Saturday, August 19, 2017

The tendencies in human nature, which stand as bar to illumination ~ Swami Chidananda

What are these tendencies in human nature, which stand as bar to illumination?  

One is spiritual ignorance,
second is egoism,
third and forth, attachment and aversion,
and fifth, clinging to life.

What is ignorance?

Ignorance is characterized by non-discrimination, failing to discriminate between the Eternal and the non-eternal, between the Real and the unreal, between appearances and Reality, between the passing, the perishable and the Permanent, the Imperishable.

It is the failure to distinguish between the two and taking the unreal for the Real. Taking the non-eternal for the Eternal—this is ignorance. And regarding the non-self to be the Self, failing to distinguish between the Atman and Anatman, (Self and non-self), failing to distinguish between your Self and the body you dwell in and thinking I am this body—this is ignorance, this is spiritual ignorance.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fitness for Wisdom ~ Swami Sivananda

Fitness for Wisdom  
- Essence of Vedanta

One who is fit for receiving Wisdom of the Self shall receive it 'in due time.' Self-effort and passage of time work simultaneously and one cannot be distinguished from the other, for Providence and Personal exertion cannot be separated as they both work simultaneously and are interdependent. Rather, these are only two names for one and the same force of action.

Sri Sankaracharya had already exhorted that one has to undergo the disciplinary stages of Viveka, Vairagra, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha, Samadhana, and Mumukshutva before getting initiated into the mystery of Existence.  (Read more about the qualifications of an aspirant of Advaita Vedanta at the end of this essay)
 
One should not be initiated into the Truth of the Absolute unless he is found well developed in all these qualities. Nowadays generally we find that aspirants do not have a strong desire for Liberation. They may have a ray of Viveka (discerment) and Vairagra (dispassion) of a mild variety. But it is very difficult to find an aspirant who cares for nothing but final Emancipation, who treats the whole world and its contents as mere straw, who meditates incessantly upon how to attain Salvation from embodied existence. It is not easy to understand the meaning of Liberation. How can it be possible for raw men of the world to realise the nullity of earthly existence and of worldly activities? Even advanced aspirants sometimes have got a strong desire for doing something wonderful in this world, something which none has done before. Such people cannot have a real desire for liberation. And such people are unfit for receiving Brahma Vidya (The knowledge of Brahman, the Science of the Self)
 
It is only the best qualified (Uttama-Adhikari), who cares for nothing, who is totally indifferent to the ways of the world, who is ever silent and serene due to the dawn of proper knowledge, who is ever the same among the diverse men of the world, who is undisturbed by the distracted activity of the world, who is calm and peaceful, who has withdrawn himself from the bustle of life, who cares not for either death or life, who is unmindful of what is happening in the world, who is careless towards either this or that, that is really fit to receive the Ultimate wisdom of the Absolute! 
 
Even if there is the slightest desire lurking inside other than for the Realisation of the Absolute, that man will not be able to comprehend the true import of the Vedantic instructions by the Spiritual Teacher (Preceptor). He will have thousand doubts and distractions in the mind which will entirely pull him down from Vedantic Meditation. A person should desire for nothing else, than the Realisation of Brahman. There should be no other thought throughout the day than of the way of attaining Self-realisation. Every thought, every speech, every action, nay, every breath of the person should illustrate the method of realising the Absolute. Such a person is fit to receive Vedantic Wisdom.
 
NOTE
 
Sadhana Chatushtaya or the fourfold means for salvation or the four kinds of spiritual practices, is a pre-requisite to the aspirantj in the path of Jnana Yoga (Vedanta), or, for that matter, in any system of evolution towards Godhead. The four means are: 
 
 1. Viveka-discrimination between Sat (real) and Asat (unreal).

2. Vairagya-dispassion or indifference to sensual enjoyments herein and hereafter.

3. Shad Sampat (6 virtues):
(a) Sama-peace of mind through eradication of Vasanas.
(b) Dana-control of sense organs.
(c) Uparati-satiety, renunciation of all works (Sannyasa).
(d) Titiksha - forbearance.
(e) Sraddha-faith in scriptures and the Guru's words.
(f) Samadhana-concentration of mind, balance of mind.

4. Mumukshutva-Intense longing for liberation.