[Advaita-l] Advaita practice

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 9 06:35:57 CDT 2007

--- Sundar Rajan <avsundarrajan at yahoo.com> wrote:
>   I am curious about the term 'understanding' here.
> Does a normal person
>   'understand' themselves to be their body or know
> themselves to be the
>   body instinctly without any need to understand.
>   When I say I am this body (as an example) , I know
> myself (instinctively,
>   conclusively) to be this body - there is no
> understanding here.

Shree Sundar Rajan - PraNAms

In the so called understanding of 'I am the body' -
the mis- is missed or not realized.  'I am' being a
subject and 'this body' being an object, and subject
can never be an object or vice versa, implies that
that understanding that I am this body involves a
misunderstanding.  That is the fundamental error which
Shankara calls it as 'adhyaasa'.  

>   When I say I am cold, I experience the cold -
> again there is no understanding
>   but there is direct experience.

Again experience is not an understanding.  one has to
understand the experience by analyzing the validity of
experience, experienced and experiencing.  

>   Besides if Advaita is an understanding only, then
> shravanam and mananam 
>   will suffice. Mananam will clear doubts and lead
> to understanding.
>   Why Nidhidhyaasanam? Perhaps the scriptures by
> giving analogy of
>   the wasp and the caterpillar point to intense
> contemplation needed
>   to remove the notion that one is the body.(i.e
> remove the viparita bhavana).
>   Then one remains as the self - this is direct
> experience, realization.

There is a difference between understanding at an
intellectual level and understanding as a fact.  The
classical story of Mr. Jones will highlight the point.
Mr. Jones started thinking that he is a rat and not a
man.  Do not ask me when this misunderstanding
started.  From our point it was from the beginning. So
he was trying to hide in a closet whenever he saw a
cat.  His wife, realizing his problem took him to a
psychologist, who after many sittings convinced him
through sravana and manana that he is a man and not a
rat.  After paying all his dues he returned home, but
to his horror found his cat was waiting for him at the
door.  He ran back to the doctor and said, 'I am
convinced that I am a man and not a rat, but does that
cat in my house know that I am man and not a rat?' 

With sravanam and mananam if one is fully convinced
that I am brahman as a fact not as a thought, then
there is no need of nidhidhyaasanam.  As Shree Vidya
pointed, in order to own that knowledge or what
Bhagavan Ramana calls as 'dhRiDaiva nishhTaa' or firm
abidance in that knowledge, scripture says
'nidhidhyaasitavya' - tavyaH implies one has to do
nidhidhyaasana - it will remove the subtler obstacles
due to lingering vaasanaas so that knowledge gets
firmly rooted. 

At least that is my understanding.  Perhaps Vidya can
explain this further.

Hari Om!

>   Could this be called understanding?
>   Just a question (maybe a loaded question :-)..
>   regards
>   Sundar Rajan
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