Sharpness of Attention


Arise, awake, and learn by approaching the excellent ones. The wise ones describe that path to be as impassable as a razor’s edge, which, when sharpened, is difficult to tread on.

Katha Upanishad 1,2,15

photo credits: Karl-Heinz

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About Sitara

Sitara was born in 1954, she became a disciple of Osho in 1979. In 2002, she met Dolano and from then on,discovered Western-style Advaita teachings, especially those of Gangaji. After reading Back to the Truth by Dennis Waite in 2007, Sitara started to study traditional Advaita Vedanta (main influences being Swami Paramarthananda, Swami Dayananda and Swami Chinmayananda). She teaches several students on a one-to-one basis or in small groups (Western-style teaching inspired by Advaita Vedanta). Sitara is highly appreciative of Advaita Vedanta while at the same time approving of several Western Advaita teachers. She loves Indian culture and spent many years in India.

3 thoughts on “Sharpness of Attention

  1. Dear Sitara,

    Thanks for the KaTha quote.

    But I am a bit intrigued on a number of counts.

    1. I am not sure the Upanishadic message would convey what you seem to intend from the title of the Post and the picture — sharp concentrated focus on the job on hand in exclusion to all else calling for tremendous effort.

    2. The reference to the mantra as I-ii-15 (The first chapter, second valli, 15th mantra) also needs to be checked.

    The quoted mantra comes at I-iii-14 (First chapter, third valli, mantra 14):

    उत्तिष्टत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत |

    क्षुरस्यधारा निशितादुरत्यया दुर्गं पथ: तत् कवयो वदन्ति ||

    (The meaning is what you have given).

    3. The preceding mantras 10-13 in this valli talk about discrimination. They point out in steps a method to discern the true subject from the perceived objects.

    4. To my understanding, the sharpness in the quote alludes to the knife-edge (the path one takes) where maneuverability is practically nil. What is required from the seeker is subtlety and vigilance so that an object is not mistakenly understood to be the subject.

    But this is still halfway house.

    5. What Advaita would really teach ultimately is effortless all-inclusivity, the oneness of subject-object.


    • Dear Ramesam, thanks for pointing out the correct source of the quote. I have changed it. Will reply to the rest of your comment later.

    • There are many aspects to attention as we all know but I would say that attention is something you place otherwise it is perception. This placing is not effortless, i.e. it belongs to the preparatory measures on the path of knowledge. I was pointing to the vigilance aspect of attention which IS needed for the seeker up until he/she has reached the end of nididhyasana. It will gradually become less and less effortless. The effortless all-inclusivity you talk about is the outcome of where and how attention is pointing/pointed.

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