Sanatan Dharma - Vidya

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Sanatan Dharma - Vidya

Postby Rumpelteazer » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:21 am

Cheltenham group meeting report - 2/02/2012
The meeting started by sharing experiences of last week's exercise. An account can be seen here posted as a reply to last week's meeting report on Dhee.

This week's topic was Vidya – the need to acquire the knowledge of the Vedas. The attached paper was circulated to the group before the meeting. It was partly for use in the meeting but mainly as a repository of guidance from H.H. on private study of Vedic scriptures during our normal day to day lives. It brings together advice on why we should study the scriptures, what we should study, how to put it into practice, problems with words and translations, and understanding the relationship between the knowledge from the Vedas and that found in other traditions and religions. We used only a small part of the paper in the meeting and instead focused mainly on the two group exercises (first verse of Isa Upanishad, and quotation from Good Company).
20120202 Vidya.doc
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One person thought that reading ‘good’ books was no more useful than reading the newspaper. You can’t become Self-realised that way. Another found that when reading the Record or other things from the same tradition, suddenly she would come across something that induced complete quiet and made her stop and rest in stillness for a while.

Two members of the group had tried reading the Rig Veda. One of them said he found it very beautiful and had set some of the hymns to music. But both agreed that it was hard to see it as anything more than hymns to various forces/gods. They had not found any trace of the teaching of the Upanishads in it.

We began to see how the first verse of Isa Upanishad might actually contain all the teachings of the Gita, and how we could try to put it into practice by not claiming. One person gave an example of a piece of music he composed being transmitted through him. It was something that surprised him with its beauty when he listened to it, and he knew he could not possibly claim it. We also looked at Shankara’s commentary on this verse (attached), which gave us an idea of how much can be understood from each word when considered deeply.
Isa Upanishad Verse 1.doc
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The group greatly enjoyed H.H.’s joke about a mistranslation of a verse from the Gita. It demonstrated the sense of humour of a Realised Man.

The (corrected) quote in Good Company “… you are in everything in the world and everything in the world is in you, since for you it only exists because it is mirrored in you; and at the same time you are that – everything” seemed rather harder to put into practice particularly if you have not had an experience of that type at some time or other. It’s the sort of experience that just happens – there’s nothing you can do to make happen. But one person felt that just through a lot of fairly continuous practice it might come back, and then recur more frequently, for longer. While reading “I Am That” at the hairdressers she came across the following passage that instantly reminded her of the Good Company quotation and seemed to say very strongly to her ‘this is the practice that is needed all the time to encourage that experience and understanding to return’:
M: Why not turn away from the experience to the experiencer and realise the full import of the only true statement you can make: 'I am'?
Q: How is it done?
M: There is no ‘how’ here. Just keep in mind the feeling 'I am', merge in it, till your mind and feeling become one. By repeated attempts you will stumble on the right balance of attention and affection and your mind will be firmly established in the thought-feeling 'I am'. Whatever you think, say, or do, this sense of immutable and affectionate being remains as the ever-present background of the mind.
(Nisargadatta - I Am That)

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Re: Sanatan Dharma - Vidya

Postby Rumpelteazer » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:05 pm

This exercise, based on the paper, had been set by the group-taker:
Choose one or more verses – something that has an emotional appeal – from any of the following: Bhagavad Gita, any of the Upanishads, Viveka Chudamani. (To make it easy, some quotations from the Gita are given in Annex A.) Each day, read the passage through three times (you can either keep to the same verse or choose a different one each day) and then hold the idea in the mind in stillness for a couple of minutes. (The aim is not to struggle to understand it.) What effect does this practice have in the subsequent minutes, hours, days …? It would be good to discuss experiences next week.

At the start of the meeting a fortnight later, we discussed what we had chosen:
1. "I choose the quotation in the paper from Isa Upanishad:
Whatever lives is full of the Lord. Claim nothing; enjoy, do not covet His property.

I found these words, or some of them coming back to me quite freqently during the day. The deeper meaning of the first sentence became clearer. 'Whatever lives' or in the alternative translation 'all that moves on the earth' includes this body and mind. Neither are 'me'. They are simply one human creature among all the many human and animal creatures - all part of one unity. What is unchanging, unmoving, is the observer that just watches it all seeing both the unity and the diversity."

2. "I started using one of the quotations from the paper, but then a different quotation kept coming back to me over and over again:
My own true self dwells in the hearts of all. Nothing else matters.
So I just went with that. It is actually very similar to the Isa Upanishad quote and it has a similar effect."

3. "I didn't use anything from the Hindu scriptures. But I have been reading Meister Eckhart and one idea was important to me: to be one with Param-Atman, we must surrender all self-will. If we surrender all self-will, then our actions will be guided by Param Atman's will." He couldn't find the exact quote, but offered the following:
Those who do well, do well wherever they are, and in whatever company, and those who do badly, do badly wherever they are and in whatever company. But if a man does well, God is really in him, and with him everywhere, on the streets and among strong people, just as much as in church or a desert place, or in a cell. If he really has God and only God, then nothing disturbs him.

4. I did choose one of the quotations from the Gita:
To the monks who have control over their internal organ, who are free from desire and anger, who have known the Self, there is absorption in Brahman either way.
Saints who know their Selves, who control their minds, and feel neither desire nor anger, find Eternal Bliss everywhere.

I tried to do this exercise regularly but found that I just didn't have the energy.

5. I didn't like this exercise at all so I didn't do it. But I have been reading a book on Zen in the bath.

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