Search & Read
The Importance of Words
Mike: I need to be careful with my words. When I used “we” I had no idea how it could trigger the thoughts that you shared. I was talking about the royal “I.” From here on out, it will simply be “I,” “me” or “self.”
Ram: Yes, words a very important. Vedanta is all about words because they are the vehicle that carry ideas. When I work with someone spiritually the first thing we do is set up a common vocabulary. Today I had a satsang with a woman and it was only after about an hour that she understood what I meant by “knowledge.” When she got the meaning it added a whole new dimension to her sadhana which was at a critical stage, making the transition from experience- and action-words to identity-words. Vedanta is an excellent means of self-knowledge because it uses Sanskrit words that have very specific meanings that signify physical, psychological and spiritual facts. There aren’t many words to learn, perhaps forty or fifty, but once they are understood one can go very far with them. They take you right to the Wordless.
Had I understood “we” as you intended, I could have saved the trouble of writing so many words. “Self,” or “I,” is a good word. Enlightenment is simply knowing the meaning of “I” when you say or think it. If you say it and your concept is that “I” is limited, inadequate and incomplete then your understanding of the word does not match that to which it refers. Vedanta aims to get one’s thinking in line with reality.
Mike: I can relate to the statement in your last email that, “People do not want to suffer these ups and downs, these contradictions.” Contradictions are present in my environment either through my own manufactured abilities or others who surround me. I am a seeker of knowledge instead of experience thanks to today’s teaching.
Ram: Good. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with experience, spiritual or otherwise, and if you communicate with a mahatma you will definitely have sublime and valuable experiences. But the experiencer, the self, is the subject of Vedanta, and it is always free of experience. When you understand that you are the self you appreciate the value of negative experiences as well as the positive ones. Then you will not shy away from bad experiences or chase good ones. It is the contention of Vedanta that most of what bedevils us is manufactured because of a lack of self-knowledge. Even the projections of others only affect us because we accept them in some way.
Mike: I am happy to contribute to your lifestyle in any way that will assist you no matter if we meet or communicate simply via email. As a suggestion, you may want to add a contribution page to your website. My first contribution will be the mail to you tomorrow.
Ram: Generosity is always good, but is by no means required. If I had the money I would look after you if you needed it. I stayed with my guru for two years and basically he picked up the tab for everything except my plane fares. Only once did he ask for money. The important thing for me is that someone be willing to quit chasing experience and seek understanding. If somebody has desire to know the truth, I’m their slave. Nothing satisfies me more than sharing this great wisdom. There are two Sanskrit words that reveal my feeling about this: “bhakta bhaktiman.” They mean “the Lord (read: self, or guru) is the devotee of the devotee (read: seeker of truth).”