[Advaita-l] Advaita practice

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 8 11:54:40 CDT 2007

Adviata Practice.

Well, it is acknowledged that advaita is an
understanding rather than practice - for that firm
understanding, what is needed and accepted is firm
abidance in the knowledge - through shravanam, mananam
and nidhidhyaasanam. 

Shree Vidyashankar rightly pointed out that scriptural
understanding and defending advaita doctrine is one
thing, but firm abidance in that knowledge 'I am
that'- is different. It requires purity of the mind
that can overcome the pressure of vasanaas. 

Karma yoga is the best approach to cleanse the mind
from the pressure of vasanaas. For which Isvaraarpita
buddhi and prasaada buddhi are the essential
ingredients - yagnyaartham karma kuru - is the
essential instruction in the 3rd Ch. 

I am presenting here my personal saadhana, since I was
asked. If this helps others, that is Lord's wish.
This is what I do everyday that helps me to keep the
Vision of advaita in my heart.  

1. When I get up in the morning, I sit down and take a
deep breath for few times, just while sitting on my
bed – I keep a pillow under me to be comfortable. This
deep breathing will wakeup my mind too.

2. Once my mind is out of sleep, I chant in my mind (
to remind myself the presence of the Lord in me) -
aham vaiswaanaro bhuutvaa ... - reminding me the very
presence of Lord Narayana in me. This is not
intellectual thought or conceptualization of the Lord
but intensely feeling the presence of the Lord in my
body. I recognize that only because of His presence I
am able to breath, hear the sounds in the environment
- the slow humming noise of the fan, and compressor of
the refrigerator down stairs, etc, and I am able to 
move my limbs, etc.    The keno Up. sloks (yan manasaa
na manute ..., etc) come to mind to remind me the
capacity to see, hear, breath - all that because of
His very presence.  Sometimes the feeling is so
intense that tears used to flow out of gratitude to
both my teacher and the Lord for able to see and
recognize His  very presence. I put namaskaaram to
that Lord in myself. 

2. Then in my heart, I put namaskaaram to my wife
sleeping next to me in the bed, recognizing it is the
presence of the same Lord in Her - that makes her
dynamic and active.  Again it is not just intellectual
thought but deep feeling of His presence in her that
makes me put namaskaaram to her.  

3. Then I see in my mind, the people that I am likely
to encounter during the day - and see the presence of
the Lord in them too - all sitting on my bed -At this
stage I am moving from the intense feeling to
intellectual awareness but still with devotion to His
divine presence. 

At this stage, I get up and look around the window and
see the trees in my back yard, and try to see the life
present in those trees and thus His presence. 
Unceremoniously I put namaskaaram to all His
manifestations that I see.  I am not a ritualist, but
involuntarily I put namakarams to this and that
wherever my mind recognizes the beauty of His
presence.  At times a thought occurs to me in my mind
– that if somebody seems me doing namaskaaras to this
and that, even standing in the bathroom in front of
the mirror – they may think I have gone crazy. But
that thought does not last for ever in His presence. 
The beautiful plants in the neighbor’s deck and
particularly the variety of flowers - I see as His
beautiful expressions. I cannot but prostrate in my
mind to that Lord that is expressing so beatifully in
them. As I look around, I remind myself that depending
on the upaadhiis He expresses Himself in so many
beautiful ways.  I chant in my mind – ‘antar bahischa
tat sarvam vyaapata naaraayaanasthitaH’.

Then, I go out for a walk in the morning everyday for
an hour with my IPOD - listening to Vedanta lectures
that were downloaded before -some of my own in the
past -and some swami Paramaarthanandaji (In fact I
complete the study of each text that he has taken by
listening to MP3s, while walking) - Once in way I
listen to  mukundamaala or V. Suprabhaatam,
vishnusahasranaam, etc.  While waking or sitting on a
deck,  I listen to the noises of the birds in the
trees, watch the squirrels moving around or the even
small insects crawling on the floor - reminding myself
the beauty of life in them and they are able to do
whatever they are dong due to the very presence of the

Slowly, I get back to my daily work - where mind gets
involved in the activities and less and less about the
Lord.  But once in way, I look around from my chair in
my office and see the tall trees and try to feel His
presence there as they move slowly to the winds. 

When I return home in the evening, I go far a walk
again for an hour, listening of course to the Vedanta
lectures. After dinner, I spend an hour or two to the
study of Vedanta - The study is not meant for learning
but to feel that presence in me.  So many times the
book remains mostly open, while I have closed my eyes
in the feeling of that presence in me.  

Yes, as Vidya says, it does get on nerves of those
when you have dependents that need your attention in
some form or the other.  It is difficult to expect the
others to be on your wavelength - but that is also I
consider as part of saadhana.  In my case, I am
retired and not much of financial responsibility.  But
I do go to work, when I am here for 6 months of the
year doing some consultation work - but in India it is
mostly swadhyaayanam where I do spend most of my time
in studies. May be I should not say studies since
pages in the books do not get turne much. I must also
say that many a times sleep comes over me when I am
deeply contemplating - that does not bother me since
once my mind is rested, I am back to my study!

 Luckily my wife is involved in dance teaching with
her own school and busy with her activities.  I am
called for to play the role of a husband to help her
out in her programs but that role is getting minimized
since she is figuring out that it is better to get
help from her students' parents than depend on me.  

Before I go to sleep - I again sit and see the
presence of the Lord in me and see Him in all the
people that I have encountered, particularly in those
that I might have rubbed on the wrong side during the
days transactions.  I put namaskaaram to the Lord
present in all those forms that I had encountered and
try to keep that feeling as I go to sleep. 

>From the advaita point: First, I try to stand apart as
a witness while seeing the presence of the Lord in all
the beings and things.  Seeing the presence of the
Lord helps me to separate myself from the flesh and
blood and from inert things around.  

Second thing I do is to bring in the teaching of the
Mandukya Up. - that text that I took during the last
Memorial day weekend camp here in Washington D.C.
(aagama prakaraNa - MP3-CDs are available for those
who are interested) this helps me a lot intensely in
assimilating that Upanishad teaching. I imagine the
dream world and recognize that there is one mind
(waker's mind) supported by the consciousness - that
is pervading all the dream objects, dream beings and
the entire dream worlds - although each dream being
feels that his body/mind/intellect are different from
those of the beings in the dream and they are
different from the inert world around). Now I try to
feel and see that one conscious presence in the waking
world which is pervading in the walking world of being
and things - just like that one thing that was
pervading the dream world. I try to feel that I am
that awareness that pervades the walking world too.  I
try to bring this teaching into my mind whenever I can
- not for analysis or thinking - but intensely be
aware of that unifying presence in all beings and
things - the entire waking world. 

I want to remind that this is not a thought process
but intense feeling of His presence where His presence
does not differ from the witnessing presence of myself
- yet there is devotion and love involved that is
separable yet inseparable - what that feeling is, I
cannot say but beauty, love, feeling of intense
happiness - words actually fail but feeling remains
until the mind gets into daily activities of ‘need to
do’ things. 

I am convinced of advaita - intensely feel that is
true, not yet able to keep the mind intensely in that
state of surrenderance all the time. It is not an
experience but intense feeling of understanding - yes
that is I AM. 

This is my offering with the token of gratitude to all
of you, the expressions of the Lord Narayana,
particularly to all my teachers who helped me to see
the beauty of the Lord in everything. If this writing
helps in your sadhana, the purpose of writing is
served; Otherwise just discard this as one of those.
As I teach 'Giita Navaneetam' class, I try to
instigate my listeners to practice what I teach, as I
teach what I practice. 

This sunday August 12th, I am taking short camp on
'QUANTUM LEAP INTO THE PRESENT'- essentially, how to
transcend the EGO that lives with reference to past
and future by living in the dynamic present, where the
concept of time itself dissolves (present is a thin
line where past meets the future!). This can be done
easily by invoking the presence of Lord and seeing
that presence in the PRESENT. Thus Bhakti and jnaana
merges into one in the present as one takes a quantum
leap - quantum in the sense that it is not a movement
in time, as there is no time in the present!  

Hari Om!

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