Agony of the soul (?) etc

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Jan 15 11:43:53 CST 1997

On Wed, 15 Jan 1997, Swami Vishvarupananda wrote:

> Thank you. Now we come closer. I was not debating
> the virtues and usefulness of intellectual study of the scriptures.
> Otherwise, why would I myself engage in it? But I was saying, that this is
> definitely not enough. One has to go beyond mind and intellect.

Fine _in_the_end_ but the problem is most of these mystic types have never
bothered to begin exercising their mind and intellect.  So it is rather
silly of them to be saying anything about the usefulness of intellect.

> The goal can be put into focus by the intellect and understood in theory
> (like
> a blind man understanding the color red), and it is an undeniable, and, I
> would say, for most intellectual people very necessary help.

All people are intellectual people.  Some may be too lazy to use theirs
but it doesn't mean they are not capable.

> But
> practically realizing what the intellect has understood in _life_ is a very
> different chapter all together.
> The reason why I elaborated on this point is, that living in Rishikesh, the
> "City of Saints" I can tell you a few things about mere intellectual
> understanding of the scriptures.
> I could show you Mahamandaleshwars who know the Prasthanatraya forward and
> backward. They intellectually grasp and are able to comment and debate, for
> hours on end, on every nook and aspect of the scriptures one may think of,
> and their talks are trilling and convincing. It is what they have been
> doing ever since they have acquainted themselves with the scripture as
> fully as the intellect can. So, if Brahman could be realized through the
> intellect, one should believe, these learned ones have reached the pinnacle
> of realization and are Jivanmuktas, embodiments of Brahman if you would say
> so.
> Yet, if you look at their personal lives, they are puffed up with pride and
> ego, and however much vairagya may be written over their strictly
> disciplined lives, and I am sorry to say, one cannot find very much of
> inner detachment and indifference toward sukha and duhkha in them, though
> they keep assuring "Aham Brahmasmi".
> Then there are those humble Jnanis, some of whom have not read a word of
> Sanskrit or the scriptures, and may not even have learned to read and
> write, but whose words are a reflection of their inner state and of a
> direct experience of what the scriptures say, and whose lives are a
> natural, unaffected demonstration of the state of "Aham Brahmasmi", of the
> absence of ego, of equality in all states, whatever the challenges of
> practical daily life. A realized soul is, in his daily life, himself proof
> of his state, as well as of the words he speaks.

Then there those scholars who combine great learning with saintliness.
Though I do not claim to be one of them, I also do not let my respect for
the powers of the intellect stop me from trying  to live the Dharmic life.
Indeed even though I wasn't born in India and haven't had the access to
our tradition my cousins have, I can rightfully say I'm the equal of any
of them.  Does this strike you as being a prideful statement?  It is.  But
it is also the truth.  Why shouldn't I be proud of the truth?  It's the
same with the acharyas you speak of.  They know the truth.  The truth is
the ignorant will never achieve moksha no matter how saintly, humble, or
good they may be.  pride is a far, far smaller sin than ignorance and
pride in the truth is no sin at all.

> Why I am talking of this at such length is, that many people just like you,
> who believed in the sufficiency of the intellect and thought they had found
> someone who had achieved the ultimate in scriptural learning and logic,
> were so disappointed in seeing the lack of a practical achievement of that
> state, that their faith collapsed.

In another context a poet said "it is better to have loved and lost than
never to have loved at all."  The journey out of Maya is perilous and many
who undertake it will fail.  In the Gita Arjuna asked given the difficulty
of taking on the Kauravas and the sins involved isn't it better to forget
it all and live the humble, unaffected, natural life elsewhere?  Krishna
Bhagavan responds with a resounding NO!  One has to meet the challenge
head on, no matter what.  And if one is not ready for it then fine.
Nobody says you have to be a mumukshu.  The shastras prescribe other paths
for those people.  In fact if you want to criticize anyone for pride it
should be the ones who think they can practice Vedantic sadhana when they
are obviously not ready for it.

Even for those who fall from the Vedantic path, it is only a
temporary setback.  The shastras say they will be reborn in a better
position (in swarga etc.) where they can continue their sadhana perhaps
more successfully.  We should not let our disappointments and fear of
failure prevent us from following the truth.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!

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