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Though Available to All, Vedanta Ain’t for All
Daniel: I understand your burning desire to share Vedanta, and it’s great. I will respond to your message below:
“People come up to me and ask for help all the time. I don’t choose it. Everyone just liked me in Alcoholics Anonymous. So I’m dealt with it. I also have time on my hands to be able to see how people relate to me though language. I’m not on a mission to seek followers, just to be able to communicate when people do ask for help. I’m at detoxes and rehabs for commitments to speak to people who are disillusioned by drugs and alcohol.”
Vedanta is an extremely extreme teaching – probably the most extreme thing there is for anyone to pack in. Though the teachings are available to everyone, it’s not for everyone. Qualified seekers are rare. As you know already, to receive jnana teachings requires a stable, clear and medically fit mind.
If you’re dealing with people who have totally recovered from addiction, and in whom addiction does not agitate the mind anymore, then present the teachings and see what happens. But if this is not the case – i.e. vasanas are still strong – then I don’t suggest any subtle teachings.
My suggestion is that you focus on karma yoga, qualifications and the guna management as your primary platform. Keep it practical, objective and totally mundane. Expand on the topic of “qualities of a mature person” by presenting the qualifications without even saying “this is for enlightenment.” Present the topics in a “non-spiritual” way.
Illustrate practical examples of how to apply karma yoga, qualifications and guna management when dealing with addiction, craving, recovery, life goals, etc.
Initially leave jnana out and evaluate how the audience responds to the above logic first.
You will know if it’s appropriate to bring in jnana. Perhaps you will find yourself communicating this teaching to just a few on the side – and not necessarily to a group.
Teaching karma yoga and dharma yoga is as valuable (if not more valuable) than that of jnana yoga. Offering a practical toolkit to live a dharmic and peaceful life often trumps that of an enlightenment one.
Robert: Thank you, Daniel.
Most of the people I’ve spoken to in drug/alcohol treatment desired to have a better attitude. The hope is that “if I do this and that, then God will give me this and that…” Then they come back many times because not many said to them, “You will not be able to petition, aka make deals with, God. You’re just going to feel more okay and satisfied when you do your dharma, not try to get God to do yours for you.”
Daniel: Whether it be booze, food, relationships, wealth or whatever other addiction, the same rule applies: get in check with dharma and grow up. This is why I suggest you focus on presenting the qualifications and living a life of karma yoga/dharma before introducing the subtle teachings of jnana. Offer a practical platform to deal with vasanas and the sense of lack first.