Author Topic: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.  (Read 3058 times)

Subramanian.R

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Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« on: August 11, 2013, 09:19:05 AM »
(Mountain Path, October-December 2007)

The Vedas define enlightenment as freedom from suffering, the most desirable human goal.  To attain freedom they present
two APPARENTLY  contradictory paths.  One, the experiential approach, is GENERALLY known as Yoga. (People have misunderstood
Yoga to be an activity and a passing experience. Patanjali's Yoga in its final essence is no different to Vedanta, though we will
see in the course of this article Yoga is a preparation for Jnana.  For the sake of argument and convenience, we will assume, as in
the popular perception, Yoga as being different from Vedanta or Jnana.)

It says that that there are two basic states of experience, suffering from freedom from suffering.   There are many yogic lifestyles
employing various yogas, techniques, which are meant to set one free.  The most well known are Ashtanga Yoga, the eight fold
path, and Kundalini Yoga.  Both promise experiential enlightenment.  'Experiential' means that through spiritual practice one
sets in motion a process that eventually results in freedom.  Ashtanga Yoga helps seeker patiently develop a disciplined mind,
one that is capable of attaining Samadhi, a high thought-free state of Self Awareness which it defines as a key to freedom. 
Kundalini Yoga is also a disciplined approach that through certain rigorous practices, 'awakens' the dormant spiritual energy
and generates, it is said, mystical experiences that lead to the "final" experience, union of the individual with the universal.

The second approach to enlightenment is called Vedanta.  Like Yoga it presents freedom from suffering as the most desirable
human goal but it does not share the yogic view concerning the means. 

To understand the validity of these views we need to consider a basic existential problem.  What is the nature of Reality?

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   
 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 11:17:08 AM »

continues...

If we are going to accept the popular perception of the Yoga view, reality needs to be dualistic.  A dualistic reality provides
the proper conditions for action and experience. An ego experiencer and a world of experienceble objects, subtle and gross,
one of which is the Self, the pure experience of which is freedom.  On the surface at least, this seems to be what we have:
I am here, the world is there.  I interact with the world and make experience happen.  If I do the actions recommended by my
particular brand of yoga (meditation and the like) I can set myself free and attain a state of 'union' (yoga means union) or
non duality.  Non duality is freedom. Freedom from what?  From limitations which are seemingly real and the struggle to be
free.  Why is non duality freedom?  Because in a non dual reality there are not two states, suffering and freedom from suffering,
bondage and liberation.  Non dual awareness removes ignorance of the Self, gives Self Knowledge and hence, gives freedom from
limitations. 

Vedanta sees a problem with the yogic view because it says that, contrary to appearances, reality is non dual and the nature
of the Self. Though our experience of Self is totally conditioned by dehatma buddhi ( I am the body idea), because one is never
without  a Self and in truth one is never lacking non dual experience, and therefore the attempt to obtain such an experience
is gratuitous.  It says that you are a conscious being and that all your experiences are held together by one thread and that
thread is you, Awareness or Consciousness.  How can there be experience with you this Consciousness?  You are It is always
present and Self evident in every form of experience.  You are It is the very essence of of experience. If this is true, then the
solution to suffering, liberation, is only available through understanding the nature of reality, the Self.  The 'path of understanding'
is often called Jnana Yoga.  We should be careful here and discriminate between analytical understanding of Vedanta (paroksha
jnana) which ultimately does not remove suffering (dhukka) and direct, immediate knowledge (aparoksha jnana) which
does liberate.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 11:23:23 AM »

continues.....

Vedanta contends that for the experiential argument to hold water, the non dual ever free Self would have to be separate
or away from you.  But the nature of the Self (and there is only one Self according to Upanishads) is Chaitanya (Consciousness).
What is always present is you, Consciousness.  So the Self is never away from you, which is to say, it is never perceived as an
object of experience. If it is an object, then there was a time when it was not experienced and it will eventually not be perceived.
But this is not possible because it contradicts experience.  When did you not experience?  When are you not aware?  Even the
absence of the so called experience, like deep sleep, is experience, a pleasurable one at that.  Our problem is we are always
wrongly experiencing the Self.  The 'I am the body' identification (dehatma buddhi) tricks our experience of Self and gives us a
false identity.  (All Samadhi experiences should lead to jagrat sushupti, pure awareness by body consciousness).

Vedanta presents another argument that calls into question the Yogic idea of enlightenment. Remember, the common misunderstanding is that Yoga counsels action, the result of which is enlightenment.  The result is perceived as something positive that one gains.
Whereas Vedanta you don't gain anything but 'lose' ignorance.  To do action a doer is required.  But Vedanta contends that if
there is a doer the doer is limited in nature.  Secondly, if the doer is limited the results of its actions will necessarily be limited.
But freedom, liberation, is limitless.  No number of finite actions will ever add up to the limitlessness.  Vedanta says that enlightenment is the discovery that one is not the doer, that one is limitless actionless Consciousness already and it offers a proven means by
which the Self can be known.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             
     

Hari

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 09:10:23 PM »
Dear Subramanian, as I understand Bhagavan teachings enlightenment is above knowledge. I am sure I have read a conversation with Bhagavan recently. I will post it when I have time.
Web Page dedicated to the Great Sages:
https://someoneelsebg.000webhostapp.com/Sages/HTML.html

Hari

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 01:15:59 AM »
By the way, Sri Subramanian, great topic!!!!!!
Web Page dedicated to the Great Sages:
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Ravi.N

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 04:59:31 AM »
Subramanian/Friends,
Sri Nochur venkatraman in the course of his talks on Sri Bhagavan's nAn yAr(who am I)said:
Keep away from two things:
1.Reading Health Magazines
2.Reading spiritual magazines
He then qualified his statement saying that one may read magazines like for example,the Vision Magazine by Anandashram that carried articles only by Papa Ramdas,Mataji Krishnabai or Swami satchidananda ,as was the case during Sri Bhagavan's days.Nowadays,Spiritual magazines simply solicit articles from all and sundry ,just to be afloat.
Going through this article by James Swartz(I think that he is a student of Swami Dayananda saraswati)in the Mountain Path reminds me of that quip by Sri Nochur.
Namaskar.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 05:03:19 AM by Ravi.N »

Ravi.N

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 05:32:39 AM »
Friends,
What is the Nature of Peace?What is the Nature of Contentment?
Is there a subject-object relationship?
Namaskar.


Ravi.N

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 06:35:14 AM »
Friends,
Here are a few excerpts from James Schwartz article-What is Neo-advaita?

1."A long teaching tradition has developed over the last three thousand years based on Upanishadic ideas.  This teaching tradition is also known as Vedanta.  But to convey the precise meaning of Vedanta the word ‘pramANa’ needs to be added.  A pramANa is a means of knowledge.  All knowledge takes place with the aid of some means.  Sense objects require sense organs to be known.  The knowledge of ideas depends on an intellect.  But since the Self is not an object, the senses and the mind cannot know it.  But Vedanta can reveal it by using ideas and logic to remove one’s ignorance about it, delivering direct Self knowledge".   

2."In approximately the last one hundred years Vedanta has suffered an apparent change largely as a result of the teachings of Vivekananda around the turn of the twentieth century.  Its basic function as a means of Self knowledge became confused with the doctrines of Yoga because Vivekananda who had a profound influence on the West’s understanding of Vedanta (probably unintentionally) reduced it to ‘jnana’ (knowledge) yoga, one of the many branches of Yoga.  In fact, Yoga has traditionally been considered a subset of Vedanta, its purpose being to aid in the preparation of the mind to receive the teachings of non-duality.  Before Yoga sullied the pure teachings of Vedanta enlightenment was considered to be the removal of ignorance about the nature of the Self.  But with the ascendancy of the Yoga teachings enlightenment came to be considered a ‘permanent experience of the Self’ in contrast to the mundane experiences of everyday life, which it obviously can’t be if this is a non-dual reality as the Upanishads claim".

3."By and large the wave of ‘export gurus’ that inundated the West in the Sixties peddled Modern Vedanta with considerable success.  Then in the Eighties the Western spiritual world became reacquainted with Ramana Maharshi, a sage in the Vedic tradition who had achieved international recognition around the middle of the century but who had been all but forgotten since his death in the Fifties.  Ramana was not a traditional Vedantic sage but he realized the non-dual nature of the Self and taught both Vedanta and Yoga.  Self inquiry, which many Neo-Advaitins believe to be his invention, is as old as the Vedas itself.  The rediscovery of Ramana roughly coincided with the rise of ‘Neo-Advaita.’ "(How Ramana maharshi is a sage in the Vedic Tradition but not a Traditional Vedantic sage-only Gerard Scwartz can explain!)

Those interested may read the complete article here:
http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/trad_neo/neo_vedanta_swartz.htm 

How valid are these claims of james Schwartz that 'ideas and Logic' can remove ignorance?Is this so called traditional approach of pure Vedanta free of the so called confusing mixture of Yoga ?In saying this he is simply echoing the position of Swami Dayananda Saraswati who happens to be his teacher.

We will see what a Traditional Exemplar of Advaita Vedanta ,Kanchi mahaswami has to say on this.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 06:53:39 AM »
Friends,
What Kanchi mahaswami has to say on the Traditional way of Self Knowledge?Can the so called 'Ignorance' be removed  and the 'Self revealed' using Vedantic Pramana,by deploying 'ideas and Logic'?

Here is an excerpt from advaita Sadhana -collection of talks of kanchi mahaswami:
In the beginning of sadhana, the aspirant was likely to have had some modesty and naivety and a consequent shraddhA because at that zero stage one is rather scared about the strict requirements of discrimination, dispassion and sense-control and one wonders whether all these are achievable. At that time it was easy to believe that perhaps in the spiritual field there might be many things which cannot be understood or argued out by the rational mind and one must trust the words of the scriptures and the wise. But now after one has made some progress on the spiritual SAdhanA path, one is likely to think that the mind is now clear and hereafter it will understand all that has yet to be achieved on the path of Self Realisation. This is a kind of ego – an unrecognizable ego that creeps in. Things do happen even upto the stage of Self-Realisation, that cannot be understood by the smartest intellect . Even a JnAni who has achieved that Self-Realisation will not be able to explain them by his intellect. One has to continue with the same regimen without questioning them until the Self-Realisation sprouts up like the rise of the Sun. When those things happen, one has to take them as they are, without analysing them by the intellect. One may have to be content with the thought: “The SAdhanA that has brought me so far will certainly take me further by the same Grace of the Lord that brought me up to now; I shall not subject it to any intellectual questioning.” Even after one has obtained Enlightenment, the things may still be inaccessible to the intellect. Even our Acharya – there cannot be a better Acharya than he – does not try to tell that secret of achievement to us in the language of the intellect. “I cannot describe it. Simply keep on proceeding with Faith” – this is his message and accordingly he keeps this shraddhA at this advanced stage of SAdhanA.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 07:06:33 AM »
Kanchi mahaswami continued....

The human brain knows reasoning and deductive logic. But the inner being in us is more on intuitive perception call it heart of the matter or whatever!

This heart however does not open out so easily. Somehow the trend is for us to give more importance to the brains and intellect than the dictates of the heart and intuition. So anything before they are accepted as true or even remotely possible or feasible, it has to become intellectually acceptable. It is a human fallacy that even the spiritual matters of religion are first subjected to an assessment by the brains as the whether they are OK or not OK! So only after the clearance has been given by the brains acting as the gate keeper, we come to accept the fact that matters spiritual are beyond the ken of the brains!

Then we come to the conclusion that there are matters beyond the human brains and so instead of going by reasoning and logic, we start applying our heart to the issue under consideration. For example despite hearing about there being an Aatma or the inner soul and that it is ‘sat + chit + aanandam’ that is ‘being – awareness – bliss’, as said by many Rishis and saints of the past, as given in many books on Vedaanta; we remain unaware and ignorant, not knowing the ‘sat’, or ‘chit’ or ‘aananda’! We remain like a stupid fool but sad enough additionally! After all the rigorous mental gymnastics, tiredly we do come to accept that instead of going by the brains, we should open our hearts a little more in this issue! This is the main tragedy of human behaviour because of his over dependence on the brains and his thinking ability. The problem is more pronounced in people who are more intelligent and learned. The simple common man is not so much troubled as the so called intelligentsia! Blind belief of the proletariat is that much better off than the one trusting his brains.

Sruti – Yukti – Anubhava. Our AachaaryaaL who made much use of his brains in debates and whose works are capable of evoking the admiration and awesome respect of the brilliant brains till date, still has clearly directed us not to use our brains for analysing what is given in the ‘Sruti’ that is the Vedas! The stuff that coruscated in to the comprehension of Rishis by divine will is what the Vedas are and they are anyhow beyond human capabilities of analysis! So accept implicitly what is given in the Vedas, says our AachaaryaaL. But to the extent possible he did establish his Adwaita Siddhanta with deep qualitative analysis, raising all possible counter questions and objections and giving answers to all of them! All the Vaidic AachaaryaaLs of all Sampradayas (traditions) such as Madhva and Ramanuja AachaaryaLs of Dwaitam and Visishtaadwaitam have also accepted the Sruti as ‘Sabda PramaaNam’ (sound evidence) without questioning them and interpreted them from their point of view intellectually.

The AachaaryaaL themselves might have had the inner ‘SphuraNa’ or flash of comprehension. They may talk about this brilliance in support of their principled view point. Not only those great Mahatmas, even we the common folks do get such intuitions at times. Not all of them can be explained by Yukti. There are occasions such as the Love of the Mother for the child or the out of this world sort of experience while listening to a beautiful piece of music on the VeeNa. Making use of such parallels and examples, the AachaaryaaL may try and make us comprehend his view point, bringing a consonance between Sruti – Yukti and Anubhava

For each Siddhaantam that is Principled View Point, it has to be in consonance with three things namely, Sruti (Vedas), Yukti (Intellectual Analysis) and Anubhava (Practical Experience). What is given in the Vedas should be accepted as it is firstly. Then without going contrary to its statements, analysing them while enlarging and elaborating is what is Yukti. Finally these two things ‘Sruti’ and ‘Yukti’ should lead us to ‘Anubhava’ the practical experience in our hearts.

Taking the mind back to its source is Yoga and is part and parcel of Vedanta.Every chapter in The Bhagavad Gita is called a Yoga -Right from Vishada Yoga to Moksha sanyasa Yoga.

Namaskar.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2013, 10:49:59 AM »

continues....

Vedanta also argues against the evolutionary or yogic view that the one Self, limitless consciousness, became 'limited' at some
point in the distance past and is now involved in the patient process of  evolving out of its material roots toward some divine
experience of oneness.  If we accept the Yogic view that the 'Self is a limited transformation of Pure Consciousness or the   
material evolution, how will ever know or experience limitless Consciousness?  Just as the senses 'experience' its far subtler
source, the mind/ego entity, the mind/ego cannot 'experience' the subtler source, the Self, for the mind simply dissolves.
Only 'Experience' remains swallowing the 'experiencer ego.'

Vedanta, however, does not dismiss Yoga altogether. It provisionally accepts Yoga's limited dream of duality and its experiential
orientation, because that is where when we begin to look for a way out.  If we accept the idea that consciousness is transformed
into a world of experience through some mystical or 'supramental' process, then as consciousness 'involves' itself with itself as
matter, as its 'light' or shining.  For example, even though light reflecting off my body falls equally in a mirror and the black wall
on which it hangs, I will only see myself in the mirror.  The Self is also seemingly absorbed by a mind clouded with emotion and
thought, making it unexperiential for all intents and purposes.  It can, however, be 'experienced' in a mirror-like pure mind.
So the way to get experience of the (reflection of) Self is to purify the mind.  This is the essence of Yoga as explained by
Patanjali in Yoga Sutras.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 02:20:41 PM »

continues.....

Vedanta does not accept that the experience of the Self in the mind is freedom but it does value a pure mind for another
reason.  Only a pure mind is capable of Self Inquiry.  It is capable of Self Inquiry because it has a clear experience-able
(experiential) reflection of the Self as a basis for inquiry.  Only Self Inquiry will produce freedom because Self Inquiry
produces Self Knowledge, which is the removal of the ignorance about the ever free nature of the Self.  The implication
is that it is a non dual reality we see that the problem of suffering is ignorance based.

In fact, Vedanta argues that Yoga experience, is at least as valuable as knowledge because you can't gain firm knowledge
unless you have a pure mind and you cannot get a pure mind without doing some work, i.e. altering your experience, since
the mind is both the instrument of experience and the instrument of knowledge.  Therefore, Yoga is essential for anyone
seeking freedom.  As what?  As a preparation for Self Knowledge. In this light epiphanies of all ilks, no matter how fleeting,
if properly contextualized by the teachings of Vedanta, can be valuable aids for liberation.  Vedanta only reminds the seeker
that discrete experiences are impermanent and limited freedom is not freedom at all.  In truth, Patanjali's Yoga does not
contradict Vedanta, rather it culminates in Jnana.   
             
Actually, the confusion that has bedeviled the spiritual world for milliennia is little more than a linguistic problem but therein
lies the rub.  When enlightenment is presented experientially it is presented metaphorically as an attainment, a merger, a union
or a shift.  Merger, union, and shift are verbs.  Verbs are action words that give the idea that something happens or is happening.
Of course, we know that if reality is non dual, nothing has ever happened.  The perception of action is simply the operation of the
moving instrument, i.e. the mind, through which reality is being perceived.  The moon seems to be racing across the sky when
viewed against the backdrop of moving clouds.  When you no longer assume the mind's point of view, the meaning motion
(and experience is just motion or change) stops.


contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2013, 01:30:38 PM »

continues....

And if it is a shift, what kind of shift is it?  Is there any time when you are not conscious?  If the answer is no (which happens
to be the truth according to Vedanta and Patanajali's Yoga) then the 'shfit' is merely a loss of ignorance, not an experiential
gain.  Again, we should be careful to discriminate between unlimited pure consciousness and body-consciousness,
dehatma buddhi.

Experiential language need not be a problem if you understand the limitation of words and know that the implicit meaning 
of words can produce knowledge.  It is also acceptable  if it is understood that literal interpretation of words can easily be
misleading, particularly on the road to enlightenment.  Perhaps the unthinking acceptance of experiential words is the
primary factor in the failure of seekers the world over to set themselves free.  It is an enormous problem because modern
spiritual literature and the worlds of deluded teachers create the impression that enlightenment is only experiential both
because of their lack of scriptural knowledge  as well as their own limited experience.  Additionally, there is an insidious
corollary to this misunderstanding:  knowledge is only 'intellectual' and not a valid means of enlightenment.  Without
aparoksha jnana, all 'understanding' is intellectual only and does not liberate.  True knowledge is a transformative power
(Jnana Sakti).  We cannot with our limited intellect conceive the simultaneous occurrence of pure knowledge and experience
as being one and the same.

Vedanta and any realized soul with his or her salt, including one of the greatest modern Sages, Ramana Maharshi, categorically
state that only through Self Knowledge is the enlightenment 'gained'.  Knowledge in this sense is not a dead lump of facts
but a supremely alive awareness, which is wholly experiential (aham sphurana).

contd.,

Arunachaa Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2013, 01:50:03 PM »

continues....

To gain this knowledge a means is necessary.  If you want to know the world you need senses.  If you want to know ideas
the senses will not work.  You need intellect. Inference and testimony are other valid means of knowledge.  These means are
fine when it comes to objects and ideas  but how can they help because the Self cannot be objectified.  Try to see yourself.
You cannot because you are Consciousness and Consciousness is eternal and non dual.  It does not split itself into subject
and object and become you, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.

Objectifying the Self is rather like trying to see the eyes with the eyes, says Sri Ramana.  This example is useful in another
way because the only way to see one's eyes is to look into a mirror.  Two mirrors are available for the spiritual seeker,
a pure mind gained through experience and the teachings of Vedanta.  A pure mind is not enough for enlightenment, however,
because any experience, including the experience of the Self, presumes an experiencer and something experienced, and is only
good as one's understanding or interpretation of it.  In most cases, any experiencer can only interpret experience according to
what it already knows.  If the experiencer, the ego, is a product of self ignorance in the first place, this being non dual reality,
then any interpretation of the Self would be incorrect.  In fact, the belief that the Self can be attained through action (and
the many other ignorances masquerading as knowledge in the spiritual world ) is the result of incorrect understanding of the
nature of the Self.

In rare cases, like that of Sri Ramana, it is possible to understand the nature of the Self without outside help apparently in
one go.  But this does not apply to the rest of us.  However, help is definitely available in the form of Vedanta, a purified word
mirror whose prakriyas (teachings), are Sruti, revealed Self Knowledge.  Revealed knowledge is knowledge that has not been
contaminated by the human mind.  The knowledge that makes up Vedanta is also confirmed by Smriti, the experience of
Self Realized souls, like Sri Ramana and many others.  Vedanta is a pramana ( a means of self knowledge)  that has been setting
people free for milennia, not a philosophy or a school of thought.

Knowledge (vijnana) is not gained like in the same way as the accumulation of everyday experience is gained.  It is the perception
and the removal of ignorance.  Coupled with a  pure mind it provides the guidelines for Self Inquiry.  The purpose of Self Inquiry
is not to gain an experience experiential. It is to remove Self ignorance.

Nobody can remove your ignorance but help is required for the removal of ignorance.  Inquiry needs to be guided by knowledge,
not by personal interpretation of reality, which is always biased, based as it is on beliefs and opinions. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     
                           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Is Enlightenment Knowledge or Experience? - James Swartz.
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2013, 01:31:09 PM »

continues.....

Simply by asking mentally, 'Who am I?' will not help either.  First, because the jury has not returned a verdict on this topic.
Complete, earnest commitment is required to focus attention on the 'I' thought (aham vritti) and to realize that you are a
limitless actionless Consciousness and not the experiencer entity you take yourself to be.

Secondly, Self Inquiry is the application of discrimination between the real and the unreal.  And to develop discrimination one
needs to understand the difference between the Self as pure Consciousness and the Self as mind or manifest consciousness,
not with the idea of transcending or destroying the mind experientially but to destroy all experiential notions, including the
pernicious idea that it is possible using the mind to transcend or destroy the mind at all.

Discrimination removes one's identification with the mind/ego/doer entity, which is not an actual experiential entity as we
think, but  only an erroneous self notion.  Our ego is a false experiential entity which vanishes in the pure experience of the
Self.  Vedanta unfolds the method of discrimination by describing in great detail the nature of the world, the individual and
the Self.  This knowledge, however, gives only indirect knowledge (paroksha jnana) which is not an end in itself but must lead
to the vichara marga of Sri Bhagavan and results in aparoksha jnana (enlightenment).

Since the Sixties, the exponential increase in spiritual seeking is a telling commentary on consumerism's limitations as a
solution to the problem of suffering.  Unfortunately, what could be a conscious search is almost always a blind fumbling,
an attempt to fashion a modern relevant means of Self Knowledge.  Consequently we have the 'New Age' with its plethora
of quasi religious pseudo therapies, and since the Nineties there is Neo Advaita., the modern satsangh movement whose
spiritual deficiencies are apparent to even the untrained eye.

There is no need for a 'relevant' modern approach to the spiritual quest because there is nothing modern about human beings.
A few material gadgets do not qualify the human race as spiritually evolved. Ignorance, greed, fear, superstition, selfishness,
and vanity have not been dispelled on account of the internet and the iPod.  Human beings are human beings. It so happens
that a long time ago, the Vedic seers solved the human problem once and for all.  For those who are inclined and qualified,
the means of Self Knowledge that has served for millennia is with us today in the form of teaching tradition of Vedanta, the
royal road to Self Realization.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.