Author Topic: A criteria for spiritual progress  (Read 4711 times)

silentgreen

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A criteria for spiritual progress
« on: April 08, 2010, 07:18:23 PM »
Thinking deeply on a criteria for spiritual progress, I felt that bliss is the most dependable criteria.

The following conditions however need to be met:
1. The bliss should not be due to sexual instinct, either active or passive. This is easily recognized by any person and does not require any special training.
2. The bliss should not be dependent on any objects like drugs or drinks, neither on any events like good news, dreams etc.
3. The bliss should not be due to contrasting situations like jumping and then resting, going out in hot and then entering in cold etc.
4. The bliss should not be generated due to any activities like singing and dancing, nor should it stop due to any activities.

If the above conditions are satisfied, I feel that there is no way bliss can come other than realising one's deeper self, realising the Ananda of the Sat-Chit-Ananda. Everyone feels Existence (Sat) and Consciousness (Chit) at all times. The first two aspects therefore does not serve to indicate spiritual progress. However everyone cannot say that I am always in bliss (provided one is truthful). Recognition of bliss is tangible and does not require any reading of books or other training. There is no need for argumentation and logic. Deep within all human being yearns for bliss. If there is no bliss, I feel that one should doubt one's spiritual progress, however free one feels within.
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Vladimir

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2010, 02:35:02 PM »
Quote
Thinking deeply on a criteria for spiritual progress, I felt that bliss is the most dependable criteria.

Dear Silentgreen,

May I suggest another point of view to consider:
Bliss is a reliable criteria only if it is permanent. But if the bliss is permanent, there is no need to have any criterias at all -- everything is clear. In ANY cases bliss comes it will inevitably go away.  So, only recognition you are always in bliss but do not notice it can lead  you to eternal.
But it's very hard to trust "I am always in bliss", coz body-mind are not in bliss. And if one identifys oneself with body-mind it is impossible to experience permanent bliss. Here a tricky mind gives one a false prompt: "Even a shorttime bliss is OK if it meets certain conditions".
Shall we trust it? As to me it's better to trust "I am always bliss", even if it souds paradoxicaly.
By the way, why it sounds paradoxically? may be, becouse we got used to believe it's impossible. We are thoroughly tought to believe it's impossible from our early childhood. But when a realized Master tells you: "It is so" and you trust him, all the picture of this world starts changing.

silentgreen

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2010, 03:07:17 PM »
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Bliss is a reliable criteria only if it is permanent.

The four conditions given above are to eliminate the situations where bliss obtained  will not be permanent. Inspite of not taking recourse to any of the external conditions if bliss comes forth from the depth of the self, it can only be due to revealation of the deeper self.

By referring to permanent things, it is not often possible to understand progress. For example, our sense of being is permanent throughout our lifetime. It does not serve to indicate spiritual progress. Our breathing is more or less permanent throughout our lives. It does not indicate spiritual progress. But when bliss spontaneously comes from within (without taking recourse to external conditions) there is no question  of trusting. It is revealed within the heart as it is beyond doubt. And it will not come without purity of mind and surrender to God.

I think that Bhagavan and Anadamoyi Maa were always in bliss although they did not often show it by singing and dancing.  Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gave full expression to the bliss since that was the purpose of his incarnation; to show to mankind how to milk the cow of divine bliss.
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Subramanian.R

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2010, 05:19:49 PM »
Abidance in non dependent bliss is criteria.
Abidance in non dependent peace is criteria.
These lead to permanent Bliss and Peace.
That is Sat-Chit Anandam.

Arunachala Siva.

Vladimir

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2010, 08:47:27 PM »
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The four conditions given above are to eliminate the situations where bliss obtained  will not be permanent. Inspite of not taking recourse to any of the external conditions if bliss comes forth from the depth of the self, it can only be due to revealation of the deeper self.

Four conditions are too less. They are countless: any personal action, I think.
For example, when I come to a lake, sit down and concentrate on water, after sometime bliss comes. This bliss is not conditioned by four enlisted causes. I repeated this action many times and bliss always comes.
But this is a temporary experience only and I give it no value. It depends on my actions: coming to water, sitting down and concentrating.
Moreover, if I estimate my 'spiritual growth', I'm already in a trap, for I have separated myself from the Whole and try to estimate the 'growth' of this separate entity. In this case I just 100% trust my ego.

Vladimir

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2010, 09:11:55 PM »
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I think that Bhagavan and Anadamoyi Maa were always in bliss...

Bhagavan IS Bliss.

amiatall

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2010, 02:26:08 AM »
It's like saying space was in space, bliss was in bliss. This is plainly an error to imagine Bhagavan and bliss as separate. And because of that that we imagine Bhagavan as separate we are enabled to say that Bhagavan as some kind of separate entity was in Bliss. It means that for that entity Bliss is a condition to be in. Thus we make rules and measurements according to that condition.
Why we say space was in space and bliss was in bliss? Because the mind works in dual-mode only it can't be otherwise. If one observes diligently one sees clearly that the start of the thought is the duality in itself. But that's how the world appears. It is such nature.
What is this all about? This is to point out that mind can be trained to be in bliss, or it can be trained to be in fear, it can be trained to see through walls, it can be trained to be.
But it cannot be trained to be the trainer, because it already is the trainer.

silentgreen

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2010, 10:36:38 AM »
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Bhagavan IS Bliss.
Quote
This is plainly an error to imagine Bhagavan and bliss as separate.

I am in agreement with this. But just for the sake of clarity let us proceed a step forward.
Bhagavan is bliss. Bhagavan and bliss are not separate.
Then are we separate from Bhagavan?
If not why don't we experience bliss always?

If Self is described as "Sat-Chit-Ananda", then if Self is always with us, all three of its attributes should be there.
Sat and Chit is always felt, so there is no question on that. Then why does Ananda not there always?
Does the Self hides some of Its attributes and presents itself?
Or does It give itself out in installments (like first installment it gives out Sat, next Chit and lastly Bliss)?

If mind is the cause of the problem, then mind is always going to stay, for a person has to go for work and earn a livelihood. It is not practically possible to live without thoughts in society, because individuals have to exchange things in society and sustain each other. If a person is not working in society it means somebody else has to work and earn for him (and hence think for him) unless he survives on fruits etc from trees.

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if I estimate my 'spiritual growth', I'm already in a trap, for I have separated myself from the Whole and try to estimate the 'growth' of this separate entity.

I appreciate this outlook. However, does the Whole gives bliss? If yes, it is very good. If it does not give permanent bliss, why does'nt it? Is it a separate entity from Self? But since it is Whole, it cannot be separate. So what is the factor? Is it the mind cover? But mind is always going to be for a person living in society? Is it due to Maya covering the Self and we are helpless? In that case how is the Maya going to go away? Will it automatically vanish? Or do we need to make effort? If we need to make effort, how shall we know that our effort is successful?

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Subramanian.R

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2010, 10:37:22 AM »
Living a life with independent bliss, which shows itself up, while seeing a bird flying,
or a steam of water falls, etc., are all manifestations of that bliss, the everlasting
Bliss.

Arunachala Siva.

Vladimir

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2010, 10:29:35 PM »
Dear Silentgreen,

I do not feel I'am competent enough to answer all your questions. I just know exactly from my own many years personal experience that to depend on temporary bliss is a deadlock.

silentgreen

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2010, 10:57:07 AM »
It is correct. To depend on temporary bliss is a deadlock.

However it is not exactly a question of dependency, neither a question of temporary bliss. The heart yearns for permanent bliss. Most of the spiritual aspirants do spiritual practices hoping to get permanent bliss because deep within they feel there is a permanent bliss. So it is simple matter of getting what the heart really yearns for. A common sense feedback mechanism.
You (i.e. your heart) asked for permanent bliss? Did you get it, or approaching it?

For bliss people resort to external conditions like drinks, drugs etc. For a sincere spiritual aspirant who can discriminate between external conditions, this bliss becomes a good indicator. It is like the ego-I. If turned towards the world, it will create problems. If turned towards the deeper self during self-enquiry, it leads to liberation. So the ego-I seems to be a potentially dangerous thing, but any sincere spiritual aspirant will not turn it towards the world.

Bliss is not an ultimate indictor. Non-doership, love, compassion, expansion, detachment from "I am the body" idea comes in advanced stages and can serve as stronger indicators. But bliss is a sufficiently strong initial indicator and will also accompany any other indicators of advanced spiritual stages. Once external conditions are identified and eliminated, bliss of a permanant nature will not come unless one's vasanas have really decreased and abidance is in the deeper self. Also it is very easy to recognize bliss since our heart yearns for that.

Without an indicator there are chances of doubts in the initial stages.
Lets take some examples.

1. While doing self enquiry, one reaches a silence.
Does it indicate the deeper self?
If there is no bliss, one needs to doubt it.
Either one needs to dive deeper and/or eliminate vasanas.

2. The scriptures say that we are already the Self. Should we just relax then?
If we are already the Self, why don't we feel the bliss within, what our heart yearns for?
The Self is described as Sat-Chit-Ananda. So that means just sitting idle will not do.
We have to dive deep within and find the bliss.

3. Someone says, just recognize the Self within. All is done. We recognized;  Yes consciousness is there, of the nature of permanent existence. But where is the bliss within, which our heart yearns for? So just recognition will not do. We have to dive deep within and find the bliss.

4. A person undertakes spiritual practices for many years and still feels a void within, something missing. He might have been involved with superficial activities like reading books, going to temple regularly, mechanically performing some rituals etc. Had he initially oriented himself towards bliss he would have got the right feedback from within. After all there is no downfall for him. Being a sincere spiritual aspirant he is not going to resort to drugs and drinks for bliss. Instead he will look for eliminating his desires and praying to God, meditating etc. Ultimately he will dive deep within himself to find that bliss.
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amiatall

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2010, 05:46:10 PM »
Quote
Bhagavan IS Bliss.
Quote
This is plainly an error to imagine Bhagavan and bliss as separate.

I am in agreement with this. But just for the sake of clarity let us proceed a step forward.
Bhagavan is bliss. Bhagavan and bliss are not separate.
Then are we separate from Bhagavan?
If not why don't we experience bliss always?

If Self is described as "Sat-Chit-Ananda", then if Self is always with us, all three of its attributes should be there.
Sat and Chit is always felt, so there is no question on that. Then why does Ananda not there always?
Does the Self hides some of Its attributes and presents itself?
Or does It give itself out in installments (like first installment it gives out Sat, next Chit and lastly Bliss)?

If mind is the cause of the problem, then mind is always going to stay, for a person has to go for work and earn a livelihood. It is not practically possible to live without thoughts in society, because individuals have to exchange things in society and sustain each other. If a person is not working in society it means somebody else has to work and earn for him (and hence think for him) unless he survives on fruits etc from trees.


Ok if we decide to clear the doubts, then by stepping a step forward, actually and initially we should ask ourselfs where we want to step forward? Is there a step to be taken forward? Who wants to take a step further and why? "I want to find permanent bliss". But isn't it that all the imaginative separation is the veil of the bliss? I get out of 'home' and pursue the goal i have created myself and on that path i experience various bumps of the road which only appear to be non blissful, as soon as i reach my goal i am automatically at peace and blissful, why is that? (please find out). And until when there is peace and bliss? We need to dive into it in such a matter like diving to solve a particular mathematical or whatever problem with non thinking mind but with understanding mind. Maybe what human being lacks is a proper understanding about how things truly and factually are? Again what needs understanding and why understanding is needed? We are diving into it

Vladimir

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2010, 07:43:35 PM »
Quote
.
You (i.e. your heart) asked for permanent bliss? Did you get it, or approaching it?

Me (my heart) and anything per-ma-nent are uncompetible things. Please, just for a second try to forget your logic and meditate on it. If there is "me" bliss is always temporary.

Vladimir

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2010, 08:04:53 PM »
Mind never allows to trust oneSelf, which IS Bliss. Who wants bliss? The mind only, which is afraid of suffering. This mind wants to get permanent bliss, but agrees on at least temporary as well just for inicial period, does not it?
It's OK, no problem. Let it desire, it is its nature. But why to be deceived with mind's desire? Why not to trust oneSelf that desires nothig, that IS everythig.

silentgreen

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Re: A criteria for spiritual progress
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2010, 10:59:22 AM »
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But isn't it that all the imaginative separation is the veil of the bliss?
This is very true.

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Is there a step to be taken forward?
In spirituality things are subtractive so a step forward should be taken in that sense only.

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Who wants bliss? The mind only.
Self is bliss. There is no choice on that. Mind does not separately create any desire for bliss.

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If there is "me" bliss is always temporary.
In waking state there is individuality. What is the  alternative for individuality to exist without "me"? Or do you mean in waking state permanent bliss is not possible.

Now this fact that "Self is Bliss", many many sages have understood/experienced and declared. Many other people who are also living do not experience bliss like saints. Why? So it is said that there is the veil of maya. So spiritual practices are undertaken to remove this veil. Then what becomes the indicator that the veil is getting removed? When the original thing shines as it is in all its purity. Self being bliss itself should be revealed as bliss itself. In that sense bliss becomes the indicator.

If I smear a white cloth with colors and give it to you for washing, what is the indicator that the dirt is removed? The cloth will shine as white again. Plain and simple. If the cloth is smeared in a very bad way such that the original color is totally hidden, then somebody has to tell what was the original color. Otherwise a blackish color when partially washed looks brownish and one may think that the original color of the cloth was brown and leave half-washing. The sages have told us that the Self is Bliss. Now they must have felt it as Bliss and therefore declared so.

Spiritual practices are not exactly analogous to cloth-washing but this is just for the purpose of illustration. I know the objection to be raised here. It is:
Who will do the washing? If the mind does the washing, will it not add dirt instead of removing it? Self is always white. It is the desire to wash by the mind that makes it dirty.

Let it remain open for an honest introspection along these lines.
- Self IS Bliss. So it must be "felt" as Bliss only, always. Do we "feel" it as it is, its true nature?
- If we just be still, will it be "felt" as Bliss, its true nature?
- Does spiritual practices add dirt of mind over the Self?

Saints have been doing spiritual practices for ages. Even to declare that "Self is Bliss", sages have done spiritual practices. The truths of the Vedas have taken centuries to be established. Have the sages increased the veil over the Self by doing spiritual practices?

(Do not treat it as serious arguments but joint discussions, not like bull-fight but bulls grazing together. I am not saying we are bulls, this is just for the purpose of illustration)
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