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The Tooth- (TRUTH-) Sayer
James: I have asked my wife Sundari to reply to this, as I am too busy to answer every email. I have gone over it carefully and it is completely in line with Vedanta.
Seeker: Dear James Swartz, thank you for your book How to Attain Enlightenment. I heard about it a couple of months ago, heard someone speak highly of it, and felt it might be something to give a read, so have read it and am on my second reading now. I have also watched your videos at YouTube and read a couple of your e-satsangs.
On page 61 of your book there are a few lines: “You put yourself in the teaching situation by your own will, relax and let the teachings take over. You are wrong if you think you can roam the spiritual world, pick up a bit of knowledge here and there and expect that one fine day it will miraculously gel into the knowledge that sets you free.”
My hunch is that these sentences can go together, but at this moment these seem to be contradictory sentences to me.
I feel that I am putting myself in the teaching situation, and somewhat feel that I’m relaxing and letting the teachings take over, yet I don’t understand why it would be wrong to pick up bits of knowledge and let it gel. Isn’t that what I’m doing by putting myself in the teaching and letting it take over?
Sundari: For Vedanta to work you have to know how to listen and you must be qualified to be taught and to rigorously expose your mind to self-inquiry by hearing the scripture impersonally. When you are able to listen the knowledge assimilates automatically and “gels” on its own. You, the doer, are temporarily suspended when you are taught.
When you read a book or attend a satsang it means that you do not know who you are, so your ignorance of yourself will cause you to interpret the words incorrectly. You are the last person to be an expert on yourself. So you need to get an impersonal objective view of yourself. This is what Vedanta is. In fact there is no personal self. There is only one self with three bodies, and it is the same for everyone.
The second problem is that most self-proclaimed teachers put together bits and pieces of knowledge from different sources, blend it all together with “their experience” and dish it up as a valid means of knowledge. It is all about them and their experiences, not THE TRUTH. It does not hold water as a valid, independent means of knowledge and is therefore not suitable for moksa. It can only lead to misinformation, which misleads and keeps people seeking instead of finding.
A proper teaching has something valid, i.e. timeless and impersonal, to impart and is based on THE TRUTH, not an individual’s subjective truth based on his or her interpretation of some mystical experience.
Seeker: Question: I also have another seemingly unrelated topic which you might be able to address. I noticed that in some of your e-satsangs you look at people’s dreams and give an interpretation. This is not a dream (well, depending on how you look at it), but I’ve never really had too many dental issues, yet a year or so ago I got three fillings within a short period. I left it at that, then just recently I needed a root canal, got that fixed up, then a few days ago an old filling fell out. I got it fixed yesterday, and today a piece of another tooth fell out. I’m 41, young for my age, and think I take care of my teeth at least as well as anyone else. It seems that physical manifestations have to do with what’s going on with the mind, and I’m wondering if you have an interpretation of this? (I’m also having trouble with this because, as you note in your book, it’s a good idea to live within one’s means, yet I’m here paying expensive dental fees with my credit card, adding to debt that I already have).
Sundari: James is a truth-sayer, not a tooth-sayer. ☺ Sorry, I have no idea why your teeth are falling out – or why you would think this has anything to do with your mind or your impecunious state of affairs.
~ Om and prem, Sundari