Formula to Negate False Illusion of Separation, Atman & Brahman Difference (11)
Formula to Negate False Illusion of Separation, Atman & Brahman Difference (11)

Summary:

Session 11 shares heart of Advaita Vedānta in TWO major teachings. FIRST is using formula (A = B = C = A) to negate false sense of separation or space between You (Conscious Subject; ātman/Brahman) and witnessed OBJECT.

And SECOND is importance of total surrender to Īṣvara (the Lord, Bhagavān, God) – by help of evergreen Karma Yoga attitude.

Finally we briefly compare how Karma Yogi, Jñāna Yogi and Bhakti Yogi deals with life of seeming duality (Mithyā).

TOPICS COVERED:

  1. All you see is Mind. Not “world out there”.

    When I ask, “How do you know what is happening here?” the simple answer is “With my eyes and ears.”

    But is it so simple? Can your eyes see by themselves or your ears hear by themselves?

    Suppose you are sitting in a room, reading, completely engrossed by a fascinating book. Then someone calls your name from the doorway, but you don’t hear him/her. Why?

    Because your mind is elsewhere, immersed in the book. Unless your mind is available, you cannot hear the sounds falling upon your ears. Nor can you see, smell, taste or touch without your mind.

    You perceive everything through your mind. When you see an object, your eyes create an image of that person/object in your mind. When you hear the person, their words arise in your mind.

    Those images and sounds are not physical; they are perceptions, thoughts produced by your senses.

    Whatever is happening in the room or outside is known to you indirectly, via your mind.

    It is as if your mind is a screen upon which your eyes project whatever they see, your ears project whatever they hear, and so on. You are aware of everything your senses cast upon the screen of your mind.

    So the room/environment you directly experience at this moment is actually located in your mind.

    I am not suggesting that the hall does not physically exist.

    What I am saying is this: You directly experience only the contents of your mind. You are aware of your thinking; every thought that arises in your mind is known to you. You aware of your emotions; you know if you are happy or sad, joyful or angry.

    You experience all these — perceptions, thoughts, and feelings — as they arise in your mind, bubbling up into your consciousness.

    Metaphorically, they are all projected on the screen of your mind.

  2. Self (ātman) shines on the Mind (subtle body) as awareness. Thus Self and mind's content get mixed. Owning to Intellects inability to discriminate Self from the Mind, one then says “I AM ____ (content of Mind)“.

    Now another question naturally arises: How do you know what takes place on the screen of your mind?

    To answer, no reasoning or analysis is necessary. Your own experience is sufficient to determine that you are directly aware of all mental events. There is no actual process involved.

    You simply witness the everchanging flow of perceptions, thoughts and feelings as they arise in your consciousness, just like watching a movie projected on a screen.

    Whatever you experience, anything you perceive, think, or feel, is an object of your awareness.

    You are the awareful witness, the consciousness by which they are all known.

    This consciousness is ātman, the truth of yourself.

    Ātma is present in all of your experiences as the consciousness by which they are known. And yet, due to ignorance and confusion, it remains unrecognized.

    Hence because ātman is always shining on screen of the mind (which is always experiencing)… you have wrong conclusions about “I”.

    All your concepts about yourself are based on experience. Experiencing your body, you call yourself male or female, young or old, beautiful or plain. Experiencing illness, you call yourself sick. Experiencing disappointments in life, you call yourself a failure.

    Yet all these experiences are only contents of a mind, and completely unrelated to the ONE SAME light which shines on billions of minds (YOU, ātman).

    Hence the purpose of Vedānta is to destroy those wrong conclusions. Through self-inquiry, you can re-examine your experiences and discover your mistaken notions, freeing yourself from the confusion and suffering they cause.

  3. Difference between Ātman and Brahman using bucket analogy.

    This will be taught detail in future sessions the difference between Reflected (ātman) AND Original (brahman) Consciousness. It's key-teaching for mokṣa.

  4. Removing false dualistic notion that “things are out there” – using logical (A = B = C = A) formula.

    Step 1:

    Choose an object (A) in your environment.

    Object means: Anything that you are aware of.

    Step 2:

    Where is object from Step 1 appearing?

    ANSWER: In your mind (B).

    Mind in this context means: Mirror, Reflecting Medium, Subtle Body.

    Step 3:

    What is the space between image of your body reflection and a mirror on the wall?

    ANSWER: Zero.

    So then, what is the space between the perceived object (A) and screen of your mind (B)?

    Answer: Zero.

    So then, what's the difference between the perceived object (A), and your mind (B)?

    Answer: No difference. The mind **IS** the object.

    Mind is nothing but a faculty which constantly changes according to ongoing perceived Objects, emotions, thoughts – every millisecond of your experience.

    Since you are now reading these words, “THESE WORDS” are your mind. Along with the edges of your laptop, mobile phone, tablet, monitor – and whatever else is going on around you RIGHT NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, etc…

    Step 3:

    Word “you” in this context means: C, ātman, that which witnesses, one who is aware of NOW.

    How far are you (C) from your mind (B)?

    Answer: Zero.

    So, since (A)(B).

    Then (B) = (C).

    Because C pervades B. There is no place where C (Consciousness) is not.

    And since we already established in Step 2, there there's no difference between A and B. Then C = A.

    Meaning: Object of experience (A) = Consciousness (C).

    And when are you NOT experiencing something? NEVER.

    Meaning: You are always only experiencing yourself (C).

  5. Purpose of rituals

    1st meaning of “Ritual”: According to Bhagavad Gīta 2.44

    What is purpose of rituals? The practice of rituals (karma-kānda) makes the mind single-pointed when it is pursued without specific desires, such a prepared mind alone is fit for steady contemplation over the Upanisadic declarations.

    Further more, ritualism does not mean mere physical performance of ceremonies, but also includes all religious practices performed at the mental and intellectual levels of one’s personality.

    Thus it covers (1) rites and ceremonies performed by the physical body; (2) prayers or devotion practiced by the mind; and (3) subtle discrimination, contemplation and meditation undertaken by the intellect.

    2nd meaning of “ritual” in context of the text in class: 100% effort is put into rituals. Which only reinforces world of Mithyā. Most ritual actions are motivated out of lack, and are concerned with giving Jīva (the ritual undertaker) something MORE of. More peace, relative knowledge, harmony, success, etc.

    Point is: Ritual (EG: Yoga, meditation, puja, etc) needs to be substantiated by Philosophy/Knowledge. It's equivalent to:

    Chanting a mantra (without knowledge what it means) VS. (knowledge behind the mantra – in which case the mantra will have it's intended benefit).

  6. Introduction to 3 Gunas.

    Reason for Arjuna's distress on Kurukṣetra was because of excess Rajas (emotional leading to non-clarity of one's svadharma or duty).

    TAMAS:

    When Jīva is dominated with excess Tamas, Jīva is letharigic, heavy, lazy, sad, dull and AVOIDING (fear). Tāmasic Jīva is so dull, then only possible way of getting some joy is through SENSE PLEASURE. Any drug/sex addiction is due to excess Tamas. EG: Why are nightclubs “hot”? Because at night, Tama Guna is dominant, hence saṃsāri is more prone to entertaining sense pleasures.

    RAJAS:

    When Jīva is dominated by excess Rajas, Jīva is active, passionate, energetic, erratic, quick, calculating. And seeks pleasure in fulfilling every Desire possible, be it senses, work, creating something, exploring the world, etc. Always MOVING.

    SATTVA:

    How to cultivate SATTVA Guna? 

    By adjusting lifestyle in accordance with that which promotes a quiet peaceful, calm mind. Through Karma Yoga.

    Ask: Is THIS activity (eg: nightclub, meditation, listening to friends talk of their problems) likely to result in a noisy mind, or tranquil mind? 

    Then act accordingly.

    Read any biography of any guru. Common theme is they gradually distanced themselves not from world of Dharmic duty – but from “world of distraction, entertainment, seduction”. This is no accident. Protect your mind.

    Further session on Karma Yoga will provide more detail HOW to establish mind in Sattva.


    Summary: Sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), Rajas (passion, active, confused), and Ramas (darkness, destructive, chaotic).

  7. Why it's safe and why you should surrender to Īṣvara (God).

    Because you are NOT the author of the results of your actions. Why?

    Because if you were the author, you’d be getting what you wanted 24/7, and wouldn’t be still seeking truth (mokṣa). You’d just be getting all day long, EXACTLY what you wanted, and ecstatically happy all the time. You’d be totally satisfied and wouldn’t be looking for ways to improve things.

    By this clearly isn't the case for any Jīva.

    WHO IS THE AUTHOR OF CREATION? The whole field of existence (Īṣvara2). Everything in field of existence depends on everything else. Remove just ONE thing, and whole field collapses.

    However, ignorant Jīva's want to CONTROL the results of their action, because Jīva does not TRUST the field of existence (Īṣvara2) to give what Jīva needs. So Jīva takes imaginary AUTHORSHIP. Then justifies failures/success as having something to do with his-her actions. (In reality, Jīva's actions are unconsciously motivated by Vāsanā's' collection of habits acquired in this life and carried over from ‘past life'.)

    We expect the field to give us what we WANT (according to our person likes-dislikes; vāsanā's). But the field (Īṣvara2) doesn't care what we want. Only Jīva does.

    Īṣvara2 only gives us what we NEED. And according to the NEEDS of the TOTAL.

    For example if God wants a mosquito to live, that mosquito will BITE a human Jīva and give him-her malaria… whether Jīva is a saint or a sinner.

    Gods ONLY criteria is according to needs of the TOTAL. A mosquito is no more or less important then Jesus Christ, you or me. Only human Jīva's vāsanā's project a personal like-dislike (Jīva-sṛṣṭi) onto reality. Then believe they're somehow more special. Just like snake gets projected onto rope.

    Summary: Īṣvara(2) is not interested in you personally. Īṣvara(2) is only “interested” in maintaining harmony of the TOTAL.

    Example: How selfish is it to think I need some special attention or I need MY mokṣa? What about trillions of other sentient, insentient Objects who also have genuine needs. What's more, to Īṣvara(2), everyone is already Enlightened. It's only Jīva's personal ignorance that causes him/her to believe they're not ALREADY free.

    Joke: Think you're more special then a tree? What happens when all trees die? What is going to provide this “I'm Mr/Miss Special” the oxygen to call themselves so proudly “Mr/Miss special”?  😀

    Translating this to PRACTICAL application: If my actions don't produce results that satisfy the needs of the TOTAL, then my actions will produce me suffering.

    But if my actions do fulfill the needs of the TOTAL, then I'll feel happy from/with my actions.

    This is one way of identifying if you're doing “what you're supposed to be doing per Divine Will“.


    QUESTION: What does it mean to say “Surrender to Īṣvara(2)/God”?
    ANSWER: It means to understand that Īṣvara(2) is the one that's delivering all the actions, according to my Karma.

  8. What Īṣvara (God) IS – in 3 descriptions from Upaniṣad text.

    1) Jagat Karnam – World creator

    2) Karma Phala Data – Giver of fruits of action

    3) Dharma Raja (King of Dharma) – sets the rules/laws of the field.

  9. Karma vs Jñāna vs Bhaki Yoga.

Download visual mind map of this session.

10 July 2018

9 Comments

  1. Jo on March 17, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Hi Andre,
    I have been watching these classes and I’m learning so much. Thank you for posting them. I wish I could attend in person but I’m in the US. I am a little stuck on something. Let’s say a child is abused. That abuse causes a lot of negative vasanas and the child grows up revictimizing himself and also judging himself over and over again. If Ishvara gives the outcomes, this child may well grow up feeling very distrustful of Ishvara, perhaps even angry since the child got the opposite outcome from the one they desired. What would you say to this person? That they got what they deserved due to their own actions in a past life? If the atman is pure divinity, and the old Jīva’s body and mind are not here in this life, then why did the giver give such horrible results. A child’s free will is limited by so many things, the family they are born into, the society, proximity to abusive people, knowledge of the world, etc. Surely the child, new Jīva and the divine atman, don’t deserve to be abused. Please advise.
    Thank you,
    Jo

  2. mm Andre V on March 20, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    “then why did the giver give such horrible results”

    A child gets raped. Who is the perpetrator? The child or the rapist? 10/10 we say “rapist”. Wrong. Both are. The raped child (jīvātma), was a rapist him/herself in past life OR did something to someone which had detrimental personality consequences onto the “victim”. Thus in this life, the child is simply “paying” for the actions done in past life.

    EG 2: Suppose murderer shoots J.F. Kennedy. And perpetrator dies without being discovered. Where is that pāpa karma (bad karma) going to go? And to whom? It has to go somewhere. Thus next life, the newborn child will sooner or later encounter in his/her new life, a situation of being hurt or shot at.

    IF one doesn’t know about jīvātma (transmigrating jīva from one life to the next owning to one’s ignorance) going through endless lives, then one is going to cheat, lie, rape and steal… without any guilt/shame. You see this in West often. Thinking “after I die, that’s the end of it!”. When in fact… the next birth is simply a continuation of this ignorant jīvātma.

    Thus nobody is ever a victim. This will be answered different ways in following videos.

    • Jo on March 21, 2019 at 3:53 am

      Thanks for your response, Andre. So, the age old question of “why do bad things happen to good people”…the answer is they don’t? That’s a hard pill to swallow. I have so many questions. If the raped child has no knowledge of the bad deed (committed by a different body), then how can he learn from the punishment? Why are we veiled in ignorance if knowledge of jivatma would go far to prevent bad deeds? Guilt and shame seem innate to me. Nobody ever taught me how to feel guilty. I can’t imagine a person knowingly committing bad deeds with out guilt, even if they weigh the benefits as being worth the guilt and shame that will follow. If everything is Brahman, why aren’t all people compassionate (no bad deeds)? Andre, I’m sure I’m just jumping ahead of myself. I’m looking forward to learning more as I continue watching your classes and I’m sure my questions will be answered sometime in the next 55 videos. Thank you again for sharing your teaching on the internet!
      Jo

  3. mm Andre V on March 21, 2019 at 11:25 am

    “That’s a hard pill to swallow.” -> Correct. And it’s not a belief. But past life is supported by logic. Show me one thing in this universe, which has an EFFECT (eg: being bullied in school), without a CAUSE (eg: overpowering wife in previous life).

    ” then how can he learn from the punishment? ” -> It’s not black/white. Sometimes an injured child will, instead of forming resentment, will express forgiveness to the perpetrator. Thus the child had to be injured in order to learn or develop forgiveness for mankind. EG: I remember my high-school years of being randomly punched by undisciplined boys, and every time I retaliated, I felt guilty. This taught me to NOT injure, even if being injured.

    “Nobody ever taught me how to feel guilty.” -> Correct. This belongs to vyavaharika (transactional) order of reality. Nothing to do with Brahman. EG: Guilt is available. How much I feel it, depends on my free will of actions which either put me in situations which instigate tons of guilt, little guilt or no guilt. Thus guilt is available as value neutral. It is only persons own actions which add more value to a “value neutral” thing, according to one’s likes/dislikes.

    “If everything is Brahman, why aren’t all people compassionate (no bad deeds)? ” -> Because you’re yet to understand the difference between Satya/Mithya which is explained much more in videos. Compassion/violence/etc is a dream. You believe this dream to be real. Thus asking questions about an unreal dream. What’s more, for one person it is compassion, for another it is violence. So who is right! Nobody. Inside the dream, everything is relative. From one angle, it’s number 6. From another, it’s number 9. Whose right? Nobody.

    While you’re dreaming at night, person believes it to be real, and asks questions about the dream. Upon waking, one recognizes how useless all questions were and are. 🙂 But until then, continue asking questions and are encouraged to do so.

    All questions are stemming from assumption that this world is real. That’s the cause of these questions. Thus by me answering them, I’m only reinforcing the false notion that the dream is real. Advaita Vedanta’s job is to help you see things AS THEY ARE, without labeling them as compassion, violence, bad, good, etc.

    IT IS AS IT IS. Keep watching, contemplating, thinking about it and slowly all will make sense.

  4. Harish on April 3, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks a lot

  5. Robert Green on August 22, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Andre.
    Loved the bucket analogy and your demonstration of A=B=C=A.
    Have realised that my philosophical training has formed a Vasana where I look for Vasana’s ?
    Anyway, I have to ask.
    If object is A
    Mind is B
    There is no separation.
    A occurs in B
    But.
    We have scientific laws that consistently predict the behaviour of objects and validate things like time and space.
    By inference, this shows that the object exists in a place other than my mind.
    It is perceived in my mind, but is objective to it.
    Again, by these laws I can know that the light from many of the stars in the night sky arrive on the screen of my mind long after they have ceased to exist.
    Does this mean the stars exist or not?
    How can they be said to exist in my mind if they no longer exist?
    This seems to demonstrate the independent reality of a world ‘out there’ that exists independent of my awareness.
    It is there even if I don’t know about it.
    Does this imply that my ‘ omniscient ‘ awareness is also subject to illusion?
    Am I somehow confusing Isvara One and Ishvare Two here?
    I feel I am missing something important here.
    Further:
    You state that when Brahma is reflected In Atma it is because the mind is purified enough to reflect that ultimate reality.
    Atma is the same as Brahma, ( as in the sunlight in the bucket) but it is not Brahma.
    But.
    The experience of this still takes place in the mind.
    Doesn’t this bring us back to square one?
    I have to say here, that I don’t even believe my own argument as I intuitively responded to your brilliant’ sunlight in a bucket’ analogy.
    I just can’t yet see the flaw in my logic.
    Would really appreciate some help with this as I found talk number eleven quite inspiring.
    Thank you.

  6. Robert Green on August 23, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Andre.
    So many questions.
    Towards the end of the talk you say that “ there is no choice of results because you are not the author of results “.
    This goes to the heart of free will and responsibility to me.
    It feels like a fatalistic ‘ get out of jail free’ pass.
    I know this must be a mistaken concept because the teaching is far too sophisticated and subtle for that.
    Also, many traditions seem to directly refute this statement. ( again, I accept in advance that this is probably due to my ignorance of true understanding).
    As an example, all magical traditions involve international mental states, visualisation, vibration and ceremonial ritual aimed at manipulating reality so that you ‘ become the author of results’.
    For instance, Kabbalistic magic would have you go through certain purifying rituals, invoke a Hod Form appropriate to the level you are working at, vibrate a word of power and hold a clear intention with one pointed concentration.
    Having completed the magical invocation, you then release all attachment to the intended outcome as though it has already happened.
    Many healing modalities work the same way and other traditions tell us to pray to God and express gratitude as if your prayers have already been answered.
    The claim is that under spiritual law the intention must then manifest.
    I have been doing the meditation practices of Dr Joe Dispenza for about 18 months now.
    He often refers to the unified field and I wonder if this is the same field that you sometimes refer to?
    He says the unified field is outside space and time and that all possibilities are contained within it and exist always as now.
    Is this Ishwara 2?
    He says “ anything that is emotionally felt and clearly experienced beyond space and time must find you and manifest in this space and time. It’s the Law”.
    This is being the author of results.
    This is obviously designed to appeal to and manipulate another order of reality to control this one.
    The crux of the matter is:
    1. Does this refute the statement that we are not the author of results?
    2. Should I stop working with these meditations if I want to pursue Vedanta?
    Yogananda’s guru, Swami Yukteswar, in Autobiography Of A Yogi, distinguishes between the laws of science governing the physical plane and the subtler laws which govern the spiritual planes.
    He tells how his guru, Lahiri Mayasaya demonstrated this to him and proved that we can bring about physical manifestation as long as ‘ we realise our unity with God’.
    There are innumerable other examples, as I am sure you know better than me.
    It seems (apparently) that Vedanta takes a passive, fatalistic approach, as against the more active intentional approach of yoga and the magical traditions.
    I know I must have a basic misunderstanding, a mind distortion, but I just cannot see what it is.
    Your help to provide clarity would be much appreciated.
    Thank you.

    • mm Andre V on August 23, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      ================
      Towards the end of the talk you say that “ there is no choice of results because you are not the author of results “.
      This goes to the heart of free will and responsibility to me.
      ================

      Is it in our hands that our body grows older by the day? No.

      Did we select our parents? No. Given to us.

      Do we choose what happens to food once it’s digested? No. Body intelligence takes care of that.

      In above examples = zero control.

      Where is our control (free will)? In how we respond to what happens. Simple as that.

      For example, I may be walking and sprain my ankle. From that moment, I can either:

      (a) complain how life is unfair, which then further creates thread of negative thoughts, which will affect my future actions.

      (b) realize I was walking mechanically because mind was elsewhere thinking about latest iPhone. I use this to help me see how world-objects are distracting the mind. Meaning next time I’m less inclined to think about world-objects.

      ================
      As an example, all magical traditions involve international mental states, visualization, vibration and ceremonial ritual aimed at manipulating reality so that you ‘ become the author of results’.
      ================

      In other words, it’s about “becoming someone”.

      And what is definition of saṃsāra (that which causes rebirth)? Becoming. 🙂

      What is mokṣa? Freedom from becoming.

      Thus every time one pursues the “law of attraction” possibility, it silently reinforces “I am this limited body-mind”, since it’s meant to improve the status of either (a) intellect (b) emotions (c) physical body.

      We’re not saying it shouldn’t be pursued. Because everyone helplessly desires a successful life. Problem is when whole life goes into attracting/becoming.

      ================
      Many healing modalities work the same way and other traditions tell us to pray to God and express gratitude as if your prayers have already been answered.
      The claim is that under spiritual law the intention must then manifest.
      ================

      Again, nothing wrong. Problem becomes when we take the MEANS as the FINAL END.

      This is the basic human confusion. Person takes every situation, every modality to be the final END.

      Āsana = final end.
      Psychedelics = final end.
      Tao Te Ching wisdom (living in harmony with everything) = final end.
      Marriage/kids = final end.
      Cake = final end.
      Netflix = final end.
      Charity = final end.

      Unlimited final-ends keeps the person busy for unlimited lifetimes… experiencing and becoming. This is saṃsāra.

      They must be understood to be a MEANS only.

      There is only one final end: mokṣa.

      And only way to mokṣa is by removing ignorance through knowledge.

      Since “I” doesn’t know the nature of self, the only solution is knowledge of self, IE: self-knowledge.

      For example, to remove ignorance of playing guitar, we don’t get knowledge on piano playing. Rather we SPECIFICALLY gain guitar-playing knowledge.

      ================
      He says the unified field is outside space and time and that all possibilities are contained within it and exist always as now.
      Is this Ishwara 2?
      ================

      Yes, the “unified field” term is referring to: Īśvara 2.

      Actually, just Īśvara (all knowledge, all power).

      The 1/2 was used initially in course to help distinguish (Brahman: Īśvara 1) and (Brahman conditioned by māyā: Īśvara 2).

      Also Īśvara is so much more then just the limited description of “unified field” as portrayed by John Hagelin, also known as “String Theory”. That’s why Īśvara will be defined in almost every session.

      Speaking of physics…

      Per John Hagelin (from whom Joe Dispenza has borrowed), evolution of physics: Classical (Newtonian) > Quantum Mechanics > Quantum Field Theory (Einstein) > Unified Quantum Field Theory (strings)

      John Hagelin then goes one step further, and says after “unified field” (Īśvara 2) there is Consciousness (Īśvara 1).

      However, topic of “consciousness” was turned into an intellectual object of discussion/analysis, something to experience in samādhi. Something which can be measured through brain waves. So consciousness was turned into another object.

      This is why Upaniṣads are needed. As your statement said earlier “The true Tao can’t be spoken”.

      While it can’t be spoken of, it can be directly revealed, through implied statements, negatives, metaphors… all which the course employs.

      ================
      1. Does this refute the statement that we are not the author of results?
      ================

      You’re not author of results of what is happening right NOW.

      For example, if you release an arrow towards target, and realize it’s not an animal, but a human… can you stop it? No way!

      Hence you will be punished accordingly.

      But where is our point of freedom? In how we interpret what has happened. And what we do thereafter. Some choose to wallow in misery for the misfortune, some use jail time as opportunity to think about purpose of living (self-inquiry).

      So direct answer is: We don’t have control (what already happened), and we DO have control (what we do about what has happened).

      ================
      2. Should I stop working with these meditations if I want to pursue Vedanta?
      ================

      Meditation’s only purpose is to purify the mind.

      Meditation is not the final END, as portrayed in yoga world.

      It’s meant to maintain a sattvic predisposition of mind. A decently quiet mind.

      Point is: If you’ve meditated for years, I bet 99% of cases, one’s mind is ready for self-knowledge. In which case, meditation should either be (a) dropped (b) reduced.

      One needs to move forward.

      ================
      Yogananda’s guru, Swami Yukteswar, in Autobiography Of A Yogi, distinguishes between the laws of science governing the physical plane and the subtler laws which govern the spiritual planes.
      He tells how his guru, Lahiri Mayasaya demonstrated this to him and proved that we can bring about physical manifestation as long as ‘ we realise our unity with God’.
      There are innumerable other examples, as I am sure you know better than me.
      ================

      Yes, I remember in decent detail the Yogananda book and Holy Science by Yukteswar.

      “laws of science governing the physical plane and the subtler laws which govern the spiritual planes.” > This is easy. Will learn about sthula and sūkṣma śarīra in course in detail.

      ” we can bring about physical manifestation as long as ‘ we realize our unity with God’.” > What’s the point of physical manifestation when it’s time-bound. Comes and goes. Fleeting. What’s more, one’s desires are constantly changing. Today they want X. Tomorrow X is boring. Constant struggle trying to manifest and maintain physical objects in life.

      ================
      It seems (apparently) that Vedanta takes a passive, fatalistic approach, as against the more active intentional approach of yoga and the magical traditions.
      I know I must have a basic misunderstanding, a mind distortion, but I just cannot see what it is.
      ================

      Vedanta is not passive: It requires contemplation in light of what’s been heard.

      At the same time, there is level of passivity. Because the truth is, you (not body-mind) are already limitless, full and complete.

      So the logic is: How can any action add/subtract from THAT which is ALREADY full, whole and complete? Impossible!

      That’s why it’s not about gaining something. But undoing the false notions we have carried for lifetimes about this “I”.

      Also Vedanta is certainly not “fatalistic”. We have partially explained above the definition of “free will”.

  7. Robert Green on August 23, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Again, thank you for your time and effort to help me become clearer.
    I will take your advice re meditation and use the extra time to study Vedanta.

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