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Mukesh: James and Sundari, for the last 10 years I have been reading bits and pieces of Hinduism, spirituality, God, the Bhagavad Gita, Vivekananda, Ravi Shankar, yoga… and always had belief in them but never understood what they are actually saying. In the last couple of years I heard some good discourses on the epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata which slowly led to Shankracharya, Dayananada Saraswati, Chinmayananda… I browsed lot of Vedanta material in the Web but, as I mentioned, I never got the pulse. I am not sure how I reached ShiningWorld and James. From that day I have been very excited, and hopefully I found a path to proceed on! I bought the book How to Attain Enlightenment and am yet to read it with full concentration. I am very excited but it looks like it will take time before I put my heart into it but I feel confident that I am heading in the right direction. Thanks for the ShiningWorld site.
James: Hi, Mukesh. It is best that you read How to Attain Enlightenment and read the satsangs at the website. This will probably qualify you to ask questions. Once you have read the book, etc. – the videos are extremely useful too – write again. In the meantime, I will reply to your questions, keeping in mind the fact that you need a certain degree of understanding to actually assimilate the answers. When you read, be very patient. Read only read a few pages at a time and do not move on until you have signed on to the logic that is unfolded.
Mukesh: 1. In this dharmic field, every day I have coffee costing $3.50. If I donate the same amount to, let’s say, Somalia kids, they might have proper food for a week or so. So what does the Law say? Dayananadji, Chinmayanandaji and Jamesji are spending lots of money on satsangs, etc. Instead, they can use that money for feeding lots of hungry kids so I can have my coffee daily? ☺
James: I fail to see the connection between your coffee and the swamis’ spending habits but that is okay.
The law says that people do what they do according to their nature (svadharma). Some people give money to kids in Somalia according to their inclination and some people give knowledge to people who are spiritually starving. Some do both. The law of dharma/karma means that whatever happens, happens according to the karmas of individuals as interpreted by the field of existence (Isvara). People find themselves in various circumstances, and the circumstances determine what happens. If the swamis gave all their money to kids in Somalia there would still be plenty of starving kids in Somalia and elsewhere. If the swamis did not give self-knowledge to starving samsaris the samsaris would continue to contribute their suffering to the world, and the swamis would not be happy either because it is their svadharma to give self-knowledge. Additionally, the money the swamis get from samsaris is given for the dissemination of self-knowledge, so for a swami to give it to starving kids would be a violation of dharma. Isvara works through charitible institutions to take care of staving kids. Isvara takes care of everyone according to their situation. If there are starving swamis I assume that Isvara is looking after them too in some way. Furthermore, if you fed everyone in the world, you would not have a happier world. Americans are fed like crazy – they are fat like anything. But are they happy? I know from my many years in India that Indians handle their poverty better than Americans handle their prosperity.
I presume there are people like you who are forgoing their morning coffee and other luxuries and sending the savings to the Somalia kids too. If there are it is only by the grace of the dharma field. Actually, I don’t spend a lot of money on satsangs, Mukesh. My computer was donated and I pirate the internet signal from my friend’s wireless but I do spend a lot of time writing satsangs. You will also be happy to know that this swami does spend some money helping poor people.
Mukesh: 2. Again, related to apparent world, why am I related to Mukesh, why not James or Obama or Osama or Bill Clinton or Sundari? ☺
James: You are related to everyone because there is only awareness – you. At the same time you are free of everyone, including Mukesh. He is known to you – as are James, Obama, etc. So he can’t be you. It does not seem that you are everyone and free of everyone at the same time because you are identified with Mukesh owing his apparent proximity to you. In fact what you call Mukesh is just a meat tube, no different from any other meat tube. You identify with the Mukesh sausage because you are deluded – no blame and no offense – by the power of maya, ignorance.
This will all make sense if you commit to the study of Vedanta in a systematic, patient way. So do as I suggest and read the book carefully and study the website carefully. Once you are in the Vedanta ballpark many of your questions will be answered, and those that are not I will answer – if I can.
Mukesh: Cool! Very excited to receive a mail from you, thank you very much. As you as suggested I will read only read a few pages at a time and not move on until I have signed on to the logic that is unfolded. I will not drag on this discussion further until I read your book completely and get some understanding.
Just one final question: As you said, “…you are identified with Ramesh owing his apparent proximity to you.” So going back to my question, why the apparent proximity is only with Ramesh, not with a tree or a dog or some other object? Somehow I am missing the point. Anyway, thanks. I am very happy and inspired by your response.
Ramji: It is an easy point to miss. Don’t be disappointed. There are two basic standpoints from which to view reality: from consciousness’ point of view and from the body’s point of view. The problem stems from the fact that you think that consciousness – you – is located in your body. Maya makes it feel that way. But it is not located in your body. If it was then your question is legitimate. The fact is that your body and all other bodies – plant, animal, insect and human – are in consciousness. You are the “container” for everything. You have no location. You are the background and Ramesh is a small pixel-speck in you.
There is one more statement I want to make: you need to be totally committed to Vedanta if it is going to work. I think you may be at the point where you can commit because it seems to me that you have realized the futility of seeking in samsara and I think you have realized that the meager offerings in the modern spiritual world will not do the trick.
~ Om and prem, Ramji