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Josh: Hi, Daniel.
Sorry for the flurry of emails, but every so often I get a bit agitated in my self-inquiry. I suppose it’s because it’s not easy.
I have heard said one needs a guru to study Vedanta. Rightly or wrongly, at the moment I assume you to be my guru. Is this fair or right, since if I have problems I always bother you?
Daniel: You’re not a bother, Josh. It’s only natural to sometimes feel agitated whilst putting the mind to work on such a subtle and rebellious topic. You’re correct, self-inquiry is not easy. It’s not easy, because ignorance is so damn hardwired and studiously sly.
But not easy does not mean not enjoyable. If you understand the value of self-inquiry, it's a great pleasure from start to finish.
Let’s make use of this agitation (excessive rajas).
Who’s the one that knows of this agitation? And who does this agitation belong to?
If your true identity were really Josh – the limited entity whose vehicle gets revved up by the gunas – then you sure have a valid reason to feel cornered and concerned.
But thank Isvara, this is not the reality. The reality is that you are in fact the awareness that knows of Josh and his agitation.
The limited action figure called “Josh” – which merely is just a play of gunas – is an object known to you, awareness. Josh and his feelings do not belong to you, nor do they bother you in any way.
You are trigunaatita, beyond the gunas. In other words, Josh and his experience is an object appearing in/to you, awareness.
As you continue to apply self-inquiry, it becomes firmly clear that you, awareness, are always free from what you know, free from the objects that appear to/in you.
Discriminating yourself from the object called “Josh” is a 24/7 task.
Vedanta makes you the guru of you. Scripture is the guru.
When a doubt arises, I will sign-post you back to yourself as best I can.
It’s a good that you’ll be rereading James’ book. I sure recommend doing this and then doing this again and again.
Repetition is key, Josh.
You’re on the Vedanta bus, so you can relax and feel fully confident that you’re on track back home, Om sweet Om.
Remain vigilant, patient and take it easy.
Josh: Many thanks once again. One other thing I hear without wanting to get hung up about is that in some circles it is said that one is supposed to listen to the guru in a verbal context so you get the right interpretation, trying not to get confused.
Daniel: Repetitive repetition is key. Continuous exposure to the teachings – whilst applying karma yoga – is the formula.
Your only job is to see to your qualifications. When the mind is qualified, the mere application of the teachings does the work.
Proper listening occurs only when the mind is qualified. And listening just means the application of the teachings, whether it’s verbal or visual.
If the mind’s not qualified, then no matter how wonderful or how well-verbalized the guru is one’s interpretation will remain skewed, and thus his/her words void.
No guru can qualify you. Only you can qualify you.
Josh: Many thanks. This means a lot.
Daniel: You bet, Josh.