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To Teach or Preach?
Nick: Thank you for your response, it was very clear and strengthened my confidence greatly. I noticed in the events section that James and Christian are coming to Colorado. I live not too far from the event center and plan to attend the class. I very much look forward to meeting your husband and imagine I will benefit greatly from the in-person aspect and just seeing a person assimilate the knowledge so well (doubtless).
Sundari: You are most welcome Nick, I am so glad we will get to meet you in Colorado.
Nick: If you could once again help me clear some doubts up, ☺ that would brighten my day. Lately I have been noticing positive qualities in other people. I desire to reveal the means of knowledge to the ones who could potentially appreciate its value. How do I tell the difference between Isvara wanting to teach through the jiva and the jiva wanting to teach for who knows what reason? I see others as myself and only want for them to love themselves the way I do. I mention this because you speak about yourself only being amouthpiece for Isvara. This is how I see it. Although one thing I find notable is that I’m 20 years old and I doubt that anybody wants to learn the knowledge of reality from a 20-year-old when Vedanta is already unpopular. I wonder, is this jiva one to participate in the highest dharma? If not, that’s okay.
Sundari: Generally speaking, if people who feel the need to “guru” others “tell people how it is” or stand on their soapbox are coming from ego and not in genuine service to Isvara. It should never be an ambition to teach, nor should sharing Vedanta come from trying to perfect an imperfect world, as you see it. Leave it the world and teaching to Isvara. If you can be of service, Isvara will put you in the right circumstances. For the most part, it is pointless trying to pass on Vedanta knowledge to people who are not qualified, it is just a waste of time. Without the requisite qualifications, the knowledge will not make sense, because it is too counter-intuitive. As reality is non-dual, there is only the self, so everyone is the self, either under the spell of ignorance or free of it. If you truly understand what it means to be free, you see everyone as perfect and everything that unfolds as perfect too. Isvara is in charge of the total and takes care of all our needs, whoever we are.
What you need to keep in mind is that, as Isvara is the only teacher and is responsible for delivering everyone’s karma, so the qualifications are not anyone’s doing. Although we can develop the qualifications if we know what they are, if your mind is qualified, it is by the grace of Isvara alone. And grace is earned. To also have the good karma to find Vedanta and a qualified teacher to unfold the teachings is like hitting ten jackpots.
Freedom from samsara, the hypnosis of duality, cannot be forced or given to you. No teacher can take away your ignorance. We can only wield the knowledge skilfully, and if YOU do “the work,” i.e. subject the mind faithfully and relentlessly to the scripture because moksa is your primary aim, self-knowledge ITSELF removes your ignorance, never the teacher. That is why I say we are just mouthpieces for Isvara.
More often than not, it is best to shut up about what you know, especially as you are quite young – and very lucky to have found Vedanta so early in life. Ignorance being what it is, samsaris believe that age computes to wisdom – which it seldom does, unless self-knowledge has obtained. Samsaris will write off whatever you say as the spouting of a gullible mind. Little do they know that self-knowledge has nothing to do with age, because as the self you are ageless – unborn and undying. But you cannot tell a samsari that – they will send the men in white coats to get you. ☺
Nick: How did you come to teach with the precision that you do, aside from just moksa and including the terminology?
Sundari: I had the great karma of been given the very best teacher of Vedanta alive today, Ramji – and I live with him, so I am exposed to the highest-level Vedanta 24/7. I will never stop learning from him. I consistently and doggedly apply self-knowledge to my life and I make sure I understand all the teachings, from start to finish. If you want to be a qualified teacher of Vedanta, a thorough understanding of all the doctrine and the terminology is a prerequisite, as is the knowledge that the Vedanta methodology, the means of knowledge, has nothing to do with you.
Nick: In one of Vishnudeva’s satsangs he talks about how it’s okay if Isvara doesn’t “give you moksa.” I have both a burning desire for liberation, yet am not concerned in the least whether or not I get/have it. On top of that, I know I am the self, which always has moksa anyway. It’s obvious that there is a purified/qualified mind appearing within me being illumined by my revealing nature.
Sundari: Very good, Nick. It is useless being worried about getting or not getting moksa because, as you rightly understand, it is not an object to obtain. You are it. Moksa is automatically revealed when self-knowledge removes your personal ignorance. You cannot gain something you already have. And Isvara does not give you moksa or withhold it. Isvara is karma phalla datta – the facilitator of the jiva’s karma, nothing else. Isvara is not a big person with likes and dislikes, dispensing good and bad karma. It is just the law of cause and effect run by the gunas, playing out endlessly. You can say that it is all Isvara, but the laws are completely impersonal. If the mind has had enough of suffering and it has served to turn it inwards towards the self, a teacher will appear and so will the teaching appropriate to your level of qualification. As I am sure I have said to you before, self-realization is not moksa. It is where the work of self-inquiry begins.
Self-actualization, no matter how qualified the mind, can take many years. The first two stages of self-inquiry, sravanna (listening/hearing) and manana (contemplating the scriptures), are one thing and can take a long or short time, depending on qualifications. But the final stage of self-inquiry, nididhysana, which is transmuting all our emotional and mental patterns (conditioning) into pure knowledge – devotion to the self – can take a great deal longer. For some, a lifetime.
Nick: I absolutely love Vedanta. Aside from the desire to understand reality, I also enjoy and desire to learn more about the history, literature and terminology of the tradition. I prefer book forms of scripture since it’s easier to carry around with me and easier to access in general, although I enjoy the video seminars very much too and constantly read satsangs. I was wondering if you know of any more sources for Vedanta scriptures other than Arsha Vidya, Chinmaya Mission and ShiningWorld of course. It seems many publishings on these two first sites are out stock.
Sundari: No, there are no other decent publishers really.
Nick: Lastly, in Chinmayanandas’s talks on Vivekachudamani he mentions how the ignorant person is like a person who fell down a well, and that when someone walks by, you simply ask for help and don’t narrate your whole life and how you got there. I agree, I don’t feel the need to talk about my apparent story but was only under the belief that I was supposed to from what I’ve seen in satsangs. I feel as if you’ve saved me from the well. But I still have questions that are at the level of maya and not the self. Should I just let it go? What I mean is that they aren’t my questions and you only teach the self (me).
Sundari: Understanding our “story” is only relatively important in that it helps us to dismiss the jiva. There is not that much to understand about the self – but there is a lot to understand about what it means to be the self while appearing as a jiva. To make a big deal about our story is a trap. Ultimately, there is only one story and we all share it because there is only one eternal jiva. We see our story as pure entertainment.
We encourage inquirers to tell us their story only insofar as it helps us to help them understand and negate the jiva. The jiva may not be real, but you cannot jump over it to the self. The jiva cannot be circumvented and must be resolved in light of self-knowledge, if you want to be free of it and to live free as the self. After all, moksa is only for the jiva, as the self you are and always have been free. What use is self-knowledge if it doesn’t translate into your life as a jiva?
Nick: Once again, thank you for your infinite wisdom and being my luxury liner to truth.
Sundari: Ha ha! I like that. “Luxury liner,” good one! Indeed, the self is the most luxurious thing there is! You are most welcome, Nick. Well done to you for your dedication to the knowledge. You are very fortunate to have come to Vedanta so young and to be “cracking the code.” May you live a long and fabulous life protected by the amazing and infallible knowledge that is who you are.
~ Much love, Sundari