purpose of scriptures

What are the Vedas?

October 10, 2018

Vedas are divided into 4 sections: (1) Rig Veda, (2) Yajur Veda, (3) Sāma Veda, (4) Atharva Veda. Each each section is further divided into 2 parts. Part 1 called “karma-kāṇḍa“. Part 2 is called “jñāna-kāṇḍa“. Karma-kanda deals with rituals and prayers. Basically, how to live a happy, harmonious, smooth and clean life. Jñāna-kanda deals with…

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James Swartz Interviews on Vedanta

October 8, 2018

To hear an introductory description of the the true nature of “I”, watch this 10 minute video by James Swartz – Upated: 26 March 2020. Interview: PART 1 What does the Self mean to you? The self is me, Awareness. And how do you define “Awareness”? You are a conscious awareful being. It is just…

Why a Wise Person Won't Argue Against an Ignorant Person

October 1, 2018

What a wise person (Jñāni) knows directly – can be summarized in below Ādi Śaṅkarācārya's words. Which is why there is NO GAIN for a jñāni to argue or defend themselves – when challenged by criticism of an ignorant Jīva (person who identifies “I” with Body-Mind complex): brahma satyaṁ jagan-mithyā jivo brahmaiva nāparaḥ anena vedyaṁ…

‘I' – The Subtlest of the Subtlest

August 30, 2018

Bhagavad-Gītā says that we have five sense organs of knowledge (seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting); these are very subtle. Example: Organ of seeing is a lot more subtle then the physical instrument of seeing; eye. More subtle than the sense organ is the Mind. Subtler than the mind is the Intelligence. Subtler than these is…

Moving from Jiva-Srsti (Vision of Samsari) to Isvara-Srsti (Vision of Wise Person)

August 15, 2018

Persons false notion about reality is called “Jīva-Sṛṣṭi”. It is seeing what is NOT. It is subjective notions born of Ignorance. It is misapprehension/projection onto Īśvara (God). It is cause of adharmic (sinful) actions and ahimsā (entertaining thoughts of injury towards one own self or another being). It is also cause for years spent pursuing…

Keyswap – IAST Diacritics Windows Software (for Sanskrit Scholars)

August 9, 2018

  Keyswap is a Windows transliteration application that runs in the background. It let's you add diacritics to roman letters by pressing ‘ = ‘ after any key. Actually any trigger key of choice can be assigned. It was initially made for private use during my years of learning Sanskrit at Uni. Handwriting was too…

When Fruit of ‘I am Brahman' is Denied (viparīta-bhāvanā)

August 4, 2018

A common question by a person with Self-Knowledge: “Having done Śravaṇa and Manana, I am very clear I am Brahman. But in my behavior I do not find myself, ‘I am Brahman'. Why?“ Answer: You may have to deal with another problem – that of “viparīta-bhāvanā“. It's caused by your memories. There is another parallel…

Shankaracharya's Song to Fool Caught in Samsara (Bhaja Govindaṃ)

July 29, 2018

Bhaja Govindaṃ was written by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya. Bhaja govindaṃ is one of the minor compositions of the spiritual giant, Ādi Shankarācharya. It is classified as a prakaraṇa grantha, a primer to the major works. Though sung as a bhajan, it contains the essence of Vedānta and implores the man to think, “Why am I…

Advaita Vedanta in a Nutshell (Aparokshanubhuti by Adi Sankara)

July 15, 2018

Our ancient teachers have left behind a treasury of useful and convenient means of understanding Vedānta, the science of life, contained in the prasthana traya. Mainly in the Bhagavad Gīṭa, the Upaniṣads and the Brahma Sutras. One such stream of teaching is through their works called prakiriya granthas. A Prakarana Grantha is a User’s Manual or a Guide Book…

7 Stages of Enlightenment (Panchadasi by Swami Vidyaranya)

June 29, 2018

(Following excerpts are from book Inquiry to Existence by James Swartz, chapter 7. Whole text is actually from Panchadasi by Swami Vidyaranya. James provided some commentaries for legibility. We will go through these stages in detail in class.) Seven stages can be distinguished with respect to the realization of the Self: ignorance, veiling, projection, indirect…

Purpose of Studying the Scriptures (Śruti)

June 20, 2018

Śruti (Scriptures), the Vedas is the only means of knowledge to understand nondual Brahman – I am the limitless reality I seek. Above statement doesn't exclude Scriptures from other world's Religions. For sake of this article, we'll focus on Vedas. Science is primarily based on three other means of knowledge – perception, inference and two…

How is Vedanta Different to Other Systems?

March 31, 2018

Firstly, what we mean by “system” is what's called Pramāṇa – or “means of Knowledge”. In Vedānta case, it's a means of Self-Knowledge. Self-Knowledge in stage of “listening” can be equated to object knowledge – as in “I am now learning about the Self, and that I am that Self, even though I can't see how…

Does a Liberated Person Also Experience Happiness from Objects?

March 28, 2018

Object-happiness (viṣaya-ānanda) is a name given to a phenomenon that naturally occurs in the subtle body. Brahman is of the nature of sat-cid-ānanda (Existence-Awareness-Bliss). Although Brahman pervades the entire world/universe (jagat) as its substratum (adhiṣṭhāna) – the manifestation of its nature varies from object to object. The inert objects (eg: rock) of the world fully…

Who gains Self-Knowledge? Self, Subtle Body or Reflected Consciousness?

March 25, 2018

First of all “Self-Knowledge” is NOT mokṣa (Freedom, Enlightenment, Liberation). It is the means to mokṣa. It is a “knowledge-thought” that is created/assimilated in the Subtle Body… by the teachings of Vedānta. The content of this thought is “I AM brahman” (aham brahmāsmi). It destroys the ignorance that is the cause for saṃsāra (believing or…

Real vs. Unreal: How to ‘Get Out' of Maya's Crocodile Jaws

March 7, 2018

Here's an example how Māyā works and how innocently one gives absolute reality to mere appearance… What is this?…   Got it? If said “Table”, that's correct. Suppose you didn't, why didn't you say “wood”? After all it is just wood that looks like a table because of it's 4 legs attached to a rectangular…

How To Apply Knowledge of Vedanta in Daily Life (nididyasanam)

February 21, 2018

QUESTION: How should nididhyasanam (contemplation) be practiced? ANSWER: The biggest obstacle to ‘aham Brahmāsmi’ (I am Brahman) knowledge is the basic ignorance of the jiva (individual soul) identifying himself with his body/mind. Even after understanding what the Srutis (Scriptures) teach, the orientation that he is the body/mind still remains. Just because he has a body/mind…

10 Basic Qualifications for Liberation

February 10, 2018

This is not a popular topic because most of us are wanting shortcuts. Unfortunately like all valuable things in life, freedom is earned by diligent work. To make the changes necessary for self-inquiry, constant vigilance and a devotional attitude are required. Freedom is a gargantuan task that can only be undertaken by the purified and highly motivated mind.…