[NDM: Also what about this sensitive money issue that seems to hit a raw nerve when ever it’s raised.
Is there anything right or wrong with doing this? Is there anything right or wrong with making a few , rupee’s on this ancient non dual teaching? What is your take on this controversial and almost taboo question?]
Ramesam Vemuri: First of all no question need be a taboo. If a particular doubt posits itself as a stumbling block, well, it should be attended to.
The ancient Indian system advises a student to redeem his indebtedness to the teacher by rendering service, by payment in kind or cash or in the absence of any other means of repaying, by passing on the wisdom obtained by him to others after taking Guru’s permission. This obviously shows the necessity of some accepted social structural norm to preserve and propagate the knowledge to others. Does this mean that the ‘wisdom’ is on sale or available for prostitution by the highest bidder? Moreover, a seeker had to be eligible to receive the wisdom, the most important criterion being his single minded unswerving devotion for liberation in exclusion to any other desire (including food, clothing, wealth, status etc.).
The ancient sages foresaw a danger also in throwing open the knowledge for one and all because it can be detrimental to the very health of the individual and the society, if it is misunderstood and/or incompletely understood.
For example, if everything is brahman, is it okay to feed dog shit to a hungry beggar? Or because all is One and there is nothing like right or wrong, is it okay to go on chopping off the heads like the Queen in Alice’s wonderland? Is not one accountable for a crime as per Advaita?
The point is one has to stick to the full course of Self-inquiry, right up to the very end – the end being he, i.e. his separate individuating ego with all its desires, plans, wishes, needs etc. etc., is completely dissolved. When that happens a spontaneous morality will shine in him, not an acquired or assumed or imposed social order under the name of ethics or morality.
As declared in the Upanishads and repeated in Bhagavad-Gita, a liberated man is feared by none. Nor is he afraid of anyone. He harms no body nor does anybody harm him.
Such sages were the conscience keepers of the nation state whose rulers always sought their guidance and advice (by visiting their forest dwellings, if necessary) in the governance of the country in the ancient times.
The social fabric too was structured and designed in such a way as to facilitate the development of the individual through four stages of life – learner, householder, forest dweller (for contemplation – a recent research paper, incidentally, says life in forests contributes to good health) and renouncer. A supportive economic rubric was built accordingly as though the entire nation state is one single organism.
Under those circumstances what for are the green backs or red francs required by a Jivanmukta?
In the modern time, the cyber-guru has thrown open free access to the knowledge without the support structure. It promises misleadingly (in some cases at least) permanent happiness even in the absence of some ground preparation. Have we made the Wisdom vulnerable to the gimmicks of market forces and ad campaigns?
NDM: If one is pure actionless Non-dual awareness, A Jivanmukta, then who is doing the spending of this money that is earned through the teaching? Who is the doer/enjoyer/spender/earner? Would a so called Jivanmukta, or a so called arharant be interested in making some rupees from this knowledge?
Ramesam Vemuri: We have already seen that a full blown Jivanmukta who does not have even the consciousness that there is a separate body with limbs for him would hardly need any money. His life goes ‘effortlessly’ taking things as they happen, eating whatever is available, sleeping wherever possible without any sense of possessions, without any claims of ownership or doership or even experiencership.
But as we have also seen there is a time gap between the attainment of firm abidance as brahman and obtaining Knowledge about brahman. He is not totally unaware of his body and the need to feed it during this intermittent period. How will he survive in this phase?
The guiding texts in the traditional system of teaching for the three stages of Listening (shravana), Reflection (manana) and Contemplative Meditation (nididhyAsana) are the Upanishads, Brahmasutras and Bhagavad-Gita respectively. Thus Bhagvad-Gita is the life-strategy manual to answer any questions regarding one’s actions in the third phase. That was the system followed in the olden days.
But we are now in instant coffee days. We want instant enlightenment and instant permanent abidance as/in brahman. Unfortunately we are unable to shed the accumulated baggage of habits and thought patterns equally instantly!
It is as though we have the super structure but the lower floor doesn’t exist. Consequently, driven by market forces, we would like to promote a slogan that works as our USP and present the Non-dual wisdom as if it’s a distinct ornamentation to be worn. We put it up for sale as a commodity to make our both ends meet. In the process we forget that we are back in the game of the worldly miasma.
(To Continue … … Part: 11/12)