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Vision of Bhagavad Gita: Verse-by-Verse (Essence of Advaita Vedanta)
August 6 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, repeating until November 26, 2019
Essence of Advaita Vedanta and Upanishads says, truth of self is whole, complete, full, eternal, unchanging and limitless.
However our experience is anything but fullness. In fact, everything about one's life contradicts this lofty description. And you'd be right. Because fullness that's unchanging and limitless — can not and never will apply to the limited, decaying and mortal body-mind. Which we falsely assume to be “I”.
This ignorant “I” (jīva: one who mistakes self for mortal body-mind thus is afraid of death) in truth is satcitananda (full self-aware existence). But jīva is unable to see how this is already a fact. So in hopes to realize this truth, one takes refuge in various spiritual paths which help to purify and prepare the mind.
Although one needs to eventually grow out of the habit to constantly purify the mind by various sādhanas (spiritual practices).
Otherwise devotee or aspirant never begins pursuing Self-Knowledge (jnana-yoga), whose purpose is to reveal the non-dual nature of reality. Gaining this highest knowledge is the final means to the ultimate END, which is mokṣa (liberation / absolute freedom / end of birth-death).
This means mere sanctification or cleansing of body-mind (through karma-yoga, bhakti-yoga, raja-yoga) does NOT lead to Liberation. It only matures the emotions and develops a sophisticated intellect.
Ironically most spiritual seekers get stuck in preparatory yoga's for various reasons, never realising “My mind is 100% qualified for Self-knowledge right now“. Such devotees stop half-way up the mountain. Missing the opportunity to the final END by guidance of a competent Vedanta ācārya (teacher).
Therefore devotee should eventually come to a conclusion to pursue Self-Knowledge. But more importantly, student is willing to be directed by the ācārya.
For example, only an immature person would choose to study the heart-surgery manual alone. He refuses to seek direction of a qualified heart-surgeon whose already seen and integrated the reality of surgery in real life.
In same way, Bhagavad Gita is like a heart-surgeon's manual whose essence only becomes ALIVE once taught by a teacher. It has already proven to work countless times. It is already perfected in removing beginingless ignorance (avidyā).
Thus in this ongoing verse-by-verse Bhagavad Gita / Advaita Vedanta course, the student is systematically lead to the Supreme Reality through a means of knowledge (pramāṇa). End result is one's false notions are removed, like “I experience myself as a limited, mortal, incomplete, small entity”.
Why techniques can't produce Liberation (only prepare the mind)…
One typically applies a special technique in the present, to get “there” in the future. Sound familiar? (Vipassanā, meditation, mantra's, rituals, channeling, healing modalities, various types of Yoga's, etc.)
The predicament with any technique practiced or ritual performed is the “I” by which one's entire life is recognized (EG: I meditate, I learn, I experience, I doubt, I do) — still does NOT know who or what it is.
Hence no matter what is done or experienced, persons actions are resting on an unresolved foundation of this “I”. Even to disagree or agree with this statement, one says “I __”.
What's more, a limited person performing a limited action (technique), while expecting an unlimited result, is a mathematical impossibility. Limitation can't bring about limitlessness. Drop in the ocean can't do some technique to magically “become” the entire Ocean. Common sense.
This is easily proven in one's own behavior in form of non-stop DOING in form of improving and becoming (materialistically or spiritually).
What motivates one to constantly improve and become? (I want __)
Answer is – sense of limitation caused by falsely associating oneself to the limited body-mind. And to experience freedom from this limitation, one either boosts or modifies the condition of either the body or mind or intellect. Also done by occupying oneself with new roles like gaining new partner, getting-stuff, company of friends.
Through mere logic, act of improving or becoming non-stop… reveals one is not happy with their current condition. Meaning the previous act of improving and becoming failed to bring permanent and infinite happiness/satisfaction. Which is what all are seeking.
Therefore life becomes an expression of “I like__, I dislike __”. Constantly chasing pleasure and avoiding pain. This is saṁsāra. Keeps one ceaselessly busy adjusting the environment according to one's spiritual and material demand, in hopes to find permanent and absolute happiness.
The solution is Advaita Vedanta…
A billionaire works all his life and enjoys superficial importance, only to die, money be returned to the nation, and name be forgotten within a decade. An attractive lady enjoys attention owning to “beautiful flesh”, only to be rarely acknowledged within a decade. Where is the Roman Empire now, considering they enjoyed being an unstoppable force?
Saṃsāra is a zero-sum game. One neither wins, nor loses while alive. A new intimate relationship is pleasant. How about maintaining it? How about the break-up? Where pleasure, there is potential pain.
Vedanta works permanently because it helps one discover self as non-separate from the unchanging, non-negatable, permanent Supreme Truth. Hence no extra object or experience in the world can add onto liberated person's (jñāni) wholeness… because wholeness is TOTAL happiness in past, present and future.
So the teachers duty in the classes is to guide the student to realize oneself that “I am whole, complete, limitless” by aligning vision to WHAT-IS.
For example a common ignorant man only experiences plurality/duality. But in truth all is ONE non-dual limitless Consciousness (Brahman). Thus a wise-person (jñāni: Enlightened one) not only appreciates duality but abides as the truth of whole universe (Brahman).
This is the purpose of the course. To lead the student to this ultimate reality.
Purpose of weekly classes in Melbourne…
Purpose of class teachings is to remove student's false sense of limitation about oneself.
Limitation means, “I am small, separate, imperfect, incomplete and mortal”. This conclusion is what causes one to endlessly seek for permanent happiness through endless desires.
The teachings are expounded through a logical and systematic approach (A > B > C) to reveal the highest non-dual knowledge (bramavidyā).
The result is shifting of “I” from the mortal, changing, limited Body-Mind… to the unchanging, limitless Existence/Awareness (Ātman).
Qualifications to Attend?
When you are motivated by a burning, unstoppable, uncontrollable desire for Liberation (moksha: cessation of suffering, freedom, permanent satisfaction, ending cycle of birth/death).
Attendee comes with humility. Intellectual pride and past spiritual expertise is to be put away just like taking shoes off before entering a holy temple.
Class teachings comprise of Bhagavad Gita (all verses, all 18 chapters) and selected Upanishad verses to support the Gita.
New to Vedanta?
If never been exposed to Vedanta methodology, MANDATORY to watch 1-7 and 23, 61. Because videos will establish some common terminology and develop rapport with teacher who expects ready and willing student in class.
If already familiar with Advaita tradition, then can come without video watching. How to know you're familiar with the Advaita tradition? Frequent use of Sanskrit words don't intimidate you.
If it makes you feel reassured, contact me to express your interest to attend. Not mandatory.
Schedule & Cost:
Ongoing classes are free, as is standard in the tradition. Teacher has own job, and doesn't depend on teaching for financial support. No donations either.
Come sharp every-time. Ready to take notes. This isn't a passive-listening satsang. Program is ongoing at least until 2022.
Online Vedanta Classes via Webinar?
Unable to physically attend every Tuesday? Ask for Zoom webinar link. Only if you're as sincere and serious as would be if attended physically.