Author Topic: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta  (Read 175042 times)

Hari

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Exemplary advaitic analysis
« Reply #405 on: August 10, 2013, 09:07:47 PM »
Even if we accept that there is objective reality we must conclude that we don't know it because what we perceived is filtered by our sense organs. For example in nature there are sound waves which do not exist for us because we cannot hear them (ultra- and infrasounds). What we see is just reflection of the light from the so called external objects. If all sense organs stop functioning where is the world? We will breathe only and that will keep our ego identity. If we stop breathing, prana leave the body and thinking also stops. Where is the world-reality then?

Even if we accept that the objects are exactly as they seem another problem arises. If an object is material then what it is made of. By reduction we go to more and more abstract notions and finally we must conclude that it is formed by some energy or consciousness but how a nonmaterial consciousness or energy to create the solid matter? It is unexplainable for the scientists but they agree with this conclusion. And finally and most difficult is to realize or at least accept that this consciousness is withing you and is not somewhere outside. Actually this is also wrong notion because there is no inside also. It only points to the truth that nothing is independent on the seer. But the seer is also unreal. So the final conclusion is that all talks and analyses are meaningless. Because there is nothing to be analyzed actually.
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Hari

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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #406 on: August 11, 2013, 02:39:36 AM »
"The Tao is something blurred and indistinct.
How indistinct! How blurred!
Yet within It are images.
How blurred! How indistinct!
Yet within It are things.
How dim! How confused!
Yet within It is a mental power.
Because this power is most true,
within It there is confidence."
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Hari

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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #407 on: August 11, 2013, 03:04:24 AM »
"Frodo gave a cry, and there he was, fallen upon his knees at the chasm's edge. But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle."
[J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Return of the King"]
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Jewell

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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #408 on: August 11, 2013, 03:15:56 AM »
This is how ego looks


This is our Sadguru.


:)

Hari

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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #409 on: August 11, 2013, 03:19:34 AM »
Yes, I like the analogy! :)
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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #410 on: August 11, 2013, 03:22:37 AM »
"I'm simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I'm saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.

It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.

It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great suprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, A watcher.

And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.

That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being."
[Osho]
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Hari

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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #411 on: August 11, 2013, 04:17:44 AM »
"This realization was the crux of the Buddha’s experience of awakening (bodhi) which dawned upon himone night, as he sat under the celebrated Bo Tree at Gaya, after seven years of meditation in the forests.From the standpoint of Zen, this experience is theessential content of Buddhism, and the verbaldoctrine is quite secondary to the wordless transmission of the experience itself from generation togeneration. For seven years Gautama had struggled by the traditional means of yoga and tapas,contemplation and ascesis, to penetrate the cause of man’s enslavement to maya, to find release fromthe vicious circle of clinging-to-life (trishna) which is like trying to make the hand grasp itself. All hisefforts had been in vain. The eternal atman, the real Self, was not to be found. However much heconcentrated upon his own mind to find its root and ground, he found only his own effort toconcentrate. The evening before his awakening he simply 'gave up,' relaxed his ascetic diet, and atesome nourishing food. Thereupon he felt at once that a profound change was coming over him. He satbeneath the tree, vowing never to rise until he had attained the supreme awakening, and-according to atradition-sat all through the night until the first glimpse of the morning star suddenly provoked a state of perfect clarity and understanding. This was anuttara samyak sambodhi, 'unexcelled, completeawakening,' liberation from maya and from the everlasting round of birth-and-death (samsara), whichgoes on and on for as long as a mantries in any way whatsoever to grasp at his own life. Yet the actual content of this experience was never and could never be put in words. For the words are frame of Maya, the meshes of Its net and the experience is of the water which slips through. Thus so far as words are concerned the most that may be said of this experience are the words attributed to the Buddha in the Vajracchedika:
Quote
Just so, Shubhuti, I obtained not the least thing from unexcelled, complete awakening, and for this very reason it is called "unexcelled, complete awakening
"
[Alan Watts, "The way of Zen"]
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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #412 on: August 11, 2013, 11:40:49 AM »
"We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want."
[Lao Tzu]
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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #413 on: August 11, 2013, 12:01:24 PM »
"You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz. "All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty."
[L. Frank Baum, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"]
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8 limbs of yoga
« Reply #414 on: August 11, 2013, 12:52:37 PM »
In brief the eight limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows:

Yama :  Universal morality
Niyama :  Personal observances
Asanas :  Body postures
Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana
Pratyahara :  Control of the senses
Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
Dhyana :  Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
Samadhi :  Union with the Divine

I. Yamas (Universal Morality)

        1. Ahimsa – Compassion for all living things
        The word ahimsa literally mean not to injure or show cruelty to any creature or any person in any way whatsoever. Ahimsa is, however, more than just lack of violence as adapted in yoga. It means kindness, friendliness, and thoughtful consideration of other people and things. It also has to do with our duties and responsibilities too. Ahimsa implies that in every situation we should adopt a considerate attitude and do no harm.

        2. Satya – Commitment to Truthfulness
        Satya means "to speak the truth," yet it is not always desirable to speak the truth on all occasions, for it could harm someone unnecessarily. We have to consider what we say, how we say it, and in what way it could affect others. If speaking the truth has negative consequences for another, then it is better to say nothing. Satya should never come into conflict with our efforts to behave with ahimsa. This precept is based on the understanding that honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, or government, and that deliberate deception, exaggerations, and mistruths harm others.   

        3. Asteya - Non-stealing
        Steya means "to steal"; asteya is the opposite-to take nothing that does not belong to us. This also means that if we are in a situation where someone entrusts something to us or confides in us, we do not take advantage of him or her. Non-stealing includes not only taking what belongs to another without permission, but also using something for a different purpose to that intended, or beyond the time permitted by its owner. The practice of asteya implies not taking anything that has not been freely given. This includes fostering a consciousness of how we ask for others’ time for inconsiderate behavior demanding another’s attention when not freely given is, in effect, stealing.

        4. Brahmacharya - Sense control
        Brahmacharya is used mostly in the sense of abstinence, particularly in relationship to sexual activity. Brahmacharya suggests that we should form relationships that foster our understanding of the highest truths. Brahmacharya does not necessarily imply celibacy. Rather, it means responsible behavior with respect to our goal of moving toward the truth. Practicing brahmacharya means that we use our sexual energy to regenerate our connection to our spiritual self. It also means that we don’t use this energy in any way that might harm others.

        5. Aparigraha - Neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth
        Aparigraha means to take only what is necessary, and not to take advantage of a situation or act greedy. We should only take what we have earned; if we take more, we are exploiting someone else. The yogi feels that the collection or hoarding of things implies a lack of faith in God and in himself to provide for his future.v Aparigraha also implies letting go of our attachments to things and an understanding that impermanence and change are the only constants.

       The Yoga Sutra describes what happens when these five behaviors outlined above become part of a person's daily life. Thus, the yamas are the moral virtues which, if attended to, purify human nature and contribute to health and happiness of society.

II. Niyama (Personal Observances)

       Niyama means "rules" or "laws."  These are the rules prescribed for personal observance. Like the yamas, the five niyamas are not exercises or actions to be simply studied. They represent far more than an attitude. Compared with the yamas, the niyamas are more intimate and personal. They refer to the attitude we adopt toward ourselves as we create a code for living soulfully

        1. Sauca - Purity
        The first niyama is sauca, meaning purity and cleanliness. Sauca has both an inner and an outer aspect. Outer cleanliness simply means keeping ourselves clean. Inner cleanliness has as much to do with the healthy, free functioning of our bodily organs as with the clarity of our mind. Practicing asanas or pranayama are essential means for attending to this inner sauca. Asanas tones the entire body and removes toxins while pranayama cleanses our lungs, oxygenates our blood and purifies our nerves. "But more important than the physical cleansing of the body is the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions like hatred, passion, anger, lust, greed, delusion and pride."

        2. Santosa - Contentment
        Another niyama is santosa, modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have. To be at peace within and content with one's lifestyle finding contentment even while experiencing life’s difficulties for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of circumstances. We should accept that there is a purpose for everything - yoga calls it karma – and we cultivate contentment 'to accept what happens'. It means being happy with what we have rather than being unhappy about what we don't have.

        3. Tapas – Disciplined use of our energy
        Tapas refers to the activity of keeping the body fit or to confront and handle the inner urges without outer show. Literally it means to heat the body and, by so doing, to cleanse it. Behind the notion of tapas lies the idea we can direct our energy to enthusiastically engage life and achieve our ultimate goal of creating union with the Divine. Tapas helps us burn up all the desires that stand in our way of this goal.  Another form of tapas is paying attention to what we eat. Attention to body posture, attention to eating habits, attention to breathing patterns - these are all tapas.

        4. Svadhyaya – Self study
        The fourth niyama is svadhyaya. Sva means "self' adhyaya means "inquiry" or "examination". Any activity that cultivates self-reflective consciousness can be considered svadhyaya. It means to intentionally find self-awareness in all our activities and efforts, even to the point of welcoming and accepting our limitations. It teaches us to be centered and non-reactive to the dualities, to burn out unwanted and self-destructive tendencies.

        5. Isvarapranidhana - Celebration of the Spiritual
        Isvarapranidhana means "to lay all your actions at the feet of God." It is the contemplation on God (Isvara) in order to become attuned to god and god's will. It is the recognition that the spiritual suffuses everything and through our attention and care we can attune ourselves with our role as part of the Creator. The practice requires that we set aside some time each day to recognize that there is some omnipresent force larger than ourselves that is guiding and directing the course of our lives.

III. Asanas (Body postures)

       Asana is the practice of physical postures. It is the most commonly known aspect of yoga for those unfamiliar with the other seven limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. The practice of moving the body into postures has widespread benefits; of these the most underlying are improved health, strength, balance and flexibility. On a deeper level the practice of asana, which means "staying" or "abiding" in Sanskrit, is used as a tool to calm the mind and move into the inner essence of being. The challenge of poses offers the practitioner the opportunity to explore and control all aspects of their emotions, concentration, intent, faith, and unity between the physical and the ethereal body. Indeed, using asanas to challenge and open the physical body acts as a binding agent to bring one in harmony with all the unseen elements of their being, the forces that shape our lives through our responses to the physical world. Asana then becomes a way of exploring our mental attitudes and strengthening our will as we learn to release and move into the state of grace that comes from creating balance between our material world and spiritual experience.

        As one practices asana it fosters a quieting of the mind, thus it becomes both a preparation for meditation and a meditation sufficient in and of itself. Releasing to the flow and inner strength that one develops brings about a profound grounding spirituality in the body. The physicality of the yoga postures becomes a vehicle to expand the consciousness that pervades our every aspect of our body. The key to fostering this expansion of awareness and consciousness begins with the control of breath, the fourth limb – Pranayama. Patanjali suggests that the asana and the pranayama practices will bring about the desired state of health; the control of breath and bodily posture will harmonize the flow of energy in the organism, thus creating a fertile field for the evolution of the spirit. "This down-to-earth, flesh-and-bones practice is simply one of the most direct and expedient ways to meet yourself. … This limb of yoga practice reattaches us to our body. In reattaching ourselves to our bodies we reattach ourselves to the responsibility of living a life guided by the undeniable wisdom of our body."
To this B.K.S. Iyengar adds: "The needs of the body are the needs of the divine spirit which lives through the body. The yogi does not look heaven-ward to find God for he know that He is within."ix

IV. Pranayama (Breath Control)

       Pranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Pranayama controls the energy (prana) within the organism, in order to restore and maintain health and to promote evolution. When the in-flowing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized. In yoga, we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the chakra system and upward to the crown chakra.

        Pranayama, or breathing technique, is very important in yoga. It goes hand in hand with the asana or pose. In the Yoga Sutra, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be the highest form of purification and self discipline for the mind and the body, respectively. The practices produce the actual physical sensation of heat, called tapas, or the inner fire of purification. It is taught that this heat is part of the process of purifying the nadis, or subtle nerve channels of the body. This allows a more healthful state to be experienced and allows the mind to become more calm. As the yogi follows the proper rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing "the patterns strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce craving. As desires and cravings diminish, the mind is set free and becomes a fit vehicle for concentration."

V. Pratyahara (Control of the Senses)

       Pratyahara means drawing back or retreat. The word ahara means "nourishment"; pratyahara translates as "to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses." In yoga, the term pratyahara implies withdrawal of the senses from attachment to external objects. It can then be seen as the practice of non-attachment to sensorial distractions as we constantly return to the path of self realization and achievement of internal peace. It means our senses stop living off the things that stimulate; the senses no longer depend on these stimulants and are not fed by them any more.

       In pratyahara we sever this link between mind and senses, and the senses withdraw. When the senses are no longer tied to external sources, the result is restraint or pratyahara. Now that the vital forces are flowing back to the Source within, one can concentrate without being distracted by externals or the temptation to cognize externals.

       Pratyahara occurs almost automatically when we meditate because we are so absorbed in the object of meditation. Precisely because the mind is so focused, the senses follow it; it is not happening the other way around.

       No longer functioning in their usual manner, the senses become extraordinarily sharp. Under normal circumstances the senses become our masters rather than being our servants. The senses entice us to develop cravings for all sorts of things. In pratyahara the opposite occurs: when we have to eat we eat, but not because we have a craving for food. In pratyahara we try to put the senses in their proper place, but not cut them out of our actions entirely.

       Much of our emotional imbalance are our own creation. A person who is influenced by outside events and sensations can never achieve the inner peace and tranquility. This is because he or she will waste much mental and physical energy in trying to suppress unwanted sensations and to heighten other sensations. This will eventually result in a physical or mental imbalance, and will, in most instances, result in illness.

       Patanjali says that the above process is at the root of human unhappiness and uneasiness. When people seek out yoga, hoping to find that inner peace which is so evasive, they find that it was theirs all along. In a sense, yoga is nothing more than a process which enables us to stop and look at the processes of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both.

VI. Dharana (Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness)

       Dharana means "immovable concentration of the mind". The essential idea is to hold the concentration or focus of attention in one direction.  "When the body has been tempered by asanas, when the mind has been refined by the fire of pranayama and when the senses have been brought under control by pratyahara, the sadhaka (seeker) reaches the sixth stage, dharana. Here he is concentrated wholly on a single point or on a task in which he is completely engrossed. The mind has to be stilled in order to achieve this state of complete absorption."

       In dharana we create the conditions for the mind to focus its attention in one direction instead of going out in many different directions. Deep contemplation and reflection can create the right conditions, and the focus on this one point that we have chosen becomes more intense. We encourage one particular activity of the mind and, the more intense it becomes, the more the other activities of the mind fall away.

       The objective in dharana is to steady the mind by focusing its attention upon some stable entity. The particular object selected has nothing to do with the general purpose, which is to stop the mind from wandering -through memories, dreams, or reflective thought-by deliberately holding it single-mindedly upon some apparently static object. B.K.S. Iyengar states that the objective is to achieve the mental state where the mind, intellect, and ego are "all restrained and all these faculties are offered to the Lord for His use and in His service. Here there is no feeling of 'I' and 'mine'."

       When the mind has become purified by yoga practices, it becomes able to focus efficiently on one subject or point of experience. Now we can unleash the great potential for inner healing.

VII. Dhyana (Devotion , Meditation on the Divine)

       Dhyana means worship, or profound and abstract religious meditation. It is perfect contemplation. It involves concentration upon a point of focus with the intention of knowing the truth about it. The concept holds that when one focuses their mind in concentration on an object the mind is transformed into the shape of the object. Hence, when one focuses on the divine they become more reflective of it and they know their true nature. "His body, breath, senses, mind, reason and ego are all integrated in the object of his contemplation – the Universal Spirit."

       During dhyana, the consciousness is further unified by combining clear insights into distinctions between objects and between the subtle layers of perception. "We learn to differentiate between the mind of the perceiver, the means of perception, and the objects perceived, between words, their meanings, and ideas, and between all the levels of evolution of nature."

       As we fine-tune our concentration and become more aware of the nature of reality we perceive that the world is unreal. "The only reality is the universal self, or God, which is veiled by Maya (the illusory power). As the veils are lifted, the mind becomes clearer. Unhappiness and fear – even the fear of death – vanishes. This state of freedom, or Moksha, is the goal of Yoga. It can be reached by constant enquiry into the nature of things." Meditation becomes our tool to see things clearly and perceive reality beyond the illusions that cloud our mind.


VIII. Samadhi (Union with the Divine)

       The final step in the eight-fold path of Yoga is the attainment of Samadhi. Samadhi means "to bring together, to merge." In the state of samadhi the body and senses are at rest, as if asleep, yet the faculty of mind and reason are alert, as if awake; one goes beyond consciousness. During samadhi, we realize what it is to be an identity without differences, and how a liberated soul can enjoy pure awareness of this pure identity. The conscious mind drops back into that unconscious oblivion from which it first emerged.

       Thus, samadhi refers to union or true Yoga. There is an ending to the separation that is created by the "I" and "mine" of our illusory perceptions of reality. The mind does not distinguish between self and non-self, or between the object contemplated and the process of contemplation. The mind and the intellect have stopped and there is only the experience of consciousness, truth and unutterable joy.

       The achievement of samadhi is a difficult task. For this reason the Yoga Sutra suggests the practice of asanas and pranayama as preparation for dharana, because these influence mental activities and create space in the crowded schedule of the mind. Once dharana has occurred, dhyana and samadhi can follow.

       These eight steps of yoga indicate a logical pathway that leads to the attainment of physical, ethical, emotional, and psycho-spiritual health. Yoga does not seek to change the individual; rather, it allows the natural state of total health and integration in each of us to become a reality.

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Hari

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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #415 on: August 11, 2013, 01:44:23 PM »
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take."
[Wayne Gretzky]
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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #416 on: August 11, 2013, 03:21:16 PM »
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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #417 on: August 11, 2013, 03:34:18 PM »

O! Wanderers in the shadowed land


O! Wanderers in the shadowed land
despair not! For though dark they stand,
all woods there be must end at last,
and see the open sun go past:
the setting sun, the rising sun,
the day's end, or the day begun.
For east or west all woods must fail...

J.R.R. Tolkien


Hari

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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #418 on: August 11, 2013, 03:39:21 PM »
Jewell
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Re: Various quotes and musings in the light of Vedanta
« Reply #419 on: August 11, 2013, 03:41:24 PM »
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