The Teaching Tradition of Advaita Vedanta by Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Discussion in 'Vedas' started by garry420, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    A school of thought is always the contention of a given person or persons. Being what it is, a contention is subject to dispute. The contender's means of knowledge, such as the perception and inference, should find access to the object of any contention. The contender's self, which is the subject matter of Vedanta, is not available for the contender's means of knowledge. If it is, then who is the subject who employs the means of knowledge Suppose I am the subject. How can I be the object about which I have contention? So the subject matter of Vedanta, which is atma, can never be a school of thought.

    Any thought regarding the atma is a speculation. The Upanishads themselves make this clear. "Understand that to be Brahman (atma) which is not objectified by the mind and because of which the mind knows everything." Analyzing the subject matter of Vedanta in the light of various schools of thought prevalent in his time, Vyasa presents Vedanta as a means of knowledge (pramana) for knowing Brahmatma (the self being Brahman), Therefore, to consider Vedanta as another school of thought along with Sankhya, Vaisesika, etc., is not reasonable. There are many books in circulation that discuss the six schools of Indian philosophy; Vedanta is included in these books as one of the schools. This inclusion is not justified because, unlike a school of thought, Vedanta is not within the realm of speculation. The subject matter of entire Veda is pramanantara-anadhigatam, one that various means of knowledge such as perception and inference have no access to. There is no way to prove the existence of punya and papa. So, too, one has epistemological access to areas such as heaven, rebirth, and the structure of a ritual and its connection to an end. These areas fall outside the usual means of knowledge and therefore are not subject to any contentions.

    From the nature of its subject matter, the Veda has to be looked upon as an independent means of knowledge (svatah-pramanam). The Upanishads, forming the last portion of the Veda, also have a subject matter which is not available for sensory perception and inference. Therefore, to label Vedanta as a school of thought only reveals a lack of understanding about the nature of its subject matter.

    There are teachers (acharyas) who interpret the sentences of Vedanta (Vedanta-vakyas) differently; but all these acharyas look upon Vedanta as a pramanam. How valid are their interpretations? The answer to this question will lead to an analysis (mimamsa) of the sentences of the various Upanishads. In this analysis, we employ reasoning (yukti), grammar (vyakarana), and other factors that constitute hermeneutics. By such inquiry (vichara) the vision (tatparya) of Vedanta will become clear. Therefore, the interpretations of Ramanuja, Madhva, Vallabha and others who accept Vedanta as a means of knowledge cannot be considered schools of thought, but only as interpretations of Vedanta.

    If Vedanta is a pramanam, then viewing it as such is what is called sraddha (trust in the validity of Vedanta pending knowledge). To verify a means of knowledge, you do not require another means of knowledge. The validity of a pramana rests in itself. To know that my eyes see, I have to use my eyes and see. To know Vedanta is a means of knowledge I have to expose myself dispassionately to Vedanta, with sraddha, and see what it unfolds is true. If what Vedanta says is contradicted by any other means of knowledge, then the whole subject matter of Vedanta has to be dismissed as not valid or it has to be looked into again. One cannot say, "Because I see this man, he does not talk." Seeing does not contradict hearing. Similarly, my perception or inference about various things in the world does not in any way contradict the vision unfolded by Vedanta.
    Excerpted from "The Teaching Tradition of Advaita Vedanta" by Swami Dayananda Saraswati
  2. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    "Anger is due to lack of accommodation. If you expect the world to conform to your liking, then it is your own expectation that brings anger to you. Accommodation is an understanding that the other person behaves as he or she does because the person cannot act contrary to his or her background. You have no right to expect something different from someone just because it suits your needs. If you think you have a right to ask someone to change, then that person equally has the right to ask you to let him or her live as he or she does. In fact, only by accommodating others, allowing them to be what they are, do you gain a relative freedom in your day-to-day life.

    You come to terms with yourself psychologically, with yourself as a personality when you practice accommodation. That is what we call yoga-sadhana / योग साधना. Look back at the situations, the people and events that disturbed you in your life. They are not mere memories but remnants of reactions. A reaction is not something you do consciously.

    Reactions create a great impact on you and become part of your psyche. They are aspects of the personality of a person. In fact, they are false, born of a lack of alertness on your part. Memory itself is not unpleasant. Unpleasantness is there in your mind because of lingering reactions and emotions, which have become as though real. Therefore, recall those people and moments that caused you pain. Perhaps, you carry guilt because of some hurt you caused another. In the seat of meditation recall them all and let them be as they are. With patience you free yourself from all residuals of the reactions." Swami Dayananda Saraswati
  3. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    "We possess a few things (or at least we think we possess) and we maintain them well so that they remain functional for as long as they can. If we don't then they fall apart in no time. This is true with our body also. Surprisingly, we use our mind all the time but we neglect it. We don't take care of it. We don't clean it regularly. But how to keep the mind clean? We have to understand our own ways of thinking. We have to be conscious of them. Caring for the mind is to distinguish reaction from action. Life is full of actions. We should be able to say consciously 'yes' and 'no'. Then there is no reaction. Then you are a 'Swami'. Paying attention to your own ways of thinking, your desires, your pursuits, watching your own interactions, is so important in life." Swami Dayananda Saraswati

    We have two forms of Īśvara: one is śuddha-caitanyam pure, limitless awareness, the second, māyā-avaccinna-caitanyam. Is there a third? If caitanyam is the svarūpa of Īśvara, that svarūpa is also available here as jīva. Awareness obtaining in your antaḥkaraṇa, in other words conditioned by your antaḥkaraṇa, is called jīva. Therefore antaḥkaraṇa-avaccinna-caitanyam is another form of Īśvara. Caitanya conditioned by the antaḥkaraṇa is an individual knower, pramātā etc. This is another form.

    "I intimately realize that I am a victim of my own past. As a victim of my past, I cannot but be apprehensive about the future. I become worried. I become cautious. I become frightened of my future. To deliver myself into the hands of the Lord, I deliver myself to the order that is the Lord. The Lord is not separate from the order and the order is not separate from the Lord. My past then becomes part of the meaningful order of my personal life. The future unfolds itself in keeping with the same order, an order that includes my previous karma, if there is such a thing."

    "The wise person is one who is happy without depending upon any object or situation. Like the ocean, the wise person is full by his or her own glory, by his or her own nature. The ananda, fullness of a wise person is not going to increase because of the entry of some desirable objects. And if such desirable objects do not enter, the wise person does not lose anything. In either case, no change is brought about in the person. He or she remains unchanged." Swami Dayananda Saraswati

    "You can resolve childhood problems by understanding the whole process, acknowledging all that has happened, and seeing the past that has been buried. You accept gracefully what has happened before, good or bad. To address problems that exist with reference to your past, is to have a certain maturity. It is a mature way of looking at your self. Then again, you look at the world in the same way. In fact, if you can gracefully accept your own past, then it is easy for you to accept the world, also. The world can just be. The mature way of looking at the world is to not want to control it. Nor can you control it. If you want to control the world, but feel that you cannot, you feel controlled. You can act in this world, but you cannot have absolute control over it. One of the most predominant traits in people is that they attempt to control the world in various ways. This is what I call immaturity. What control do you have? You have none; you can only accommodate, understand and do what you can. You may have been given certain powers to do something – to understand, organize, reorganize, and put things together. Everyone has certain powers and, with these, you do your best. Accepting is not just swallowing; it is accepting a given situation as it is and doing what is appropriate to that situation. To do this is to gain a maturity that is emotional adulthood. This maturity can be further extended to cover a mature way of understanding values with reference to one’s interactions with the world." Swami Dayananda Saraswati

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