides that just cannot be happy. There's no middle ground. In our political system everybody's moved away from the center so there's no compromise, so they can't see that they're values how they can relate to the other person's values and vice versa. So there's no middle ground because these people are dogmatic and narrow minded. And that kind of value attitude is totally contrary to discrimination, which involves appreciation of the nuances of reality, nuances of life.
10.What particularly unhelpful emotion is caused by the knower-doer split?What is the knower-doer split?
Knowing what's right in a given situation and yet failing to act upon one's knowledge. I know very well I shouldn't eat that extra hamburger. I know very well I shouldn't do that. So the knower is alright there but the doer decides he wants to eat that extra hamburger. What is the emotion caused by that? Guilt. There's a split between what I know and what I do and if there's a split between what I know and what I do, you feel guilty. So guilt can alert you to this knower-doer split. When we're talking about values you've got to talk about guilt because if you're feeling guilty you're probably violating some sort of value, whatever it is.
11.The ultimate purpose of Vedanta is to set one free from one’s personal identity, not to improve the person. However, until self knowledge is completely assimilated, an inquirer is a person who does not know who he or she is. How does an analysis of one’s values and the subsequent effort to conform to universal values make someone a better individual?
People may have a misunderstanding that you're not meant to try to change yourself or try to be a better person. But there's a qualification as far as this goes, because in so far as you think you're a person, than if you're not a good person you're going to feel guilty, agitated, and always try to change yourself and therefore not be capable of discrimination. Trying to improve yourself by analysing your values is a valid means, an indirect means of knowledge. That's what we're saying here. If you do have moral issues than you need to clear those up and become a better person. Becoming a better person doesn't mean you're going to be a free person. It just means you're going to be free of a particular conflict but you're not going to be free of the person itself. And moksha is freedom from the person you think you are.
And what does it do? It removes guilt, the primary cause of low self-esteem. If you don't esteem yourself properly you're probably guilty which means what? You're not doing the right thing. You're not following the right values and doing the right thing for yourself. So low self-esteem means there's some guilt which means there's some sort of violation of dharma operating here.
Tamasic and rajasic values cause guilt in a spiritual person, why? Because they conflict with the dharma of inquiry. If you're a spiritual person your dharma is to inquire. That's your duty. If you're going for moksha and you're spiritual that's what you're suppose to do. If you have tamasic and rajasic values, in other words you're values are formed by your fears and your desires then what are you going to do? They're going to disturb you and what's that going to do? It's going to cause a lack of self confidence. You're not going to be confident, why? Because you won't be succeeding in your quest, you won't be gaining a peace of mind and liberation or freedom. So you'll feel like a failure and therefore you won't look highly upon yourself and you need to have self confidence to succeed in this issue. This is a very tricky difficult issue...this values issue you know...doing what's right and doing what's wrong.
So self confidence it says here in the answer is an essential qualification for liberation. Conversely, living up to the highest values creates a strong sense of self worth. When you do the right thing, what's right for you and right for the situation for the people around you, what do you do? You feel very, very confident. So by following the values and doing the fierce moral inventory you develop self confidence and self confidence is absolutely essential for liberation. Why is that? Because we're asking you to believe something you don't believe. You have to have confidence that what the scripture says is true and you have to question what you believe about yourself, which is that you're small, inadequate, incomplete and so forth. This sense of self confidence is an essential qualification for enlightenment and that's directly related to my values.If I'm living the right values I'm going to be a confident person. If I'm not I'm going to be a guilty person and my confidence is going to be low.
12.Here's a good one. Why are righteous people indifferent to the opinions of others?
We're not talking self-righteous we're talking righteous people. Righteous people here are people who follow their nature impeccably and follow the rules in the apparent reality impeccably. Those are righteous people. Why are they indifferent to the opinions of others?
If you have a problem with what people think about you, what they feel about you, and what they say about you than you have an issue here. You're not completely righteous. The reason is because these people live good values and they do that cause they value themselves and consequently they don't need validation from other people. If you value yourself highly why does it matter what anybody thinks about you. And you're going to value yourself highly if you're following the values that are appropriate to you and the society around you. Remember we have these two kinds of dharma. We have swadharma, values that appropriate to me as a person, and Ishvara dharmas—samanya dharmas—dharmas that are appropriate to everybody, to the world around me. And so if I live in harmony with both of those values I don't care what people think. And I won't listen to what people thing. But if I have a doubt about myself or I'm obsessed about other people's lack of righteousness...that's another issue...than I've got a problem. The other person maybe unrighteous but I've got a problem because I care that they're unrighteous. I care that they are cheating or violating dharma. Why should I care if I value myself.
13. Here's a good one. What causes a person to demand respect from others?
An inflated sense of self worth brought about by a sense of inadequacy caused by the failure to do the right thing for oneself. We'll run this backwards...if you don't do the right thing for yourself, what are you going to do? You're going to feel like a failure. You're going to feel inadequate like a failure and what are you going to do? Then you're going to compensate for that by thinking that you're more valuable or less valuable than you are. If you're think you're less valuable what will you do? You'll try to get other people to value you to make you feel good. Understand. So demanding respect from other people is probably because you don't respect yourself. And you won't respect yourself cause you're not doing the right thing for yourself.
This is a big one. We find ourselves all the time in this situation because our values are not proper, we don't have the confidence to change situations that need to be changed. Because we're afraid of injuring other people and having them develop a bad opinion about us, and we should care about that. We should do what's the right thing. This is just so tricky. It's such a subtle topic here.
14. Why does inquiry into Iswara remove pride, vanity, conceit and the tendency to self glorification?
When you have low self esteem, you don't understand who you really are and you're not living the right way what do you do? You become full of pride, vain, conceited, and you tend to talk yourself up, make yourself look good, glorify yourself in one way or another. The question is, why does inquiry into Isvara get rid of these negative values, these negative tendencies, they say? Because when you understand what Ishvara is you what happens. You realise that all the virtuesbelong to Ishvara not to you so you can't claim them. All good values belong to Ishvara, and all bad values belong to Isvara too. So you can remove your identification with good and bad values by seeing they actually belong to Isvara and they don't belong to me and therefore I'm free of both good and bad values here. Means what? The self is beyond dharma and beyond adharma.
So don't think because you're a good person you're a good person. The goodness all goes to Isvara. the goodness doesn't go to me. I'm the one that knows the goodness, I'm the one that sees the goodness, I'm the one that sees the badness. Those things belong with Isvara. So the jiva doesn't want to claim those things. However, if the jiva has bad values he or she should remove those until he gets good values and then you have to renounce the good values to get beyond values altogether. Because what? I'm the highest value. Without me, without consciousness, without awareness, values have no meaning.
15. Although pride is a negative emotion, it is based on real talents, abilities and accomplishments. Pretentiousness and affectation, however, are not based on actual accomplishments. What is the common term for a pretentious person and why is such a person unqualified for inquiry?
Pride is a negative emotion, it is based upon real talents, abilities and accomplishments. It’s not good.Pride is not a value that is valuable for an inquirer.Why?Because all of one’s talents, abilities and accomplishments belong to Īśvara so I can’t really take credit for all of that.But at least, as a doer, if I have actually accomplished something, and I have, at least there is some basis for my feeling of being proud because I actually did this and did that. Pride is not a great value.If any is proud, that should go to Īśvara.It shouldn’t go to me.
But there are people who don’t accomplish anything but want you to think they’ve accomplished everything. It’s called pretentiousness. Affected people. So the question says, “ Pretentiousness and affectation, however, are not based on actual accomplishments. ” They are claimed accomplishments but they are not actual accomplishments.I say I did this and I say I did that but what?I say that to make you think I am wonderful.To make me think I am wonderful.If I convince you that I am wonderful and I value your opinion then what?Then I feel wonderful because you value me.You see how complicated human beings can get? I’d rather be a duck actually and just do what I am told and follow my dharma and that is it then to get into this whole thing about valuing myself and needing the opinions and approval of others.
What is the common term for a pretentious person and why is such a person unqualified for inquiry?
The common word/description is a liar - a hypocriteor a liar.They are claiming something that does not belong to them.At least a proud man is not a liar.He is saying yes I did create this and I am responsible for this. he won’t feel guilty.Well except he is claiming for himself something that belongs to Īśvara but it is Ok for him as a person.
But here, pretentious peopleare claiming something that does not belong to them. I’m the Ramji.I enlightened 400 people last year. Wow Ramji, you’re great. Yeh, I am great. Pretty wonderful. That is pretention.I didn’t enlighten anybody. If anybody got enlightened, Īśvara made them enlightened, if there is such a thing as enlightenment?
And what is the problem with lying? You are always anxious. Why? Because you are afraid that you are going to be exposed. There is always a fear that you are going to be exposed and then what is that going to do? That is going to create even more agitation.
So I was pretentious when I was young. I was awful and I didn’t have any friends.I was so vain and so pretentious: the way I dressed, the way I walked, the way I talked, everything. And I had no friends. It was awful.I was a lier too.I was always guilty. Nd it is very hard when you are a lier to what? To keep all of your stories straight. And to know what you said to whom. So if you are going to lie, just make one small lie and keep it in mind all of the time. Then at least you can keep it straight and cover it up and avoid exposure.
Liars are what? They don’t have self-esteem because they are not doing the right thing for themselves so they have to lie to make themselves feel OK.Or sometimes lie to protect other people’s feelings. That is a little different case. There is some justification for that. I used to lie to my mother simply because I knew that the things I did irritated her and I knew that some of the things I did weren’t wrong. But they were wrong in her eyes. To me they felt absolutely right to do but not in her eyes. When I did them she would get upset. So when she asked me if I did this or that I would just lie and that kept her calm. Otherwise there was no way to deal with my mother because she was going to be agitated all of the time because so many of the things I did agitated her even thought there was nothing wrong with them at all.
In general, lying is not good. But a white lie here or there to spare someone else’s feelings is not bad either.
16. Non-injury in thought, word and deed is the highest value. How can a person who tends to injure others correct this tendency?
Develop an appreciation for the feelings of other people. Righteous people often don’t have an appreciation for the feelings of other people.They think that their righteousness trumps the feelings of other people so they can say things to the people because they are right and that person is wrong. They can hurt the other person’s feelings but it is OK because what they are saying is right. Which means what? That they don’t really appreciate the feelings of other people because if you said the same thing to them, they would get upset.But they do not think like that.they are happy to tell you off but if someone told them off, then they would get upset.That means that they don’t appreciate the feelings of other people.This is often the problem with dharmis and righteous people.They think that their sense of righteousness transcends the feelings of other people. It doesn’t.You should not injure another person even they are wrong.Just let them be.It is not up to you to fix them.
And how do you do that?You ask yourself if you would enjoy being treated the way that you treat others. If you do something and I told you that you were a selfish person, would I like it if someone told me that I was a selfish person? I don’t think so. And only offer your opinions to others when it is requested.And be sure that the speech is pleasing and kind.The big value is the gītā - let not the wise unsettle the minds of the ignorant. Wait until they request your opinion on their values.
17. Physical non-injury is a reasonably easy value to practice in so far as it is against the law and can result in severe consequences. Excessive value for this value may indicate a lack of value for which other kinds of non-injury and why?
There are three kinds of non-injury: thought, word and deed.Some people are focused solely on violence, on physical injury. And what can that cause them to think? They will only define non-injury as violence, physical violence.So you shouldn’t hit anything or kill anything or physically injure anyone.But these people about their business daily injuring other people in which way? They injure them with their words and with their thoughts.Now, your thoughts don’t necessarily injure someone else but if you have bad thoughts about someone else, you will probably say something bad about them. But bad thoughts injure you! I can think a bad thought about you and that thought doesn’t hurt you. But it affects me. So these people who define non-injury in that limited way - and I am not saying that violence is good but sometimes violence is good but it is rare. But simply taking non-violence to mean only physical non-violence may mean that you are hiding a tendency to injure yourself with bad thoughts or injure other people with bad words.
So the answer to the question is non-injury in word or thought. Because it is easier to practice physical non-injury. If you wack someone you will get a law suit, end up in jail.Like Adrian Peterson who is the one of the best running backs in the NFL.He spanked his kid with a switch, a little reed. My father used to spank me with a belt. It wasn’t a big deal but you cannot do that now. This fellow who was making millions, they cut him out of the NFL for a year. Now they are taking him back because he is such a good a player but this value issue is not just about physical actions. It is about thoughts and words.
Exclusive focus on it amounts to denial of subtle ahimsa.Thinking carefully about the impact of words on others and one’s own mind requires considerable restraint.
18. Provide a simple inquiry to correct the tendency to judge and criticize others.
Well we already had that up above.It is a very simple inquiry. All you people who are out there judging people, just ask yourself how would I feel if someone else said to me what I am about to say to you? How would you feel?That is all you need to do. We are talking about adopting appreciation for the feelings of other people. Injuring other people’s feelings is adharmic. Even you are right and they are wrong, don’t do it! That is the point.
19. Why does it make sense to accommodate to the needs and values of others?
Not necessarily to go against dharma, but why does it make sense to accommodate to the needs of other people? And the needs of other people are based upon their values. This is a simple one.This is a practical one.Accommodation is perhaps one of the top five values. Why?Accommodating means what?Accommodating yourself to the circumstances.
The answer is because everything we want in life comes from other people.Tell what you have that did not come through another person? Everything! We are totally dependent upon Īśvara.Īśvara is all the other people. Īśvara is our environment and everything I’ve got comes from other people.How did I get my education? My parents gave me my education.How did I get my food?My parents gave me my food.Where does my money come from? People out there in the world give me money.If I am insulting everyone and causing problems for everyone do you think that they are going to give me money and look after me? No way!
If you don’t accommodate people, what is going to happen? If you don’t have a value for accommodation, what is going to happen? You are going to be continually agitated because that is what karma yoga is.Karma yoga is adding value to the situation which means accommodating yourself to the situation and adding value value to the situation so you don’t feel guilty.If you just extract from the situation, you don’t contribute to the situation and accommodate the situation, then you are going to feel guilty and that value is going to prevent assimilation of knowledge and discrimination.
20. Why does it make sense to accommodate to those parts of myself that I don’t like, pending the results of my spiritual practice?
As you work on yourself, those parts of yourself that you don’t like are going to disappear. They will disappear as you practice your yoga, as you do your sadhana. But they don’t disappear overnight because they were built up over a long period of time.They are saṃskāras. They are deep and they are going to come out. But why does it make sense to accommodate those negative parts of myself? It is an important issue. And the answer to question 20 is because those parts were formed before I understood how to transform my apparent person with karma yoga. So you cannot hold yourself responsible for what? That you did not understand and over which you had no control.Now that you have karma yoga, you have some control and you can actually work on those parts of yourself like selfishness etc.You can actually work on those.
But in the mean time you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. And you should accommodate those parts of yourself, accept those parts of yourself and not allow them to becomea source of agitation and suffering for you. As long as you are doing your work on yourself then fine. Don’t worry about it. And this ties into the opinion of other people. Don’t listen to other people. Other people are your best critics.They’re going to find everything that is wrong with you. And they are happy to tell you everything that is wrong with you.Isn’t it? It’s awful. Even though you know what is wrong with you and you are working on it and you have already laid it to rest and you are OK with that, someone from the outside is going to see that tendency and they are going to be right on your case. So I need to what?I need to accommodate those things in myself and not value the opinions of others on those topics.
21. Why is values analysis, a fearless moral inventory, necessary for self inquiry?
Because it converts mechanical reactions to people and events into conscious, deliberate responses.What do I do? I react mechanically and impulsively to people. That means what? I haven’t analyzed my values properly. My values are just causing my reactions. So I need to dig into my values and look at them. That is going to remove that immediate, mechanical, reactive nature of my responses. And what is it going to do? It is going to turn them into deliberate responses. I am going to think carefully before I respond if I have done a fearless moral inventory. So I need to continually examine my values and see that I am operating from the highest value that I know at the time.
22. Why should an inquirer respond to the person, not to the person’s behavior?
Remember that saying of Christ? It is a super saying. A person does something that irritates you because they have different values from you, so what do you do? You don’t like that person or you respond negatively to that person because they did something you don’t like or you don’t value but they value. So what did Christ say? Hate the sin, not the sinner. You are projecting the values onto the self. You are not seeing the person as the self. You are just seeing the person as the doer. And so your dislike should go to the behaviour based upon the understanding that that is not a good value. But it shouldn’t go to the person.You shouldn’t injure the person with your value. Then why is that? Because the sinner is the self under the spell of ignorance. So you should feel compassion for that person because even though they are beautiful and pure and holy and perfect, they don’t know that and they are acting in that way.And so you give them a pass. You avoid agitating them and agitating yourself on the basis of your perceived judgement about their lack of values.
23. Why is surrender to the teacher both necessary and dangerous?
It is called ācārya upāsanam in sanskrit. For Vedānta sadhana, you need to surrender to a teacher. The question is, what does that mean and why is it necessary and dangerous?
I wrote before about that Australian swami who was abusing all of those women. Forty women and finally they threw him out.They interviewed one of the women and asked why she did it. She said because I am suppose to do everything the teacher says. I am suppose to surrender to the teacher and that means do whatever the teacher says.That was her justification for allowing him to abuse her.
Why is it necessary? Well you are not going to get mokṣa without a teaching and a teacher for the reasons we already stated earlier.How to understand these words and how to apply these words needs to be taught. And you should have a teacher who lives those words so you can get inspired by that example to do your sadhana and do your work better.
Why is it dangerous? Because the student can never be certain if the teacher will take advantage of his/her position. So you need to be very wary when you are around a teacher until you are convinced.Ramanah talks about this.He says that a teacher is not somebody who tells you what to do. Teaching doesn’t mean telling you what do.Teaching means educating you.And educating means to lead out. So a teacher leads you out of ignorance.He doesn’t tell you what to do.If you are lead out of ignorance you will know what to do. So a teacher who is telling you what to do isn’t a teacher.
And in this kind of spiritual world most people have not purified theirinner child.They are not mature.So their relationship with their parents is to do what they are told.I used to say to my dad, “Why should I do that?” “Because I told you so!” Well that doesn’t count in Vedānta.The teacher never tells you what to do.The teacher may ask something of you, not because they necessarily want that from you but they want to see whether you are amenable to them, whether they have influence with you. So a good teacher will make suggestions and see if you follow them. Or ask you little things just to test and see how you feel about them but not to get anything particular.
There was a woman I was teaching for some time. She was a lovely person and very brilliant.And she kept wanting to go more and more. We got to the point where I would make suggestions and then I realized she wasn’t going to go. I was going to take her to a higher level but she was suspicious of me. And because of that suspicion Īśvara just took her out of my energy bubble because she was suspicious.it is good to be suspicious but not too much. You are going to have to take a chance.It is always a dangerous thing.
What are the teacher’s values? How does the teacher live? Someone told me that in the spiritual world you where really great and I didn’t believe it so I got on the internet and googled you to find some scandal.And I said that was good. I think she expected me to be offended but I told her that was actually very intelligent.If somebody tells you they are a wonderful get on the internet.Google them.Find out for yourself.Many times where there is smoke there is fire.So you need to be very careful. But you need a teacher so it is a tricky business.
24. What is the recommended practice for cleaning the mind?
Applying the opposite thought. So wherever you find a bad value then apply the opposite value.If you are lier then teach yourself to tell the truth.It doesn’t hurt to tell the truth. If you find yourself full of conceit, then learn to be humble. It doesn’t kill you to be humble.its very nice to be humble. Apply the opposite thought.For every bad value there is a good value. So you need to neutralize that bad value by following the good value.
25. When do you know that the mind is pure?
How do you know? When you can share all of your thoughts openly. When you are not worried about privacy and what people think.That means you don’t have any bad thoughts that if you express them people will judge you unfairly.Your mind is pure so you can just say what you think and feel at any moment because there is no fear of a negative consequence coming as a result of your thoughts. An excessive sense of privacy usually masks a judgmental, uncharitable mind and indicates low self-esteem.
You hide stuff.You don’t want people to know.On the surface you look very beautiful and spiritual and righteous but inside you are making all these judgements.You lack charity towards others.And why would you do that? Because you don’t esteem yourself properly because you are not living your highest values. If you live your highest values your mind will be our and you won’t be afraid to say what you think and feel and it won’t injure anybody and it offend anybody and it won’t criticize anybody.
So the answer is when you no longer have secrets.That is a pure mind.Somebody who no longer has any secrets.
26. Jealousy and envy are based on low self esteem. What kind of thinking triggers them?
Comparison. Competitive or comparative thinking. Mātsarya is sanskrit for jealousy and envy. You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. Compare yourself to yourself or to the teaching. Don’t compare yourself to other people because if you do you’re going to suffer jealousy, envy and low self-esteem.Total duality.
27. Steady focus on the self and mastery of the mind are difficult because of which guna?
Steady focus on the self is called samādhāna. We were talking about this earlier today. We have a friend who just can’t stick on the topic; gets into Vedānta for a long time and then suddenly the mind goes off running off to do some strange, weird thing somewhere else and then comes back after months have passed. The mind won’t stick.He can’t control or master his mind.And which guṇa is causing that? Rajo guṇa. It is the enemy of samādhāna, of focus. Your multi-taskers are people who are disturbed by rajas.Their mind is too rajasic.They can’t do one thing at a time. They have to try and do many, many, many things at one time. Rajas is hugely important relative to your value for steadiness of mind.
28. List the five basic ways of thinking and the gunas associated with them.
Impulsive thinking. As soon as something strikes the mind, boom and off they go. So that would be rajas. No thought at all. Just the impulse, the vāsanā rises and then they just act. They act, they walk, they talk.
Mechanical thinking. This is just repetitive, mechanical thinking. Not impulsive at all.You are just totally conditioned to think the same way over and over and over again.Tamas. Fear. You don’t want to get out of it so you just keep thinking around the same little circle over and over and over again.
Comparative thinking.We just talked about that. Rajas.Judging things. Comparing everything. If you are going to do comparative thinking, compare what the self and the not-self.If you want to use that power of rajas and comparative thinking then use it to discriminate the self from the not-self.
So these three types of thinking are not helpful spiritually.
Deliberate thinking. There you deliberately think. Teaching Vedānta is all thoughts coming out of me but they are deliberate thoughts.This isn’t impulsive.I didn’t sit down impulsively to talk about Vedānta.This is a very deliberate thing.We set everything up. We advertised it and I sit up here and talk in a very deliberate way using these ideas and I don’t stray from them.There is a deliberate kind of thinking. And that is for your discrimination phase of life.
And finally spontaneous thinking. That is sattva.Spontaneous thinking is not deliberate. Spontaneous is similar to impulsive but it’s just immediate, natural reaction not generated by vāsanās or impulse. Yu spontaneously make the appropriate response in every situation. That is for jñanis. Enlightened people just respond spontaneously.They think on their feet and respond spontaneously.
And of course the idea is to understand these different types of thinking and analyze your thinking and see where you are caught up.
29. Why is compulsive thinking not included in the list above?
It’s similar to mechanical but it’s not. Compulsive thinking is obsessive thinking, just being unable to get your thought off of a particular topic. And it wouldn’t be the self.If it was the self that is ok. If you are compulsively thinking about the self then you’re ok. But we are talking about thinking about objects in saṃsāra.
It isn’t included because a reasonably healthy mind is required for a means of knowledge to work.And if you are obsessed and compulsive about any particular topic your mind is not flexible and open and you can’t discriminate properly. A compulsive mind cannot discriminate because there is no separation between the jīva and the mind.It is similar to impulsive but different.Impulsive doesn’t necessarily mean compulsive. Impulsive just means spreading it out. But compulsive means you just can’t think any other thought. Like checkers, the people with OCD, because there is no separation between the jīva and the mind.
A compulsive mind is so obsessed with the object of its attention that it hides the jīva from itself and renders the jīva unfit for inquiry. So it has no self reflective power because it is so obsessed with the object it can’t see what it’s doing.I had a friend and it took him half and hour to get out the door to go to work in the morning.He couldn’t see that he was doing it.He believed every thought. He had to check everything three or four times.He couldn’t see what he was doing. I pointed it out rationally because that was how I was looking at it but that wasn’t available to him.The separation between his mind and his jīva was obscured by this compulsive behaviour.Vedānta is not going to work for you if you have these compulsions.
30. Why is spontaneous thinking not included in the value for steadiness of mind?
Deliberate thinking is included in the value for steadiness of mind but spontaneous thinking is not. Because it is only found in jñanis, in self-actualized individuals.Self realized individuals need not calculate.They need not think deliberately.I need to think deliberately if I am a seeker because I need to eliminate comparative, mechanical and impulsive thinking. I need to deliberately think to get rid of those kinds of thoughts. Self realized people don’t need to calculate. They don’t need to be deliberate.They are happy to respond to any situation so they haven’t got a whole lot of canned or deliberate responses to everything.And you never know what they are going to say.
I had a friend once and she couldn’t understand me at all because about one topic I would give the answer A and then about the same topic but two days later my answer would be B. And she said, well you said you liked this on Tuesday and now you say you do not like it on Thursday.What’s wrong with you? There wasn’t anything wrong.I didn’t like it on Tuesday and I likes it on Thursday. So what? It was a appropriate for me to like it on Tuesday and inappropriate for me to like it on Thursday, so what is the difference? It was just a spontaneous response that had no connection to any deliberate value system. And why is this? Because Īśvara speaks through them, speaks through these enlightened people. It is actually Īśvara speaking when an enlightened person responds or speaks. So they are spontaneous. Īśvara is not calculating. Īśvara does’t care about the results.n calculating or deliberate thinking you do care about the result. And you should care about the result if you are burdened by mechanical and compulsive and comparative thinking.Then you should care about those results. You have to train your mind and learn to think deliberately.But self realized people, self actualized people don’t need to worry about that.
31. If discrimination is moksa, the essence of enlightenment, why is dispassion necessary?
Because you cannot discriminate without dispassion. There are two wings.Viveka and vairagya are the two wings for the jīva for gaining mokṣa.They need them both.If you are just dispassionate you don’t necessarily discriminate.My father was extremely dispassionate but he wasn’t discriminating.And you can be discriminating but not dispassionate. So you need them both.Without dispassion discrimination is impossible because desire for objects prevents discrimination and assimilation of self knowledge.
32. Why is a spirit of renunciation required for self knowledge?
Spirit of renunciation is a big value, an important value. Like accommodation right there up at the top of the list. Renunciation means letting go of stuff: thoughts, feelings, situations and objects, not clinging to them.So the answer is because ignorance is hard wired. It causes attachment to objects.If the inquirer is not willing to let go of the thoughts that bind him to objects, he will not succeed.He will just stay attached.You have to let go of the thought. For example, I am a boss. If you go home with that thought and you start bossing your wife, well.You better let go of that thought because your wife is the boss at home! Isn’t that right? I have to have a value to maintain harmony and peace in every situation so I need a value for letting go of my thoughts and feelings about any object.Everyday you have to let go if stuff. People come and they want stuff and you don’t want it but sometimes you just have to let go of what you don’t want or what you do want.
33. Egoism, like pride and arrogance, is claiming authorship and ownership of objects. How is it removed?
I did it. It’s mine. I created this. These are examples of these bad values of pride and arrogance. How do you get rid of them?Claim Īśvara.Īśvara is the author and owner of everything.Understand the nature of Īśvara and that nothing here belongs to me.everything here belongs to Īśvara. I as the self am free of everything.I as the jīva am totally dependent upon Īśvara. So contemplating on the nature of Īśvara sets me free ofthis pride and arrogance.
34. What does it mean to say that an inquirer should be a master of time and how does it relate to a burning desire for freedom?
This is a statement in the gītā, that one of the values is mastery of time.It means time is short. One never knows when one will take one’s last breath. One should work intensely on one’s liberation.
35. Why is a love of solitude a virtue?
A mind connected to others is a noisy mind. A noisy mind is incapable of contemplation.
36. What type of thinking does precaution and deliberation correct?
You should have values for precaution, for being cautious and careful and think things through. So they correct impulsive thinking. I don’t want to be thinking impulsively.
OK So that is it.