Author Topic: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen  (Read 7882 times)

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 08:37:32 AM »
DHYANA:

continues.....

Sri Ramana Maharshi takes the search for the root of the 'I'-sense to yield the best results, and it has proved to many of His
disciples. It is based on the undeniable fact of one's own existence, which is self evident and, as existence is by its very definition
eternal and absolute, tracing one's 'I' to its source is bound to reveal its truth. The common man identifies with 'I' with the body
and becomes inextricably involved in the complex problems of the body, but the seeker has since a long time detached himself from
the grossest form of this identification, as is proved by his spiritual urge. When he appears before the Guru and determines to dedicate
himself to the life of the spirit, it is obvious that his 'body-I' relation has become attenuated enough to break down when persistenly
challenged by investigations, which, in this school, consists of the Self-enquiry 'Who am I?'. The knot which ties the one to the other
grows looser as the seeker's attention is more and more diverted from the insentient body to the nature of his sentient 'I'. This
enquiry -- vichara - (which is associated with the Maharshi's name), when  thoroughly mastered, and intelligently applied, acts in two
ways:  by meditation it wards off all other thoughts and retains the mind's purity, and by analysis and reflection, it exposes the insentience and transience of the body, as contrasted with the infinite, intelligent 'I' which pervades it as life and consciousness. As the
water in which a sponge ha been soaked alone remains, after the sponge is removed, so does the intelligent pervader of the body alone remain when the body or body-thought is cut down by the dual process of Vichara and Dhyana. This approach to the Absolute
is from the Sat or Being aspect.

continues.....

Arunachala Siva.
       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2013, 08:33:01 AM »
DHYANA:

continues.....

There is yet another method which is used in dhyana yoga by the few who cannot straightaway begin meditation, namely,
breath control (pranayama). A vast literature ha been written on this method, with which, however, this yoga does not concern
itself, except for the sole purpose of stabilizing the mind. It is a proven fact that breathing and thinking function simultaneously
in the waking state, so that if the breath is controlled by a special exercise, the thinking faculty follows suit as a matter of course.
With alternate inhaling and exhaling, there comes in between a short period of rest called kumbhaka, which secures a corresponding
rest in the mind, and which by practice can be lengthened at will to bring attention to a focus form which the dhyana can start on
its own. This is the strict use the dhyana yogi makes of the pranayama. If he goes much farther than this, or fails to resort to dhyana,
he ceases to be a dhyana yogi but a digressor into practices which lead to unpredictable ends.

The foregoing few methods of dhyana are, let it be clearly understood, mere hints to the sadhaka to include in his own peculiar
approach. Hints are also the Guru's directions. Meditation, being the spontaneous urge of the external man to surrender himself
-- his thoughts and feelings -- to the Eternal in him, is purely individual, so that it may be truly said that meditation has as many forms
as there are meditators. It may even begin with an external worship (upasana) or devotional outpourings and gradually mellows down
to the point where thoughts are suspended, including that of the worshipped object, leaving the yogi's own self alone as the ultimate
residue. In all cases, the external worship has eventually to turn upon itself and become Self worship, which is the highest bhakti (parabhakti), than which there is no higher.

It has to be remembered that one and only one method should be used at a time, or else the yogi will be completely baffled.
If he is in doubt about the advantage of his approach, he should try the one that he thinks suits him best, give it a fair trial, and
then abandon it, should it prove unsuitable till he finally stumbles on the best and the easiest. Generally yogis find their own form
of meditation almost from the start, as naturally as free water finds its own level by an immutable natural law.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2013, 08:34:46 AM »
PITFALLS IN SADHANA:

While on the subject of meditation it will be worth our while to draw the attention of the sadhaka to the variety of sensory
experiences which some beginners obtain, or imagine they obtain, in meditation. The case of he gentleman who thought he
had head an explosion inside his skull and had run of the meditation room all atremble, is exceptional, no doubt, but by no
means unique. The number of visionaries is certainly legion, but less in the ordinary state of consciousness than in meditation.
Super sensuous hearing and seeing are frequent to those who expect them and even pray for them, mistaking them for signs
of Divine Grace. In this sadhana, they are condemned. They harass only beginners, or the mentally immature who entertain wrong,
fantastic notions of yogic practice. The world, we have seen, is but the shadow play of the senses, to suppress which we take to
sadhana, so that falling victim to the senses in the very attempt at destroying them is admitting Maya by the back door.

Yogis must be warned against these fraudulent experiences. Whatever is seen, heard or smelt in meditation is pure fancy and,
therefore, must be mercilessly ignored. It will eventually give way before a determined practice. A very large section of humanity
equates miracles and visions with holiness, and the common folk, in this country (India) likewise view them with undisguised awe,
so that millions flock to him who can exhibit a penny worth miracle. Vedantic India abhors them, and has a profound contempt for
the conscious display of siddhis (psychic powers), except by the Jnani-siddhas on special but very infrequent occasions, for it
detracts from the realization of the Truth, which is the sole aim of this yoga. These siddhas must be distinguished from the so called
occultists who claim to have siddhis but have no Jnana (knowledge of the Reality), nor specifically aim at achieving it.

Those who claim and work for miracles and siddhis but whatever name they are known, have no place in the path of the Absolute.
The seekers of the Absolute have to guard against the fables that circulate about the dangers of yoga.
Dhyana yoga must be purified from these excrescences and, being safe and simple, it can be practiced by anyone, at any time,
and in any healthy and clean environment and circumstance without the slightest fear or hesitation.

chapter concluded.   

Arunachala Siva.         
 
     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2013, 10:23:02 AM »
SAMADHI:

The word 'samadhi' has often been translated as 'trance' in English, which is highly misleading. Trance has a bad odor, and can by
no means convey the idea of chinmatra, the pure Consciousness which is vividly experienced in the heart in Samadhi. Advatic Samadhi
has no resemblance whatever to the cataleptic trance which the mysteries of ancient Egypt and Greece were said to induce, or to
he contemplation of the religious mystic. Hence I have left Samadhi untranslated through out this essay. The terms Nirvana and Mind (not manas) used by Zen Buddhists and Mahayanists seem to have the same connotation as Samadhi.

Samadhi is therefore the experience of the pure, formless consciousness in the Heart, which, once experienced, is never lost.
The seeking will then end, and the consolidation of the experience into the permanency of Sahaja Samadhi alone remains to be
achieved. With rare exceptions, the early experience of Samadhi is vague and shaky, but it acquires firmness by practice, which is no
longer the same as the pre-Samadhi practice, which has been one of searching for the Heart. Henceforth mediation is effortless to a
degree, and free from the strain and doubts of the past.

continued....

Arunachala Siva.       

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2013, 10:15:38 AM »
SAMADHI:

continues....

If the Samadhi continues to be disturbed by thoughts, it called savikalpa, in which, though peaceful, the world, as thoughts,
is still feebly present. It has not  become firm enough to free itself from thinking, which is the characteristic of the next higher
samadhi. the nirvikalpa, wherein the mind stands poised in the stillness of the Heart. This is the Swarupa (the very nature)
of existence and of all things, the Being, or Self absolute. When by constant practice nirvikalpa samadhi is turned into Sahaja,
the Self Realization or Jivanmukti - the state of Liberation in life --- is said to have been achieved. The jivanmukta is permanently
aware of his reality as consciousness-bliss.

I have given these details in the hope of dispelling some of the myths which have been woven by imaginative writers round
nirvikalpa and around samadhi. The mysteries which are said to shroud them do not exist at all. Samadhi is the state of one's
own true Self, in which all human endeavors find fulfillment. Love for power, wealth, fame, country, service of humanity or religious
worship has samadhi, or Self discovery, alone for its objective.  For him who has achieved it there remains nothing more to do
or aspire for in life. He has realized his own truth, as the all, the soul of all, dwelling every and ever in the hearts of all. And because
his state is beyond common experience, it has been subject to so much speculation and unintelligent guess work. Hence is the
need for the above details.

chapter concluded.

Arunachala Siva.             

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2013, 10:51:49 AM »
THE SATTVIC FOOD:

In every country, in this wide world, there are a good number of people, who lead a virtuous life and attempt to tread the path
of true religion and piety, each according to his light. Of these not a few aspire to follow the Vedantic tradition, and are eager to
know the kind of diet they should adopt for this purpose. Their eagerness is quite understandable, considering the distinct effects
of food and drink on our physical and moral well being --- effects which can be by no means minimized. Who has not been a witness
to the injuries of strong liquor to oneself and one's near and dear, or to the suffering caused by certain articles of diet to a
constitution which is not suited to them? And when the body is struck down by a disease, or becomes upset, the mind, which is our
most precious asset, goes down the same slope. This is what caused the ancients to prescribe a regimen for the yogi and warn
him against indiscriminate feeding.

To perform sadhana a sound health is of paramount importance. We cannot be too careful to avoid anything which is likely to disturb
the balance of our physical economy.  The quantity of food we ingest is not of less importance than its quality. And no food can be expected to yield the desired nourishment but the simplest, which is easily digestible, prevents accumulation, fermentation and general
discomfort. This food we call sattvic (harmonious, compatible, agreeable) and is of much help to sadhana. No hard and fast rule can
be made for the articles which should be used in the diet. Constitutions differ. So do climatic conditions. What is good for one person
and in one part of the world may not  be good for another and in another part of the world.  The question of availability must also be
considered. Yet, so much can be said about the diet in general, namely, that animal food is discouraged in this path, especially if the
animal concerned is developed in bulk, or loathsome in habits. One need hardly specify. He who has chosen this spiritual line will not
fail to distinguish between the clean and the unclean, and between what is good for him to eat and what is not.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2013, 08:43:38 AM »
The Sattvic Food:

continues......

In India, the food served in the Asramams and temples as well as in most brahmin houses consists of some of the following:
rice, wheat, pulses, milk, butter, ghee, fresh vegetables, nuts, etc., cooked in simple style, in addition to fruits and moderate
quantities of tea and coffee. There are also very large non-Brahmin communities all over the country, which consider it a sacrilege
to feed on flesh, so that a very high percentage of the Hindu population is pure vegetarian and, notwithstanding, keeps a robust
and sturdy constitution. As for drink, nothing can be healthier than pure, fresh water. Intoxicants are strictly prohibited. For they
fuddle and muddy up the mind which with extreme care we are preparing for the supreme experience. It is only when the body
is healthy and in perfect ease, and the mind clear, happy and alert that this yoga can succeed.

Yoga killeth all pain for him who is regulated in eating and leisure, regulated in working, regulated in sleeping and waking. When
his subdued mind is fixed in the Self, free from longing for desirable objects, then he is said to be harmonized.

                       - Bhagavad Gita VI, 17,18.

continued......


Arunachala Siva.
     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2013, 08:45:19 AM »
SADHAKAS:

Truth seekers who resort to a Brahmasri (the Sage who has realized Brahman, the Absolute or Self) for guidance are of great
variety. They are not and cannot all be of the same mental and spiritual outlook, the same intellectual abilities or constitutional
make up, to follow the same course of meditation, or hold to it for the same length of time, etc., Modes of meditation differ
from one sadhaka to another, as modes of thinking and of self expression differ among the individuals in ordinary life. Inspirations
and light come to all of them in various ways, and each follows them as best suits his temperament and in the manner most conducive
to his progress. Again, not all come with the same amount of preparation to their credit.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva,
       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2013, 08:31:48 AM »
SADHAKAS:

continues.....

Again, not all come with the same amount of preparation to their credit. Some are ripe, some less so, others are people
of the world, with yet very strong inclinations for the life spiritual. Some begin with material motives but get caught on
the way and turn spiritual.

The Guru knows each and every one of them, yet keeps his own counsel. In his infinite compassion he looks upon all with
an eye of perfect equality, so that each disciple may, in his free and pure atmosphere, rise to the greatest heights of his
spiritual potentialities. Grace and holiness flow from the Guru as spontaneously as the light flows from the sun, or fragrance
from the flower. They are ceaseless and infinite.

The foremost Sadhaka is he who has surrendered himself completely to the practice, which he views as the only reason
for his being in an embodied existence. Nothing else matters to him. His mind remains fixed on the search for the Heart,
whether in his meditation, which is the time for intense concentration, or in his studies. In this mood he makes rapid progress,
for then the mind will be able to shed quickly much of its encumbrances and propensities ---- its vasanas, ---- and replace them
by habits of the Quest. He asks nothing of the Guru that has no bearing on his Sadhana, and desires nothing but to be left in
peace and pursue it in his own way.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
     
     
 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2013, 09:38:03 AM »
SADHAKAS:

Next is the Sadhaka who cannot sustain a prolonged concentration, but compensates himself by long stays in the presence
of the Guru and more study. After him comes the one who cannot meditate at all, preferring to serve the Guru in all sorts of ways.
He earns the merit of serving a Guru and a Brahmasri and at the same time benefits by his tranquil atmosphere, with the result
that his mind, will in course of time, be fit for meditation.

Next is the devotee who does not strictly come in the sadhaka category. He does not stay with the Guru, but visits him off and on,
and performs sadhana in his own way at home. He may have a family whom he finds it his duty to maintain and look after. There
is no valid objection to a married life, notwithstanding the widespread prejudice against it. The objection is to the net of complexities
which a married life, especially in the present day society, weaves round the life of the seeker, which impels many of them to keep away
from matrimonial ties in order to be free to surrender themselves to the life contemplative.

Many other classes of devotees crowd around the Guru, ranging from householder, who considers sadhana superfluous, taking the
Master to be a solid raft which carries all the passengers to the other shore of mukti with all their luggage of sins and shortcomings,
to the one who expects a return on his devotion, or the one who first puts the Guru to the test in his worldly affairs before accepting
him. All these benefit by their attachment to the Master, for no one draws near the fire will miss being comforted to a degree by its
warmth. The Guru, like the Sun, sheds his light on one and all, leaving it to each devotee, to receive  the quantum which is commensurate with his ability to absorb. Worldliness sticks to all the disciples in various degrees, which the Master's holy presence
mysteriously rubs off, particularly in those who cooperate in their sadhana with humility, detachment, and a strong commonsense.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   
 
               

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2013, 08:19:20 AM »
SADHAKAS:

continues......

The variety of way God or the Self brings men to Him is amazing to watch. No one is forgotten. No one is for ever left behind.
And no one is totally annihilated as a 'lost soul' for whatever wickedness one has at one time or other been guilty of. The
creed of lost souls is not that of the Vedanta. It does not fit in with its teaching of the single Substance, single Existence.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2013, 01:49:27 PM »

CONCLUSION:

Those who are already Sadhakas are on the highway to Release. To them there is nothing more to say. They are already safe.
Nor is there anything more to say to those who are on the brink. These need a little push  -- a gentle push --- and they will be
soon squatting at the feet of the Guru, appealing for light. The more sluggish ones need a more forcible push to make them fall
into line with the former. To these one would suggest. Do not wait for the known down. You are almost a renouncer.  Start
your march towards your destined goal right now, as start you will some day, somehow. Change your outlook on life and your
values of the things in which you have reposed your trust for happiness.  For none can give you true happiness, neither man,
woman nor even God Himself, but the spiritual strength derived from self restraint, self discovery, and aspirations for Truth.

contd.,


Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Advaitic Sadhana - S.S. Cohen
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2013, 09:22:44 AM »

continues.....

Kaivalya Upanishad begins with a prayer of the disciple to Lord Parameshti, the Supreme Guru:

O Lord pray impart to me the most excellent wisdom (Brahmavidya), which is ever enjoyed by the Enlightened Ones, and by
which, the wise, having freed themselves from all sins, reach Purusha, the Most High.

The Blessed Lord answers: 

Know it though through Faith, Devotion, Meditation and through Yoga. For neither by action (ritualistic) nor by progeny or wealth
is Liberation attained, but by Renunciation aloe.

Paramahamsas  (the yogis who follow the path of Direct Liberation in this life. See NaradaparvrAjaka Upanishad) of pure mind,
by realizing the true meaning of the highest Vedanta through the Yoga of Renunciation (Sannyasa Yoga) enter into That, which
is above Heaven and which resides in the Cave of the Heart, and thus attain Liberation.

The Advaitic Sadhana - The Yoga of Liberation - concluded.

Arunachala Siva.