How to Apply Self-Inquiry In Regular Life? (Atma-vichara viveka) (18)

Summary:

Session 18 focuses on how to actively use Vedānta Self-enquiry knowledge in everyday life. Then we learn pursuit of Self-Knowledge is not about “gaining something NEW”, but discovering what is ALREADY PRESENT (praptasya prapti).

We conclude with an engaging Self-enquiry of identifying Satya (Invariable) and Mithyā (Variable) in our experience, and how to know the difference between the two.

TOPICS COVERED:

  1. Examples how to discriminate Self / Not-Self using 5 kośas.

    Please follow along the class discussion and pause after each statement to contemplate/reflect how the inquired experience operates in your 5 kośas.

    Another method is to use model of 3 bodies, asking “To which body does this experience belong to?” (Gross, Subtle, Causal)

    Self-inquiry is consistently questioning your experience, no matter how insignificant.

    The crux of Vedanta is being 100% clear in the triad of all experiences:

    (1) ExperiencER – Subject

    Refers to Awareness (ātmā/self).

    Can also be considered: Awareness conditioned by antaḥkaraṇa (mind).

    (2) ExperiencED – Object

    Refers to:

    (a) outer experience captured by 5 senses. Eg: tree, cloud, fire, wind, hot, cold).

    (b) inner experience. Eg: emotion, memory, thought, epiphany, sense of “I”.

    (3) ExperiencING

    Refers to the cognized experience between Subject/Object interacting together.

    This is done by ahaṃ kāra [I-sense]. I-sense is a mechanism which individuates your experience to just you. It's what gives us sense of individuality/separateness.

    Above 3 make up our experience.

    For simplicity, we can divide them into: Subject (ExperiencER) and Object (ExperiencED, ExperiencING).

    For example, there is Awareness (subject) of the these words (object).

    Self-inquiry is a process of discerning the subject/object. Until there is total clarity of which is which.

    In stage of partial knowledge (not liberated), we mix up the two.

  2. aprāptasya prāpti (worldly goals) VS. prāptasya prāpti (I am Awareness)

    aprāptasya prāptiḥ: (attaining that which isn't yet attained. EG: I'm yet to attain/gain skill how to play tennis).

    Getting to something that's not yet created. Or getting to something that's completely NEW (never been done before).

    For example if you want a sharp memory, we put effort or ACTION into getting to a state of sharp memory.

    All relative-world goals belong to this category.

    prāptasya prāptiḥ: (attaining that which is already attained. EG: Looking for pen everywhere. Yet all throughout it was on my ear. I already had it.)

    Getting to something that's ALREADY existent. Hence any Action won't PRODUCE it.

    Meaning, you have to change Action's purpose from producing It, to DISCOVERING THAT IT'S ALREADY-PRESENT.

    This is category of Vedānta.

    You're not “becoming Ātman/Self”.

    You're just discovering you ALREADY are Ātman/Self.

    How? By removing ignorance that's obscuring that already-present Truth.

  3. Significance of: I know that (I know that Object).

Download visual mind map of this session.

4 Sept

8 Comments

  1. It feels like the daily life “work” is when to analyse your reactions to things and grow/let go through knowledge that its not the “I” (neti neti and satya/mithyā etc) AND when to act! And having the WILL to act. The Gita seems to stress both the importance of action AND the importants of introspecton. If your intension is sattvic is that it? You must within reason act? And so wouldnt it be correct to confront the person and simply ask them why they dislike you (fire your arrow so to speak?)

    1. Intention should follow ahimsa. Non-injury. EG: Ghandi faced strong British resistance. He could’ve easily been arrested/silenced. But his attitude of non-injury, patience and kindness (yet firmness) beat a colossal force. If wish to ask another about you, do so, but with intention of receiving constructive feedback and making possible corrections in your behavior.

  2. Hi Andre, is saksi the adjective for Brahman? It seems like the same thing here but saksi is also saying that pure awareness does not get affected or involved

    1. Strictly speaking, they’re:

      (1) Both pure awareness.
      (2) Pure awareness looked at from different standpoint.

      a) Brahman = Pure awareness without conditioning of māyā.

      b) sākṣī: Pure awareness conditioned by māyā. Thus sākṣī/ātmā/self are 100% synonymous names. Actually īśvara is also in this category, since īśvara means: Brahman conditioned by His māyā.

      If need more examples, let me know.

  3. Would Tantric Yoga fall under jnana and bhakti (a mix) or? If including, for example, Kashmir Shaivism Kaula lineages.

    1. Thank you for the question.

      “Bhakti” is not a separate practice as unfortunately popularized by pop-spiritual-culture. Bhakti is everything. Any practice, even prayer, tantra, jnana-yoga, karma-yoga, kriya-yoga, kashmir, etc = bhakti (devotion). Devotion means “I am doing THIS for love of truth/God”. Thus meaning of bhakti changes as the individual evolves.

      Therefore, to answer the question, we have to categorize per the Vedas. There’s only 2 possible categories, under which every single spiritual practice (in past, present and future) can ever by categorized under:

      1) Karma-Yoga: Anything that involves action. Whether karma-yoga of BG CH3, kashmir/tantra/moving energy up-down spine/pranayama/mind-practices, prayer, puja, vipassana, upasana (meditation), raja-yoga (nothing but meditation), etc… Absolutely anything that involves DOING CONSCIOUSLY, whether by means of body or mind. All these practices are for sake of purifying the mind. Making it clean, dharmic, quiet, sattvic, subtle. Preparing it for jnana-yoga, which requires the absolute subtlest mind since nature of Self is the subtlest of the subtlest.

      2) Jnana-Yoga: Removal of ignorance in the mind of one’s nature. It’s being done by listening to the pramana (means of knowledge) and self-inquiring. Yes, self-inquiring is DOING, but it’s process doesn’t reinforce the DOER as is case of Karma-Yoga; it’s process reveals “I” being free of the DOER.

      Disclaimer: Even if one is referring to knowledge sections of Tantra/Kashmir, it’s still NOT jnana-yoga, as Vedas rejects such independent practices. Jnana-yoga is a very precise, specific methodology; step-by-step as per BGita and Upanishads.

  4. Thank you Andre. I understand much better, somehow I missed the critical foundation of this before. I came across your teachings on Yes Vedanta several months ago and am amazed at my good fortune. It is like water for my thirst; your lessons are engaging, approachable and inspired. You are so generous and a deep kindness radiates from you. It is such a gift to have access to these teachings with no charge (still in shock-lol), as with many programs out there the cost makes for some of us not affordable to sustain or even start. Deep bows and a million thanks you’s…..what seemed too complex for me is beginning to unfold through these lessons.

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