THE SILENT TEACHINGS PROVIDED BY NATURE - Good to hear from you Peter, but if you allow me; nature, mountains, beautiful sea sites... they are not teachers - they don't teach because they do not have a teaching... they are not conscious beings. They are pure existence, they are made of pure consciousness, but they are inert, not conscious. BUT, they may produce silence; one's mind may become quieter, more sattvic mind, contemplative, meditative. It is like being in the presence of a shaktipat guru. You easily go into samadhi, bliss, silence... among other epiphanies. But once you come out of that kind of environment your mind modifies again according to the structure of the three gunas of the individual.
This kind of confusion is due to a misleading wrong idea (there are many in the experiential spiritual world) that silence or no-mind = liberation or enlightenment. Silence is just another object of experience appearing and then disappearing in you "pure consciousness/awareness". You are the only constant invariable factor. Silence does not cancel or neutralizes one's ignorance. It does not object one's ignorance. It only temporarily numbs it - but it does not destroys it. And by ignorance I mean the wrong self-limiting and self-insulting notions deeply rooted in the mind supporting the idea that this is a dualistic reality (me and the objects) and that I need objects of experience to remove my sense of inadequacy, incompletion and limitation.
Every experience is an experience of the Self! A silent mind is not only very pleasant but also the very necessary instrument in which self-knowledge may, or may not take place. As Ramana once said; By knowledge alone the Self can be realized! Silence is a good thing, a good platform, but alone it does not produce Self-knowledge, much less Liberation. On the contrary, it will make you dependent on it as a mean to reestablish your natural sense of limitlessness, wholeness and completeness. Vedanta, a time-tested teaching methodology will efficiently do the job once the mind develops a predominance of sattva guna. All the best, and much love. Nagarjuna.
Peter: It all makes sense and of course sitting here and typing is also an experience of the Self. Still Ramana did go to Arunachala, sat with him and did Parikrama regularly, even though he was in a state of enlightenment
Arlindo: Yes my friend, sadhana or spiritual practice is important but nobody really knows why Ramana sat in caves for almost 20 years after his first epiphany, but chances are that it took him some time to distinguish himself "Awarerness" from the states of Samadhi he was often immersed. It could have taken him sometime to realize that.
And by the way, Enlightenment is not a state of mind or consciousness, but a firm, solid and direct knowingness or knowledge; "I am the eternal, limitless light of consciousness." That's why it is called self-knowledge, rather than self-experience or self-state. Towards the end Ramana affirmed; by knowledge alone the self can be realized. By then, it is said that he had read several Vedanta scriptures. It seems that he wanted to make it clear that mystical states or samadhi states are just fleeting objects like any other. Enlightenment is = to the firm and clear knowledge; I am pure Consciouness. One loses interest for impermanent states of experience.
In the spiritual world you will find two sectors or orders; the one of the Jnanis and the one of the yogis. The first refers to the Jiva with the knowledge of the self "As the Self". The second to an exercise in duality in which the yogi develops a relationship with a state of mind he symbolizes to be the Self.
Peter: I agree. But is not a yogi also someone that can be doing karmayoga and Bahkti yoga. Both necessary for self knowledge. Is there such a clear distinction between Jnani and the yogi?
Arlindo: Hello Hanne, Vedanta endorses karma yoga as an indirect means of liberation because karma yoga is pure knowledge. It is knowledge in action, discrimination in action. It is not a spiritual discipline apart from one's daily duties, but it will surely transform one's daily ordinary actions into spiritual ones as one develops the attitude of gratitude, love and devotion towards Isvara. Therefore, bhakti or devotion is also an aspect or by-product of karma yoga once the bhakti-yogi understands and assimilates the "system" of creation, the way Isvara operates and his relationship with Isvara. There are also other ritualistic types of Bhakti, which are not under the umbrella of Vedanta but could be considered to be good purifiers or preparatory practices for Vedanta. Knowledge-yoga and karma-yoga are the greatest purifiers though.
The Jnani seeks liberation thru the understanding of the non-dual nature of reality as well by discriminating the awareness he is from all his experiences. The yogi seeks liberation thru action/sadhana, believing that a certain experience may reveal the self. The problem with the yogi is that he was not told, or if so, he is not convinced that he is the Self (there is only one self). Therefore he looks for It (himself) in an experience (duality) which is but an impermanent phenomena (an object) appearing and disappearing in him (awareness). Hope it helps. love.
Peter: Yes clarifying. Thank you very much. Bhakti may also be practiced before one comes to karmayoga but I see knowledge is what is the missing factor when it comes to Moksha . It will not come about like a sudden experience just by action , or inaction of ones dharma that some people do in the belief it is being spiritual . What one calls yogis then must be those that just do different kinds of yoga believing the more or better one practices the nearer one are to ' enlightenment' . As if doership will bring results , without knowledge and inquiry and the qualifications acquired. I see the self cannot just ' pop up and be revealed' by physical action, neither by meditation practices although it can be a good practice. Since self is ourselves , has always been and will always be what we are. I do not know if it is accurate that knowledge alone can actualize the self ? Since Bhakti and karmayoga are also important. ( I saw Ramana quote that knowledge alone is sufficient for realization ) But sure it cannot be without knowledge. But when Karma yoga is pure knowledge in action and discrimination in action ( thank you) what is then knowledge yoga ? Thank you for in-depth answer . Love and blessings to you
Arlindo: I understand your confusing. Sorry I did not make a clear statement before; Karma Yoga is indirect knowledge. I said it is pure knowledge in the sense that it requires total knowledge of Isvara (creator/creation) which includes the Jiva, and an incredibly intelligent system composed by different laws and rules. Vedanta or Jnani yoga is direct knowledge, meaning to say; knowledge of the Self as awareness, before/after Isvara manifests as this apparent creation/universe. Vedanta as such will directly reveal the nature of the Jiva as pure consciousness or awareness, but as you know the qualifications need to be present first. Have you read the book, The Essence of Enlightenment from James Swartz? He is my teacher... that book will clear most of your doubts... but feel free to keep asking me questions. Love
Peter: I have not read it yet, just looked at chapter 4 at James Swartz shiningworld webpage today about qualifications. I understand what you say, no worries, just are not sure about the term knowledge yoga and what that implies. Yes I must read it!
Arlindo: Jnana yoga is purely based on knowledge or understanding, there is no action involved. I often say that Vedanta is Jnana yoga, but not all jnana yogas you find in the spiritual market are = Vedanta. Vedanta is a complete means of knowledge. It not only says; you are Awareness, but it proves it to you by analyzing the logic of your own experience as a Jiva. It is an incredible science! And it works like nothing else, provided the student's mind is ripe i.e. contemplative.