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Vedanta - Discussion Forum I (introductory))

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Vedanta - Discussion Forum I (introductory))
#21
Sridhar,

sAMkhya is very much part of vedanta. In fact all major indian philosophical systems including buddhists, borrow heavily from sAMkhya.

Vedanta goes beyond sAMkhya in a very fundamental way. sAMkhya proposes purusha as the observer/witness/self within. But each person has a separate puruSha. sAMkhya accepts multitudes of puruShas and stops there. sAMkhya doesn't propose a heirarchy of puruShas and one final self as vedanta does. The crucial point is that, vedanta, while accepting individual puruShas, mentions that it is possible to go beyond that and start seeing the unity of all the observers/witnesses/selves. According to vedanta there is only one ultimate self/witness/atman in the whole universe which same as brahman.

Even gItA has chapters called sAMkhya-yoga, and gItA is accepted as one of the fundamental 'pramana' texts of vedanta.

sAMkhya also remains non-committal on the question of God or Ishvara. While vedanta says the supreme self (Atman) is same as the supreme reality (Brahman) who in its saguNa aspect can be thought as the God.
  Reply
#22
<!--QuoteBegin-Ashok Kumar+Aug 1 2004, 05:02 AM-->QUOTE(Ashok Kumar @ Aug 1 2004, 05:02 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b>sAMkhya also remains non-committal on the question of God or Ishvara. </b> While vedanta says the supreme self (Atman) is same as the supreme reality (Brahman) who in its saguNa aspect can be thought as the God. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Ashok Kumar,

Could you please elaborate on this ? Also what other schools of Indic thought are against/non-commital to the concept of God/Ishvara ?

Thanks.
  Reply
#23
sAMkhya sUtra says: 'Ishvara asiddheH', which means 'God is unproven' (therefore we don't talk about it. In that sense sAMkhya doesn't affirm or deny God. Although it has been accused by others of being nirIshvaravaadI.

Yoga of pata~njali which is closely associated with sAMkhya, accepts God as a special puruSha (puruSha visheShaH ) who is the tecaher of even the earliest teachers.

In gItA shrI kR^ishNa says he is the puruSha amongst all the puruShas. He also mentions in chapter 13 that bodies are called kshetra (field) and knower of the field (kshetraj~na) is same as the puruSha. And he is the is 'knower of the field' in all the fields that there are. In that sense gItA is firmly in the vedAntic side although it accepts the sAMkhya basics.

The biggest contribution of sAMkhya to the field of philosophy is the positing of the witness/self, the puruSha as separate from the ahaMkAra (ego). This is very subtle point and also quite counterintuitive when first encountered. Recall that western philosophers hardly could move beyond mind when describing the self. Descartes said 'I think therefore I am". The thought is very much part of the mind and the thinker is the ego. In that sense even Descatrtes couldn't conceive of a self beyond thinking ego. But it is a common and important element of Indian meditative thought systems that the light of 'vjn~nana' dawns when 'mind dies' or falls completely silent. Yoga sUtra of pata~njali also mention at the very beginning that the purpose of the yoga is to still the mind of all its deformations or vR^ittis (yogaH chitta vR^itti nirodhaH ). GorakshanAtha calls this state the 'death of mind'. People can make a gory image out of it if they wish to. But the point is that this 'mindless' state is not complete darkness or unconscious, rather it is described as a very luminous state with a higher kind of consciousness. Norml mental knowledge is jn~na. But the knowledge when the mind falls completely silent is called vijn~nana, and is compared as the light of the sun. Sri Aurobindo calls that state the supramental state above the mind. Vijn~na knowledge is described as knowing a thing as it is, holistically, and not through symbols and categories as is the case with the normal knowledge.

Anyway, this positing of witness self, puruSha as different from the ego (ahamkAra) is in my opinion the biggest contribution of sAMkhya to philosophy. And all Indian meditative thought systems affirm this truth, hindus, budhists, jainas included.
  Reply
#24
AKji, Thanks a lot. I have been reading the second chapter along with the other chapters but never considered it in Isolation to notice the difference.

In that sense is it fair to say that sAmkhya is not a complete philosophy in itself and is just a subset of Vedanta?

And is the Purusha in sAMkhya is nothing but jeeva in Advaita?

Please also, note that i am just a beginner and as i don't know Sanskrit, have to depend on translations in Tamil or English.
  Reply
#25
Namaste everyone,

I have two questions on the topic being discussed. If the knowledgable members of the forum would respond to them, it would be great.

" Verily, this entire (world) is the Absolute (brahm). Tranquil, one should
worship It (through), for one comes forth from It. " ---- From " atributetohinduism.com"

I presume the author of the website obtained tha above quote from upanishads. I dont know the exact source.

1. When and why does atma seperate from paramatma?
2. Moksha is Union of atma and paramatma. If this is correct, is there a possibility that atma will seperate from paramatma again? If there is no possibility of that happening, why?

Thanks

Murali
  Reply
#26
Sridhar,

sAMkhya is a complete philosophy. It has been called the first philosophy. Its elements are present in Gita as well as in upanishads. Even rigveda has couple of richas that lay the basics of samkhya. One being about the ajaa which is white, red and black in colour. Ajaa means 'unborn' here standing fo the prakriti, it also means a goat which is for the poetic beauty. The three colors are the three guNaas. Another mention is about the two birds living on the same tree. One bird that eats the sweet or sour fruits and feels happy or sad accordingly while the other watches without getting involved. (dvau suparnaa sayujaa sakhaayaa ). One represents the purusha when it gets involved in the play of prakriti and feels sad and happy accordingly, while the other remains unattached and just observes.

Sage kapila who is thought of as the originator of saamkhya system, is highly revered as one of the oldest philosopher sages.

Through saamkhya sage kapila established the separateness of the witness self from the ego, which is at the core of most of Indian philosophical systems. Terminology of saamkhya permeates all of Indian thought.

Vedanta arose from the realisation of the upanisadic sages that there is one self in the universe. Shwetaswatar upanisad has many elements of ssamkhya as well as yoga. It mentions that sages/rishis gathered to discuss the nature of reality. But after having discusing many hypotheseis they were not satisfied. Then they meditated and 'saw'. (te dhyaana-yoga-anugata-anupashyan).

As it stands, vedanta takes most of saamkhya and extends it. But ssamkhya does stand by itself as a complete philosophy.
  Reply
#27
AKji, Thanks again.

BTW, do you have copy of the thread on BR about Adi Sankara, in which you had contributed a lot. Unfortunately , i did not save the thread.
  Reply
#28
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->" Verily, this entire (world) is the Absolute (brahm). Tranquil, one should worship It (through), for one comes forth from It. " ---- From " atributetohinduism.com"

I presume the author of the website obtained tha above quote from upanishads. I dont know the exact source.

1. When and why does atma seperate from paramatma?
2. Moksha is Union of atma and paramatma. If this is correct, is there a possibility that atma will seperate from paramatma again? If there is no possibility of that happening, why?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Hello Murali, you are indeed right that the statement above could be taken from the Upanishads. However, I would like to differ a bit with the author (Thomas Berry) in one aspect. I would not interpret <b>this entire</b> as just the world. This Entire means, THIS ENTIRE. Everything that can be imagined, and beyond. That which can be perceived and beyond, That which is beyond all laws cause and effect. The original sentense would be "Verily, all this is Brahman".

The Source of Upanishads are the Vedas. The Source of Vedas is the Cosmic Intelligence itself (hence it's called Apaurusheya - not created by humans.) Some claim that the Rishis had written the Vedas. But Knowledge is not born on the day it is documented. Laws of Gravity existed before Newton documented it. To put it simply, <b>even "God" cannot Create Knowledge.</b> At best, the object of knowledge may be produced, but not knowledge itself. Knowledge is Existence. It is not an attribute or an entity that can be created or modified.

Coming to your questions on Atma and Paramatma. There is an automatic assumption that these are two Entities and that they are somehow separate (in quality, size or distance.) Vedanta asserts, (and experience shows), that there is no separation except in the mind. IF there is a separation of Atma into tiny-Atmas, then the Atma is prone to change and hence destruction. If you say that the Jeevatma is essentially different in quality from the Original (Paramatma) then there can be no Union between dissimilar items (there can only be adulteration.) Hence the concept of UNION is invalid, and has been disproved by Badharayana (compiler of Brahma Sutrani).

As Moksha is NOT an actual union, the statements following the question (separation of Atma) is invalid. Moksha at best is a time when Consciousness is fully manifested and is 100% AWARE that It IS, and it alone IS. (Don’t know how to put it in words, but you WILL Experience it some day.) <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
  Reply
#29
Sunder ji,

Thank you for the clear reply. My ealier questions arise from a statement that I read in a book. It is like this: Unrealized state is similar to a vacant pot with air in it, at the time of moksha the pot breaks and the air in the pot is the same as the air every where.

Your reply says that the atma is the same as the paramatma in every aspect even in an unrealized state. If this is so, then how can I reconcile this with the ealier example where the air in the pot has got different size than the air every where.

Even if I completely understand your explanation in the last paragraph (of your reply), I would still have the question I had b4.

When & why did this unawareness of the unity arise ? (or)
" One should worship it for one comes forth from it". when & why did one come forth from it?

From what I know Vedanta gives the highest importance to experience. This is because normal human mind is constrained by its ability to think only in temporal and spatial terms and nothing beyond it. I guess that why this some areas of this subject are hard understand and hard to explain.

If the answer to my question is something that can be explained, please do. Otherwise if you have any suggestions as to in which direction I should go please provide them.

Thanks

Murali
  Reply
#30
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Your reply says that the atma is the same as the paramatma in every aspect even in an unrealized state. If this is so, then how can I reconcile this with the ealier example where the air in the pot has got different size than the air every where.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Murali garu, Ghata-akasha is an excellent example. The space in the pot is the same as space outside. (Akasha is space, and not air.) The quality of space will not differ inside or outside the boundary of a pot. Even betweeen the atoms making up the pot, space exists. When the pot is broken, the ILLUSION of space within the pot goes away. How can one confine space within a pot? Space is Omnipresent. It's not an entity, Space is a concept. i.e. distance between two points is space.

Even if I take it to be Air within a pot, O Arjuna, how can you distinguish between the quality of PURE AIR within the pot, from that of PURE AIR outside it? Space cannot be touched by Impurities. If that is clear.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Even if I completely understand your explanation in the last paragraph (of your reply), I would still have the question I had b4.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

No you will not. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> You will have the doubt only till you understand it. Only till you Realize it. You THINK that the question will continue to exist. As long as you have not seen me (Me?), you will wonder what I look like, but once you have seen me (Me) face to face, will you still wonder what I look like? Absolutely not.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->From what I know Vedanta gives the highest importance to experience. This is because normal human mind is constrained by its ability to think only in temporal and spatial terms and nothing beyond it. I guess that why this some areas of this subject are hard understand and hard to explain.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Let me ask you a question. Let's say I do not know what heat or cold is. Could you explain to me what Heat feels like ? Or easier, can you explain to me what sweetness tastes like ? It HAS to be experienced and cannot be explained by poetic verses. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> Experience alone can remove doubts. Mere speculation cannot.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->If the answer to my question is something that can be explained, please do. Otherwise if you have any suggestions as to in which direction I should go please provide them.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The Avyaktha cannot be explained. Any amount of reading, and hearing about it is NOT the same as Seeing it. Initially it will freak you out of your wits (then you will understand why Arjuna freaked out on seeing the Vishvaroopam. Then on subsequent experiences, you will learn to handle it. -- I have seen it, but I am not an 'expert' if you can call it that.. I cannot explain the experience. I can however point you to the Upanishads, BrahmaSutra, Bhagavad Geetha, and if you have time read the following:

1) Vidyaranya's Panchadasi.
2) Mandukya Upanishad.
3) Gaudapada Karika on Mandukya Upanishad.
4) Aparoksha-anubhuthi (Shankaracharya)
5) VivekaChudamanai (Shankaracharya)
6) Dashashloki (Shankaracharya)
7) RAMANA Maharshi's - Naan Yaar (Who am I?).

If you can read the above in their Samskrit original, it's well and good, but if you rely on translations, please pick something from a reliable Source. (Personally, I did not think much of Hare Krishna's <i>BG as it is</i> in comparison to "ANNA" of Mylapore Ramakrishna Math. But that's my personal preference.)
  Reply
#31
Sunder garu,

Your analogies of ghata akasa & the difficulty in explaining heat, sweetness etc make good sense. Obtaining the experience that you speak of, I think, will take me a while.

I am trying to learn Sanskrit. So I have to rely on translations. Swami Krishnananda's works are available online. I found commentaries of Brahma Sutras, Panchadasi & Mandukya upanishads on his website. I have access to the translation of Tatva Bodha from the website "Paramaartha Tatvam". I presume they are good. Can you please provide what you think are good translations (or commentaries) for the rest?

In your last reply you mentioned that Bhagavad gita by "Anna" of Mylapore Ramakrishna Mission is good. So, is the author "Anna"? I could not find the book online.

Thanks.

Murali
  Reply
#32
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Obtaining the experience that you speak of, I think, will take me a while.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Oh yes, it definitely will take a while. The Key is INTENSITY and Perseverence.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Swami Krishnananda's works are available online. I found commentaries of Brahma Sutras, Panchadasi & Mandukya upanishads on his website. I have access to the translation of Tatva Bodha from the website "Paramaartha Tatvam". I presume they are good. Can you please provide what you think are good translations (or commentaries) for the rest?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Swami Krishnanda's site is highly recommended. You may want to see Panchadasi from there too. It's quite exhaustive and is a wealth of treasure. Another site I recommend is Kamakoti.org. Check out HinduDharma link, and you will find a wealth of information that acts as foundation to Sanathana Dharma. Unfortunately, I may not be the best person to recommend English translations. I usually read and try to understand (with my rudimentary knowledge) Sanskrit originals. And sometimes resort to Tamil translations (even though I cant read tamil well.)

BrahmaSutra translations of Swami Ghambirananda is good. Check out some of the books here..
http://www.sriramakrishnamath.org/books/el...roductType=MA11

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In your last reply you mentioned that Bhagavad gita by "Anna" of Mylapore Ramakrishna Mission is good. So, is the author "Anna"? I could not find the book online.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

"Urai Asiriyar Anna" is the nom-de-plume for Sri N. Subramanya Ayyar. Anna is an affectionate big brother, and "urai asiriyar" means commentator. My father used to read us the Gita, and the upanishads, with Anna's commentaries and word-for-word translations. That's how I picked up my samskrit.

Others in this forum may help you out with good translations. Once you are comfortable in Samskrit, check out the Complete works of Sri AdiShankaracharya at www.sankara.iitk.ac.in
  Reply
#33
Sridhar, I am sorry, I don't keep copies of my old posts. In retospect, may be we should all keep copis of our posts. It helps in not having to type them again.
  Reply
#34
This thread started with the intent of discussing Vedanta. The premise was Sri Vidyaranya's Panchadasi, which literally means "fifteen" (chapters) of this, I shall take up the aspect of meditation given in chapter IX. ((<b>Light of Meditation</b>.)

Here, the author speaks of two types of Brama (delusion.) The first is called Visamvadhi Brama - which is a misleading assumption, and the other is Samvadhi Brama - which is a "leading assumption". To explain this, Sri Vidyaranya gives the following examples:

<i><b>Visamvadhi Brama (misleading delusion):</b> Assume there is a bulb in a room far away that gleams brightly emitting multiple colors. I, by mistake, assume that it's a diamond and start running to find the diamond. I will never be able to find a diamond. This is Visamvadhi brama.

<b>Samvadhi Brama (leading delusion):</b> Assume there is a bulb in a room far away. The light of this bulb refracts off a diamond and emits multiple colors. I, by mistake, assume the light to be that of a diamond's and start running to find the diamond (a diamond by itself cannot emit light. Thus the delusion in mistaking the light for a diamond.) If I find the diamond, it will be called Samvadhi brama.

Another example is mistaking mist on a hill to be smoke and running up the hill to find fire. If by chance I find fire there, it will be called Samvadhi Brama, as the erroneous assumption leads me to the desired object.</i>

Now, Vidyaranya makes a mind blowing point here. He says, MEDITATION is a Samvadhi Brama. Meditating on the Attributeless Absolute will lead one to the realization of Brahman even though the meditator is indeed Brahman from the beginning. He also goes on to say that FAITH plays a great role in meditation. Because, according to him, while knowledge depends on an object (of knowledge), meditation depends on the intensity of the meditator.

To simplify things, I look at all the statements in Sruthi as laws/theorems/principles etc just as we have Newton's Laws, Heisenberg's Principle, Einstein's theory etc. Inorder to understand a concept, I try to balance it as we do with "equations". Thus, the most enduring and persisting meaning for Brahman/Atman etc is CONSCIOUSNESS - "Pragnanam Brahma".

Now, how does one define meditation? Before we answer the question, we should ask "WHO is the meditator, and what is he/she meditating on?" Then the answer will be, that the consciousness (which has identified itself with inert matter) is trying to be self-aware by removing all distractions. This can only be done by constant COMMITTED practise (Abhyasa & Vairagya.) Initially, the mind will not know what to meditate on. It will just try to escape from this 'inactivity' and distract itself into jumping around. I have heard and observed that there are multiple stages in training the mind.

1) Initially, for a novice, the mind will simply not settle. It will be constantly distracted by external stimulii, like mosquito bites, or someone walking into the room, or the temperature of the room, light etc. It simply WILL NOT sit still.. You have to find yourself a quiet spot where you are left alone, and then with patience and practise, one can overcome this stage.

2) Now you have mastered in sitting quietly, the mind is one step ahead of you. It will now "go to sleep", it will try to shut down and fall asleep. You will not be able to concentrate on or reflect on the Self. This is one of the most critical stages to get past. Winning over Tamasam is to become a Gudakesi. This also can be overcome by being vigilant and by self enquiry.

3) Now, you have mastered sitting still, and you will not fall sleep. So what choice does the mind have ? Unlike the first stage, the mind now will create it's own distractions. It will start thinking about the past, or future, or about the powers one will get out of the meditation. More of a 'self created fantasy world'. The methods prescribed will be to bring the mind back whenever it is distracted. But MY method is to let the mind go where it wants, and remember that YOU are not the mind. Dissociate from it and be aware of your Self. (Remember this story... A man wanted to see a village Mukhiya. He asked for directions and was told, look at the house with horse in front of it, and that's the mukhiya's house. The man thanked the samaritan and walked to the Mukhiya's house, just then the horse started moving. The man ran after the horse, for he thought any house where the horse stopped was the Mukhiya's house.) So also, it is said that when the mind stops chattering you can see yourself. Instead of trying to supress the mind, let it do what it wants, and YOU better concentrate on being your SELF. Slowly, you will get over the distractions.

4) Next stage is 'expectations'. Now the mind will start subsiding and your meditation will progress faster. You will now be EXPECTING to see something. Some kind of a miracle, some different Realm, some being that's wearing kireetam or having gadha, chakra etc. If that's the case, and it happens, you will never know if it's a hallucination or not. Thus do NOT expect anything. Just meditate with the intention of seeking Self Awareness. Absolutely no attributes.. This is hard but not impossible. At this stage, soemtimes patience wears thin, and hopelessness sets in. It's also a stage where one would want to give up. But proceed anyway.

5) This is the stage you have been waiting for. Now you will not worry about the mind, or about matter. YOU realize that YOU exist.

While the above seems to be easy, and not requiring any other factor except one's own willpower, I can assert that this will *not* heppen without the Divine Grace.

I would like to hear counter-points on how someone can realize the Self without even trying (apart from the Grace).
  Reply
#35
Sunderji, Thanks for sharing your experiences. I would also share my humble ones:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Instead of trying to supress the mind, let it do what it wants, and YOU better concentrate on being your SELF. Slowly, you will get over the distractions<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Another approach is that one can see even the distraction as Swarupa of the Lord, especially at the point where you realize that the mind is running. Infact, when the mind jumps from that form(say ganesha), one can concentrate on the other form (ambal), then on Krishna (so many swarupams) and so on. There is no dearth of such forms in hinduism to cater to one's mind which runs like a crazy horse. It helps to have so many Godly swarupas in our religion to help our running mind. Over a period of time, you get to concentrate on one form and then to the formless.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->4) Next stage is 'expectations'. Now the mind will start subsiding and your meditation will progress faster. You will now be EXPECTING to see something. Some kind of a miracle, some different Realm, some being that's wearing kireetam or having gadha, chakra etc. If that's the case, and it happens, you will never know if it's a hallucination or not. <b>Thus do NOT expect anything</b>. Just meditate with the intention of seeking Self Awareness. Absolutely no attributes.. This is hard but not impossible. At this stage, soemtimes patience wears thin, and hopelessness sets in. It's also a stage where one would want to give up. But proceed anyway.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Abosolutely agree. That too with the bolded portion. The Guru plays a very very vital role here.i.e to help differentiate b/w the hallucination and real experience, to give patience so that you don't give up and help you proceed. I hope your Guru (is it your father?) really helped you out overcome this stage.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->While the above seems to be easy, and not requiring any other factor except one's own willpower, I can assert that this will *not* heppen without the Divine Grace.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Amen.

Hope you do not mind answering some questions that arose out of my curiosity.
1) Do you come across these stages daily in your meditation. During the initial stages did you have more of 1 than 2 than 3 and so on and when you progressed, you have more 5 than 4 than 3..?
2) Is this pattern the same everyday?
3) Is there a name for your form of meditation and does it have a mantra, mudra and asana component for it? (In case it is very personal, please do not post it).
4) Though unrelated to your previous post, Is the Vishtaadvaitins theory the Bhagavatas theory that you and Swamy Sivananda talks about with reference to Brahma Sutras?

Thanks in advance.
  Reply
#36
When did Ramakrishna start printing books on Anna ? <!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo-->

But where are the sources ?
  Reply
#37
Sridhar Aiyyavaal, I absolutely have no reason to hide anything, nor is there anything that should NOT be posted when it comes to Vedanta. The only caution is one of interpretation. I may use a different terminology (or at times an inability to express the exact nature of experiences.) but not an unwillingness to express.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> With this, I shall try to answer - from memory - the following questions. (The terminology I use will be in relative terms only, for in ABSOLUTE terms, there are no questions or answers.)

<b>1) Do you come across these stages daily in your meditation. During the initial stages did you have more of 1 than 2 than 3 and so on and when you progressed, you have more 5 than 4 than 3..? </b>

In the initial stages, I had more of (1), I did not know what a 'quiescent mind' was, and I had thought it was impossible - something of a myth.. When I sat to 'meditate', I would almost be pretending, or even self-deceiving in order to impress those around me. The intent was sincere, but the terrain was unfamiliar. Thus I practiced 'meditation' (aka sitting around in one spot) for 45 days or more consistently come rain or shine. Slowly, without any demarcation, the mind begins to get less and less restless. Then came the sleepy stage and so forth.

To answer your question, it was only in the initial stages (first 1-2 years) that I had stage 1, 2, and 3. Later on 1 and 2 disappears, and you can go from (3) to (5) back and forth depending on the day. There is no guarantee that once you achieve 5, you can maintain it or attain it at will. (It takes constant practice.) Paathanjala Yoga Sutra (1:30) mentions the following:

<i>vyadhi styana samshaya pramada alasya avirati bhranti-darshana alabdha-bhumikatva anavasthitatva chitta vikshepa te antarayah

Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of Samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, <b>failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.</b>

vyadhi = disease
styana = mental laziness, dullness
samshaya = doubt
pramada = carelessness, messed up
alasya = laziness
avirati = sensuality, want of non-attachment, craving
bhranti-darshana = false views or perception, confusion of philosophies, delusion
alabdha-bhumikatva = failing to attain stages of practice
anavasthitatva = instability, slipping down, inability to maintain something previously attained
chitta-vikshepa = distractions of the mind
te = they are, these are
antarayah = obstacles, impediments
</i>

<b>2) Is this pattern the same everyday? </b>

Absolutely not <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> One can only wish it were the same pattern. If I were in a secluded place then the attainment and progress to stage 5 is faster. (I had tested it out by meditating in long bus journey, or in a marketplace, on mountain tops, and in temples during bhajans and of course in places with loud music.) The ears automatically filters out the distractions. It's now easy, but it comes with practice. Thus, you will learn that the mind alone is the key distracting factor.

On some days, try as I might, I will not get past the third stage. Sometimes I am too tired physically to meditate, then I just lie down with thoughts of Sri Vidya. Try not to force meditation when the body (and the mind) is demanding rest.

On some days, it takes about 2-3 breaths before I get the warm trickle inside the head and there ends things. (This mostly happened in temples or at home.) Thus, the pattern varies according to HER Divine Will.

<b>3) Is there a name for your form of meditation and does it have a mantra, mudra and asana component for it? (In case it is very personal, please do not post it). </b>

I do not use Mudra, I do however use mantra-japam sometimes. The main requisite is to have a straight alignment of spine-neck-head ( I follow recommendations from Geetha chapter VI.) However, when it comes to chaila-ajeena-kusha (Cloth, Skin, Grass seat) I now do not use these. I Used to use a Kusha (Grass) mat with cloth on it. Did not sit on any skin except "mine".

Now-a-days, there are lots of brand names. But I do not know of any name for what I do. Thus no names in particular. It's Raja Yoga, but also heavily mixed with Bhakthi in the initial stages and towards just awareness in the present stage. Unfortunately I follow no brand names (as that itself is a limitation.) I definitely follow advice of GURU's like Sri Durvasa, Sri Agastya, Sri Shankaracharya, Patanjali, Ramakrishna/Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi etc.

<b>4) Though unrelated to your previous post, Is the Vishtaadvaitins theory the Bhagavatas theory that you and Swamy Sivananda talks about with reference to Brahma Sutras? </b>

As I do not have in-depth knowledge of Visishtaadvaitha, I cannot say if Bhagavatha school is synonymous with Visishtaadvaitha. But according to Shankara Bhashyam of the Bhadarayana Sutras, The explanation is as follows:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->From the Brahma Sutra bhashya: http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/bs_2/bs_2-2-08.html

The Pancharatra doctrine or the doctrine of the Bhagavatas is now refuted.

According to this school, the Lord is the efficient cause as well as the material cause of the universe. This is in quite agreement with the scripture or the Sruti and so it is authoritative. A part of their system agrees with the Vedanta system. We accept this. Another part of the system, however, is open to objection.

The Bhagavatas say that Vaasudeva whose nature is pure knowledge is what really exists. He divides Himself fourfold and appears in four forms (Vyuhas) as Vaasudeva (Thuriyam), Sankarshana (Praagnah), Pradyumna (Thaijasa) and Aniruddha (Vishva). Vaasudeva denotes the Supreme Self, Sankarshana the individual soul, Pradyumna the mind, and Aniruddha the principle of egoism, or Ahamkara. Of these four Vaasudeva constitutes the Ultimate Cause, of which the three others are the effects.

They say that by devotion for a long period to Vaasudeva through Abhigamana (going to the temple with devotion), Upadana (securing the accessories of worship). Ijya (oblation, worship), Svadhyaya (study of holy scripture and recitation of Mantras) and Yoga (devout meditation) we can pass beyond all afflictions, pains and sorrows, attain Liberation and reach the Supreme Being. <b>We accept this doctrine.</b>

But we controvert the doctrine that Sankarshana (the Jiva) is born from Vaasudeva and so on. <b>Such creation is not possible. If there is such birth, if the soul be created it would be subject to destruction and hence there could be no Liberation. That the soul is not created will be shown in Sutra II.3. 17.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Is the second point above (i.e. birth of Sankarshana from Vasudeva etc is Visishtadvaitha? And secondly, where can I get a good Bhashya of BrahmaSutra by Sri Ramanujacharya?
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#38
<!--QuoteBegin-amarnath+Aug 16 2004, 12:47 PM-->QUOTE(amarnath @ Aug 16 2004, 12:47 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> When did Ramakrishna start printing books on Anna ?   <!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo-->

But where are the sources ? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Amarnath, Anna here is NOT Annadurai. And Ramakrishna did not print books on "Anna". In tamil, "anna" means big brother. Someone named, Sri "N. Subramanya Ayyar" had translated the Upanishads, and other samskrit texts into Tamil under the pseudonym (pen name) of "Anna". He is one of my favourite translators for his insights.

Hope this is clear. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> Ramakrishna, to my knowledge, did not print books on Anna or the King.
  Reply
#39
Sunderji, I am too young and a agnani to warrant a "ayyaval".

Thanks a dime for your answers. Have been meditating for the past one year after several unsuccessful attempts at it during my teens. But once i met my Guru, things have progressed a great deal and i have come a long way from the days of struggling to concentrate for 4-5 minutes during Gayathri japan. Now its more of Bakthi than anything else.

Was very much surprised to see that my experiences over the past one year has been very similar to lot of things that you post. I have tried meditating during bhajans, bus journeys, daily commutes and have realized that the distraction exists more in the mind than in the external objects, but a calm secluded place helps nevertheless. Found puradhana temples very good for meditating.

Regarding the Bhagavathas theory, I was reading the passage from Swami Sivananda's site after posting the question yesterday, loggged on today only to find your post citing the same passage. The question arose in me when i was skimming through some Vaishnava bakthi mailing lists and noticed some Vaishnavas addressing fellow members as Bhagavathas.

Also come across the following
Introduction to the Sri-Bhashya
  Reply
#40
Does anyone know Sri Vaishnava's philosophy and views on Mandukya upanishad?

TIA
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