[Advaita-l] Being Human

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Sun Jan 10 15:15:45 CST 2010

Yajvan, namaste.

As a student of philosophy, your question is a very familiar one to me.

In Western society, it's considered 'polite' or 'good manners' to put modesty before truth !
And behind that, is a more serious spiritual matter. Western Europe has centuries of 'official' dvaita and saguna (call it two-world if you must) religion, when to claim to 'have God within you' or some similar statement, has led to thousands being put to death..
So the West will only get over this slowly.. It's not quite as easy as 'New Age' teachers claim !

What does the West need ? The nearest aid is the mystical tradition of the one witness, which has been there in poets continuously in the West, to match Rumi and Kabir.

Then we need more exposure to Shankara and the teachings and confidence of Hinduism. Judging from current accounts, American Christianity is moving toward a more 'Sanatana Dharma' view of the world.

And then there's experience, which the West values so highly...anyone who comes out of meditation into the familiar world will recognize, in those first few moments, if not longer, their own 'real' nature and stature.

Well, that's my five pice..


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of yajvan
Sent: 10 January 2010 18:03
To: 'A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta'
Subject: [Advaita-l] Being Human

hariḥ oṁ 
I have found it curious when I hear people say ' I  am only human' or ' nobody's perfect'.  For me this idiom just does not ring true (for me)
if one is a student and practitioner of sanātana dharma. How so? The śāstra-s clearly indicate we are not the body i.e. the home of imperfection.


The isāvāsya upaniṣad helps us with this;

oṁ pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṁ pūrṇāt pūrṇamudacyate | 
pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamīvāvashiṣyate ||

This says we are whole, full in our selves just as That is Full ( pūrṇa ).

But one can say ' that only occurs when you are a realized soul'. Perhaps, yet  the wise tell us this - this fullness is satatoditam. Svāmī Lakṣman-jū discusses this word from the Tantrāloka.  He says, It is that which has no pause, no break. This for me really captures the essence of this totality, the fullness. Svāmi-ji says ' It is break-less and unitary. In samādhi it is there and when samādhi is absent it is there. And in sleep it is there; in each and every state of the subjective body it is there. 

If I look at this word I see it as sat + a-tu + dita. Which says to me, that which real is (sat) + not (a) +to have authority (tu) + bound or divided (dita) . Or that Reality that cannot be bound or divided . This informs us there is no place it is not - even at every point of the human experience. 
This quality of brahman is fullness or bhūman ( so say the upaniṣad-s). Even Nārada-ji asks where this fullness 
can be found (chāndogya upaniṣad chapter 7) .  He is informed  by sanatkumāra (the ṛṣi of the vidyā) of the following:

"O my dear Nārada, your question itself is unfounded and unwarranted. Why do you ask where It is, as if It is in space? But if you want me to tell you where It is, I say It is in space, It is in every nook and corner, in every pinpoint of space. There is no space where It is not; there is no space which It does not occupy." 

Hence this even negates the position the the body is a home of imperfection - as brahmanis there too.

Hence my point. For us to suggest only being human as if it were a defect  is unwarranted.  To continue to  think
in this manner helps the illusion continue ( IMHO).

So, why do we feel less perfect ? What is that cloud that surrounds us that keeps us from this greatness of who we really are?
And the more important question ( out side the academics of it all) is what can you do about it?


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