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Language and Writing Vedanta
Frida: Wow, thanks so much, Sundari! I really appreciate you taking the time to go through it so thoroughly and provide me with so much feedback. It’s really helpful, has shed light on some points I am vague about and deepened my understanding; also, how to word things better to minimize dualistic language and the possibility of misinterpretation. Spelling and grammar has never been my strong point, so thanks for all the corrections.
Sundari: You are most welcome. I am glad I could help with your inquiry. Writing Vedanta is difficult, and it really does tend to highlight how dualistic our language and thinking is. It is a very good way to deepen your sadhana. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar, that’s not as important as understanding the difference between the implied and ostensible meaning of words.
Words have two meanings, one ostensible and one implied. These two meanings happen because the causal body and the subtle body affect our experience simultaneously. Our experience is a combination of these two factors. In terms of this idea, it is reasonable to say that experience takes place on two “levels” at the same time, one experienced directly and the other indirectly. In reality, there are no levels. Only in Maya, the apparent reality, do they exist. Direct experience is simply the thought that is playing in the subtle body at any moment. We only experience one thought at a time, and therefore we only have one experience at a time, so two streams of words, one from the subtle body and one from the causal body, do not come out simultaneously. Even if they did, we could not hear both, because incoming experience is controlled by the same rule governing outgoing experience.
How does the causal body speak? Or to rephrase the question, how does the implied meaning manifest? It is encoded in the spoken or written words. So when you are speaking without full attention, i.e. when your mind is rajasic or tamasic, you are not aware that your words have two meanings, that the content of your unconscious is being revealed. Because words are so open to interpretation, Vedanta puts us into a whole new world of perception because it is so insistent on the correct and conscious use of words. It teaches through the implied, and not usually the ostensible, meaning of words. For self-inquiry to work, where the ostensible meaning does not work, we must take the implied meaning, based on logic.
For instance, if we say that there is an identity between Isvara and jiva, what do we mean? We can’t work this out with the ostensible meaning of this statement, because Isvara is consciousness plus the world, and jiva is consciousness plus the subtle body. Isvara is omniscient, and the jiva only knows its subjective reality. We must take the implied meaning by removing all the non-essential variables to get to what is non-negatable, the fact that both Isvara and jiva are consciousness.
Frida: I particularly like the comments you put in about Self-actualization; the distinction between Self-realization and Self-actualization has slowly been getting a lot clearer to me lately. To my “ego’s” dislike, life’s circumstances have brought to the surface many binding samskaras. The ones that lead me to seek knowledge in the first place I’d never actually experientially neutralized; they have always there, but they have really sprung to life lately, revealing “my” self-dissatisfaction in all its glory. Lots of tamas going on, which has made writing out knowledge not much fun and peace of mind patchy and hard to come by.
Sundari: It sounds to me like there is also lots of sattva because to know that samskaras are appearing out of the causal body and that tamas is dominant requires a certain amount of clarity and self-objectivity. And if you know that the dissatisfactions do not belong to you, you are as good as free of them. The last stage of inquiry, nididhyasana, requires requalifying for most people because it is common for most inquirers that remaining unconscious content must be dissolved after Self-realization. But again, if you know that, then nididhyasana is just applying the knowledge to your life and leaving the rest to Isvara with the karma yoga understanding, until Self-actualization takes place.
Frida: I believe this is why my desire to share knowledge has fallen off. Actually, the idea of teaching brings about much fear and doubt in myself. I am so grateful though, as I am confident that Isvara has my best interests at heart and is guiding and taking care of my enquiry, as I feel I am doing my part to the best of my ability.
Sundari: Leave teaching Vedanta up to Isvara and concentrate on your sadhana. Practise answering the e-satsangs, as that will force you to find answers for yourself. We learn best by teaching. If you are meant to teach others, you will. We all have a responsibility to protect the scripture by passing on this timeless and priceless knowledge to the best of our ability, but it is better not to have an ambition to teach Vedanta because the ego tends to get involved. I think your understanding is excellent and so is the way you communicate.
Frida: Lots of karma yoga for this jiva is needed, I think, finding when to hold and when to fold in regard to restraining vasanas seems to be big part of keeping enquiry consistent with suppressing the vasanas rather than neutralizing them.
Sundari: Karma yoga definitely lessens the pressure of the vasanas by negating the doer. Suppressing vasanas does not always work, but I know what you mean. It is sometimes necessary to do so when nothing else works. But sublimation is better than suppression to effectively render binding vasanas non-binding. As inquirers, whenever we have a desire that compels us to contravene our most important value, which is freedom from dependence on objects, we neutralize the desire by sublimating it to a higher idea. The higher idea is always freedom from bondage to the desire.
We do this by taking a stand in consciousness as consciousness and applying the opposite thought. The opposite thought in the case of a binding vasana is instead of going with the thought “I must satiate this urge” you replace that thought with “I am whole and complete” without indulging this desire. To be successful, we need to say no! to our binding desires and stick to it. Nobody says this is easy. You may have to resort to some activity that helps you suppress it, such as exercise, walking in nature, an artistic project, writing, etc. If you cannot renounce the desire, it owns you. Desire itself is not a problem, only irresistible desires we cannot say no to and cause us to violate personal and universal values.
Frida: I’m excited to clean this mind up from the bottom up so that the knowledge bears consistent fruit in the form of experiential peace of mind. I’m think as the smoke clears a bit my enthusiasm to share the knowledge will return. Thanks for the idea about downloading the e-satsangs. I think that will be very helpful!
Sundari: You are definitely on the right path and on the Vedanta bus, Frida! I admire your honesty and dedication.
Frida: I have many questions arising about qualifying the mind at the moment, but will hit the e-satsangs, as I’m sure they have been covered there. What a journey this life and enquiry process is! Thanks again and again for your time and encouragement. You guys are the best!
Sundari: Good! You are always welcome, we are here to help with your inquiry.
Frida: This last email was great, it has stimulated lots of enquiry. I have written many replies, but as I am writing the question seems to solve itself. It seems a certain amount of personal trial and error is necessary when it comes skillfully managing the gunas and neutralizing vasanas. Great advice you gave, thank you.
Also, thanks for the teaching on the ostensible and implied meaning of words; it took a bit to get my head around, but I think I got it now!
Because words appear in the apparent reality, they are by nature dualistic (for the most part infer ignorance), the implied meaning (direct knowledge) reveals that which is “beyond” duality, i.e. awareness. In this way we can consciously talk or write from the platform of awareness using the implied meaning of words, where the ostensible meaning fails to remove duality. It will definitely be helpful when writing out Vedanta.
~ Much gratitude, as always!
Sundari: Perfect understanding, Frida, good for you! Your knowledge and assimilation are excellent.
~ Much love, Sundari