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).
- 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.
- Ātman shines on Mind. Confuses with content of Mind. Hence claims “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.
- 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.
- Removing false dualistic notion that “things are out there” – using logical (A = B = C = A) formula.
Choose an object (A) in your environment.
Object means: Anything that you are aware of.
Where is object from Step 1 appearing?
ANSWER: In your mind (B).
Mind in this context means: Mirror, Reflecting Medium, Subtle Body.
What is the space between image of your body reflection and a mirror on the wall?
So then, what is the space between the perceived object (A) and screen of your mind (B)?
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…
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)?
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).
- 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).
- 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).
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.
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.
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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Karma vs Jñāna vs Bhaki Yoga.
Download visual mind map of this session.
10 July 2018