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Sharing My Knowledge on Vedanta – Paths to Liberation
What is Vairāgya? How can it be achieved?
Vairãgya is translated as dispassion or non-attachment, but is defined as “not necessarily non-attachment to material things, but the ability to be completely, mentally detached from craving for all that is non-self (ultimate).” Simply defined as “willingness to lose anything at any time”.
This is the most important and primary requirement for Liberation. This dispassion (recognition that only Brahman is permanent and everything else is transitory) is caused by two factors.
• Complete and clear understanding of the ultimate nature of sense pleasures
• And an unstoppable passion for the Infinite
All pleasures have a beginning and an end. The happiness they bring is fleeting, temporary, short-lived and therefore finite. The senses, mind and intellect are needed to experience these pleasures. These are matter, gross and decaying – they are not permanent in nature.
Understand that attachment to these transitory objects and happiness leads to sorrow, samsara and bondage, which leads to the cycle of birth and death.
Without achieving sufficient disinterest in worldly objects, relationships, pleasures and enjoyments, the seeker will not be able to still his mind to go deeper on the spiritual path. Therefore, Vairãgya (dispassion) is the first and most important step.
Four Aspects of Faith. Faith is Åœraddhâ in Sanskrit.
Faith is total surrender/simply trusting in something that IS, even though we cannot see it. According to this chapter, faith is fourfold, viz
• The ability and nobility of the teacher – not to challenge the teacher about his knowledge and wisdom
• That existence is a reality – not just worldly objects or the happiness gained from them. There is only ONE, there are so many appearing.
• Have faith in the scriptures to impart knowledge of truth that transcends worldly knowledge
• Finally, there is the ability of the individual to acquire this universal knowledge as the Self.
Difference between Åšravana and manana
Åšravana is intensive listening, not just listening. Listening requires the individual’s full attention with all the senses. It is necessary to be intellectually convinced of what the teacher is sharing and this is only possible by listening. Åšravana to the teacher gives the student the belief that by following all the sadhanas in Vedanta, he can directly experience jiva-brahama-aikya. (Realization that Atman and Brahman are one and the same)
Manana is a reflection of what we heard from the teacher. It is an intellectual and logical analysis of what is heard. The student must be completely convinced by arguments and not blindly obey the teacher’s words.
This will clear all doubts and confusions that have arisen. Logic and reasoning must be in harmony with the teachings of the guru that the Self is Brahman and is the same, all. There is only ONE and ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. This inner intellectual belief gained through manna is critical on the spiritual path.
Difference between DhyÄna and Samādhi
Even after intellectually believing that the Self is Brahman with Vairãgya, Åšravana and manana, the seeker still finds it difficult to transform. This deep hole between information and transformation is due to vasanas in the seeker. He may be fully convinced intellectually, but if the vasanas of previous births direct him towards material objects, pleasures, he is still under this pressure.
Samadhi is a sustained practice of dhyana. At the DhyÄna stage the seeker has one thought, the opposite of Samadhi is a state of no thought. Even the thought ‘I am Brahman’ is not there. It is an experience that cannot be described or verbalized. It is a state of pure consciousness. A seeker in this state is completely excluded from slavery forever. Such a seeker is called a Jivan-Mukta, a liberated being.
Difference between Anantama-cinta and anatma-vasana
Cinta refers to thoughts at the suksma/subtle body level. Anatma-cinta refers to thoughts attached to the body, mind and intellect, seeing the world as separate from the Self, thoughts of doing and enjoying, and a sense of duality. These thoughts can be monitored and managed. We cannot control them as they can become repressed, but we can focus on sublimating them through deeper intellectual understanding.
Anantama-vasana is much deeper; is a collection of thoughts from all previous births at the karana/causal body level. This is the root. Unless this root is completely uprooted, no intellectual understanding of non-self birth will help the seeker on his spiritual path. A dormant seed will sprout at every opportunity with a sense of doing and enjoying. DhyÄna is the effort to nullify anatma-vasana at the causal level so that anantma-cinta ceases forever.
The role of dhyÄna (nididhyasana) in self-realization
The depth between information and transformation is enormous. If people with high intelligence and knowledge could achieve self-realization, many would have realized it by now, because there are many such people in this universe. There are people full of biblical knowledge, capable of reasoning and logical explanation, but one has to go beyond the intellectual level to know the Self. Realization of the Self is experiential and cannot be explained.
To reach this stage, dhyäna is essential. What is dhyāna? According to the lyrics I’m sure it is
DhyÄna also called ‘nidhidhyasana’ is a process where the seeker remains focused on only one thought ‘I am Brahman’ It is a continuous flow of the same thought relating to Brahman (the flow of water pouring on the lingam in temples symbolizes this ). The purpose of dhyana is to eliminate the common misconception (viparita-bhavana) that we are not-self.
Intellectual analysis and logical reasoning, though necessary, are not powerful enough to achieve self-realization. Even after the seeker is fully intellectually convinced of oneness with Brahman, he is tormented by fears, attracted by desires, anchored by worldly objects and sensual pleasures. Complete transformation seems to be very difficult to achieve and the seeker continues to identify with the anatman due to the vasanas.
The shackles of these vasanas cannot be broken at the intellectual level (anatma-cinta). They have to be eradicated at the root level, which is anantma-vasana ie. the tendency to identify with the anatman at the causal level in order to avoid re-sprouting.
How to eradicate this anatma-vasana?
Habits are formed by repeating the habitual tendency to think that I am not-self, or attachment to body, mind and intellect arises out of habit. To remedy this, we must begin to develop the habit of thinking ‘I am Brahman’, the opposite of the original habitual thought, repeatedly and continuously with conviction and understanding, to the exclusion of all other thoughts. This is dhyāna.
Mechanical and monotonous repetition of ‘I am Brahman’ will not remove anantma-vasana. This must be strictly supported by a thorough intellectual understanding that the Self is Brahman, (carried out by reflection (manana)).
Therefore dhyna is to destroy wrong thinking and divert the mind to a single thought with right understanding, without doubt, with strong conviction.
Through my exposure to satsang and persistent effort, I intellectually understand that this body is temporary and a passing phase, although I continue to be drawn to my relationship with my family and friends. often I prefer silence and solitude, I cannot talk freely about material objects, my thoughts are not in harmony with the thoughts of others. These behaviors also cause anxiety in my mind (ego) about my survival (who should survive?) There is constant internal conflict (Battle of Kurkshetra)
I continue to read the Vedic scriptures (also for vasanas) for hours together along with the shackles as continued from previous births. and experience an inner peace that is purely experiential.
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