Monday, December 22, 2008

Living the Gita : Advaitic living

From an absolute standpoint, there is only Self.And Self is akarta - actionless - and a realized seeris a witnesss to the actions of the nonself - "gunaguneshu vartante iti matva na sajjate" A Wise man knows it is gunas interacting with gunas and does not carried away by this.If we see the preceding sloka it contrasts that withthe lot of the jiva: prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasahahankara-vimudhatma kartaham iti manyateThe entity with the problem is the jiva with conceit about his self. And this selfconceit needs to beresolved. Ultimately the only way this conceit can be destroyed is by knowledge (about its nonsubtantive existence) alone, and in that sense - there is then advaita, or selfknowledge, and then no more is there an "entity" who can then be said to be"living advaita"However right now, there is, as it were, an entity,who, with this "i"-notion, is as it were in ignorance. This "i" sense has no hope of attaining jnanam in theway it is currently consituted being burdened bymillions of janmas of samskaras and vasanas. It needs to be unburdened of its load, in order that its inner equipment be made relatively pure to receivethis knowledge (chittashuddhi).

In order for this unburdening to take place, this entity needs to adopt a particular attitude in conducting its way of life, until such a time that it is made ripe for jnanaprapti and jnananishtha. This attitude consists of attempting to successfully center one's attention, one's focus, on the true Self, recognizing It to be the Supreme Lord alone, in and through everything that is de facto right now being done at the level of the ego-Self.

This is not merely religious living, nor is it merely mindful living nor is it merely ethical living, thoughit does have those components as byproducts.

Religious living can be completely divorced from both ethical living as well as mindful living - Lord Ravanawould be an excellent example of a great bhakta, a great devotee (the Shiva Tandava Stotra composed by him is to-date one of the most beautiful stotras in praise of Devadidev Mahadeva, a very religious person but one steeped in avidya and raga-dvesha.

Ethical living itself can occur in the context of a simple "do unto others what you have done to you"principle with no motive other than being a good conscientuous member of the society. Neither does religion need to come into play here nor does a higher calling in life.

Mindful living is not based on any sense of devotion of any sort to a Creator or a God and consists of being vigilant about the mind's plays - "if the mindis at ease, I am at ease". Ultimately I am a very alert person and hence have some relative sense of ease in living but I am no closer to knowing the truth about myself.

None of these constitute by themselves what adviceBhagwan Krishna is offering Arjuna in the Gita, on howto lead his life.What is adviced in and through the Gita is arealignment of the jiva's life in thought, and deed,with a goal centered on selfrealization, with the latter alone constituting its release and signifying its end as an "entity".

Only in that sense alone is there, as it were, an entity called a jiva, with an end in sight - of advaitic realization. And his sadhana in his attempsto this end may be rightly termed "advaitic" living. It may also be termed "living the Gita".

A jivanmukta, on the other hand, a realized Seer, is neither an entity nor can "he" said to be an exampleof "advaitic living", although even in that case what to him are spontaneous actions and thoughts and attitudes, can be attempted to be emulated by the multitude of ajnanis as examples of "perfect living"in a spirit of devout inspiration.

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