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Beyond Seeking: The 5/10/15 Rule
The 5/10/15 Rule: Inquiring as Opposed to Seeking
Lia: I have been a Vedanta student for almost a decade, and it feels like I will be one for the rest of my days, as inquiry is a way of life. Yet sometimes it feels as if I am stuck, that although I know I am the Self, there is still a feeling of bondage, of something I have missed. Please can you explain what nididhysana entails?
Sundari: Inquiry is the nature of the jiva. Seeking, however, is different from inquiry. Seeking ends with Self-knowledge because you have direct knowledge of your identity as the Self, but inquiry lasts till the day you die. A lot of people think that the end of seeking is the end for the non-eternal jiva. It is, in that it no longer troubles you at all and you accept it “as is” with all its peculiarities because the doer has been negated and the binding vasanas rendered non-binding. You are completely free of the jiva when Self-knowledge obtains, but only if the fruit of Self-knowledge, total satisfaction (tripti), comes with it. If perfect satisfaction does not occur, there is another stage to go through beyond direct knowledge.
If this is the case, one must “requalify” in a way because there are still the effects of ignorance playing out. The stage after firm direct knowledge is called nididhyasana, and all but the most qualified souls must go through it. It is the final disappearance of the doer, the part of the Self that is bored, dissatisfied or ambitious, for instance. The boredom/dissatisfaction/ambition indicates ego remnants (sattvic/rajasic/tamasic pratibandikas) that should be removed if you have compassion for the jiva and want to give it perfect satisfaction.
So nididhyasana, which is just sadhana without the seeking, is required. It takes care of any residual mental/emotional impurities, including dualistic bhakti. Dualistic bhakti, worship of the guru as a person, indicates the presence of an inadequate, small self, which means that Self-knowledge is not firm.
There is a basic formula, which we call the 5/10/15 rule. Of course it varies from individual to individual, but it is not necessarily an exaggeration. This rule suggests five years for manana, hearing the teaching, 10 years for resolving doubts (manana) created by the teaching, and 15 years (nididhysana) for getting rid of jiva-hood, i.e. the sense of doership. Tripti is complete satisfaction.
A mithya jiva remains but it is totally happy with itself and the world. It has no desire whatsoever for things to be different from what they are. It is called Isvara pranidanam, surrender to Isvara, or non-dual devotion (bhakti).
~ Love, Sundari