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The Need or Not for Spiritual Practice
Bettina: A sadhana feels too much of doing.
Ram: Yes, precisely. The mind is the self but the self is not the mind. However, if you are going to continue to teach it is wise to continue to do sadhana for anta karana suddhi, purification of the mind. Although it doesn’t matter to you, the “I,” what condition the mind is in, the mind is the instrument through which people contact you and its condition affects how they see and understand you – at least until knowledge takes place.
Bettina: I used to read a weekly newspaper and some novels, but at the moment I just read my two “bibles,” Swami Shuddhananda’s Path to the Pathless on the Tattva Bodha, wonderful, clear and precise.
Ram: This is important. Shankara and others make it very clear that one should continue to refine and purify one’s understanding once knowledge has taken place. The richer and deeper and more multifaceted one’s understanding the more effective one is in awakening and permanently enlightening others. I don’t read or study texts anymore, not just because I am the texts, but because I know every idea from every possible angle. This came not from any “intuitive” grasping but from careful, patient study over a long period of time. If you are going to lose yourself in emptiness and cut all contact with the world this is not necessary, but if you are going to continue to help others it is definitely useful, although, as you know, it is entirely elective – since you are completely free.
It is always useful to know the meaning of words, so I would be interested to know what you mean by “meditation.” Do you see it as something other than contemplation, inquiry? Is it an indrawn, inward-turned, sattvic mind? Or is it simply seeing from the self?
Bettina: I appreciate very much what you say about impersonal texts. I do need personal explanations and find your satsangs extremely useful, as your answers refer to frequently asked questions of any seeker and address very precisely points of misunderstanding and doubt.
Ram: It is in this spirit that I offer the comments above. My view is that when the self functions as guru its primary duty is to tailor the teaching to the doubt, not to offer generic advice, like “you are just identified with your ego” or “stop thinking” or to make statements about an ego’s supposed “state,” etc.
Anyway, thank you so much for the nice letter. I am very happy to meet you in cyberspace and to communicate with you – and I accept and appreciate all the affection that the words convey.
~ Love, Ram