[Advaita-l] A seeker asked

Kuntimaddi Sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Mon May 3 19:43:41 EDT 2021

Aseeker asked:

Atthis juncture I have questions to pose to Sadaji. My understanding is thatJnana Yoga involves the accumulation of knowledge through which one discoversthe truth. This approach certainly belongs to the head. Bhakti yoga on theother hand involves extreme devotion to the Almighty, a process that is more intune with the heart. I am a bit confused about this point. It also occurs to methat both Jnana and Bhakti are individual based, focusing on the individual’supliftment. Karma Yoga, on the other hand, being action based, has the capacityto change the world through many humanitarian activities. I would thereforelike to think that Karma Yoga should reign supreme, while both Jnana Yoga andBhakti Yoga can at best prepare the individual to do the right Karma. Thiswould also explain why we have a Law of Karma. The statement that you reap whatyou sow makes logical sense. We don’t have laws of Jnana or Bhakti.

Iwould appreciate your thoughts, Sadaji, on this subject. 



You haveasked the whole of Vedanta in your mail. 

Hereare some essential points to ponder about:

1.Everyone is looking for happiness, irrespective of what religion one belongsto. Some scriptures say that they only can provide eternal happiness, but afterdeath, and only if you follow them; otherwise, eternal suffering. Whoever itmay be he who, for him, Vedanta says one can be happy right here and right now– where ‘here and now’ transcend the space-time concepts. Time is a gap betweentwo sequential observations. Space is a gap between two simultaneousobservations – in both cases, the observer, the subject, the conscious entityis independent of the observations, the objectifiable entities. The subject ‘I’cannot be objectified and therefore beyond space-time limitations. 

2.Not knowing who that ‘I am’ is, I take myself ‘what I am not, as I am;.Everyone introduction of oneself as, ‘I am = this, this, and this’ – where‘this’ stands for the body with its attributes, or emotional mind with itsrelationships, or intellect with its accomplishments and limitations. ‘I am=this’ is also the definition of Ego or ahankaara. The whole of biodata involves‘I am this, this and this’ – some have ‘this’ in terms of pages and pages.Hence, we all identify ourselves with body or mind and/or intellect BMI,(shareeram, manas and buddhi) since we do not know who we really are.

3.Any ‘this’ is limited by space, time, and object-wise. That is any this isspatially or temporally located, and being different from ‘that’ object-wise isalso limited. When I take myself as ‘this,’ I superimpose the limitations of‘this’ on ‘I am’ and suffer the consequence of this wrong identification, lifeafterlife. Vedanta says – the self that I am is pure ‘sat chit annada’ ,(existence-consciousness-pure happiness) – and I am Brahman, meaning infinitewith no limitations whatsoever. Limitless alone is pure happiness since anylimitations cause suffering.

4. Bytaking myself as ‘a limited entity as this BMI’, I tried to become infinite orlimitless since that is my true nature. Hence, I go after 'things' to add intomy list of mine (mamakaara) for me to become happy. Thus begins the rat race.

5.Vedanta says you can never become infinite by adding finite things – that ismathematically illogical. Here is the fundamental problem for all beings. Iwant to become infinite since that is my real nature. I cannot become infiniteby any process since any process is finite, by definition. At the same time, Icannot stop trying to become infinite. Thus the struggle goes on in lifeafterlife. It remains endless unless I discover the truth.

5.Vedanta says we are trying to solve a problem, where there is really no problem– we want to become infinite by removing space, time, and object-wiselimitations by acquiring things more and more, etc. All material pursuits comeunder this. The only way to solve this beginning-less problem is to recognizethat I am already infinite since that is my intrinsic nature. Experientiallythe deep-sleep state indicates that I am that Advaita – nondual – sinceinfinite cannot have duality- again by definition. This is like in the famousstory, trying to find the missing 10th man where the seeker himself is thesought. 

6.The mind should recognize this fundamental truth – However, it would not do soeasily since all experiences that involve BMI show that I am limited. Hence noone can believe that I am infinite in spite of the limitations of the BMI,which come under ‘this’ category.

7.Hence to understand this basic truth, the mind needs to be prepared – this iscalled purification of the mind – that is, just getting rid of all wrongnotions in mind, in spite of the day-to-day experiences to the contrary.

8.Karma yoga prepares the mind or purifies the mind. There are stages in karmayoga – that I have discussed in my book ‘Transcending Science’.

9.Only a prepared mind can appreciate the fundamental truth – that I am thatBrahman or aham brahma asmi – one of the fundamental truths stated in Vedanta.-or this self that I am is Brahman – ayam aatma brahma.

10Yoking the prepared mind to this truth is called jnana-yoga – where meditationon this fundamental truth helps the mind to firmly abide in this knowledge.

11.Hence Karma yoga prepares the mind for jnana yoga.

12.Bhakti yoga is the bottom line required for both karma yoga and jnana yoga.

13.Karma yoga involves the first stage – offering everything to the Lord – whichmeans faith in the Lord and understanding that it is the Lord who gives thefruits of all the actions – karma phala daata. Hence Karma yoga is taught firstin the 3rd Ch before jnana yoga in the 4th Chapter.

14.As one evolves in karma yoga, he slowly understands via knowledge or jnana yogathat all actions are performed by the Lord Himself. He is the very life-principlein every being. Hence Krishna says – one who understands that all actions aredone by the prakruti (to which BMI belongs). Hence Krishna says – one who seeshimself as non-doer in spite of all the vigorous activities at the BMI level isa jnaani – ‘karmani akaramayaH pasyet’ 

15.Once one understands the truth, he becomes a jnaani – it is an understanding asa fact and not just as a thought. He still lives among us with BMI – until theBMI drops. Such a jnaani still works, but his actions are motivated by the goodof all – since ALL he understands is nothing but Lord Himself as the fullmanifestation of his Vibhuti or glory. He works in the world, glorying it inwhatever way he can (or his BMI can). He can be sitting and contemplating forthe good of all or working in downtown but reveling in work as Lord’s vibhuti.Hence whatever he does, it can the best that his BMI can do.

Theseaspects are discussed in the 10th and 11th Ch. of Geeta.

Mostof these topics are discussed exhaustively in my book ‘Transcending Science.’Published by Indic Academy, now available both as Kindle and printed versions. 



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