Sunday, May 30, 2010


The Tenth Man
by Dhanya

An old story used in the teachings of Vedanta to illustrate a very important point

In ancient times in India, young boys were often sent at the age of twelve to study with a guru, either at the guru's house if the guru was married, or in the guru's hermitage if the guru was a renunciate. The boy would stay with his guru for twelve years, studying the Vedas and the Upanishads, and at age 24 he would return home to be married.

This story concerns ten boys who were studying at their guru's home. The boys decided that they would like to return to their village for a festival and to visit their families. The guru was a bit concerned about their going as he wasn't able to accompany them himself at that time.

One of the boys spoke up, and said that he would take responsibility for the group and make sure that they all arrived safely.

The guru reluctantly agreed to let them go, and they started on their journey. On the way, they came to a swiftly flowing river which they had to cross. The boy who was leading the group advised them all to hold hands and carefully ford the river. They did so, but the current was so swift that the boys were quickly separated, and some appeared to be swept away downstream.

As they scrambled up the banks on the other side of the river, dripping wet and frightened from their experience, the leader advised them all to line up, so that he could count them and make sure that they all had crossed safely.

The boy counted, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine." Nine?!!!!!!!

He had them line up differently. The count was again nine. The leader counted them over and over again, and every time all that he came up with was nine. Nine! Nine! One boy had not made it across! One boy was lost! One boy had drowned! One boy was dead!

The boys all ran around in a panic, beating the bushes, looking, screaming and crying for the tenth boy. And the leader? He was banging his head on a tree. "What will my teacher say? What will the boy's parents say? I took responsibility, and now one of us has drowned."

A wise old man, sitting nearby, watched the whole drama as it unfolded. He understood what had happened, and he approached the leader of the group. The boy poured out his story of woe, weeping in utter despair, "I took responsibility for the group, and now one of us is lost. One of us has drowned in the river."

The wise old man said to the boy, "Don't worry. I can help you. I know where the tenth boy is."

The leader was a bit skeptical, but also desperate, and the old man did appear to be calm and sane, so he said, "Yes, please do help us if you can."

The old man said, "Okay, all of you line up, and I will count you."

The leader thought, "Well, this is a waste of time because I've counted over and over again." Still they did as the old man requested because he did seem sane and wise, and they were all in total despair.

The boys lined up, and the boy who had been leading the group took the last place in the line.

The old man counted. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine..." And then arriving at the leader, the old man said, "Ten - you are the tenth man."

The leader was elated! "I am the tenth man!"

The tenth man hadn't drowned in the river, and he wasn't lost. All the while the tenth man was there, as the leader himself, but had gone unnoticed, overlooked and uncounted.

This is our situation in samsara. We "count" everything we see and perceive, and we forget to "count" ourselves. We even will "search" for our self in all kinds of places, situations and experiences. And yet we are always and ever "right here." Our very own self which is totally 100% present and available, standing as "I am," but overlooked in all of our activities.

And so we panic, and are traumatized, searching for what has never been lost. And sometimes it takes a wise person to point this out to us. Someone who is standing outside the situation, someone who is not caught up in the same panic, someone who knows what our problem is and what the solution is. That person is our teacher.

Why is it that the teachings of Vedanta work as a meansof self-knowledge? What is it that the teacher *has* toknow in order to help the student recognize the samething the teacher has recognized?
The teacher needs to know how to use the pramana, the methodology, which is found within the words of the Upanishads. The student (and even someone who has memorized the words of the scriptures) cannot just ferret that methodology out for him or herself.
The teacher has to have been taught the methodology fromhis or her teacher, that teacher from his or her teacher,and so on. The passing of the knowledge of how to usethe words of Vedanta as a pramana is what constitutesan efficacious teaching lineage.
So there is a methodology to Vedanta. Knowing howto use methodology is the key which unlocks the words of the Upanishads (and supporting texts) as a meansof self-knowledge.
In my understanding, the teacher has to knowhow to use the words of Vedanta, as a pramana,as a methodology, in order for the words towork as direct pointers to that brahman which onealready and ever is.
In this manner the student comes to recognize what it is the teacher has recognized, and also learns themethod of guiding another to gain that same recognition.
It is in this way that the scriptures are usefulas a means of self-knowledge, and the teacher has to know the key, the methodology, in order to use them effectively.
We use the word 'mystic' in the teachings to apply toa person who has recognized brahman, (and thus is abrahmanista), but who doesn't possess a means of knowledge, a pramana, in order to guide another to gainthe same recognition.
Best wishes,Dhanya


A Poem by Dhanya

Looking at the red flowers on my table with the
sun shining on them, I notice a tiny sparkling drop of water
at the end of each stamen in every flower.

'Only God can create that,' I thought. Only that
infinite intelligence which has manifested the creation,
and whose hand is apparent in every single thing,
could have done that.

Then I think that 'I' too, from the point
of my body/mind and sense organs, from the point
of functionality, I too am a manifestation
and a part of that infinite intelligence.

There is nothing here which is separate from
the Lord, not the intricately formed flowers, or the
perfectly round, tiny drops of water now sparkling
in the sun, or my body which is breathing, or the space
in between, nothing is separate from that.

I thank the teachings of Vedanta and my teacher
and her teacher for helping me to gain this perspective
which now seems entirely self-evident to me. I think
of those who may feel that they have no connection with
the things they see around them, and I remember when I
myself thought like that, and how alienating and isolating
that type of thinking was.

Wherever I look I see the Lord, and wherever I see the Lord,
I also see the same limitless being/existence/consciousness,
which is my very own self, now manifest through an infinite
intelligence and shining in a tiny drop of water.

Harihi Om!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Dear Satyajit-ji,

After all, how many people take up the study of Vedanta and pursue it? Only a
microscopic minority. The traditional view is that interest in the study of
Vedanta arises only to those who have acquired considerable merit (puNya) in
past births. They take up the study because they are predisposed towards the
kind of mental attitude to life which Vedanta advocates. If a person takes up
the study of Vedanta out of sheer curiosity alone, he will not continue it for
Vedanta is not a mere intellectual pursuit. My experience is that the study of
Vedanta does gradually bring about a change in our attitude to life, and in our
interaction with others. What is most stressed by Vedanta is the acquisition of
detachment and equanimity. These develop gradually as one pursues the study.
When adversities arise, one is not as affected as one would otherwise be.
Best wishes,

Bological theories are based on the experiences of the one constructing the theory. If the Vedantic Self becomes a differentiated component of one's experience, then it will naturally weave its way into one's psychological model of the mind.... New knowledge affects the old. Such has always been the case. As we go on learning and differentiating our experience, our theories change to accomodate our growth. In this case, if the existence of the Vedantic Self is differentiated from the psyche, then new knowledge is produced in that act of differentiation which then must be accounted for in the formulation of the psychological theories that inform our work.... According to Vedanta, it is the lack of differentiation of the Self from the psyche and world that is responsible for our pain and suffering, and so the solution to our problems lies ultimately in Self-knowledge. Psychological health in Vedanta depends on this differentiation. To the degree that a person identifies the Self with that which it is not, through either projection or superimposition, to that degree, the person suffers.....

On meditation

When the mind stays on some one object, it means the mind is fully occupied with that object. No other object can have then a place in the mind. Even to keep the mind still like that is certainly a difficult process. This is actually the penultimate step to `dispose off' the mind. When a wild animal is jumping and running all around, how do you shoot it? It is difficult. But when it is made to stay at one place, we can easily shoot it. Similarly the mind that is running in all directions should be made to stay at one place in one thought. It does not mean the mind has disappeared then. No, the mind is still there. Only instead of dwelling on various things it is now full of one and only one thought. This is the prerequisite to what I call the `disposal' of the mind. After this the mind has to be vanquished totally. That is when Realisation takes place -- Realisation of the Atman. In other words the being as a JIva goes and the being as Brahman sprouts. This process of stopping the mind at one single thought and then vanquishing even that thought in order to dispose off the mind along with its roots is a Himalayan achievement. Our scriptures very often refer to "anAdyavidyA-vAsanayA", meaning "because of vAsanAs of ignorance going back to beginningless antiquity". This is the reason for the dirt of the mind being so thick and dense. Removal of that dirt is no doubt a most difficult job. However, if we persist with our efforts, by the Grace of God, if not in this life, maybe in a later life, that
noble of goal of Brahman-realisation, that is, the realisation that we ourselves are Brahman and being–in-Brahman happens."

Saturday, May 22, 2010


My posted question.

Greetings from one of the silent group.
> >
> To follow and learn from this forum is useful in several ways. The removal
> of doubts strengthens belief in Advaita. Reading great minds that hold these
> beliefs is a comfort, giving a feeling of legitimacy to those of us isolated
> from others of similar belief.
> >
> Attachment to intellectual knowledge can also be an obstacle to
> enlightenment Satisfaction taken from the intellectual understanding can
> lead to another home for elitism and narcissism... Can this removal of
> doubts also produce the purity needed to be awakened to unbounded awareness?
> >
> My question is: How can we use this intellectual understanding in a way that
> results in humility, innocence and purity of mind-heart?


Namaste George,

Although I'm sure there are other members, much
more learned than I, who can address your concerns,
I will try to write out a response which your post
elicited from me.

First of all, if reading here helps to remove your
doubts, and increases your faith that the teachings
of advaita are true, that's very good, IMO.

As is said in the Bhagavad Gita, "the one who has
sraddha (faith pending understanding) is the one
who gains self-knowledge."

Many who write on this list must have that same
sraddha (IMO), and it is also my surmise that
many who write on this list, no longer need to
have sraddha that the teachings are true, because
they *know* that they are true.

Their sraddha, their faith in the teacher and teaching,
along with exposure to the teaching, and the grace of
the Lord, has 'done the job.'

Their sraddha has fructified into the direct and
immediate knowledge of the truth of that which
the teachings of Vedanta are pointing out.

So faith (or sraddha), trust that the teachings
and teacher are true, helps the student gain
knowledge, because sraddha allows the student
to stay around long enough, with the right attitude,
to discover that truth for him or herself.

But for many here, I would surmise that it is
no longer a matter of belief, but rather one
of direct immediate knowledge.

And this leads into your next question.

Above you are using the words 'intellectual knowledge,'
and implying that that is what one is gaining on a
list such as this. The word, intellectual, is a bit
of a problem, IMO, because actually self-knowledge
takes place in the intellect, in the buddhi, not
as an idea or a concept, but rather as the direct
immediate recognition of the truth.

If one were to replace the word 'intellectual,'
with the word, 'conceptual' in your question, then
I think that word might more accurately reflect
your concern.

But here's a question in return for you. Is the knowledge
which the teachings of Vedanta have to give conceptual,
in the form of ideas, or is it actual?

It is actual. It isn't that we listen to the teachings,
gain a lot of concepts about what they are saying,
and then get attached to our concepts. I suppose that
could happen, but that isn't the way the teachings are
intended to work.

The teachings are intended to work as a 'pramana,'
a direct means of knowledge for the gain of the
recognition of your self as atma/brahman, the nondual
reality of all that is.

Thus when the teaching is taking place, the mind of
the student is guided, as it were, by the teacher,
the teachings as a pramana, to directly apprehend
exactly what it is the teachings are pointing out.

The classic example often given is a person at dusk
being guided by another to see the small sliver of
a crescent moon rising at the horizon.

The one doing the guiding starts out by saying, "See
that tree over there? Now follow with your eyes up
the trunk of the tree. See that first branch on
the right? Follow with your eyes to the end of that
branch. Now see the little V shape formed by the two twigs
at the end of the branch? Right in the middle of those
two twigs, in the middle of the V shape, you will see the moon."

Now, my question to you is, is the person being guided
being given knowledge which is a concept, an idea,
or in your words 'intellectual' i.e. away from the
facts, or is the person being guided to directly
see the moon for himself? To see the exact same thing
that the person who is doing the guiding sees?

It is the later. The teacher, who knows how to use
the words of the Upanishads, as a pramana, as a direct
pointer to the self, is guiding the mind of the student
just as directly as in the illustration above, to recognize
the truth, that atma is brahman.

Therefore, in reality,(and ideally) Vedanta isn't giving
conceptual knowledge of the subject matter of advaita.

We may gain a lot of concepts along the way. And some
of them may be way off the mark. So a good teacher will
lead us out of our misconceptions, misconceptions of taking
ourselves to be samsaris in the first place, and any further
misconceptions which may possibly have been gained
as the result of misunderstanding what the teacher is saying.

We all misunderstand until we understand. We all have
concepts until we recognize the truth. The purpose of
clearing doubts, is to clear away all of our misconceptions,
so the truth stands clearly revealed.

We can also gain sraddha through clearing doubts, but
if the teachings are effective, eventually sraddha itself
will give place to moksha.

Then when I 'know' the truth, do I need to believe it,
or do I just know it?

If I see a flower held up in front of my eyes, and
my eyes are open, and my mind is backing my eyes, do
I need to believe the flower is there, or do I just
know that it is there?

In terms of the other things which you ask about
"humility, innocence and purity of mind-heart,"
these are the qualities which we need to embody in
order to gain jnana nistha.

The teachings of Vedanta explain and provide lots of ways
to gain these qualities. A person with these
qualities is an adhikari, someone whose mind is
qualified for self-knowledge.

My teacher would say that we all come to the teachings
with enough of these qualities already, or we wouldn't be
interested in the first place, and the teachings will
take care of the rest.

For some of us, the process may take a longer time,
and for others a shorter time, but in the end 'knowledge'
being stronger than any other thing will win in the end.

So in order to 'hang in there' we do need need sraddha
and the grace of the Lord, and lots of other things
as well. We need to apply ourselves in certain ways.

And on the other hand, I like something I once heard
my teacher say, 'the subject matter is sukha (pleasant),
the study is sukha, and the goal is sukha.' So we are truly
blessed if we see it that way.

All the best,


Thursday, May 20, 2010


Francis Lucielle:
There are three kinds of thoughts:
1. Practical thoughts, which are useful in conducting our business or our daily life, like, for instance, "I need to get some gas". This type of thought should not be suppressed (we don't want to run out of gas!). Once it has been given due consideration and the required steps have been taken, these thoughts leave us spontaneously.
2. Thoughts related to the Ultimate, to our understanding of the non-dual perspective, such as "there is, in truth, nothing to be done". These thoughts come from the Ultimate. If we welcome them, they purify the mind from its dualistic conditioning and eventually take us back to their source. They bring about clarity and give us an adumbration of the bliss which is inherent to our real nature.
3. Thoughts related to the notion of being a personal entity, such as desires, fears, doubts, which includes day-dreaming and other kinds of wishful thinking. Some thoughts of this third kind are apparently innocuous and, for this reason, difficult to detect in the beginning. A strong emotion conducive to suffering and disharmony such as jealousy or fear will be easily detected, whereas I may indulge for some time, without noticing it, into picturing myself on the beaches of the French Riviera with a beautiful companion.
A. If we are not yet convinced that we are not a limited personal entity, whenever we notice such a thought, we should attempt to find its source, the ego. Of course, our attempt to catch the ego fails, as Ramakrishna points out, which takes us directly to the non-existent center of the onion. At this moment, the ego vanishes and we experience our innate freedom (for what looks like a very short moment). This glimpse at the truth reinforces our conviction that we are not a personal entity.
B. Once we are convinced that we are not a personal entity, the thoughts of the third kind usually keep reoccurring for some time as a matter of habit, in the same way as inertia keeps an electrical motor running after its power cord has been unplugged. In this case, there is no need to investigate the origin of these thoughts; we can simply drop them as soon as we notice them.

From the advaitins
> The problem of the human mind is looking for some where to go or reach to escape what it is here - for solutions to come in time or in future - for me to attain something more than what I am.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Here is a beautiful statement by Mahatmagandhi for all of us to remember today, May 18th, Sanakara Jayanthy:

I am neither good, nor evil,
Nor pleasuring, nor suffering.
I am not the sacred word,
Nor the pilgrimage,
Nor the scriptures
Nor the sacrifice
I am neither the enjoyer,
Nor the enjoyable,
Nor the act of enjoyment.
I am intelligence.
I am absolute bliss.
I am the Brahman (Shivoham)
I am the Brahman (Shivoham)

Anyone attempting to sustain TRUTH without HUMILITY is doomed to cause IT to become instead an "arrogant caricature" of Truth!

Monday, May 17, 2010


[ With darkness enveloped all round and due to the short-sightedness of the eye and also due to its being visible at a long distance, the mother-of-pearl appears as silver. Similarly, Brahman which is the Absolute and Blemishless Existence, Consciousness and Bliss being enveloped by ignorance, manifests itself as the creations in the world. If one were to realize the true nature, the vision of the worldly quality will get destroyed leading to freedom from samsara and Brahman alone will remain in all its effulgence. For this declaration the Vedas are the authority. ]

The real word shankara means : SHAM- mangala, KARA – Karoti iti ( does )
The life history in a short form says-
Means at the age of 8 mastered all the 4 Vedas , at the age
of 12 learnt all the shaastras ( mimaamsa, chandas, vyakarana,
jyothishya, etc) , at the age of 16 wrote Bhashyaas for
Prasthaana thraya ( Brahma Sutras, 10 upanishads,
Srimadbhagavadgeetha ) , and athe the age of 32 dissapeared as Muni.
This Great Shankara was brought to light by Great Saint
Sri Satchidaanandendra Saraswathi Swamiji ( SS Swamiji of Holearasipur) after 1200 years of Shankaras departure. SS Swamiji says the day u read ,analyse & understand Shankara Bhaashya is Shankara Jayanthi day and not just by praising, doing archana to photo , distributing prasaadams etc. Swamijis view is `it is the sayings of Jnaanis that is important for saadhakaas than their life history , as it is difficult to copy & do at present day'. So go back to pure Shankara Bhaashya which is in living form of Shankara . Now let us go thro' shankaraas sayings & works.-
1. Who wrote simple , precious, pleasant nector Prasthaana
thraya Bhaashya.
2. Who said Vedaata vichaara is for all human beings.
3. Who woke us telling Vedaanta is nothing but Science of
4. who pointed Advaita is not an ISM but quint essence of Shruti.
5. Who reminded that there is no scope for belief, only based
on Anubhava Pramaana.
6. It is only due to ignorance (Jnaanaabhava, Samshayajnaana, vipareetajnaana) sarrows appear.
7. To come out of all Ajnaana Vedaanta is the only remedy.
8. Who mentioned that there is no equivalent to Brahmavidya in
all the 3 lokaas.
9. Real sanyaasi is one whose mind is always eager to know
meanings of Vedaanta.
10. Moksha means establishing in ones own self.
11. It is only from Aatmajnaana one can attain supreme bliss, no
other path.
12. After knowing self one will not become Brahman as he is
verily Brahman itself.
13. Dual concept of Jeevaatma & Paramaatma is against universal
14. Neither good or bad qualities imposed on Atman cannot change
Atman who is niravayava.
15. Who disqualified anekaatmavaada by Pada(Vyaakarana) ,Vaakya(
Mimaamsa), Pramaana(Nyaaya Darshana).
16. Who argued that all Upanishads aim is to establish Aatma Ekatva.
17. Who emphasized that Jeevan mukti is every ones birth right.
18. Who pointed that all saadhanaas are steps to liberation if
performed selflessly.
19. Who showed similarity in Sadyomukti & Samyagdarshana.
20. Samyagdarshi is infinite as he is Krutakritya, realized
neither he has birth or death.
21. Who said not to teach Brahmavidya , who is not a real seeker of truth.
22. Who stressed that there is not strain in Royal path of
23. Who knows well Vedaanta Sampradaaya & blesses real seekers
of any nationality also to know Sampradaaya ( Adhyaaropa apavaada)
24. Who pointed the essence & necessity to understand self by
Adhyaaropa apavaada prakriya alone.
25. Cleansed mind & Mumukshutva is enough to understand the
teachings of Vedaanta.
26. It is only from karmayoga mind gets purified but not only by
ambitious karma.
27. To understand the quint essence of Vedaanta all human beings
are eligible.
28. The one who is well aquainted in `Saaadhana Chatustaya `(nityaanitya vastu viveka , ihaamutraartha phala bhoga viraagaha, shamaadi saadhana sampat, & mumukshutva)
can easily understand Brahma jignaasa.
29. All saadhanaas mentioned in Vedaanta are simple, easy &
universal- Satyam vada ,Dharmamchara etc.
30. Brahmavidya is not a miracle nor Pavaada ,it is rational.
31. Without the guidelines of Sadguru one cannot understand the
stand of vedaanta.
32. Unattachment with this body mentally is the effect of Brahmavidya.
33. Who woke us telling all sorrows are in just waking & dream
state which is avidyaakalpita.
34. The mind which is not independent of Aatman is Avichaarita sidhdha.
35. Who directed to remain Aatmanishta by realizing the real nature of Aatman.
36. Respectfully hear the teachings of Shruti which is greater
than thousands of parents.
37. Who reigned as a scientist, doctor of bhavaroga, analyzer, teacher, discriminator , viveki & great Aachaarya
thro' Prasthaanatraya Bhaashyaas.
38. A boy who has astonished ,conquered the minds of great
darshanakaaras,saints, pundits, .
39. Who said don't assume & do what not told in Shruti's & not
doing as told in Shrutis.
40. Mans aim is not only to gain Punya but it should be to
attain Mukti when alive.
41. No one is sinful , all are Satchidaananda swaroopa alone
whether one knows or not.
42. Vedaanta is the only Antyapramaana – ANUBHAVAPARYANTAM JNAANAM.
43. Who simplified & told Vedaanta is ANUBHAVAAVASAANATVAAT
44. Who opened the inner vision that everything is projecting &
converging within me alone.
45. Who makes evry Mumukshu Shankara itself by ever
fresh,universal,truthful & vast Bhaashya vaakyaas which is the
treasure of the world.
46. Who gave the great vision Vyaavahaarika drishti &
Paaramaarthika drishti in Advaita.
sakala sanmangalaani bhavantu
Chitradurga Sanjeeva Murthy