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You Are Self-Knowledge – Throw Away the Means, but Not Self-Knowledge
Stan: Hi! Wow, time flies. I just wanted to say thank you for your explanation. I have been contemplating and I am beginning to see it’s all the self, so what does it matter? I have listened to James’ Gita talks again, and I am now reading The Yoga of Love. That helps me understand too. That book is awesome, and so are you and James. Thank you so much for your help.
Sundari: Hello, Stan, good to hear from you again. I am happy to hear that the knowledge continues to firm up and that your dedication to it is as strong as ever. To remove ignorance requires single-pointed dedication and continually subjecting the mind to the scripture. Well done!
Stan: I was wondering – would you say for self-knowledge to be complete (to have attained moksa) one has to be able to explain all the teachings of Vedanta to someone? Not that I want to become a teacher. That was just the way I learned stuff in school. I made my own summaries from memory, as if I was going to give a lecture on the subject.
Sundari: No, it is not essential to be able to explain all the teachings for moksa to obtain in the mind. It is only important that you understand and assimilate the knowledge. The ability to teach Vedanta has to be part of your svadharma (inborn nature) or it is not likely that you will make a good teacher. Although it is a great help to your own assimilation to be able to verbalize the gist of the teachings – IF asked by someone who can understand. If the mind does not have some qualifications present, it will not be able to grasp Vedanta, because it is a radical and counter-intuitive teaching. In fact we encourage people not to open their mouths about Vedanta unless speaking to someone who is likely to understand. A famous quote from Krishna: “Do not disturb the minds of the ignorant.”
Stan: Or is it more that the teachings just take away the ignorance and all the information and teachings don’t necessarily have to stay afterwards? I have heard James say once your understanding is complete you can throw this away.
Sundari: Yes, the teachings do remove all ignorance. Self-actualisation does not take place until it does or purification has to continue. When moksa obtains, the knowledge never goes away, because it is known to be you – and it is an object known to you, as is ignorance. What James means by “throw away the knowledge” is the means of knowledge, not the knowledge itself. One only needs to have fully mastered one of the many prakriyas in Vedanta for moksa to obtain because all of them say the same thing: you are whole and complete, non-dual, actionless, unlimited, unchanging, ever-present, ordinary awareness – and not the person. One has to know what this means for the person for self-actualisation to take place.
The ability to retain the teachings is an important part of assimilation for the inquirer, but one does not have to memorise all the teachings. Self-knowledge is not a function of memory, because it is who you are. So “after” moksa you may or may not speak about what you know to be your true nature as the self. More than likely you will keep reading the scriptures (which we recommend) because you know you are reading about yourself – and there is nothing more satisfying for the mind than to rest in self-knowledge.
Stan: Also, would you recommend Swamini Atmaprakashananda Saraswati as a teacher (link)? She seems to be a disciple of Swami Dayananda, so she would be in your lineage, right? Not that I really need anyone but you and James, but it would be so cool to listen to a teacher live sometime and since I live in Europe it would be easy for me to go to see her.
Sundari: Yes, we would endorse her, as she is a qualified teacher and an excellent one too. Thank you for the endorsement. ☺
Stan: Thank you again. And please tell James I think his new book is great and he is too.
Sundari: You are most welcome, Stan, we are happy to serve. I am happy you are reading James’ latest book; it’s some of his finest writing.
~ Love, Sundari