New member introduction: Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat

S. V. Subrahmanian svskotra at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 7 10:13:07 CDT 2000

Shri Bhagavat wrote:

>Internal or external, as long as one is in Vyavaharika state, the struggle
>is very much real. My point is that many hypermodern Advaitins simply
>the final truth from the Paramarthika platform which hinders an aspirant's
>spiritual development. Au contriare, for example, in the Vivekachudamani,
>the Guru initially accepts the disciples position (of being bound in
>Samsara), lays down some standards for the sincere disciple to follow (e.g.
>he severely admonishes sense enjoyment) and then patiently guides him to
>final truth about the unreality of bondage. I find this systematic process
>lacking in (some) modern expositions of Advaita.

Part of the problem is also with students.  Sometimes the teachers, try to
portray a "simpler" picture of the reality or bless with some understanding
on some topics quickly, only to encourage the students not to give it up and
once they get the needed courage, they again put them to rigorous sAdhana.

[Eg., When Sri Yukteswar Giri was teaching P. Yogananda, he once blessed him
with a samAdhi-experience (maybe to give him an idea), but after some time
rudely woke him from that bliss, and asked him to sweep the floor and clean
the balcony!]

Also, they don't want students to constantly get caught up with the rules.
So they try to bring out the whole picture now and then, so that the student
may not lose sight of why he is undergoing the disciplines.

[Eg., Shankara in Vivekachoodamani, after mentioning the spiritual
disciplines also makes it clear that all the disciplines are useless, if one
is not a mumuxu, but to misinterpret that mumuxutvam is enough is

In the process of bringing the student's attention to the ultimate goal,
they may slight the sAdhana, but that is to change the focus of the student,
from a narrow one to a deeper and broder perspective.

[Eg., Saint Kabir has written "dohas" criticizing punditry.  I have a friend
who constantly quotes it to me whenever I talk about scriptures.  But he
doesn't seem to realize that Saint Kabir was only hitting at *mere*
punditry, for without formal education in language, dialiectics it is
difficult to understand many scriptures, and I am very positive that Saint
Kabir was aware of that.]

Commonly found are those sAdhakAs who have lost track of why they are doing
some things, and just are too busy with keeping up with the rules.

[Eg., JK has lambasted the Guru-shishya parampara in many of his lectures.
What he really tried to hit out was those who were happy merely because of
the parampara and not the end result that was supposed to be attained,
through that tradition.  Such people become eventually fanatics, for they
don't have a end goal in sight.
A weaker student, might just read into the bare meaning of the lectures and
conclude that Guru-shishya parampara is not useful for realization, which is
balderdash! ]

Other reasons are:

1.  Compounding this whole process is the idea of "distance-education" in
spirituality which can cause more confusion than clear any.  Personal
contact with an AchArya, with the ability to interact (through any medium)
frequently to ask questions is a must to understand spiritual principles in
the right perspective.

2.  Trying to learn through more than one tradition at the same time.  One
should stick to one tradition (Shankara, Madhwa, Ramanuja, any of the
neo-advaitins etc), and try to understand one atleast fully in the initial
stages.  Obviously each tradition is going to have literature replete with
counter-arguments against other traditions.  To take part of the subject
matter from one and the rest from others will also cause problems.  In my
opinion comparative study is only for advanced students.

3.  The devilish habit of comparing ourselves with jivAs born which are
almost ripe for realization, even at the time of birth itself.  Oh! Ramana
Maharshi did not need any sAdhana, he just got it, just like that, by sharp
thinking!  Sri Ramakrishna did not know any scriptures, he just offered
fruits and flowers to Mother Kali and Mother Kali blessed him and hence we
too can......- at your own risk Sir!

My 2c (a little longer than that -:)) worth.

S. V. Subrahmanian.
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