[Advaita-l] Self-knowledge

Satyan Chidambaran satyan_c at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 30 15:42:49 CST 2006

namaste shrI Amuthan,
  >> if you call one trying for nirvikalpa samAdhi as a
  >> special experience chaser, then, one who learns
  >> vedAnta is a special knowledge chaser!
  In fact, there is nothing more prudent in advaita than to chase the  special knowledge (about the Self) under a qualified Guru via the valid  pramAna for gaining the knowledge (ie the sruti). Shouldn't every  mumukshu, in advaita vedAnta, strive to chase the special knowledge  that will liberate him or her? This is because that knowledge alone  first purifies and eventually liberates.
  na hi jnanena sadrsam pavitram iha vidyate (B.G)
  This knowledge, if gained properly, will show that there is nothing to  be gained at all and one is already what one seeks to become. What one  is looking for is already there in *ALL* experiences, one was simply  mistaken about ones identity. One who knows this is a bramhavit.
  In advaita vedAnta, one should rather be a "knowledge seeker" that is  able to see the truth spoken by the sruti in *all* experiences rather  than an "experience seeker" who sees what one fancies as the truth in  only certain experiences and misses it in the rest of the experiences. 
  >> for everyone other than a uttamAdhikAri,
  >> nirvikalpaka samAdhi is necessary, though that alone
  >> is not sufficient.
  It is neither necessary nor sufficient for gaining moksha in advaita  vedAnta. samAdhi abhyAsa may no doubt help gain antar-mukhatvam (inward  orientedness) and vairAgyam which are qualifications for gaining  knowledge. However, nirvikalpa samAdhi is not necessary for gaining  those qualifications either because they can be cultivated through  other means.
  On the other hand, what is both necessary and sufficient for moksha is  the j~nAnam gained from the sruti's words and nishtA (abidance) in the  j~nAnam through mananam and nidhidyAsanam. One should strive to be a  j~nAna nishtA whose understanding of the sruti's vision is unshakable  and one who constantly sees through the eyes of the sruti in all  experiences. Then, it doesn't matter what the experience is: prArabha  will bring whatever it brings. If it brings nirvikalpa samadhi, so be  it. If it doesn't, so be it. One is liberated, no matter what ones'  external situations are.
  The j~nAna nishtA will experience bramha j~nAna phalam which will  include poornatvam, uncaused joy etc, which of course will be  experienced, but they are fruits of j~nAnam and not causes of j~nAnam.

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