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A 'Vedanta Mission' Page

Letter's of Guruji-6

(Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmananda Saraswati )


INDEX

(Click on 'Subject' to jump to that particular Letter)

No.

Subject of Letter

1.

Maya

2.

Welcome to a New World

3.

Cultural values & Self-knowledge

4.

Acts reveal identity

5.

Complacency is comparable to death

6.

Child & the helping hand

7.

Swadharma

8.

The Four Varnas

9.

Nishkama Karma

10.

Sushupti & Samadhi

1

Maya

Hari om !

I am happy that in the process of asking questions you are getting some answers by yourself. This all the more shows that the moment we start going deeply into the secrets of life then this very enquiry starts opening the doors.

Not everything is quite clear for me. If I think of God with form,I do not have problems thinking of Maya as his power. If I think of God without form, then Maya stands apart from Him, who is unmoving, and is like a separate entity, creating some duality. But they should merge, shouldn’t they?

It is certainly good in many ways to start with the God with form, but still when you have problems to understand the formless God with Maya, then turn your attention to the wind, to the gravity, to the intelligence and various other so powerful yet formless things and you will get the answer.

Can you tell me more about Maya, how it works and how to think of it ? Is it possible to tell at which point it intercepts our understanding is it at the level of primarily senses or at the higher level of interpretations, or it is impossible to tell because everything is
riddled with it ? I think if I understand Maya better, I will better understand Brahman.

Maya is that power which presents something even when it is not there, like a magician presenting something which is not there. Think of Maya as that which continuously changes. Know the entire expanse of the beautiful nature we see around as Maya. It is beautiful but it is also changing every moment. It is ephemeral. A 'form' is Maya, it is there yet has no independent existence apart from its basic material. Take away the mud from the pot and
you don't have anything whatsoever. So also take away the very conscious existence from a being and you don't have anything left. This conscious existence is Brahman and the ephemeral forms are Maya. Scientists tell us that all matter is merely energy. They have definite reasons to say so, yet how strange that this one energy is presenting itself in such a variegated forms & variety. This is what we call Maya, the incomprehensible & beautiful power of God. Understanding Maya helps, but let me warn you that no matter how much you know Maya this will not really facilitate your understanding of Brahman. Maya is worldly, Brahman is just out of the world, yet in & through everything in the world.

what are conditionings at the cosmic level ?

Maya is the upadhi(conditioning) of God, while ignorance is the upadhi of Jiva.

Today is our famous festival of lights - the Deepawali. My best wishes and blessings to you to awake to that divine light within you and thus make your life a joyous celebration.

With lots of love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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2

Welcome to a New World

Hari om !

I have a feeling that I am getting in a new shell, although more spacious one.

It is not a shell but a 'new world' which you are entering. I can understand the feeling when someone enters a new world. The person neither knows anything fully, nor do most of the things make any sense, yet they are there and are said to be sensible too. The initial basis is always faith and not understanding. The experience of new is also something new to us, but it is not only great & scintillating, but also very important. It is through exposure to the unknown alone that we learn and expand. All you need is enthusiasm, daring, clarity of goal and consistency of purpose, and you 'will' find that which you seek in this new jungle of words & ideas.

But here are many things around which I do not even suspect I may be getting wrong or ignore something important. I am reading and *think* I understand that I read, but
probably I am just picking tops, and not div
e in the depth.

Thats how it all begins, picking tops. Going deeper is always later. So dont worry of making any mistakes, just carry on for sometime and the picture will start becoming clearer. Things will make more sense soon. Whenever you will tend to fall, you will get a helping hand to rise
again, it may or may not be in the form of this swami, but I will not be far behind. Occasional falling is however good for general health, it makes us strong.

Can you show me direction in which to look for and help to find out and eliminate
misunderstandings which I am not aware of? Like asking to look specifically on certain things, and after I say what I see here, correcting me? As I am on the very basics, it would help tremendously to have such "assignments" to think more for a week or two or longer. I am happy to be able ask you questions, and read your inspiring discourses
on e-lists, and now to ask for such a favor from you.

Conditioned approach is not the right way to learn. If I tell you what to look for then why look. The broad framework has been discussed. You now know that all this is to realize the divinity in us and also in & through every thing. However, the suggested way to learn Vedanta is not to straight away start with Upanishads but with 'Prakarana Granths' which are introductory texts of Vedanta. The suggested texts are 'Tattva Bodha', 'Atma Bodha' and 'Upadesha Sar'. The earlier two have been written by Sri Adi Sankara himself, while the third one has been written by Ramana Maharshi. Even though there are various other Prakarana Granths but the above mentioned are good and should be easily available.

It is really a first time in my life that I am able to ask for so much, and receive so much
in responce, and I am asking to excuse me if I am breaking any rules. I bow down in deep admiration of your knowledge.

Pleasure is all mine. The beauty of right knowledge is that even if you wish you will not be able to break any rules. I can therefore very confidently ask you to try breaking some rules, once in a while. So dont be afraid. In fact I can see that between these lines it is not the fear which is visible but your love & respect to the swami. Reverential attitude towards your guide, if I may call myself that, is very important. I personally see you as my child slowly growing &
blossoming up. I am aware of the fact that initially a child has to hold someone's fingers, then alone even walking is possible. If by your above statements you wish for specific assurance of having my finger, then rest assured you have it. Now, just walk on.

Swamiji, I heard about "OM" , but it is still stays for me the combination of "O" and "M". Can you explain more about it, how I should think of it?

OM is the most commonly used name of Brahman in Upanishads, like L... is yours. The only difference is that may be the word L.. doesn’t have any meaning, and even if has it may not be specific to you alone, while here OM has a definite meaning and it is specific to Brahman. It is one of the best pointer to know the truth Brahman. Mandukya Upanishads provides these details. It is short & easy to use, and when you pronounce it, then with the utterance of the alphabet 'O' you open your mouth, and with the alphabet 'M' you close your mouth. It thus represents the whole spectrum of our existence beginning from opening up (starting our existence), to the closing down of this entire manifestation. There is also a third alphabet 'U'
in between these two which symbolises sustainance. OM thus encompasses the whole spectrum of our existence from creation, sustainance to dissolution. It also points out that which is untouched by such activities too. However to begin with you need not go into all this but simply take it as a great name of that divinity. It is necessary to establish some emotional affinity with Brahman. For beginners it is a great mantra for japa, meditation or even singing etc. Emotional affinity to name is an important platform to take a leap to greater heights. Write it as many times you can. It is called Likhit Japa or chanting by writing.

With lots of love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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3

Cultural values & Self-knowledge

Hari om !

I had recieved your mail few days back only. Some important organisational matters kept me very busy. Moreover there was nothing much in your mail calling for my immediate reply. The thing which brings me on my foot is topic of Self-knowledge alone.

If you do not have any confusions or rather questions then why should anyone bring confusions in you. Our aim is to facilitate you to resolve them & not bring them. If you feel happy with the way things are at present, then we are happy. May you be happy, that's all. Some people get some questions, for them alone is any teaching. If you dont have questions then all I can say is
that if at all you do have some questions at any point of time then others may help you to sort them out.

It is immaterial for a student of Self-knowledge whether the earlier life of the person was in this place or that. Students of self-knowledge are bothered only with trascending time, rather than reliving some past. If you feel you have heard all this then I personally would be happy if the earlier samskaras help you take to self-knowledge like duck to water, otherwise the earlier samskaras will not only be irrelevant but also a positive obstacle.

Regarding eating non-veg. Well ! who says that people who dont eat non-veg do not eat because veg things alone die and not animals. We are very much aware of the ephemerality of all things, living or not. We dont have any such reasons in mind, and therefore there is no question of decieving anyone. As there was no inquisitiveness in your mail regarding knowing
the real reasons, but only accusation of self-deception by veg-eaters, therefore I dont feel any neccessity of going into that topic. Others are as free to eat what they like as you are free to eat what you like. Nobody needs to prove anything to anyone. The question of decieving anyone is a negative thought. Moreover these topics are not directly related to Self-knowledge, but more with a certain culture. I am personally happy about our veg-eating culture.

Hari om !

Swami Atmananda

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4

Acts reveal identity

Blessed Self,

Hari om ! I recieved both of your mails. Thanks.

I am not bothered about anything and so there is nothing to forget about. All acts, responses, or thoughts of a person just helps reveal his or her identity. Your positive and at times negative words help me to know you as you are. The only problem is that as the process of knowing progresses, relationships also take a turn. Initially I was experiencing a soft corner for you, but I should confess that as I am knowing you closely, there is a definite change in my perception. The ball is always in your court, if I see sincerity, bhakti & egolessness then the you will immediately find appropriate response from me, otherwise I just ignore and turn my attention
to things which I consider more truthful & genuine.

Lets stop all this talk about sending 'this or that part of the ego', it doesnt make any sense. Simply do it, without all this pep talk. The moment you unload yourself, you will find positive reciprocations from people around you. As a Swami I am interested only in this. Show you the path, and thereafter, you walk, and bless your life. I am not even interested in gratitudes. I will not be around then.

With love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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5
Complacency is comparable to death

Hari om !

Theoretically I know that my true identity is Atman, and as so, the acts reveal on the degree of misunderstanding of the true identity.

True indeed, all negative acts are borne out of misunderstanding of Self. The moment the mind forgets the truth it glides into imaginary world as per the whims & fancies of the ego. Yet the fact that inspite of theoritical knowledge we still tend to glide back shows that such theoritical knowledge does not suffice. The purpose of paroksha jnana is always to motivate us to go in for aparoksha jnana (direct knowledge) with an all the more greater enthusiasm.

Also they do not help to know anyone as they are, rather as they were, although cyberspace gives different dimensions to the sides. I am not there I were two weeks ago.

Dont be under that impression. There are ways know certain aspects of mind which are relatively more steady & constant. It is these aspects alone which provide constancy to the individuality in this changing realm of time & space. Gita calls it swadharma, not at the level of Self, but at the level of mind. Consciously or unconsciously we all hold on to things which even
though transient yet provide constancy to our individuality. There are aspects which keep are not so steady, but more changing too, and are obviously immaterial. If mind was so transient then talk of all good & divine values (daivi sampatti) would have become irrelevant. It is not so.
So dont ignore the state of mind. All sadhanas are only to purify this transient thing called mind.

Positive things stay, negative come and go, I am not holding them. Negative words of the past have the same relation to me now as last year snow to the fall day of today. It would be pity to know that this same snow somehow affects the weather today.

Our experience shows that like negative things, positive too are going often. Both of them are indeed transient, yet sadhana implies seeing to it that positive things are ingrained in the mind to such an extent that they become our swadharma. This calls for very firm & definite steps. Looseness will only result in our mind gliding down, and thus effect our lives, work and relationships. The 'effects' of any cause certainly are changing like snow, yet the 'cause', the factors responsible for snow to come remain constant. This cause too can & has to be transcended, but that is possible only by those who see to it that mind becomes really sattvic. Like a good doctor who sees to it that the very cause of all pain is eliminated, the scriptures too advice us to eliminate the very cause of all samsara. Complacency is comparable to death, says a mantra of Upanishads.

The lesson will stay as a positive thing I got. I would think of it as a successfull
breaking rules on a place there you assured me it is impossible to break rules!

Thats like a good girl. Keep going ahead. The goal is very near yet the obstacles are so subjective that lot has to be done. As long as the desire to learn is there, so long we will be around to share all what we can. If instead of that, the ego starts squeaking, then the only sensible thing to do on our part will be to become quiet.

Love,

Swami Atmananda

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6

Child & the helping hand

Hari om !

The scriptures too again and again reaffirm that not only assimilation of positive qualities is easy but even to awaken to your divine nature is not really difficult. All what is required is indeed firm resolve. I am happy you have that.

I would suggest you please go into the term 'swadharma' more deeply. It is a very interesting & also very important term. It should help resolve most of your queries. The permanancy of swadharma is certainly relative, yet as the roots are very deep even Gita has categorised it seperately.

I am a mother, and could say that squeaking often indicates kid's need for a kind helping hand. One time it can be a mistake, second time it may be a coincindence and after third it can be called a tendency and constitute a problem.

Hats off to the divine relationship between a mother & a child. As long as there is the same degree of intimacy between two people as there is between mother & her child, so long there indeed can be no offences, and unlike a child, not even squeaking. If by the above example you are indicating your child like innocence and intimacy then I can assure that like a mother you 'will' get a kind helping hand, but if by this example you are indicating a child like helplessness to stop squeaking, then I would humbly suggest that instead of trying to tell others what should be their outlook, 'Please keep up your firm resolve to grow up. Even pray to God for all the necessary strength'.

With lots of love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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7

Swadharma

Hari om !

I think the major mistake I made the last time is that swadharma is related to the level of mind, not to the level of Self, and it was indicated in your mail, but I overlooked it. I have problems looking on the term deeper, because I still use mostly English translations
of the sanscrit words, and books do not have index of the terms used, so I just simply do not know where to look for it but will try.

>

The word swadharma refers both to the intrinsic nature our mind (from its 'inclination' point of view) and the Self. At the level of mind it refers to the deep rooted impressions in the mind due to our past karmas. This helps discern the 'varna' of every individual. Varna literally means color, and is commonly translated as the 'caste' of every individual. If the field of our work is decided as per these intrinsic inclinations then the output is seen to be best, and also it is easiest to purify mind and facilitate our spiritual unfoldment too. Purification of our mind is our ability to live as per our swadharma in a 'sattvic' way. In the 48th shloka of 18th chapter of Gita it is said that even if these 'sahaj karmas' appear to have relatively more fault, one should not give them up. What ever be the past samskaras of an individual if he/she resolves to do the karmas in a sattvic way, then the real objective of karmas will still be fulfilled. Living as per the swadharma of the mind helps us realize the swadharma of our Self.

Swadharma also refers to the nature of Self, which is Sat-chit-anand. Once the mind is ready then with the help of Vedanta one should do enquiry and realize ones real nature and abide in it. The first task of every sadhaka is to discern his swadharma, and live life as per that - in a sattvic way. This is a very delicate task. Initially all impressions appear to be so deep rooted that they appear to be our swadharma, so hasten slowly.

I feel that I do not have that free will not to seek the Lord. But it really does not seem to raise questions, it just brings happiness.

Anyone who has the desire to seek God is indeed a blessed person. God is your real nature, the word indicates the ultimate potential of your evolution, that which is infinite joy, knowing which the heart quenches its long long search. To be at peace with oneself. If you have this desire now then I consider you to be blessed indeed. The only thing one should be sensitive about is that dont let this study or pursuit effect fulfilling your family or professional duties.

Love,

Swami Atmananda

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8

The Four Varnas

Hari om !

The personal detour was helpful to know you more closely, thereafter the discussion can also be more specific. I also come to know the reasons behind some of your statements in earlier mails. Do tell me more about your family. What is your husbands & child's name ? What does he do ? Even though he may not be studying scriptures regularly, yet what are his outlook towards the 'importance of Self-knowledge'. He does seem very understanding and
considerate, which is a great asset to help continue your subjective pursuits without any
problems.

Now I try to look for rooted impressions and they do not appear many.

While it is always good to be aware of your deep rooted impressions, yet the word swadharma implies the 'broad overall thrust of the total deep-rooted impressions'. Four categories have been enumerated by the scriptures :

1. Those desirous of pursuing greater understanding of life. Such people feel satisfied even in simple yet respectful living. They live more in present, are sensitive to their duties & responsibilities. They are relatively more intelligent, creative, considerate & also fearless. They are called 'Brahmins', most suited to realize Brahman.

2. They are called the Kshatriyas. They too have high & noble ideals but have greater inclination to change the world, rather than themself. They do change the world as per their convictions. They have strong personalities, and their presence brings awe & hope in the minds of people. They are not really ego-centric, in their heart of hearts they want the well being of
people. They respect knowledge and also men of knowledge, but do not feel disposed to pursue it by themselves. They want some pomp & show, grandeur & comfort too.

3. The third kind are the business types, called the Vaishyas. The thrust of their inclination is money & personal profit. They weigh everything, whether it is knowledge, social work, pleasures or even relationships, in these terms alone. They are more self-centered, but the most resourceful of the lot, and thus command a status. They are extremely calculative and consider
changing colors as their cleverness. They are never too reliable. They are more fascinated by means rather than the end, of which they are not very clear either.

4. They are people who are not motivated by any of the above thrusts. They are called Shudras. They need to get direction for everything. They are the dull types. Their heaven is where they can get the best to eat, enjoy & sleep without having to work for it. They work best under pressure.

These are called the four 'varnas'. The thrust of ones activity should be as per these broad inclinations, then alone the best comes out. Even though these varnas can be changed, but that is not really necessary. Purity of mind can still be brought about, if some positive values are inculcated and there is execution of their works in a relatively more sattvic way. Even though the broad categorization of the inclination of people is in the above four types, yet they are not strict divisions, there are people who could identify themselves as standing in between some of these categories.

I can name only one which I formulated years ago - that I was looking for the most precious human knowledge possible.

That is the 'Brahmin type' of inclination and category.

Kids probably are my another swadharma, and that's why I am a woman ! If before my kid could play sometimes alone, now she only want to play together.

This is not an indication of specific inclination. It has to be in all mothers & fathers too.

Hope the above details will help you to understand you swadharma better.

Love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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9

Nishkama Karma

Hari om !

It was indeed nice to know about your husband & daughter. With this background I will certainly be in a better position to understand your queries and responses better. Association of good, caring and responsible people is indeed one of the greatest blessing in life. May the wisdom of the knowledge of truth bless you and the both your family members to make the best of this beautiful blessing called life. I always take the 'increased efficiency in one's work field' and 'increased understanding & happiness amongst the family members' as important
criteria's to know how far the positive values of life have been inculcated in one's life. I am happy to see your intelligent handling of delicate matters which not only helps others get all the benefit of your convictions without offending them.

I started to read the 18th chapter of Gita to understand more on the topic we are talking about, but started from the beginning of the chapter, and got some questions in the very beginning. What is meant by 'obligatory' actions which are to be performed? What defines 'obligatority' or 'non-obligatority' of an action? Is it that society expects of me or that I expect of myself? If there is no society, are obligatory actions still here and which?

Obligatory duties are those 'must-do' things which are necessary for not only sustaining our existence but also for our holistic development. They range from daily eating your food properly, to satisfactorily fulfilling your self-imposed responsibilities in a sattvic way. Retaining
the awareness of the truth of life is an important ingredient to perform our duties 'properly'. As 'society' is not something really apart from you, so the question of society expecting something from you doesn't arise.

Now the next. I may be well aware of possible 'fruits' of an action - in the above example, one can enjoy higher status, salary and respect after becoming a doctor, and more, these could partially fulfill my obligations toward my children, allowing them better education for example. So, I am aware and can reasonably expect that these
consequences will accompany the decision to go to the med.school. Does it make the position as one of expecting 'fruits' and wrong as so?

Every decision in our life has its effect on all the different facets of our lives. Nothing is in isolation here. Awareness of the possible consequences of a particular action doesn't make an action self-centered by itself. The important thing to see is as to what is your real motivation. If the motivation is anything other than your deep love for the thing work, it will not be considered to be an ideal thing. You will not be able to really enjoy the very doing of the work. As your
considerations are something else, the possibility of leaving this work the moment your objective is fulfilled is not ruled out. Under these conditions the best never comes out. We thus have two options either do the thing you love or really love the thing you do. If you can make
'enjoying the very work' your priority, then we know that economical betterment will have to inevitably follow. Afterall there are always very few people at any place or time who really give out all what they have in each of their endeavor. Such people will not remain isolated for long,
and the moment they come to light, then economic prosperity follows them unasked. Enjoying the very doing of a work will not only let you have an upper hand, but also helps to bring out your best, which has various cyclic effects, ranging from increased efficiency, job-satisfaction, creativity, economic prosperity and the most interesting is the purity of mind (as required for the direct realisation of the self), the fragrance of contentment inspite of dynamic activity. This is
what 'Nishkama karma' is all about. Having discovered the right way of total all around well being & progress, you will not only have all the resources at your command, but also the discretion to use it for any purpose you deem fit, education of your child etc.

In your lessons on Tattva Bodha, you give an example of Chodya-chodaka sambandha as a knowledge of agriculture for the goal of farming. Is farming here a 'fruit' of pursuing knowledge? Are 'goals' and 'fruits' are the same and to be abandoned? Or it is my thinking of 'fruits' as 'mine' wrong, and nothing is wrong in reasonable assumption that certain actions bear certain fruits?

Yes, in the present context goals and fruits are same, but they have not to be abandoned. Be intelligently aware of the various possible 'fruits' of action, but let your real joy come only from the very 'doing' part of it. When something is bound to come then why waste your time waiting
for it. Moreover even if you perform your action properly then also the fact remains that the probable right 'fruit' at times evades us. This is because there are infinite factors at play to help bring about a 'situation' (which also is a fruit) and all of them are not in our hands. That we are
corresponding by e-mail does call for our individual efforts but I know that my individual effort alone does not suffice. For the mail to reach you not only I should be available & healthy enough to sit down & write, but my computer hardware, software, server, electricity, internet gateway, satellite connections and all these at your end too have to be in proper condition. We know that we do not have control on any of these almost infinite factors, yet the communication is taking place. Looking holistically we are getting the support of the entire universe just to help bring about one situation. The most intelligent outlook under the circumstances is to decide your priorities and there after do your best, and leave the rest, on your 'luck'.

And a last question - what is intuition? Many people say I have it, but I am not sure what is it.

Intuition is the so called 'sixth-sense' by which you come to get premonitions of what is right or wrong, of who is the right person & who is not etc. You may not know the reasons but yet something tells you to still go ahead or not. We look at such cases as having purity to unconsciously get tuned to the total mind, which has this power intrinsically. But be careful, dont rely on your gut-feeling' too much, you never know when your mind is responding from the individual point of view or the total samashti point of view. It however certainly helps when no understanding is available.

Love,

Swami Atmananda

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10

Sushupti & Samadhi

Hari om !

Thank you very much for the detailed reply. Following your huge work you do on the internet and mailing lists, and imagining the work you do for your ashram, I can not stop to wonder how you can still find a time to answer my mails too! Thank you for all your work you do for the benefit of others.

Yes, I do keep myself busy. Conducting daily classes for my students in the Ashram, conducting counseling sessions, handling organizational & establishment matters, meetings for planning & organizing future camps & discourses in different parts of the country & abroad, writing articles, commentaries, preparing next newsletter & lessons, handling e-mails & snail mails, daily letter to Lilia, apart from my time for meditation session, and time for my garden & pet dog. You can never ask for anything better if your love alone is your professional work too. I think if you really love doing some work then time is not too big a problem. You find your way, for the simple reason that you like it. I have always been inspired by a statement of my Guru, Swami Chinmayanandaji : 'Diligently, consistently shall we work and undertake daringly even stupendous programs. Whenever a piece of work comes our way, we shall accept it as from Him, and do it for Narayan, offering its results, be it success or failure, entirely unto the Great Parameshwara. (....) Reveling in our tiredness !, joyous in our exhaustion !, blissful with our fatigue !, we shall still work on inspiredly in our endless love for Him who is thrilling us into
performance from within. He tickles, and our giggles percolate in suffocating laughter through our daily actions.' (We Must, Chapter 2). I like the spirit of this attitude and since then I enjoy every moment as I have never before. The secret is that you do yet do dont.

In the commentary to Gita 18.10, Swami Chinmayananda writes about 'a man established in sattwic abandonment' and that 'he is overwhelmed neither by extreme joy, nor by extreme sorrow'. I would like to ask about the word 'extreme' here, which also appeared in some of your earlier mails. Does the using of the word means that joy and sorrow still can 'overcome' a man of realization, but not 'extreme'?

No, that is not the implication here. The word 'extreme' is used only to indicate that even extreme sorrows do not effect a 'man of realisation', what to talk of small ones.

After that, Swami Chinmayananda writes "When, to such a man of Sattwic Tyaga, impulses such as jealousy, anger, passion, greed, etc., come, he does not get involved in those impulses...". Where such impulses can come from, if not from within, and how they can come to a man of Sattwic Tyaga on the first place? Or it is meant that then such impulses come from other men, such a man does not answer them?

Please remember that 'man of sattvic tyaga' is not yet a 'man of realisation'. He or she is in the process. So the thoughts of jealousy etc. can not yet be ruled out. What ever comes it comes only from within and not outside.

I see the word vasana appeared with short description as 'thought tendencies of the human mind'. How 'vasanas' are different from 'swadharmas' if this difference is important?

Yes, the difference is extremely important. Both of them are basically 'impressions in mind', the only difference is that while 'swadharma' relates our field of work, 'vasanas' are lingering remnants of some sensual experience, where the thirst is yet to be fulfilled, thus propelling
us to go for it again & again. So the former is an impression relating to 'work-field', while the latter is for 'fruits'.

Regarding 'fruits' of the actions, I have a feeling that before I did not care much for them, but now I am asking myself all the time why I do certain things, and spend too much time worrying about not worrying for 'fruits'! I think it is not better than worrying for fruits themselves.

No, I will put it differently. Before you 'did not know' that you cared for the 'fruits of action', while now you are 'conscious' of this fact. But know this to be a temporary phase. The purpose of bringing about this awareness is to correct a possible error, and see to it that all our entire and uncompromising attention is focused only on enjoying the very work. Now that you are conscious of this fact you will not escape it even if you like, till of course, the positive change is brought about.

Dear Swamiji, I came across two descriptions of 'natural' states of being one with the Self. One is in the deep sleep and another is a rare state of being completely in tune with everything in the moments of happiness. If these both states describe the same feeling of being one with the Self, why they do not bear the same degree of 'desirability' of these states? I can get deep sleep every night, and not particularly fond of an idea of being in a deep sleep forever. At the other hand, the feeling of being in peace and harmony with every thing and one is an attractive one, and can be a driving force for the study of the Self. Can the latter state of being happy be compared with being one with the Ishwara - the Self with a creating potential, while deep sleep state is being one with the pure Consciousness?

There is a great difference between the states of 'sushupti' and the state of 'samadhi'. In the former, the deep-sleep state, you glide in because of your exhaustion & tiredness, while in the latter you go in because of your heightened awareness & understanding. Experience of thoughtlessness being same, the lessons we learn, the knowledge we derive makes the real difference. You by now should be convinced that the real problem of every individual is 'ignorance' of the truth of his Self. This being the case, the state of samadhi represents 'culmination of our understanding', while our inability to consciously go into a 'thoughtless' state shows absence of having learnt the right lessons from the variegated experiences which come our way, and thus the continuation of ignorance with all its consequences.

Love,

Swami Atmananda

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