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I Am Self-Realized and Want to Teach
Tan: Hi, Tom, this is Tan. It seems Isvara says it is my turn to respond to your inquiry. I am sorry that it took so long.
Tom: I realized the self about three weeks ago, and it was different from what I expected.
Tan: Sounds good, but who is the “I” that realized the self? And what is the self to you?
What do you mean by “I realized the self,” and what makes you share this with ShiningWorld?
What is the motive to do this?
Tom: No fireworks, no pretty girls dancing around me or anything of the kind… When I was reading Nisargadatta, I thought, “It’s going to be amazing, this guy is talking about immortality and such, I want to attain that.” Then three weeks later I “realized” and thought, “Wow, now I’m immortal and such and such, I have amazing powers now.” Little did I know that the thing I actually “realized” was myself.
Tan: Again, what does it mean to realize “yourself”?
Tom: I don’t relate to the whole “Brahman is Infinite Bliss’’ kind of thingy. Moreover, I don’t think humanity’s goal is to become enlightened. Instead of the whole Neo-Advaitic attitude “I’m going to be a teacher,” now I kind of feel bored with the whole thing. I have no ambitions but feel pretty good the whole time.
Tan: “Anantam brahman,” meaning brahman is infinite bliss (meaning without limits), is nothing to relate to or not. It is understood or not.
The end of the search does not necessarily mean freedom.
Knowing why it has ended and what it means to be yourself is freedom.
Also, feeling pretty good the whole time does not equate to self-realization.
Self-knowledge means knowing who you are, not feeling good the whole time.
Tom: I wish there was just a book or something which I can read which gives me some inspiration to maybe teach Vedanta to students, except I don’t know where to begin!
Tan: Your mind sounds contradictory. You write that you have no ambitions and two lines later you write you wish you had book as an inspiration to become a teacher.
That begs the question, why do you want to teach?
In non-traditional (e.g. Neo-Advaita) spiritual circles, often the only way to substantiate the claim that someone is enlightened is that this someone starts to teach and build a following of students who support that claim.
But if you know who you are you have nothing to prove. You know you are whole and complete.
Tom: I got introduced to Vedanta about three months ago. Previously, I was just reading Neo-Advaita, like Krishnamurti, Osho, Mooji, etc. Now these people have become extremely boring. Every time I watch one of these “gurus” I think, “What are these people even saying?’’
Tan: Yes, Krishnamurti’s books are not built on a proper time-tested teaching therefore his books are, although poetic, often vague and confuse people. I witnessed that when interacting with the members of Krishnamurti organization in Germany.
What type of Vedanta have you become exposed to?
Who was your teacher?
Tom: Life feels different after realization. It’s not wonderful like I expected.
Tan: Again, what do you think is realization? Self-knowledge, or freedom, moksa, has nothing to do with feelings.
Tom: I guess I wanted to ask you, do you know of some good books about Advaita which I should definitely read?
I know you’ll probably refer to How to Attain Enlightenment but I don’t have a credit card right now and live in Holland, so I can’t purchase it. I just want some books which give inspiration and lay out Vedanta’s most important teachings. Maybe I want to become a teacher but I need some motivation! I’d really love to hear from you.
Here’s hoping you help me out of this little “Vedanta-depression.”
~ Kind regards, Tom
Tan: Well, it is not my task to motivate you to become a teacher if there is no motivation in you.
There are thousands, maybe millions, of “enlightened people” and only very few are motivated and also have the qualifications to become a teacher.
Vedanta has qualifications for the student and the teacher. If the mind is qualified it can attain freedom. I will not quote the qualifications for the student, but the qualifications for the teacher are:
1. The teacher has to be well established in the self (he/she is a brahma nishta).
2. The teacher should know the scripture and be able to unfold it properly for the student
3. The teacher should have the dharma of a teacher.
Regarding number 2, “scripture” means an impersonal means of self-knowledge is required. “Being enlightened,” or “being self-realized” is not sufficient to teach, although it can help. The means of selfknowledge (Vedanta) does the teaching. If the teacher is not enlightened but can unfold the eaching properly he can still be an effective teacher.
On the other hand there are also famous self-realized people who were not proper teachers of their own accord. Nisargadatta and Ramana are examples for this.
If you want to read a book read the Upanishads available at James’ website for free. Or read Tattva Bodha or Atma Bodha. How to Attain Enlightenment is a highly-distilled version of many Upanishads and Vedantic texts. It can be sufficient to gain moksa if one’s mind is qualified.
But let us put aside the whole teaching affair for a moment.
Before you consider becoming a teacher, you should identify your motivation for it.
Your mind probably believes that it will gain something through enlightenment or through teaching.
But you are perfect, wonderful, limitless, whole and complete.
I think the jury still out on your enlightenment.
What do you really want? The whole book and teaching thing seems like a cover-up for something that is still missing.
Maybe you can inquire into that.
Tom: Hi, Tan, thanks for replying. The I that realizes the self is the self itself. The self, to me, means myself, spaceless, timeless, non-dual, etc.
Tan: I think you mean the right thing but since we now enter an area of subtler discussion I will repeat it in another way. If the self realizes itself it would be a doer. The self is self-evident to itself. Self-knowledge is nothing to be gained by an act of realization. We need to be careful with words now because we enter subtler matters. Ignorance about the truth “I am awareness” disappears in the intellect. So the knowledge “I am awareness” is firm and doubtless in the intellect. This is what happens. That is what is meant by enlightenment. Only the intellect gets enlightened, meaning ignorance is removed. The self is the light in which the “play of enlightenment and not-enlightenment” is seen. The self is not a doer.
Tom: However, I (the self ) am also this body, mind, senses, prana, etc. but these emanate from myself.
Tan: Probably you mean the right thing but I will rephrase it, just in case.
The body, mind and senses are awareness but I, awareness, am always free of the body, mind and senses. I like to use the water/wave/ocean metaphor. Objects, like the jiva, body and mind are waves. Isvara is the ocean. I am water. So I am another level of reality. I am free of jiva and Isvara.
The wave is water. Wave is a form of water. But water is free of the wave. Water is free of the form.
Tom: Just like gold made into various ornaments remains gold or clay that’s made into a pot, I am the gold, the clay and the ornaments or pot remains me. I am the body, mind, etc. but they are not me.
Tan: If you are gold and the body is a gold ring then the gold ring is (of) gold but gold is not a gold ring. Gold can take any form.
Tom: I can exist without body, mind, etc. but they cannot exist without me.
Tan: Yes, and it is even more fundamental than your statement, because you are existence. No thing can exist without you.
Tom: I wanted to share this because I love James’ videos and, to be honest, I want to be friends (that must sound pretty pathetic, ha, ha).
Tan: If you yourself say it is pathetic then there must be a truth to it. James loves everyone. You are already loved by him. There must be another reason still why you want to be friends. Maybe it is an old belief that by being his friend your enlightenment is acknowledged or your value increased. You could investigate if this need emanates from your ego (which you are not) which still longs for validation.
Tom: About the teaching thing, I wouldn’t gain anything from it. I know I just need to learn a lot of knowledge to be able to become a teacher.
Tan: Well, you as awareness would not gain anything from it, yes, how could you? Tom could use it as a karma yoga sadhana if he has no false motives behind it and is not attached to the result.
Tom: I wouldn’t teach experience, like many Neo-Advaita teachers do… like enlightenment was some experience that makes you feel holy all the time. It’s just simple knowledge… I know I contradicted myself sometimes; ah, well, I need to pay more attention next time. I know teaching is a heavy responsibility, and I haven’t got much knowledge yet. The important thing, to me it seems, is that you keep a cool head and teach the knowledge, not twist and turn it to according to your experience.
Tan: The important thing is that Vedanta is taught as an impersonal method for removing ignorance. It has nothing to do with James, Tan, Tom or anybody. It was given from the self to the self.
Tom: Anyway, I hope this post clears things up a bit.
Tan: Yes, it does, this was a nice post, thank you.
Tom: Hello, Tan. Me again. I’ve wanted to let you know that the knowledge “I am awareness” is firm now. By “I” I don’t mean the jiva, I mean me, awareness. I know that I’m not the body, mind, senses, etc. I am unchangeable and eternal, I can’t die because I was never born and I’m forever independent of maya.
Tan: Yes, this is all the truth.
Tom: Now, I was watching James’ videos, and the concept of Isvara came up. Is it true that the jiva (Tom) is not responsible for its own actions but Isvara is?
Tan: You could see it from the angle that Isvara includes all the individual causal bodies. These vasanas make the doer act like a puppet. So Isvara makes all jivas act like puppets but Isvara is not a big doer.
Tom: Tom is not the doer but Isvara is? Tom has been through a lot of shit these past years and always thought he was responsible for his own actions. But if Isvara, the Creator, decides when Tom is born and dies, when he suffers and feels alright, what he wants and what he doesn’t want, then Tom doesn’t really control his life, God, or Isvara, does. I know that I, awareness, am free of maya, Isvara and jiva. Does my knowledge seem correct?
Tan: Yes. You as awareness are free of maya, jiva and Isvara. They appear and disappear. Action is change and change is just an appearance. All of that is mithya, not real. You are satya. You are the only thing that never changes and is true.
~ Love, Tan