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A 'Vedanta Mission' Page

Letter's of Guruji-7

(Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmananda Saraswati )


INDEX

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

No.

Subject of Letter

1.

Deciding Priorities

2.

Knowledge alone liberates

3.

Agami Karmas

4.

Know it & not attain it

5.

Full jar always spills

6.

Using & quietening the thoughts

7.

In & beyond thoughts

8.

Dynamics of gratitude & euphoria

9.

Dare to think big

10.

Death of a dear one

1

Deciding Priorities

Hari om !

Children do need lot of attention. All conscientious people see to it that they are sincere to their responsibilities. Being a mother is one of the greatest responsibility, in fact what I gather from your mails even the motivation for your work is Ann, and rightly so. If a child gets good childhood then you create a good human being and nothing is of greater satisfaction than this positive contribution. Any other work can be done later too, but the childhood of someone
never returns, so do give Ann your best. But I agree that one should always try to give justice to other responsibilities too.

Dear Swamiji, if there are several pieces of work to do, how do you decide which one has the priority?

Personally I just see as to which work helps others best and at the earliest, and of course in which work I am responsible and in which I am not. Personally I am pretty at home with my self and dont need any thing, my joys are the joys of others.

With lots of love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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2

Knowledge alone liberates

Hari om !

Thanks for your greetings mail.

Last time I asked about the states of happiness and deep sleep, and you explained the difference as the difference between samadhi and sushupti. I have a question about the first state. I understand that everyone want to be happy and finally this will is a driving force for all human undertakings. But somehow the state of happiness does not equate to the state of samadhi for me. I can be happy with mind wondering around and finding reasons to be happy everywhere without any particular cause. At the same time the state of samadhi imply thoughtness. Is my understanding of happiness wrong?

The reason I mentioned samadhi & sushupti to show the difference between happiness & deep sleep, was to indicate that in one you glide in because of the realisation of truth while in the other you go because of fatigue & tamo guna. It is knowledge which matters & not the thoughtlessness. Some time back a nice thread of discussion started after my mail named 'Experience & Knowledge' (in the Advaitin list). There I had pointed out that experiences
of thoughtlessness or even of any other kind do keep coming to us, but what really matters is not the experience or the state of mind, but knowledge - the lessons learnt from these experiences. Please see the difference between both these things, because here lies the answer to your question.

Happiness is not dependent on thoughtlessness but right knowledge, and ability to glide into samadhi is just a proof that your understanding is right, later on you have the freedom to either remain with thoughts or glide into thoughtlessness (samadhi), it will not really matter. We suggest to our students that at least go into samadhi once, later it will be their discretion. The nature of discrimination which is revealed in all Advaita Vedanta scriptures is 'Atma alone is, rest is all Mithya'. If you have really 'seen' this fact then you will be able to put everything aside. Our inability to detach ourselves from the awareness of some thing or some person, even for a short time, only shows the importance we have about it. The importance goes to the extent of our inability to bring to our mind the awareness of 'that' about which I seem to be convinced that it alone is the truth. Regarding truth we should feel absolute importance, rest has only
relative importance.

Since I've never been in samadhi, I have a silly question. Will a person who have never been here, immediately recognize the state upon getting there or it can exist unnoticed? Is there "degrees" of being there?

Please dont bother much about samadhi but only knowledge.

Indeed, then I am happy, all my works are being better. Then I am not that happy, I still can do my works the same well, if I manage to separate the work from the negative state of mind; absence of happiness makes more difficult to get separated, but after that it does not matter much.

A negative state of mind which not only effects our work but also the general enthusiasm is a state where unconsciously we become 'self-centered', bothered about our individuality, image, prestige or such other concerns. Whenever you are not bothered about such things then you will feel like a bird flying high, loving & enjoying every moment. It is merely the cost you
are paying for your ignorance & mis-apprehensions. Remove these & every moment the life will be a blessing.

In negative state of mind the negative thoughts bombard me more often and so it takes more effort to shield from them, and can be exhausting. I usually manage to shield, and they do not cause significant damage, but the ideal state is then the negative thoughts do not even appear. What is the way to make it ideal?

Thoughts, whether positive or negative, can only effect that person who gives reality to them. The truth is that they are transitory, and you the witness is permanent. 'See' this fact and stop being buffeted by them. The ideal state is not that you dont have negative or positive thoughts but have realized the above truth. If the reflection in the mirror is realized as impermanent then what does it matter if the reflection is beautiful or distorted.

You wrote before that "even extreme sorrows do not effect a 'man of realisation', what to talk of small ones". But I am finding that it is exactly the "small ones" which are more difficult to get rid of. What are the ways to stop the wind to order to polish the ocean surface?

Learn to rise above the sense of limited individuality, and then neither 'big' or 'small' things will bother you.

Does a person established in samadhi parts from this state to perform his works? Sometimes it is needed to recall or organize something, and it all requires thoughts? Does samadhi oppose the thoughts completely? Where is your mind, Swamiji, then you are writing or talking? Do you think of something or no?

I am sure you would got the answer to this query from my above answers.

Why some people attaining samadhi are coming to serve the world,
teaching, leading others; and some are separating from the world and go
live in seclusion?

There can be two reasons why some people go to secluded places. If they are sadhakas then they may be in a process to bring about complete abidance in truth, and if they are siddhas, then they just like it and do it. They are totally free, they can do what they like, its not for achieving any thing.

Why after all karma's and vasanas are exhausted, the people still stay in this world at all? If it is for others, can it be another karma, but of the more subtle level? Can someone be confident that his karma's are done, or it is always some way left to go? Can you be sure that this summit is the highest one?

There are three kinds of karma's Sanchita, Agami & Prarabdha. The first one get totally burnt when knowledge of truth dawns, the second one goes to the people around, while the third one has to be exhausted by the man of knowledge himself. However even when they are being exhausted, they donít touch him, thats the beauty of knowledge. Men of knowledge after their
knowledge have to exhaust their prarabdha karma alone, the karma's of others dont matter. These men of knowledge in whom Prarabdha still remains are called Jivanmuktas, while when their prarabdhas are exhausted they are called Videhamuktas.

With lots of love,

Swami Atmananda

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3

Agami Karmas

Hari om !

I think I got some experience of Pratipadya-pratipadaka sambandha -type of Knowledge, with something more important then finding the glasses on the forehead or counting the tenth person. I do not imply that I know everything now, but it is like I was asking 'what should I do to be ok', and the answer 'you should not DO anything, just be your Self' got finally to my understanding.

I am happy that hard times are helping you to introspect and get the first hard understanding of your Self. If we retain our ability of objective analysis during such times then we not only have lot to learn but also experience.

I feel somewhat dizzy of the new perspective and out of means I used to. Thank you for taking me here.

The goal may appear far yet is very near. You alone are that, it is just a matter of realisation. Keep up the process of understanding and every thing will be clear shortly.

From your letter I learnt about three types of karma. What is Agami, the karma going to the people around? Is it what how we affect other people by our love or hate? Where I can read about it in more details?

Agami Karmas are those karmas which are produced here after our birth. These in case of an ignorant man become responsible to bring about later births, while in a man of realisation, these are distributed to those around.

As usual, I enjoyed the December issue of Vedanta Sandesh. It is very nice to find so much enjoyable and useful readings combined together. As minor point - you are talking about mimamsakas, not offering the explanation of who they are. Should confess, I do not know anything about them.

Mimamsakas are those people who subscribed to a philosophy of life wherein by action alone you attain everything in life. They did not even believe in God, but only righteous action. They had great faith in the rituals etc. too, and believed that Vedas were basically revealing these heitherto unknown potential of action. Even today we have quite a few people all over the world subscribing to this view of life.

Love,

Swami Atmananda

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4

Know it & not attain it

Hari om !

I think I just was there, but it was not completely thought-less state, rather one-thought one - Aanandoham.. And evern if I would try to find the second one, I could not! Is it really at my discretion now?!

There is no where to go, and nothing to find, just know. It seems you are yet to understand the real purport of my letter - Experience & Knowledge. Reflect on it deeply, and you will realize that you were always that & there alone.

Love,

Swami Atmananda

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5

Full jar always spills

Hari Om !

I continue to meet nice people, some are happy to help with organization. We already have a place at GCenter for every weekday night, but people afraid that 200 people are not going to show up unless pizza is provided. KSociety gives 45 minutes on Sunday, several hundred people come to them on Sundays. I promise 1 or 2 talks at B...

No baits for devotees. I dont want to hurry. I would be happy with a small but sincere crowd. If we can really give them something positive then they will all come. Nice to know that apart from GCenter you also have another 3 places for small gatherings. You use your discretion and arrange whatever you deem fit.

Swamiji, please tell me, whether realization of the one Self, our true nature and happiness is the beginning or the end of advaita teachings ?

It is obviously the culmination of all possible teachings & sadhana. In case you realise that there is just one 'thing' then who is to pursue what ? You are that infinite reality, and there is nothing apart from you. The very question becomes redundant. Moreover it is just an 'out of the world' & extremely satisfying awakening, the very desire to do something 'for our self' is no more.

Is it the easiest or most difficult part?

It is easy yet it is difficult. It is easy because all what we have to do is to realise 'our' true nature, and it is difficult because our minds have been continuously trained by us to look outside. We try to objectify the subject. Self can be known, but not objectified. The process of knowing is also not like the process of knowing the objects of the world. This part alone makes this knowledge something different. Those who do not understand this, for them this knowledge is difficult. Two things make this difficult knowledge easy. One, a pure sattwic mind, and two, access to a right teacher.

What becomes of the means if they were not used to get to the goal, but goal is already here?

All 'means' only help us to either purify the mind or eliminate some impediments. The moment these means fulfill their roles they are left. No use for them thereafter.

I am confused by the fact that I am not confused. You wrote some time ago what you expect different kind of questions and will wait. Well, today I realized that instead of asking different questions I started to teach, and do it already for quite a while. Mostly on why one is not happy and satisfied, where to find happiness, and how egoistic separatedness does not let us be happy; what we are and how understanding of this
removes sorrow. I do it from time to time then asked, and today I was asked to talk about it on a small philosophical gathering next week. I said no way, I can not talk; and in responce - c'mon, you already do it, and it is very good. So I agreed. Where I'm going now?

To be confused is not a natural state to be in, so you are not missing any thing. Not to be confused is something desireable. It is good. But just see to it that what you know is validated & verified by your own life. Let not one set of mis-apprehensions be replaced by another set. Mind plays lot of tricks to keep itself going & remain in power. The test of our direct realisation
is existence of a contended mind, motivations of merely the 'well being of all', not getting any situation, positive or negative disturbing your equanimity. You can see directly that this 'entire field of experience' - the whole world, has come from you, is sustained by you and will go back in you. If you directly know all this then certainly you know the truth. If not, then with all
your sincerity and humility keep going deep into the factors which obstruct such realisation.

It is very nice to know that you have starting talking to others about your convictions. Becoming vocal & starting to talk to others on these matter is good sign. But it is no alternative to asking questions. It is a natural outcome of our convictions becoming firm and is an indication that you
have started getting benifitted with them. It is something to be encouraged. It helps us to shed self-centered habits of hesitation & self-consciousness. and increase our love for the subject inquestion. It helps us to go still deeper into the topic, because you never know what type of question others may raise. It thus helps us to get deeper insights. It also helps others to get
some different food for thought, it fills the world with positive ideas, which is saturated only with self-centered thoughts. It is something which is good for all. A jar does start spilling when it is full. May your fullness help others too. May there be more light in the world. Congratulations and Best Wishes.

With love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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6

Using & quietening the thoughts

Hari om !

Nice receiving your mail. Mail to you was next on my agenda. There were some problems with the Computer, in the process I lost all the stored data, I had to work hard to get things back to workable level. The first thing on my agenda was the monthly Newsletter and few other things. Now things are back to normal.

Yes, we were discussing the important topic of Liberation & Bondage, and we saw that Ignorance of our real Self alone is Bondage, and Knowledge of our real nature alone is door to Liberation. This conclusion is of very far reaching consequence and has a very profound effect on our 'goals' & 'means'. The whole approach changes. In your case I see that now to a great
extent understanding of this fact does appear to be there, but something is still obstructing the required subtle change in 'approach'. That is why I keep on raising this topic again & again. I liked the beautiful example given by you regarding the glass box, in which the object does appear so close yet is not directly accessible. The approach has to be changed. Yes, this is what is required here too.

Before I go into that we should first see & realise the limitation of the approach of 'realising by stilling'. In a quiet mind you do experience a self-effulgent & blissful existence - directly. This direct realisation has an important role to play in the process of understanding, yet your own
experience shows that there is something more to the story. It is not enough. You go in it for a moment & come out, again go in and are shortly out. You now know beyond any doubt that a blissful dimension exists so close, but as though 'covered by the thoughts of mind', you have uncovered it many times, even though momentarily. Now what should be next, keep on
uncovering it or something else ?

Well, there are many who believe that we should continue to quieten the works within to retain the awareness of that, till you fully own it up. This is great but certainly not enough. What more that is required is understanding the 'basic presumptions' operating in such approach. The first
presumption is that "today you are not that, and when you revel in that state for long, then shortly you will 'be' that." Second evident presumption is that in order to "realise the divinity within you have to quieten all your thoughts." Please go into these things thoroughly and try to see their validity. Also go into this that "what is it which gets dissolved in a quiet mind, and what is it which gets crystallised later, so as to deny that us that experience of 'dissolved expanse' later on. Stilling the mind does have its limited role, but the crux lies in 'understanding' the basic
presumptions operating in bringing about any movement or even the lack of it.

I will suggest that you please continue with your sessions of meditation, but also take your time to go into the above topic thoroughly. As you understand the implications of existing presumptions you will see a fundamental change in your perceptions & approach, and interestingly also in the effortless continuity of experience of bliss.

Love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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7
In & beyond thoughts

Hari om !

Your letter provoked an intense brain activity which resulted in a limited success, but I am stuck again. I indeed was advised to continue to quieten the works by a Swami residing here, and found the advice unsufficient, although helpful in some meditation technics. Actually, it was the first presumption of a gradual 'becoming', from which the suspicion of unsufficiency arose, thanks to our previous discussions.

I am happy that my earlier mail was successful in initiating a re-look at certain fundamentals & presumptions. Intense introspection & unconditioned objective enquiry regarding the fundamentals alone is the doorway to the realisation of the truth of Self. You are doing fine. Always prefer intense & positive use of thoughts to their quititude. Quititude of mind has its own role to play too, but always consider quititude secondary to understanding. Such moments are indeed worth celebrating for me when I am successful in initiating some intense brain activity in some one. Let there be consistency in such kind of enquiry and soon enough all veils will be lifted.

I can not say much about the second presumption, but that it contradicts somethat my experience - the thoughts are not absent but are at my disposal, they do not trample over me. And I do not see many reasons to forbear the power of intellect there it is appropriate.

The second presumption which I had pointed out was pertaining to the belief that realisation of the truth is only after quitening all thoughts. Well ! as I have mentioned time & again quitening of the thoughts does have an important role to play. What has to be also realised is the fact that truth is not something which lies hidden behind the thoughts. It is something which is all over, even as the very material cause of the thoughts. It is all pervasive & non-dual, so it has to be evident even when the thoughts are there. The problem is just ignorance of such an entity. Do quiten the thoughts and see what is there when all thoughts are quiet, but later confirm your realisation by seeing 'that' even when the thoughts exist. Quitening of the thoughts is part of the package which aims at realisation of that which encompasses & embraces everything - even your limited existence. Nothing can thereafter stand apart. The quitening of the thoughts helps because in such a mind we as though brush aside all the distractions which we ourself first create in our minds. All projections, aspirations, likes & dislikes are kept aside, so it does bring about a condition to realise that which exists inspite of the thoughts, but as mentioned above
please do validate your wisdom by seeing that alone exists even when the thoughts are there.

I was trying hard on the next point "what is it which gets dissolved in a quiet mind, and what is it which gets crystallised later, so as to deny that us that experience of 'dissolved expanse' later on. I am completely stuck on this one. Once then I was able to hold the experience for longer, I had a certain freedom to go 'in' and 'out' the experience with easy. I did it several times trying to pin point the difference, and was baffled by inability to verbalize the difference. Later, reading on 'shepherd's dilemma' I thought that may be here is really nothing different. The difference might be only in the degree of authority the rope holds. Now it is real, now it is not. But I am stuck at on how to see it not real all the time because it is not.

Well ! if you insist that I take away the joys of your discovery, then I will simply point out that 'that' which gets dissolved in a quiet mind, and 'that' which again gets crystallised later, so as to deny us consistency of the experience of 'dissolved expanse' later, is just our 'sense of
individuality'. Please try to see the truth of this fact.

I do feel like that poor sheep peering on the pole it is 'tied' to, and althouth already not expecting to be 'untied', still unable to move around freely on its own. I feel completely stupidified by this inability, because all cards seem to be open, and I do not see what else can I ask for.

This is what ignorance is all about, and this is what everyone has to go through till the realisation dawns. However this particular sheep appears to be a blessed one too, it does have someone with whom it can discuss & get some direction, and it also seems to play its part to help untie the unseen rope.

With love & om,

Swami Atmananda

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8

Dynamics of gratitude & euphoria

Hari om !

Thanks for your mail. It is always nice to receive your mails, for they always reflect the euphoric joy of a new found treasure & gratitude. I am happy that the life is much better in all respects. May you soon awake to the beauty of your true Self.

May I point out that gratitude & euphoria are indeed great positive emotions and indicate the proper turn which the life is taking. There can be no greater joy for people like me than to see such results. Gratitude brings humility & also greater proximity, apart from revealing the joys of a new found treasure. Nevertheless, there is another side of these emotions also. Such emotions point to a relative evaluation. With reference to what you were earlier, 'now' you are different etc. So there is comparison & relativity. Such statements are possible only as long as the existence of the earlier 'entity' still remains. The moment the earlier individuality gets effaced completely (by realising it to be merely a product of ignorance etc) then the joy manifests differently. At present the joy is in duality, then you will experience that which alone is, the non-dual. There will be greater peace, joy, quititude, contentment & an eloquent silence. A state of being, of oneness. Then you will go further than this milestone of euphoria & gratitude. Let me again point out that these are positive emotions, they are indeed milestones, something which points progress & right direction, but at the same time something to be left behind. As the full import of knowledge of Self dawns, they as though get metamorphosed into something different. So keep treading ahead, slowly. You are that, you were always that, rest was all a dream. Let the dream end, and then look at the present, at what really is. Act & live intensely, fully, creatively, joyously. Let the fullness of your being express at all moments without ever looking back or comparing what was there earlier.

With love & om,

Guruji

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9

Dare to think big

Hari om ! Blessings !

Thanks for your kind mail & the lovely attachment.

I am happy to know that your studies are almost over, and now you will soon be utilizing your wisdom to serve some organisation & the society. Your professional education has trained you to help bring about greater productivity, and your cultural inheritance has blessed you with the science of bringing about a holistic personality. May there be an ideal combination of both to help bring about a personality which all would cherish to associate & love.

Yes, certainly, to a certain extent there is destiny, and from that point of view your placement is assured. But along with your faith in destiny also remember that we are the makers of our destiny, and God helps those who help themself. Basically, we are never apart from that divinity, and therefore, dare to think big and work hard to carve your way to it. Firm & clear sankalpa along with sincere hard work, paves the way for the grace of Lord to shower on us.

With love, om & best wishes,

SwAtma

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10

Death of a dear one

Hari om !

I received your mail earlier only, but because of some Computer problems I could not reply earlier. Slowly things are back to normal.

Thanks for letting me also know the details which your father went through before his end. I can understand that the gravity of losing such a near & dear one dawns slowly. It was indeed a big incident in the lives of you all. Such phases indeed make us sit down and try to understand this strange yet beautiful experience called life. The birth, the growth, the joys, the variagated experiences, successes, failures, the pains, diseases, and finally gliding into the inevitable oblivion - the death. Each one of them are extremely heart-moving facts of life. All part of a package. The reason why God makes us go through such experiences is that, May we all always remember these convenient & inconvenient facts of life and thereafter alone plan, relate & live. May we all live a life wherein we go from here with a satisfied heart & the head held high, and may there be people who will truly miss us, even cry for us. That alone is the real bottom line. Nothing else really matters.

Yes, that phase of your life is indeed over, when you had the loving hand of your father on your head. Nobody can replace him. Now that's history and it is your turn to play the role which he played with so dexterously. Now you are the 'man' of the house now. RÖ may not be physically there yet he will always guide you, bless you & even inspire you. That which a man represents never dies. My best wishes to all of you.

With love & om,

Guruji

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OM TAT SAT