[Advaita-l] Qualities of a student (was RE: (no subject))
svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 23 08:52:38 CDT 2010
Sankara bhagavatpAda takes up this issue right at the beginning of his brahmasUtra commentary. Over and above everything else, for a student of vedAnta, the following six qualities are traditionally counted as absolutely necessary. I give the Sanskrit words below, with generic explication in English (not a literal translation).
Sama - tranquility, calm disposition
dama - self-control
uparati - withdrawal from external sensory distractions
titikshA - forbearance towards trying situations
SraddhA - usually taken as faith, but includes a lot more, such as dedication, the ability to be persistent in the path shown by the guru and the teaching, a sense of certainty in the guru and the teaching, etc.
samAdhAna - focus
As you can see, all of these qualities influence and feed into one another. To these are added intellectual and emotional requirements, namely viveka (discrimination) and vairAgya (dispassion). On top of it all comes mumukshutva, an intense desire on the student's part to be liberated from his or her present condition.
In my opinion, the question about free will can wait till some deeper philosophical truths are understood. In vedAnta, we do not construct the debate between destiny and free will the same way as most others do. I would like to point you to the following link http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/articles/The_Riddle_of_Fate_and_Free.htm.
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