Who Slept Well?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the first of a four-part article by Acharya Sadananda of Chinmaya Mission Washington (edited by myself) clarifying the nature of the deep-sleep state and addressing a number of problems which frequently cause confusion in seekers.

I wish to express my appreciation to Pujya Sastriji and Shree Subbuji for directing me to the Panchadashi Ch.11, where the deep-sleep aspects are discussed extensively by Shree Vidyaranya.  This article is in response to a question posed by a sincere seeker in a private mail. His question focused on the following:  Who is the experiencer, knower, and the recollector of the deep-sleep state, when the mind is not there? In essence, who slept well and knows that he slept well and is now recollecting that information when he is awake.  This response to the question is based on my understanding of the 11th Chapter, together with a private communication from Shree Sastriji the post to Advaitin by Shree Subbuji.

In searching for answers, I came across the article by Shree Ananda Wood on the topic of Shree Atmananda Krishna Menon’s understanding of the deep sleep state. Given the fact that all descriptions of the deep-sleep state are necessarily from the vantage point of the waking state, we can only rely for analysis on 1) shaastra pramANa and 2) those experiences that are universally common.  The problems with Shree Atmanandaji’s interpretation of the deep–sleep state are noted at the end, since there are many people that I see on Facebook, as well as elsewhere, who follow Atmanandaji writings relating to deep sleep state. Continue reading

Q. 356 – Signs Along the Way

Q: I’m firmly convinced that nothing outside myself can give lasting fulfillment, I have acquired quite a facility for playing the piano and am still improving that skill, and when I do make an improvement it’s usually after a long period of practice until the next breakthrough ad infinitum, I’m in a fulfilling relationship with my girlfriend and I have a great job at a pharmacy, I’m in good health as well, but beneath it all is this sense it will eventually change and I ask myself is this it? All my needs are met but I still feel incomplete. I have good karma and predominantly sattvic tendencies, so how will I know I’m making progress on my path? Are there certain objective milestones that I will definitely notice and be like ok I’m closer to realizing who I am? You said the mind needs to be receptive and mostly controlled but I just wish there were more specific instructions.

Answers are provided by: Ted, Martin, Sitara, Ramesam, and Dennis.

A (Ted): The way you will know that you are making progress on the path is that your penchant for wanting things – be they tangible objects, money, relationships, power, prestige, achievements, particular physical or psychological states of being, spiritual experiences, or whatever – will diminish. 

 Vedanta says that all desires fall into four basic categories.  The first three are security (artha), pleasure (kama), and virtue (dharma).  From the description you offer, it sounds like your life is rife with objective phenomena that fit into all three categories.  Your good health and great job offer security, your facility for playing the piano and the fulfilling relationship you enjoy with your girlfriend provide pleasure, and your good karma and predominately sattvic tendencies bespeak a virtuous character.  Still, you remain unfulfilled.  This, according to Vedanta, is as it should be – or rather as it is – at least for the person who still believes lasting peace and happiness can be had through the acquisition and enjoyment of objects. Continue reading

Ego – desire

Once the ego sees that it only seeks what it already knows, that its desires are conditioned and that its true desire is for permanent security and tranquility, it loses its dynamism to find itself in phenomenal things. Then what is behind the desire, the ego, the mind, is revealed. We are left in wonder and all dispersed activity dissolves in this wonderment.

I am, Jean Klein, compiled and edited by Emma Edwards, Non-Duality Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-9551762-7-2. Buy from Amazon US, Buy from Amazon UK

Why Advaita Works

To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual

Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press:

And always will be, some of them especially

When there is distress of nations and perplexity

Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road. (T. S. Eliot. Four Quartets, 3.5)

If you are reading this magazine*, I suggest that there is a high probability that you are not happy! It is an undeniable fact that the majority of people today are dissatisfied with what they perceive as being a mediocre existence. They may feel that they are limited by an unattractive and illness-prone body or by a mind that is imperfectly educated and unable to make intellectual leaps of understanding. There are very many things that we want – objects, partners, lifestyle, jobs etc – but few that we seem to be able to obtain. (And, even when we do obtain them, their rewards are invariably ephemeral.) Western society relies upon the media advertising all of these things, and thereby continually reinforcing the desires. Being repeatedly frustrated by this materialistic lifestyle, it should be hardly surprising that many turn towards the spiritual in the hope that this might bring about peace and a durable happiness. Continue reading

Q. 353 – Witness to the boredom

Q: I have a problem with the boredom of everyday life. Nothing seems to satisfy me. I just find it so difficult to be just here in the moment and be content with that. You say: go through life and work etc, but as a witness to it all.

Am I living in moment as I should? Should I give all my attention to each action, so that the ego is absent or should I just be the witness of everything every action on a moment to moment basis?

Maybe if I understand how to live in the moment better and had some clarification, that would help me stay present and focused on just living. My mind lives in the future.

(Note: I have reworded the question slightly but some of the replies quote from the original question. Apologies for any confusion!)

Answers are provided by: Sitara, Ted, Ramesam, Martin and Dennis. Continue reading

Q. 352 – sexual desire and happiness

Q: I have read the book ‘How to Meet Yourself’. I understand I think about desire; that it is a searching for a return to our natural state of happiness. I understand that we are already that, but when around women or just bored I start moving toward pornography to get relief from the desire. How exactly can I just access this happiness? Do I not take the desire seriously and not look at women, or do I need a more practical way to cope and not go down this spiritual route so to speak?

Answers are provided by: Ramesam, Sitara, Ted, Martin and Dennis. Continue reading

What is Death – Mythology ll (Tristan and Isolde) – part 5

 

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The power of the feminine principle (Shakti, Prakrit-Nature): Creation, Life, Nurturing – and its cycles. Also representing desire, as well as beauty. Woman, however, (embodiment of the Goddess) can also be redemptress (e.g. Mary in Christianity).

In Wagner’s opera ‘Tristan und Isolde’, desire is linked with Life, and Love with death –  sacrificial death (Liebestod), which admits of multiple implications and interpretations. The Romantic hero – and Wagner was one, at least ideally – could only be redeemed by and through woman; in that opera love could not be fulfilled in earthly terms (for it was unlawful). The Romantic ideal was a combination of love, sacrifice, transcendence, union – union through the transcending of the human personality, of individuality itself. Is this not a universal theme, as well as being very German?. In Wagner’s own words, “What Destiny separated in life emerges as life transfigured by death”.  Continue reading

Q.343 – Meaning of Ishopanishad mantra

Q : The second line in the first Shloka of Ishopanishad begins with ” Tena tyaktena Bhunjeeta”. The literal meaning appears to be ” therefore, enjoy with a sense of tyaga or renunciation (as everything created in this world is permeated by Ishwara) but Adi Shankaracharya has interpreted these words to mean ” protect ourselves”. Is there a satisfactory explanation for this interpretation? 

Also, the second word of first verse of Ishopanishad: is it vasam (is full) or vasyam (should be considered full). Shankara says vasyam. Vasam appears more logical to me.

A (Ramesam): In order to fully appreciate and admire the beauty and profundity hidden behind the simplicity of a cryptic statement, one ought to know the background and the context against which that expression gets developed.  It is as much true when we talk of an equation such as E = mc^2 or a routine proverb like ‘Still waters run deep.’ Continue reading