Spiritual Erudition

anand hudli ahudli at SILVER.UCS.INDIANA.EDU
Mon Aug 19 11:29:53 CDT 1996

On Sat, 17 Aug 1996, Charles A. Hillig wrote:

>      Many blessings to you all.
>      For the past several weeks, I have been a silent observer so that I
> could get a better "feel" for the kind of interactions that were taking
> place between the members.
>      I have noticed that many of these recent dialogues seem to be centered
> on  making  profoundly erudite comments about (and/or interpretations of)
> some of the classic texts.
>      If you'll please forgive me,  (and in the sincere hope that my remarks
> won't be considered either irreverent or irrelevant), these discussion often
> seem to border on pedantic (albeit spiritual) "nitpicking."   I want you to
> consider the possibility that going down those scholarly roads will only
> serve to provide us with yet another diversion away from our own immediate
> experience of  SELF in the Here and the Now ..the only time that truly is.
>      Non-dualism is experiential.  The "map" is not to be confused with the
> spiritual "territory" that it describes.    As fascinating as it may be to
> ponder,  the so-called "map" often only provides us with yet another
> distraction along the "way-less way."   And, in the end,  the energy spent
> in studying it often keeps us away from fully addressing that  ultimate and
> most  primordial  of all questions:   Who Am I?

    advaita is, first of all, the science of the upanishhads according
    to Shankara himself. There are, I am sure, people like Ramana
    Maharshi who have realized the Self by their relentless practice
   of Self-inquiry. But even in those cases, it may be argued that such
   people had studied the upanishhads in a previous life. What happened
   in their most recent life was the culmination of this study.
   So there is no way that we can avoid studying Vedanta.

   Here, I take it, the "map" is the scriptures, such as the
   upanishhads. When one listens or studies these texts and reflects
   on their true meaning, that person has already begun the journey
   to Self-realization. The process of studying, reflection, and
   meditation on the meaning of the texts is repeated hoping that
   at some time it will result in the direct realization of the Self.

>       So, where am I going with all of this?
>      Well,  I'm wondering if any of you would care to focus more on how your
> personal way of being in the world today manifests itself
> "non-dualistically."   Or does it?    Has your experience of  this
> non-traditional approach changed your lifestyle in any way?    How has it
> transformed your relationships?    Are you truly  "living down in the
> marketplace" and still able to remain detached from  the fruits of  your own
> actions?    Have you really given up your idea about what "working out"
> looks like and, instead, fully embraced life and the SELF that you are on
> ITS terms?
  This is a good point.  Personally I would say that I have changed my
  life a great deal by studying some texts. The benefit that I have
  derived from the Giitaa, the upanishhads and other texts is
  hard to express in words. I have understood myself more than I would
  have without studying those sriptures.

  But I do agree that we should not be too preoccupied with scriptures.
  A balance must be maintained between discussion of personal
  experiences, discussions of jiivanmuktas and discussions of
  advaitic treatises. Unfortunately, we do not have much information
  on the lives of jiivanmuktas (liberated while living) except,
  of course, those of people like Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta
  Maharaj, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa,  and HH Chandrasekhara Bharati of
  Sringeri. From others, all we have is some of their writings. So
  that brings us back to the discussion of advaitic treatises.


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