Intro to BG CH6 (Meditation / Dhyana-Yoga) & 6 Means of Knowledge (42)


Lesson 42 establishes groundwork for Upanishadic Meditation, it's true role and purpose. We also correct 3 common false notions regarding Meditation: It is NOT meant for Liberation. Not meant for gaining Knowledge. Not meant for mystical/extraordinary experiences.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 INTRODUCTION.

Quick Revision of Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2-5

  • Chapter 2 (Yoga of Knowledge: Sāṅkhya Yoga):
    • Śrī Kṛṣṇa expounds vision of Oneness. Essence of all Upaniṣad.
    • Describes jñāni with mental equipoise/equanimity (steadiness in profit or loss).
    • Wets Arjuna's appetite so Arjuna to would want to discover the Truth for him/her self and enjoy mental equanimity. Gain doesn't add to jñāni's cheerfulness. Loss doesn't subtract cheerfulness.
      • Because to say joy/fear adds/subtract to jñāni to wrongly assume say: Consciousness has attributes.
  • Chapter 3 (Path of Action: Karma Yoga):
    • Śrī Kṛṣṇa sees Arjuna's intellectual incompetency, emotional dis-balances, attachments for results… and recognizes unable to contemplate/comprehend higher teachings.
    • Karma-Yoga is prescribed to help prepare mind for intellectual comprehension of Higher.
  • Chapter 4: (Yoga of Renunciation of Action by Knowledge; Jñāna Karma Saṁnyāsa Yoga):
    • Outer actions, however noble/pure, create puṇya/pāpa (karma-phala).
    • Meaning, sādhana only washes away the sins/impurities, but doer remains, who will commit another action in future.
    • “Renounce of Action” is to continue acting, but know “I am not doer of this Acting” by Self-Knowledge.
    • Thus guilt/shame can only be dropped when “I” is disassociated from doer/enjoyer (aham kāra). EG: Sinner Ratnākar become Sage Vālmīkī.
  • Chapter 5 (Yoga of Renunciation: Sannyāsa Yogaḥ):
    • Arjuna is confused and asks, which is better, CH3/CH4 for preparing mind for jñāna-yoga.
    • By settling for limited results (Mithyā) in life, you're missing out on LIMITELESSNESS (Ānanda).
    • Manage your desires/angers. Easiest way, simplify life.
    • Make Self-Knowledge a way of life, whether one is jñāni/ajñāni.

Bhagavad Gita, CH6: Dhyana-Yoga – (Vedantic Meditation) Intro/ Framework

  • Chapter 6 comprehensively deals with important spiritual sādhana: Meditation.
  • Dhyāna Yoga / Ātma Samyama (restraint) Yogaḥ (Yoga of Self-restraint to Control the Mind).
    • Dhyāna & Ātma Samyama = same: Meditation
  • Meditation is prescribed for assimilation and internalization of Vedānta/Bhagavad Gītā/Upaniṣad teachings.
  • Purpose of this is to transfer/penetrate this knowledge from Intellectual knowing to Unconscious mind.
    • Most reactions/true intentions in situations comes from unconscious mind. 95% are from unconscious. Only 5% conscious.
    • Similarly, problem is Gītā remains in Conscious mind alone. Meaning only 5% of Gītā gets used. Rest 95% is usual child patterns.
  • How is it transferred to unconscious and made accessible automatically?
    • Have to do something to mix the Knowledge with your personality. Just like how sugar is mixed with tea.
      • EG: One drinks tea and notices it's not sweet. Then complain to spouse. Spouse says it already has sugar, I just didn't stir it with tea.
  • Before going into text, we build basic idea of Meditation from Upaniṣad. Because Gītā is based on Upaniṣad alone, it's not independent text.
  • What is role/purpose of meditation? First need to know what meditation is NOT meant for. Because many ideas/misconceptions regarding role of Meditation.
  • Meditation is NOT:
    1. Meditation is NOT prescribed as means of Liberation (mokṣa)
      • Because according to Upaniṣad, meditation is not a goal to be accomplished. Meditation is our own intrinsic nature.
      • Since mokṣa is already an accomplished fact (whether you believe it or not), it is only matter of OWNING UP TO THIS FACT or KNOWING IT.  Just like whether you believe in gravity or not, gravity doesn't care! It's just waiting for the individual to accept it's existence.
        • Similarly, whether you believe you're already free or not, Existence doesn't care. Fact is, Existence (which nothing is apart from) is already free of the objects “within” Existence.
        • Thus Upaniṣad say, Knowledge alone is means of Liberation. In fact, even knowledge also doesn't accomplish Liberation for us.
        • Knowledge simply REVEALS fact that Liberation IS, and already accomplished.
          • prāptasya prāptiḥ: attaining that which is already attained.
        • Śāstra says: tam evam vidvān amṛta iha bhavati jñānādeva tu kaivalyam
          • “Liberation is through knowledge.” Nowhere in various Upaniṣad said that it's through Mediation.
    2. Mediation is NOT prescribed for gaining Knowledge (neither material/spiritual).
      • Meditation is not considered as “means of knowledge”.
      • In scriptures, we discuss different means of knowledge.
      • There are 6 means of knowledge (ṣaṭ pramāṇam) accepted:

Senses are like doorkeepers which bring knowledge of the outer world to the mind. Not all things in this universe are grasped straightway by the five senses – of touch, smell, taste, hearing, and sight. There are so many things which we know indirectly, without the direct aid of the senses. Hindu sages have classified all such means of valid knowledge into six broad groups.

These are called pramāṇās. Pramāṇās are valid means of knowledge. The knowledge that we gain through all these means should be foolproof.

These six means of knowing are (1) Direct Perception by Sense Contact (Pratyakṣa); (2) Inference by Previous Experience (Anumāna); (3) Verbal Testimony of the Vedas (Śabda); (4) Knowing by Example (Upamāna) (5) Conjecture from Insignificant Information (Arthāpatti); and (6) Absence of a Thing (Anupalabdhi).

1. Direct Perception by Sense Contact (Pratyaksa): I see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Through these I come to know about the objects of the world. This is called Pratyaksa. If the object is not subtle, distant, very near, in darkness, or covered; or unless our eyes are defective, we can all see the thing clearly and know it.

MORE: Direct perception (pratyaksha), which affords direct knowledge of objects gained through the immediate contact of the sense organs with their corresponding objects.

2. Inference by Previous Experience (Anumana): There is smoke on the yonder hill. There must be fire over there. We have seen on countless occasions that where there is smoke there is fire. So we infer that there is fire on the hill. This is inference. Sense organs are needed here also, for unless we see smoke the other things will not follow.

MORE: Inference (anumana), which is indirect knowledge. In this case, direct perception, together with the knowledge of the invariable connection between something that is now perceived and something that was earlier perceived, grants us the inferred knowledge of the presence of an object not directly perceived in the here and now. For instance, because we know that smoke is only produced by fire, upon seeing smoke rising above the crest of a distant hill, we immediately know that there is a fire burning on the other side of the hill, even though we cannot see it.

3. Verbal Testimony of Vedas (Sabda): Regarding supernatural and divine things, there is only one source of knowledge – the words of the sages. Their words are compiled in the Vedas. The Vedas are infallible. But even here we need the senses to either read or listen to the Vedas.

4. Knowing by Example (Upamana): ‘Have you seen Mars?’ ‘No, I haven’t.’ ‘Have you not seen the pictures of Mars either?’ ‘No, I haven’t. And I do not know what Mars is. What is Mars and how does it look like?’ ‘Ah! You know nothing then? Mars is a planet. It is like our earth.’ ‘Like the earth. Ah! I understand.’ This is knowing by visible examples.

MORE: Comparison (upamana), which is another means of indirect knowledge. This means is used to communicate knowledge of an unknown object by comparing it to a known object that is similar to it. For instance, if a person does not know what an alpaca looks like, then we liken it to another animal—a llama—that he is familiar with.

5. Conjecture from Insignificant Information (Arthapatti): ‘Is Mr So-and-so home?’ ‘No, he is not.’ ‘Aha! Then he must be dead.’ Why should Mr So-and-so be dead just because he is not home? His not being at home means he is out; that he may return soon. Such conjecture using some information is called arthapatti.

MORE: Postulation (arthapatti), which is another means of indirect knowledge. This means is used in situations wherein a known fact cannot be accounted for without the existence of an unknown fact, and so we must assume or postulate the existence of the unknown fact. For instance, while we know that John has been observed fasting during the day, he is not losing weight. We, therefore, postulate that he must be eating when no one is around. This means of knowledge is also referred to as “otherwise not possible logic” (anyatha anupapatti).

6. Absence of a Thing (Anupalabdhi): ‘There is no car on the table. Therefore, here is its absence.’ Absence is not seen directly, but inferred. So Advaitins and one group of Purva Mimamsakas accept this as a means of knowledge.

MORE: Non-perception (anupalabdhi), which is a direct means of knowing “negative facts” through non-perception. In other words, through this means we gain knowledge of the absence of a given object.

Conclusion: There are the six means of valid knowledge. Using them, we come into contact with the universe outside and know it. The worldly Carvakas (materialists) depend only on direct perception (Pratyaksa). Buddhists depend on Perception and Inference. Advaitans of Adi Shankara depend on all six methods.

Since perception is the basis of direct perception and non-perception, and inference is the basis of inference, postulation, and comparison, we can pare down our list to two essential means of knowledge—perception and inference. In other words, all means of knowledge available to human beings are based on perception and inference.

Unfortunately, these means of knowledge, as well as the instruments—senses, mind, and intellect—through which they function, are incapable of knowing the self. The senses, mind, and intellect require objects from which they can gather the data necessary for perception and inference to take place. However, since the self is limitless, attributeless awareness and thus cannot be objectified, perception and inference are ineffective means of knowing the self.

In the case of relative knowledge, there is always a knowing subject, which we refer to as “I,” and a known object, which we refer to variously as “he,” “she,” “them,” “you,” “it,” or “that.” In any case, that which is known by perception is always different from or other than the one by whom it is known. Because perception and inference are object-dependent and only yield knowledge of objects to a subject, the subject itself can only be known if it becomes an object and may be cognized.

In the case of the relative knower—that is, the person we take ourselves to be—this is exactly what happens. We identify ourselves as a person based on our knowledge of the objective phenomena—i.e., the body and its associated sensations, the mind and its associated emotions, and the intellect and its associated thoughts—that we believe constitute the discrete entity we think of as “me” and refer to as “I.”

The ultimate subject, however, is the eternal observer—the pure, attributeless awareness who is always “behind” the relative knower. Because by definition the subject can never be the object, and moreover because that which is without qualities is not available for objectification, the ultimate subject—our true self—cannot be known by perception or inference.

Furthermore, it is a universal law that the effect cannot comprehend its cause. Just as a light bulb can illumine the objects in a room, but not the electricity that causes it to glow, the senses, mind, and intellect—the insentient instruments of perception and inference—cannot illumine the source of their being and the cause of their operation.

It would seem, then, that God has played a devilish prank left us in the lurch. God did, however, provide us with an escape hatch: the self evolved Vedanta.

Vedanta Is the Means of Knowledge for the Self

Simply put, Vedanta is a systematic means of self-inquiry that leads to the assimilation of self-knowledge, which is tantamount to moksha, or ultimate inner freedom. It is not a belief you must simply have faith in or a dogma whose set of rules you must follow, but rather a tool that makes understanding possible.

The ancient and vast body of knowledge known as Veda—i.e., “wisdom”—is a means of knowledge that is technically referred to as a shabda pramana, which means that it is a means of knowledge based on sound. Simply put, it uses words to reveal that which is beyond words or concepts.

Strictly speaking, a means of knowledge is only regarded as shabda if it reveals knowledge that is not possible to gain through other means of knowledge. For instance, the sentence “The hill is on fire” is not shabda because we can see fire and/or know it by the presence of smoke. Conversely, the sentence “You are limitless awareness” is shabda because, as has been pointed out, we cannot know limitless awareness through perception or inference.

Vedanta is the section of Veda, or the Vedic scriptures, dealing with self-knowledge (atmajnana) and is the means for gaining self-knowledge.

Vedanta is considered a pramana, or an independent source of reliable knowledge, because it provides knowledge obtainable only through it and not by means of any other pramana. In other words, it reveals that which cannot be known through perception and inference. Also, it conveys that which is not opposed to the evidence of any other pramana. Because other means of knowledge have no access to the self, they cannot negate, amend, or confirm Vedanta.

Furthermore, Vedanta conveys that which is both free from doubt and useful. The teachings of Vedanta are free from doubt because they are revealed knowledge rather than a conjecture cooked up by the human intellect, and because their central theme is stated in unequivocal terms. They are useful because the knowledge they offer removes ignorance, alleviates suffering, and grants ultimate inner freedom to those who assimilate them.

6 means of knowledge advaita vedanta pramana

In summary of all 6 means of knowledge…

        1. Pratyakṣa (perception. What we see. EG: Cloud)
        2. Anumāna (inference by logic. “Knowing after __”. EG: Smoke thus fire!)
        3. Upamāna (comparison and analogy. EG: Brahman is like the Sun. Always shining independently of Earth's body or existence)
        4. Arthāpatti (postulation, derivation from circumstances, presumption of a fact. EG: Fat person says he doesn't eat in day. We postulate he eats at night, else his observed fatness can't be explained any other way).
        5. Anupalabdhi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof. Means “Non-apprehension”. Non-existence (abhava) of a thing is perceived by its non-perception. EG: ‘There is no teacher in the class-room’, There is no sound here’, ‘This flower has no fragrance’ etc.)
        6. Śāstram/Śabda (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts. EG: Upaniṣad)
      • Amongst 6, meditation is not listed. Not a means of knowledge.
    1. Meditation is NOT prescribed for any extraordinary/mystical experience.
      • Reason: All experience (ordinary/extra), deal with finite field (bound by time). Thus deal with Objective Universe. All experience belongs to Objective Universe (vyāvahārika).
      • Experiencer subject, can never become object of experience.
      • We're not discounting mystic/extraordinary experience. Only that they belong to Objective field of Mithyā. Can't touch the Subject.
      • Experiences can only provide Objective/Material Knowledge. Can NEVER come under Self (Subject)-Knowledge, nor spiritual knowledge.
      • Since experience deals with objective knowledge, incapable of giving Liberation.
      • Seeker of Liberation should not be after extraordinary/mystical experiences. Because he will continue to be within Objective / Finite / Saṃsāri / Anātma world.
      • Even if extraordinary experiences come, REJECT them as Objects (anātma), nothing to do with Self (ātma).
        • Just like an adult naturally rejects toys which he/she played with in childhood, is how mature spiritual aspirant rejects any experience as anātma. Problem is most seekers mind's are still in childhood-mode. So for adults, toys are special experiences. Hence “REJECTING” word often sounds offensive. But it's only offensive because of attachment to one's experiences for validating one's Existence. Just like it's offensive/disturbing to 5 year old child to take away his/her toy away.
      • Thus Self is the subject BEHIND all ordinary/mystical/extraordinary experiences.
  • What PURPOSE is Meditation prescribed in śāstra? 2 roles:
    1. Upāsana-Dhyānam (preparation) > Śravaṇam (gathering) / Mananam (conviction)
    2. Nididhyāsanam-Dhyānam (removing false notions)


Upāsana-Dhyānam > Śravaṇam / Mananam

  1. Upāsanam-Dhyānam (Preparatory Meditation. Meditation practiced as preparation for knowledge):
    • Preparation/Cultivation/Refinement/Integration/Organization of Mind for spiritual knowledge.
    • Accelerated Learning, Alpha state before learning.
    • Jñānam-yogyatā-prāpti: necessary qualification for acquiring spiritual knowledge
    • Before sowing the seed, soil must be prepared.
    • Meditation is not the only exercise for tuning mind, but ONE of them.
    • Preparation is done BEFORE Self-Knowledge acquisition. Just like hands are cleaned before eating.
  2. Śravaṇam / Mananam (switch to AFTER successful Upāsanam Dhyānam):
    • After upāsana, must work for, and Gain Self-knowledge. By which one will become clear of one's nature and one's life is transformed.
    • Self-Knowledge (only means to Liberation):
      • When I want to see my eyes, with them I can see everything in the creation, except the eyes itself. The seer cannot be seen. No matter what means of knowledge to know the eyes, all fail.
      • Only 1 method works to see the eyes: Mirror. Similarly, only 1 method works to reveal the seer; Self-Knowledge.
        • When knower/experiencer has to be known, my independent attempts will not help. I may sit in meditation for 15,000 years…. nothing will happen.
      • Thus Self-Knowledge mirror is called: śāstram / śabdha / upadeśa (explanation) pramāṇam
      • Mirror should be appropriately used, only then śāstram pramāṇam will be effective.
    • HOW to use MIRROR (śāstra pramāṇam) properly? (Explains why Vedanta fails. How to live/breathe/integrate/life-transformation?)
      • CH4.34: TWO fold exercises called: jñāna-yoga, vedānta-vicāra, adhyātma-yoga, Brahma-jijñāsā (wish to know Brahman):
        • Systematic and consistent study of scriptures, for length of time, under guidance of competent ācārya.
        • Metaphor of What is Śravanam: All tell you have BEAUTIFUL eyes. But you won't believe, and will doubt… until you use mirror (Self-Knowledge) and see for yourself.
        • When done appropriately, śravaṇam produces Self-Knowledge (knowledge “I am Self”)
        • Any doubts here are to be noted. Only ask after gaining sufficient Knowledge. WRITE DOWN!
        • If doubts remain, won't convert to actuality.
      • mananam (saṃśaya nivṛtti: Doubt disappearance): REMOVING DOUBT from Gathered Knowledge to DISCOVER HOW IT's TRUE.
        • Despite listening to śāstra, parallel doubts arise in the mind while learning Vedāntic teaching. “Is it true?”. Because Vedanta is so different from our usual way of thinking, that it's unbelievable.
          • EG: Vedānta says “You are already WHOLE, COMPLETE, SECURE, TRUTH… thus all seeking is in vain”. The seer is TRUTH, the seen is UNTRUE.
        • Don't immediately ask question. First listen to teaching, then ask. Self-Knowledge in śravaṇam is WEAKENED by doubts. Meaning: Knowledge mixed with doubts (saṃśaya[doubt] sahita[associated] jñānam)
        • Fundamental doubt: Why should I accept scriptures?
        • Doubtful knowledge is NOT knowledge, but IGNORANCE.
          • EG: Suppose wire is exposed. You ask me if safe to touch. I say “it is”. As about to touch, I say “I'm 99% sure safe. And 1% chance of live power”. Will you touch? No. Else immediate liberation!
          • Meaning even 0.00001% doubt makes non-jñānam.
        • Most doubts will be answered by own Q&A. If not, then ask other students (have different perspective). Or thousands of Vedanta books answering every possible questions. Or teacher.
        • Process of Mananam: Converts Self-Knowledge to Knowledge of Conviction (niścaya-jñānam). Gained NOT through Meditation. But śravaṇam/mananam. Have to use Intellect. Because Knowledge is JOB of Intellect.
        • Śāstra says: Though intellect alone can one gain knowledge. Knowledge can't be undertaken by Mind (emotions), Ātman only locus of gaining and assimilating knowledge is Intellect.
          • Intellect only knows ONE LANGUAGE: Reasoning. Have to reason it out. Remove doubts. And convert to Conviction “I and Īśvara enjoy the one same Truth”.
        •  Story of worm demonstrates how misapprehension of one's nature creates fear and even after resolution, fear (false notions) still remains:
          • Man thought he was a worm. Due to false identity, he had genuine fear of birds, and couldn’t go out.
          • Taken to therapy. Therapist brings worm and says “Do you look like this?”. No!
          • Doctor applied śravaṇam: You are not a worm. You are a human being (true nature). Still think self as worm? No! Discharged.
          • He goes out, and sees a bird. Scared. Goes back in.
          • Doctor: Why afraid? Don't you know you're a human!
          • Patient: I know I am a human (Brahman). But you haven't treated the WORM in me. Does the WORM know that I am a human being.
          • Meaning: patients conviction of truth is independent of world opinion. Let the world call jñāni “Mortal small ordinary nobody”. But jñāni alone knows: “I am Brahman in which the whole world arises, by which world is sustained, in which world resolves.”
        • Objection: Isn't “I am Brahman” intellectual knowledge? Yes. Every knowledge is intellectual (because all knowledge is in intellect alone).
  3. Result of Śravaṇam, Mananam: Liberation.
    • What does Liberation mean? Explained CH2.
      • Liberation is: Freedom from all inner problems, independent of external situations. Meaning free from:
        1. rāga / dveṣa — attractions and aversions.
        2. kāma — lust
        3. krodha — anger
        4. lobha — greed
        5. moha — attachment . Delusory emotional attachment or temptation / infatuation
        6. mada — pride, hubris, (being possessed by)
        7. mātsarya — envy, jealousy
      • One free of above attributes = jīvan muktiḥ (Liberation/jīvan muktaḥ: Liberated one) / saintliness / sainthood
      • How to define saintliness in simple way? Gītā has many definitions.
        • Simple definition: Saintly person is one who is incapable of getting hurt by external situation. And who is incapable of hurting other people.
          • CAUTION: Depending on one's knowledge of Self, depends how one will interpret above statement. If one believes “I am Body-Mind”, then above statement will be total incorrect to what it means from one who knows Self has nothing to do with the instruments (Body-Mind) of Mithyā. See video for more explanation.
        • He/She doesn't hurt others, and not hurt by others.
        • Jīvanmuktaḥ enjoys: Śānti, samatvam (equanimity)


Keywords: adhyatma, aham kara, ahamkara, ajnani, ananda, anatma, anumana, arthapatti, atma, dhyana, dhyanam, dvesa, dvesha, ishvara, isvara, iswara, jijnasa, jivan mukta, jivan muktih, jivanmukti, jnanam, Jnanam yogyata prapti, jnani, kama, krsna, matsarya, mithya, moksa, moksha, nididhyasana, niscaya, nishcaya, papa, pramana, pramanam, praptasya prapti, Pratyaksa, Pratyaksha, punya, raga, ratnakar, sabdha, sadhana, samnyasa, samsari, samsaya nivrtti, samshaya nivritti, Sankhya, sannyasa, santi, sastra, sastram, shabda, shabhda, shanti, shastra, shastram, shravana, sravana, sri krishna, upadesa, upadesha, upamana, upanishad, upasana dhyanam, valmiki, vedanta, vicara, vidvan amrta jnanadeva, vyavaharika, yoga, yogah

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching is given to Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 26 March, 2019



  1. Hi Andre.
    You have pointed out that meditation is not a means to knowledge, because no matter how ecstatic the experience, it is still an experience so confined to the world of Mitya.
    Knowledge of the self is Sattvic, so therefore the experiences of meditation belongs to a different order of reality than the truths being related in The Upanishads.
    My question is this:
    In most forms of meditation that I have done, including kriya yoga, Kabbalistic meditation, Buddhist shamatha, vipashana, and the Tibetan practice of Dzochen, the claim is made that the practice takes you beyond this reality and links you to the divine.
    I think the divine being referred to is Brahma, rather than Ishvara.
    So the meditation practice and in particular the kundalini and samadhi experiences provide knowledge in the form of a direct link to the consciousness of God.
    This could be expressed many ways, but the basic proposal is that meditation takes you from one order of reality to another.
    Many of the experiences of expanded consciousness I have had in meditation seem to confirm this.

    Is it possible to gain knowledge of the self in this way?

    I am sure this is not the first time you have been asked this As many of your students that are drawn to Vedanta would be experienced meditators I think.
    I would hate to think that I have wasted the last twenty years!

    1. How can One be expanded? That contradicts Limitlessness, which means it has no opposite. One means, it is whole and complete.

      To do anything to try to “contact” that which is WHOLE, contradicts the definition of WHOLE.

      WHOLE means nothing is excluded, not even Robert. No “state” is excluded.

      WHOLE means it pervades everything right now. So there’s no question of experiencing it in the future.

      Because past, present and future is also contained in the WHOLE.

      FIRST ISSUES WITH: meditation takes you from one order of reality to another”

      This implies, my reality now is like X. 10 minutes later it’s like Y. 3 hours later it’s like Z.

      Then which reality is real? Is it X, Y or Z?

      And it doesn’t stop at Z. Because every new second is potential for a new experience.

      What’s more, when enough time is spent in Y, one soon starts to wonder what Z is like.

      Such thinking (99.99% of spirituality is dvaita) leads to infinite search for more expansion.

      Rather be immersed in a computer game. Way faster and more fun to achieve samādhi (immersion). 🙂

      SECOND ISSUES WITH: meditation takes you from one order of reality to another

      The word “you” refers to the mind. Not “you” (consciousness).

      Since Robert woke up today, the mind has undergone hundreds of experiences like: alert, dull, ambitious, confused, certain, doubtful, light, heavy, etc.

      Now, when it comes to Yoga philosophy, a certain conclusion is applied. It says:

      Through meditation, “you” can temporarily exit all these mundane daily states, and enter a MEGA-ORGASMIC SPIRITUAL HEAVEN called samādhi.

      Now take that statement in context of real life…

      Suppose wife suddenly sees Robert in some extraordinary state, and he doesn’t want to come out of it. He stays in it so long that body undergoes pain from hunger and thirst. Then dies.

      What has been accomplished? 🙂

      Wife left in tears. Didn’t say goodbye properly. One big mess.

      Even if Robert does come out, he is now in some type of experiential bliss. Making him not care about anything, because he’s in seven heaven.

      When we bring it to real life context, we can see how impractical and fantasy-like these notions become.

      “I would hate to think that I have wasted the last twenty years!”

      I don’t think this is entirely a healthy attitude. It has potential of stubbornly making us hold onto our past skills so we don’t appear like a failure in the present.

      We don’t know how it has contributed.

      What’s important is: Keep moving on.

      Most who come from Yoga world, find peace through gaining a much larger understanding of Reality through Vedanta.

  2. Thanks Andre.
    I deserved the rap over the knuckles for the wasted twenty years comment.
    I think I was having a bit of a sook!?

    Your answer is very detailed a and points out to me that I keep falling into relativity by interchanging ‘ mind’ with consciousness.

    I will ponder. ?

  3. Hi Andre,

    I’ve gone through the first half of this video lesson so far. However, I’m a bit puzzled by the story of Ratnakar becoming Valmiki.

    If it’s as simple as that, then any thief, dacoit, etc., will embrace self-knowledge, shortly after committing their crimes (without having to face the results of their actions)? I find this hard to digest. What do you think?

    1. Hi Nicholas. I don’t know how the story was told. But the idea is to show there’s no such thing as privileged or unprivileged birth. Ratnakar was born without much interest in ethics, let alone interest in self-knowledge. Despite that, circumstances caused him to relook at his life, and he spent time doing so. Eventually growing wiser in his discernment and recognizing his errors. Eventually becoming, thought his self-effort, one of most influential poets and sages.

      Conversely, we have someone like Ravana, born in a so-called “privileged family”. He was a great scholar and devotee of Lord Shiva. Somewhere, he lost the plot, became arrogant. And missed out on the opportunity of moksha.

      So the intention is to show, it doesn’t matter what background you come from. Everyone is given equal chance, equal capacity of freewill, to attain the highest goal in life.

      It reminds us, even a thief (someone with an unlucky, uneducated background), can turn their life around through the scriptures.

  4. Thank you Andre, for that explanation. It helped me understand better when you compared Valimiki to Ravana. Have a nice day.

  5. Hi Andre,

    I have answered to the best of my knowledge the « after class questions ». I submit them to you for corrections. I thank you very much for your comments, if any.

    What could be various reasons why Vedanta doesn’t have significant transformation in one’s life ? What OBSTACLES could be blocking one’s sincere desire to be at peace with: (1) Body-Mind-Intellect person (Jīva), (2) World (Jagat) (3) God? (Īśvara) :

    1.The shifting of the « I » from the BMI to « Self » or « Consciousness » is still at the level of the head and has not gone down to the heart.
    2. The person still is unable to control « Raga and Dvesha ».
    3. The person has doubts regarding Self Knowledge so he is unable to settle in the Self.
    4. The person is not able to understand that the Object of desire is the Subject itself.
    5. The person has not done sufficient Manana (Contemplation) & Nidhidyasana (Deep contemplation – practising) on Self knowledge.
    6. The person is carried away by Emotions, Perceptions, Memories, Thoughts. Gives them added value.
    7. Does not practise Forgiveness, Dharma, Discipline, etc.

    Examples of self-inquiry. Discuss each… (“I” is used because individual talks in first person tense)
    1.“Hmm ! This movie is funny. But WHAT finds it funny ? “I” or the Mind ? If it’s the Mind, then why we say “I find it funny” ?
    It is the « Mind » that finds the movie funny.

    We say « I find it funny » because, the « I » or « Consciousness » superimposes on the Mind, and gives validity to the object seen by the Mind via the Sensory organ called the « Eye ».

    2. “I love my child/spouse! Wait a sec ! What is LOVE ? Who loves ? What exactly is meant by saying “I love” ?
    I will give two answers to this question :

    If the « I » is associated to the « Consciousness », then the very nature of Consciousness is « Love ». So, the « I » or « Consciousness » expresses « I love my child/spouse » via the « Body ».
    If the « I » is associated to the « BMI », then this love is « Attachment ». It is the BMI which loves. Here, I love, means it is desire.

    3. Yummy object ! I want it NOW ! But wait… if all is Consciousness… then how can Consciousness want Consciousness? Doesn’t my desire for THAT OBJECT mean that I am giving a separate/independent consciousness/existence to that Object ? Why do I want stuff, when I know stuff isn’t going to last ?

    It appears as if this person has not assimilated completely « Self knowledge ». Thereby this person is carried away by the desired object, and therefore gives a separate entity to that object. This person is giving an added value (not a neutral value) to that object. This person is not happy or cheerful and does not know that his Self is where he can get Ananda or Fullness.
    The person is carried away by the desire expressed by his BMI. He is confusing himself to be the BMI.
    There is no such thing called separate Consciousness or Independant consciousness.
    4. I hope Vedanta works for me, and I attain Liberation.
    • Above statement is sourced in ignorance. Identify all the false notions. Speak about them.
    1.Vedanta is knowledge of the self, and not the knowledge of the objective world.
    2.Vedanta has to practised 24/7, and therefore cannot be used intermitentely.
    3.Liberation is not from the objective world. Liberation is from the body, the form, in which the Self is encased.
    4. Liberation means merging in Brahman. And merging means there is no distance between « I » and « Brahman » or it means dropping the misconception that « I am away from Brahman ».
    5. « I attain Liberation ». One cannot attain that which one always is. Our nature is not separate from the whole. Merger is a better word, because by sadhana we drop the idea that there is a distance between me and Brahman.

    Example of kind of self-inquiry goes through Vedantin’s mind:

    I am Consciousness or Awareness, not BMI. So even when my min dis going through all sorts of mood swings, I’m still present and aware of all of them. I witness loss and gain, pain and pleasure, health and illness, joy and sadness, the young body and the old body, and so on. I am the knower of the known in the waking state.

    In the dream stage, consciousness or I am present. It is because consciousness is present during the dream that I am able to remember the dream in the waking state.

    In the deep sleep stage, consciousness is also present. The mind is closed during the deep sleep phase. However, I remember having had a good deep sleep (undisturbed sleep) when I am in the waking stage.

    As I progressed in my quest for the self, I learnt that the knower and the known are one and the same thing.
    Therefore, I am Consciousness or Awareness. I am not anything other than Consciousness. And all that « I » experience is also Consciousness.

    1. Excellent analysis Nicholas. I’d like to add something to below statement, then your mind can contrast that with existing understanding…

      We say « I find it funny » because, the « I » or « Consciousness » superimposes on the Mind, and gives validity to the object seen by the Mind via the Sensory organ called the « Eye ».

      Instead of saying “Consciousness is superimposed on the mind”, more correct is…

      The attribute of mind is superimposed on Consciousness. Just like table (mithya) is superimposed on wood (satyam).

      In fact, there’s no real superimposition. Because the entirety of table is pervaded by the wood. The content of the table is wood. The table depends on the wood for it’s existence. Because if you take the wood out, there’s no table. At the same time, table is just a name-form of wood. So it’s no like there’s two realities.

      However because the table’s attention is on names-forms, it gets caught up in them, thus never attends to the satya-mithya relationship.

      Similarly, your mind, is ultimately nothing but Intelligence, making that mind what it is. So your mind is mithya, and Intelligence is satyam.

      However Intelligence itself has no reality apart from Consciousness. So intelligence is mithya, and Consciousness is the final satyam.

      What I want to show you is that, you don’t have to look for the final reality elsewhere. Wherever there is table, that’s EXACTLY where wood is. Wherever there is mind or body, that’s EXACTLY where Intelligence is making it what it is. And Intelligence further, has no reality different from Consciousness.

      And this final reality, Consciousness, is always known to everyone as self-evident, “I am, I am, I am”.

      Thus understand, “superimposition” is only a preliminary teaching. Ultimately, one needs to understands, superimposition itself is nothing but manifestation of the One reality.

      This is summarized by your later statement: Liberation means merging in Brahman. And merging means there is no distance between « I » and « Brahman » or it means dropping the misconception that « I am away from Brahman ».

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