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Yoga (Advaita-Vedanta) (Audio)
September 25, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: Is there a difference between the AYP approach to Jnana Yoga
(Advaita-Vedanta) and the traditional approach being a "non-technique" of
immediate realization through understanding, and therefore all that is
necessary? It seems you are loading a lot of practices on the front end, and
using Jnana Yoga mainly on the back end. Does the AYP point of view take
issue with the traditional approach to Jnana Yoga as expounded by the sages
A: Yes, there is a difference between the AYP
approach to Jnana/Advaita and the traditional understanding of what it is
about. This difference arises for the singular
purpose of increasing access.
All approaches rely on prerequisites,
whether they are recognized or not. AYP is about covering prerequisites for
as many people as possible. The goal is to leave no one to rely only on an
inherent intellectual proclivity for finding salvation. Rather, with a
longing heart, anyone can come into self-realization, either now or later,
if provided enough effective tools for doing so. It is only about attending
to the nuts and bolts of human spiritual awakening (of which jnana/advaita
is a part), and abiding self-realization will fly on the wings of radiant
ecstatic bliss. If the view is that this is the reality already, so much the
better, but no one is asked to pretend that it is.
I am not much
interested in an "AYP point of view," or any other point of view. I am
interested in helping everyone open doors. For this, the integration and
transcendence of all points of view is essential. If this is in agreement
with the sages of old, that's great. And if not, well, we are still going
ahead with it.
Therefore, I do not see jnana/advaita as a specialized
stand-alone approach that is only for those of a particular intellectual or
philosophical predisposition. At the same time, I do not see it as a
productive path for beginners either, because few are naturally inclined
this way. One does not become a jnani/advaitan simply by being exposed to
it, though many might convince themselves otherwise. A lot of non-relational
self-inquiry is far more likely. This is not to completely deny a
stand-alone approach relying on the intellect. Surely there are a few who
are well-suited to it. The sincere spiritual desire (bhakti) involved will
contribute much more than the intellect will.
Please know this. With
the pre-cultivation of abiding inner silence, much of the frustration and
futility that occurs in an intellect-based
approach can be by-passed. This is a fact that has been demonstrated again
Issue is taken with a common aberration, which we can call
"ideological jnana/advaita." When jnana/advaita claims exclusivity and
superiority over a broad range of yogic methods, then you must expect some
push-back, for that is ideological posturing. There are certainly those
(including the great sages)
have recognized the necessity for prerequisites, and this observation
not about them. However, for
adopted as a "magic bullet" ideology that breeds a false sense of sectarian
superiority, which, ironically, is duality to the extreme. True non-duality
is the way of absolute inclusion, which is the opposite.
regardless of our persuasion, it is good if we can ask ourselves regularly,
"Am I in love with enlightenment, or only with 'an idea' of enlightenment?"
If it is the latter, and we are not applying systematic means for
transcending it (technique or non-technique), we are at risk of becoming a
hazard to ourselves and others.
While jnana/advaita may seem an
innocent endeavor to its most inspired aspirants, an arena that promises
"instant enlightenment" for earnest hearts and minds, it also, with its
ideological matter-of-factness, often finds itself debunking the realms of
spiritual practice that benefit the vast majority of the population. This
does not help anyone.
I'm not much concerned about it. We are just
going to keep working on the prerequisites, and the rest will take care of
itself. The truth will prevail. It is not about "this or that." There is
only This, which we also call
The guru is in you.
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