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 Jnana Yoga/Self-Inquiry - Advaita (Non-Duality)
 Jnana
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Herb

Canada
111 Posts

Posted - Dec 13 2018 :  11:27:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I am just starting to read a book about Jnana or non dual consciousness. I’m having a hard time getting into it because of it’s dry intellectual nature. My experience with non dual consciousness was that it was given to me as a gift or blessing around the time(from about two months prior to, and for some time afterwards) my awakening back in 2012. So this effort is an effort to try and go back to the consciousness that happened to me, for the most part, by grace alone, some six and a half years ago.

The book I have, got a solid five-star rating on Amazon and it expounds on some of the teachings by my all-time favorite Yogi, Ramana Maharshi. Here’s the book: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1937902293...800_TE_dp_i1

Am I right in saying that the Self when manifest is the non dual experience of oneness with the entire universe, when un manifest it is a thoughtless state of peace and joy while one’s awareness is consciously grounded in the Heart or Hridyam?

I’m having a hard time with this book and I’d like to hear what others think of the need to study good quality literature on non dual consciousnes for the seeker of Self-realization. Wouldn’t it be easier just to focus on practise and read books one enjoys like on meditation, if one enjoys reading; otherwise, not to read about Yoga at all, just do the twice daily practise and, when problems arise, just ask them here or ask your Guru?

Herb

Edited by - Herb on Dec 13 2018 11:38:15 AM

BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1579 Posts

Posted - Dec 13 2018 :  4:31:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Herb
Wouldn’t it be easier just to focus on practise and read books one enjoys like on meditation, if one enjoys reading; otherwise, not to read about Yoga at all, just do the twice daily practise and, when problems arise, just ask them here or ask your Guru?


Yes
Not just 'easier', but also the most productive.

Analysing/theorising non-duality is notorious for giving readers a false sense of progress. Sadly, this is a dead end for too many.
On the other hand, yoga practice built around regular meditation leads us to experience non-duality. This experience is what really matters.

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Charliedog

1605 Posts

Posted - Dec 14 2018 :  04:11:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb,

quote:
I’m having a hard time with this book and I’d like to hear what others think of the need to study good quality literature on non dual consciousnes for the seeker of Self-realization. Wouldn’t it be easier just to focus on practise and read books one enjoys like on meditation, if one enjoys reading; otherwise, not to read about Yoga at all, just do the twice daily practise and, when problems arise, just ask them here or ask your Guru?


I second Blue, practice is all what we need to progress. On the other hand, if we experience unexpected glimpses of non-duality, a book of a great teacher could be such a beautiful treasure. The teachers helped me to integrate experiences, so did the lessons of Yogani. Such a joy to resonate with those beautiful words.


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Herb

Canada
111 Posts

Posted - Dec 14 2018 :  6:26:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Charlie and Blue. I started reading the book after getting off the midnight shift and got a bit perturbed after hitting the advaita vedanta teaching about the world only being present because you percieve it. You actually bring the world into existence by perceiving it. This teaching that is very common also in Kashmer Sievism, I have always felt as an insult to my intelligence. I mean, what about if we set up a cam-corder and film a little part of the world when no one is there to see or percieve what is being filmed and watch it later, or get a non conscious computor to analyze the film and note what happened? How can anyone think that things happen only when someone is there to see them? That kind of thinking must have come in ancient times when there was no way to verify that things happen when no one is there to see them happen.

Sorry about the vent. This kind of teaching is very uncommon by Ramana Maharshi. I absolutely love 99.9% of his teachings. Anyways, after I had a good sleep I started reading the book again and I am now enjoying it. The author is a world class teacher and writer on non dual consciousness and he uses Ramana’s teachings to help the reader grasp the experience.

In all fairness here is the part that first bothered me followed by a much more common teaching similar to it that was only two pages further in the book: “Objects are only mental creations: they have no sunstantive being. The ‘objective’ world is in the subjective consciousness” The next teaching is quite a bit longer, but is worth the read so I’ll put it below in a separate paragraph.

“The ‘I am this’ thought forms the individual and its ‘world’. The state devoid of the individual feeling of ‘I’ is the Self-realized state. In this state, there is no room for individual being. There is no being who is not all else of which he is aware, or not aware. Yet, in sheer ignorance, he thinks that he sees a universe in diverse forms. But when he knows the Self, he is not aware of separateness from the universe: ‘individuality’ and ‘other entities’ vanish as unreal, although they persist in his awareness in all their ‘forms’.”

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Dogboy

USA
1738 Posts

Posted - Dec 14 2018 :  9:29:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Good thing I have my practice, because reading right now can't get a foothold.
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Christi

United Kingdom
3733 Posts

Posted - Dec 15 2018 :  06:07:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb,

quote:
This teaching that is very common also in Kashmer Sievism, I have always felt as an insult to my intelligence. I mean, what about if we set up a cam-corder and film a little part of the world when no one is there to see or percieve what is being filmed and watch it later, or get a non conscious computor to analyze the film and note what happened? How can anyone think that things happen only when someone is there to see them? That kind of thinking must have come in ancient times when there was no way to verify that things happen when no one is there to see them happen.


This perception of reality that the Rishis saw and which is described by the yogis, is actually being increasingly verified by modern science.

If you imagine a tree, can you say where the tree begins and ends? There is a constant exchange happening between the soil that the tree is in and its roots. Water and nutrients are being taken up by the tree and transformed into other molecules and atoms within the tree. At the same time the tree is taking in carbon dioxide molecules from the air and releasing oxygen. It is also receiving light photons from the sunlight into its cells and transforming them. The tree is composed of atoms that are almost entirely empty space. An field of electrons orbit a central nucleus of protons and neutrons at the core of each atom. The relationship between these is similar to the relationship between the sun and the planets in the solar system. Even the core of each atom is actually made up of much smaller particles called quarks, which blink in and out of existence thousands of times every second.

So, what is really happening when we think that we see a "tree", is that we are seeing energy in motion. What we see is actually undifferentiated light.

The real question should be: "Why, when we perceive undifferentiated light, do we think we are seeing a tree?". As the photons of light enter our eyes, they are transformed into electrical signals, which are carried to our brain. We then transform those electrical signals into images in the mind. We then attach "name" and "form" (nama, rupa) to the images in our minds, giving the temporary appearance of differentiation.

This means that the "tree" actually comes into existence in our minds. It is not even at the moment of perception, but happens slightly after that, as it takes time to attach the perception of form to what is perceived. In deep states of meditation, we can actually see the process of differentiation happening and we can choose to let it happen or not.

And of course the whole process happens with what we hear, smell, taste, touch, think about and so on. It does not only happen with what we consider to be "objects" such as rivers, mountains, houses, people etc., but also with every aspect of what we consider to be our "self". As we increasingly let go of attachment to the process of differentiation and the creation of name and form, we move gradually towards a perception of the universe and of our own Self, as it really is.

So, yes, when we are able to perceive reality as it is, the "Self when manifest is the non-dual experience of oneness with the entire universe, when unmanifest it is a thoughtless state of peace and joy while one’s awareness is consciously grounded in the Heart". Bearing in mind that the "heart" expands to include the whole universe and that there is really no difference between the manifest and unmanifest Self.

When working with non-dual teachings, the important thing is how we approach them. If we come to them too early, they will make little sense and will just be confusing and not beneficial. If we come to them when the time is right, they will make sense and will be like a revelation. I would agree with Charliedog and BlueRaincoat above, practice twice a day and then non-dual teachings will be there for you whenever you are ready for them.

Christi
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Herb

Canada
111 Posts

Posted - Dec 15 2018 :  06:54:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dogboy That was my problem after work, when I started reading the book. I was just too tired to get into it. Mind you I often experience that with meditation too. My practise goes better if I’m well rested. Cristi that was amazing! Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed reply from a jnanic point of view. That kind of teaching will really help a lot of people. I was thinking about all the electrical signals that were going to my brain as I was reading your words and imagining all that stuff happening. My highschool studies in Chemistry and Biology really came in handy as what you said is absolutely true.

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Herb

Canada
111 Posts

Posted - Dec 15 2018 :  08:33:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
It’s interesting how there seems to be yoga purists. Those who journey using primarily, maybe even exclusively, only one primary way, be it jnana, bhakta, karma or raja(I’m not sure if this is the right term for those who just like to practise meditation but are not intellectual, devotional or service oriented). Ramakrishna was a great Bhakti, Gandhi a Karma Yogi, and Adi Shankara a Jnani. Ramana, on the other hand, seems to be only a Raja and Jnana Yogi. He didn’t think much of Karma Yoga, even though he gave his whole life to trying to help others become Self-realized. And he never loved or even had a physical guru nor ever worshipped an Ishta or Deity, so he was no Bhakti. His concept of God was completely impersonal and formless. Where I see the Self as the Spirit of Jesus himself, living inside me, Ramana saw it as an impersonal “current of awareness.”

With myself, it went in stages. Leading up to my awakening, my egoic sense of purpose was crushed and I was mysteriously “drawn” to the spiritual teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, but understood everything only from a Christian point of view. In this way I was introduced to the whole Hindu yoga pilosophy and Gandhi’s amazing inclusiveness of all religions, his deep commitment to non violent ways to influence sociaty for the better and his way of mixing strict moral discipline with spiritual practise. Then I was awakened, spiritualized and instantly transformed. Only then did the four types or styles of yoga begin to happen in my life.

After God revealed himself to me and showed me his love for me, my love for him blossomed. I experienced Bhakti in all its wonder and power. Next I felt inwardly compelled to serve and, obeying this inner force, I served with all my heart and experienced the amazing spiritual significance of Karma Yoga. I experienced the full realization of God through the selfless service of the poor, the afflicted, the hurting, and the needy. But that stage came to an end. Then I was somehow drawn to meditation. This stage, however, did not bear immediate fruit as did bhakti and karma. The practise of meditation, along with the study necessary to fully master it, brought on it’s spiritual fruit only gradually and, as one thing was revealed, this brought to my awareness that the previous spiritual experiences while meditating were not absolute truth, but only relative to my previous spiritual immaturity. In other words, meditation has been, itself, taking me by steps, towards ultimate Reality, to Yoga, or full union with God as Self or Atman.

And now I seem to be drawn to jnana. Sure there has been intellectual study all along, but not like this. Now I am intellectually studying and learning things like the above teaching by Christi. This is the study and intellectual absorbtion of knowledge that seems to have the ability and power to enlighten and transform you from the intellect out. As your mind begins to comprehend jnanic truth, the Reality itself seems to enlighten and begin to transform everything you used to think you were and you begin to merge with reality. Maybe its just my Christian perspective, but the way to Yoga or full union with Reality is all about dieing to self by losing the self entirely in the Reality or God.

I’m certainly not fully Self-realized yet, and this may be something that is not going to be complete until the moment of my physical death. As a Christian I see that as a time when who I really am, my soul and spirit, will leave my body and mind behind and, hopefully, merge for all eternity with God.


Edited by - Herb on Dec 15 2018 11:30:04 AM
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jusmail

India
487 Posts

Posted - Dec 15 2018 :  9:09:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Ramana was also a great bhakta. In 1896, he was drawn to the Arunachala mountain (which he perceived as Shiva). He came, he saw, and he was conquered. Other gurus fly from venue to venue in jets. Ramana went nowhere for 54 years.

As regards nonduality, have to agree with Christi, though not discounting the others, views. When the time is right, they will begin to make sense. After all, in yoga, under niyamas, we do have svadhyaya, which is study of the scriptures and self. See lesson 149. By the way, it is good to read AYP lessons at least once a year. You get new insights every time.

As regards Robert Wolf, haven't heard of him. David Godman has videos on youtube and books that you can read and digest. There are also books by Papaji and Robert Adams which you can consider.

Benchmarking your progress against 2012 can be a stumbling block in your progress.
"If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion."
-Linji
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Herb

Canada
111 Posts

Posted - Dec 16 2018 :  10:06:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Jusmail

Yes, David Godman is a great Ramana devotee and expert. I have several of his books and have been emailing back and forth with him. He prompty answers any questions and his answers are amazing. My awakening or Saktipata in 2012 changed my whole life and set me on this spiritual path. Not recogizing that would be like Ramana not recogizing his awakening at sixteen years old. Pretty much any book I’ve ever read about him starts with that awakening and uses it as a benchmark that changed his life and started him on his journey. And what a journey!

I am nothing like Ramana. In my opinion he was the greatest spiritual teacher of the 20th century. But for me there will only be one awakening and infusion of Divine power that functioned to set me on this path and enables me to persevere through and over every obstacle. It only took a few seconds to happen but it’s effects will be affecting me for the rest of my physical life and beyond. Saktipata is available to everyone, but from time to time God chooses certain people with extrordinary minds and attributes to teach others about Him and inspire them to seek Him in their lives. Ramana was such a man, as was St. Paul in the Bible. After his saktipata, spoken of in Acts 9 and elsewhere throughout the New Testament, Paul was transformed into a tool to popularize Christianity and transform it from a tiny little group of persecuted Jewish believers to a non Jewish movement that became the dominant religion in the world prior to Islam. In Ramana’s case, his teachings are, like Yoga in general, amazing in that they can be practised by believers of any tradition, and, instead of interfering, they actually enhance the believers spiritual life.

I knew nothing about non dual consciousness back in 2012 but just mysteriously started to veiw everything as God shortly before and for some time after my awakening. Now it seems that non dual consciousness is mostly just an intellectual concept. Over the last few years, I have had glimpses of it, as far as experiencing goes, but they have been few and far between. As I write these words, the words in your quote by Linji are striking my consciousness and I am becoming aware that I should indeed not try to go back and try and regain that “sacred” non dual experience I was given back in 2012, but instead try to see the significance in the comparatively “ordinary” life I live now. That is a great quote and your intuitiveness in using it is bang on!

I will look up Robert Adams and now that I see how much you know about Ramana and Yoga I will be reviewing your other posts. This site is deeply enriched by members like you and Christi.




Edited by - Herb on Dec 16 2018 12:27:33 PM
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