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Ravindra: Respected Ramji, I have quite good idea about enlightenment (moksa). I can see that it requires the fourfold qualifications or else the mind won’t be able to assimilate the teachings. But my mind is quite extroverted and, as you said, the burning desire is a must for moksa (mumukshatvam).
I get turned on and off while seeking moksa. Sometimes I am very interested and when I encounter worldly matters like football (I love it a lot), girls (fantasies), etc. I get turned off. I know that the objects cannot give happiness, joy is in my SELF. My vasanas compel me towards action. I fall, despite knowing that they are vasanas and can’t give happiness. Yet I want to gain moksa (you can see that don’t have a burning desire for moksa).
You got desire for it when you became disillusioned with sex, money because it never gives you what you really want. By your experience and what scriptures say it is sure that I must pursue moksa, as it is the most important purpose of life. So should I wait till I get burning desire by getting fed up of life like you by exhausting all vasanas (when you have no choice to get happiness from anything else you will automatically surrender to where scriptures say joy is located… in yourself? Or should I try to attain moksa with hard work and suppress my vasanas, knowing that they can’t give happiness, and try to use my intellect to make my desire for moksa stronger?
Ram: You should neither repress and make your intellect strong nor indulge your vasanas. You should do both. Intelligently indulge your vasanas in the karma yoga spirit and practice self-control and knowledge when you can. Moksa is not something you can gain by action. It is your nature. You are already free. If you can’t appreciate this fact, then you need to do some work on your mind to prepare it for understanding, so follow the middle path. Swami Chinmaya, my guru, said to “sin intelligently.” Don’t go overboard one way or the other.
Ravindra: I accept your answer. What I meant was whether I should wait for the mental maturity to happen as I progress in life as actions, i.e. karma automatically makes us intelligent, and one day I become fed up of life, as in your case, or can I right now try to achieve the fourfold qualifications so that I can take up study of Vedanta with a guru when I get the qualifications, since I think I don’t need to experience the limitations of life, as I understand the limitations of life. It is only that I have very strong vasanas which sometimes compel me to forget the knowledge, but later I understand that I should not have indulged, since joy is not in the object.
Ram: It sounds to me like you are pretty mentally mature and intelligent already, Ravindra, if you can evaluate yourself with such clarity. In any case if you are not mature you can only wait for it to happen because maturity is not up to you. It comes in its own sweet time. And it comes because you have lived life. If you don’t have experience in life you may long for it later and this will block your qualifications. The basic qualification is that you be fed up with life, that you really know its limitations. If you honestly feel that you do not need any more life experience, it means that you are already qualified, intelligent and mature. As long as the strong vasanas aren’t driving you all the time – you say they come up “sometimes” – then you are quite qualified. I have strong vasanas that come up sometimes too, but they do not affect who I am. I observe them and they go away. So you should proceed with your inquiry, your study of Vedanta. You will succeed.
~ Om and prem, Ram