ADVAITA-L Digest - 10 Sep 2002 to 11 Sep 2002 (#2002-230)

yogafarm yogafarm at WEBTV.NET
Thu Sep 12 07:37:32 CDT 2002

Namasté, Jaldharji, Ashishji, Srikrishnaji and group!

First, while I am greatly enjoying this lively intercourse, I find I
will not be able to respond nearly as much following this message.  My
WebTV has many limitations and I lost the message yesterday on which I
spent two hours composing.  Sorry, but I simply don't have enough free
time in the day for that type of commitment (and each of my postings
takes at least that long -- online! -- to compose).

But even if I don't respond as much, I'll still be enjoying this process

As I can neither cut-and-paste nor toggle between various communications
(other limitations of my WebTV e-communication system), I have simply
made notes to which I'll respond in no particular order.  Sorry if I
miss their point ...

1.) Different philosophers have different ways of saying the same things
at different times.  For example, this list is for the study of the
teachings of Shri Shankaraji; but WHICH teachings of his?

For example, Sathya Sai Baba once quoted Shankaracharya as saying that
he, Shankaracharaya, would offer his monkey-mind to Shiva so that he,
Shiva, could train it as he pleased to beg alms (I'm paraphrasing a bit,
but the quote is to be found in "Sathya Sai Speaks," Vol. III, Chapt.
18, pp 90).

Yet to a purist, that's outright dualism (WHAT Shiva??) ... and this
from the MASTER of advaita!  So who's to say even with Shankaraji WHICH
of his teachings is right, wrong, misunderstood or properly interpreted?

Bottom line: Studying a philosophy or spiritual science is ultimately
for bringing a sense of peace and guidance to one's life -- and
especially to one's last breath -- not merely for microfinite dissection
and disputation.  To those who argue "how many angels dance on the head
of a pin?" -- that is, for the disputationally-oriented -- I hope and
trust that such dissection brings the sought-for contentment.

2.) There was some dispute about lineages of gurus.  In the case of Sai
Baba, it is interesting to note that, when Sai Baba takes mahasamadhi --
supposedly to occur in, I believe, 2021 -- he has already appointed one
of his students, a young man named "Nalin" or "Narin" (I don't know
which) to run the ashram until Sai's return as Prema Sai Baba, some
eight years later.  According to Sai Baba, this Nalin / Narin is no less
than the reincarnation of Swami Vivekananda!

Whether or not this is true is unimportant.  That Sai Baba would appoint
a person he even just  BELIEVES to be so clearly traced -- via the
Ramakrishna lineage -- to Shankaraji, is statement enough of his respect
for Shankaracharaya's teachings.

3.) I have read and studied all the Upanishads which I know to be
available in English (the Swami Nikhilananda translations, which also
are from the Ramakrishna / Vivekananda lineage), as well as
"Bhagvad-Gita," "Atma Bodha," "Brahma Sutras," "Yoga Vasistha" (the
Story of Lila, alone, probably more than 40 times!), "Astavakra Gita,"
"Raja Yoga Sutras," and most other yoga-Vedanta scriptures which I know
to be available in English.  In many cases, I have also taught them.

And I speak and understand enough Sanskrit to know that even THERE,
there are many differences in the interpretations of most words, just as
with every other language.

4.) "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" is not a study of Buddhism's "Great
Void" -- it is an instruction in how to handle the dissolution of the
mind / maya back to its primitive state.  The various, major sutras
refine this and give an insight into the meaning of the Great Void (and
to one who has studied advaita, its identicity to samadhi).

5.) Yes, "samadhi" does essentially mean "equal-mindedness."  It is said
we can handle only one vritti (thought wave) at a time.  As one vritti
rises, another falls.  In samadhi -- the "falling" vritti is "balanced"
by the "rising" vritti so that neither falls nor rises; hence, samadhi
... and, effectively, the "loss" of the mind.

This can be achieved "voluntarily" through meditation; or
"involuntarily" through, as I've said, many other means -- intoxication,
hypnosis, etc.

6.) Wasn't it in "Bhaja Govindam" that Shankaraji praised both the guru
/ disciple relationship AND the Avathar / bhakta relationship?  To the
hundreds of millions in both Bharat / India and around the rest of the
world who believe Sai Baba is the Avathar, this is the fulfillment of
Shankaracharaya's admonition to seek out such relationships.

7.) If the Self is the same in all beings -- see Krishna in the Gita --
the "setting hen" is perfectly fine as an analogy representative of
"samadhi in action."  Watch one and learn.

8.) At the highest level, the Buddhists and advaitins are saying the
same thing ... as are yogi/nis and Hindus ...

9.) If the knowledge of Sanskrit were required for Wisdom and
Enlightenment, none could be so. For who in today's world -- with the
tamasic / rajasic influences of common food, TV, music, rampant abuses,
etc., affecting us each, at least at the genetic level -- who indeed is
even qualified to TEACH this noble language in the way our ancestors
understood it?

10.) I have many more comments, of course; but time restraints must now
force me to sign off.  I'll respond further as I can.  Be well and
namasté ... Michael

Michael Blate
Executive Director

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