Practice, Practice, Practice
by Jai Maha Dev
Nowadays, the habit of a Vedantist is to talk, talk, and talk. This is why we call them ‘pedantists.’ Sadly, many of the Swamis and Teachers of Vedanta today have missed the point. They talk about non-duality yet remain in their ego and make no effort to purify the mind. Most of them have set themselves up as the equal of GOD and fail to discriminate the difference between their own Self and the Supreme Self. In the name of Advaita (non-duality) they preach that only GOD exists and that they themselves are therefore GOD. Many of these people should NEVER have been taught the secret teachings of the Upanishads because they were not fit to hear them. Lord Krishna, in the Gita, warns us not to reveal the Knowledge of Self to those who are unworthy. The reason is that they will misuse this knowledge and harm both themselves and others, just as we see happening nowadays in the spiritual field.
The Knowledge of the Self reveals that we are ATMAN; we are NOT the body, mind, or ego. THIS IS ADVAITA, or non-duality. The Knowledge of the Self reveals that the Self is Immortal, Indestructible, and unaffected by everything that happens in this world. The Knowledge of the Self reveals that the Self is NOT the doer of worldly actions, and that everything that happens is ‘the gunas moving among the gunas’, which means that everything that is happening (including our thinking and feeling) is the result (effect) of cosmic forces (the Gunas) acting upon (within) the realm of Prakriti (matter: gross, such as physical substances, and subtle such as mental substances). This Knowledge also reveals that all of this that is happening is just like a dream, or play, game, or sport. Although we are playing in the Drama, we are not really the parts that we are playing. When we are playing in a game or sport, there is not really any meaning or object to winning, nor is anything ever really lost, because we never really change being what we really are: ATMAN, soul. Nevertheless, we ARE playing the Game; we are living the Life, and this life is really NOT a dream.
We are eternal souls—all of us, without exception (this includes Ram, Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, and whoever else has walked the face of this Earth, or lives now or will appear in the future). We are playing in this Drama, but the Supreme Being (GOD) is NOT. We are playing on the field of Life, but the Supreme Being Who created the field (out of Prakriti) and who is our own Supreme Self (the Self of our Self) does not play in the Game (except through us, so to speak).
We have played on the field of Life many, many times, in many, many different forms. We will do so FOREVER, because that is our nature to do so. From time to time we (as the embodied soul, Jivatman) will attain Liberation, and after some inconceivably long time we will play the Game again. The Supreme Self never changes Its nature and remains eternally All-pervading: that is, the Supreme Self (GOD) is always 100% present in every soul and in every particle of this Creation of Prakriti. We too (as Atman) never change our real nature either, and like the Supreme Self we too completely pervade Prakriti, but we DO NOT pervade one another nor do we pervade the Supreme Self.
Each and every one of us remains Eternal, self-contained, and unique. It is this uniqueness of the Self that is manifested through Prakriti in the form of ego (individuality). Only when this manifestation is withdrawn by the highest TAPAS (the supreme austerity of egolessness), are we (the Jivatman) established in our essence (Atman) and directly perceive the Supreme Self.
A true knower of the Vedas (Vedantin) knows all of this and realizes his or her role in this Cosmic Drama. They realize this is a Sport and they play the game skillfully. They PRACTICE good habits and good thoughts to make their mind and body fit instruments. They overcome their own ego and manifest their Real Nature, because that is what the Game of Life is all about. It is NOT all about: (1) knowing what we are (soul), (2) knowing what we are not (mind/body/ego), and (3) then just sitting on the sidelines (eating our heart out) and just watching what happens to the mind, body, and ego. If we do that, our mind is going to act according to its whims, our ego is going to wreak havoc and make our life a hell, and our body is going to decay and die prematurely. This is called, 'three strikes and you are out.' Unfortunately, this is exactly what many so-called Vedantists are doing today.
There are many, many so-called Swamis (knowers of the Self) who lecture on the Nature of the Self (which they know a lot about), but have forgotten who they are (the Self) and imagine they are GOD (who can do no wrong). They completely misread the teaching of the Gita (the advise of Lord Krishna) and DO NOT follow his advise which is to know the Self, but also put that knowledge into practice by purifying the mind through the practice of Yoga and the selfless (EGOLESS) performance of one’s duty (role in life). This is the teaching of the Gita and the Upanishads and the Vedas in a nutshell.
The secret Knowledge of Self should not be revealed to those who do not realize the necessity of purifying the mind, because those people will misuse that knowledge to justify their own unreality and will bring suffering into this world. One will not be inclined to purify the mind if they falsely assume themselves and everyone else to be GOD. If one starts out with a wrong premise, one will end up in a wrong place: in this case, the neo-vedantist ends up in pain and self-delusion despite their knowledge of the Self. Look at the way a neo-vedantist lives: they are often obese (in later years), suffer from ill-health as a direct result of their own neglect or indulgence, are easily upset or annoyed (even violent) if their images are broken (i.e., things don’t go their way), imagine themselves to be Saints or even so-called Avatars, and are really just plain messed-up.* Of course, there are a few who are gentle souls who are very magnanimous and selfless, and even saintly; but unless they are truly egoless (or genuinely striving to be so) they too will miss the mark (i.e., will fail to attain their own Liberation: complete Freedom from Ignorance).
So, let us
all continue to refine our nature by purifying the mind with the Wisdom
of Consciousness and living conscientiously in this world.