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Vedanta – Religion? Philosophy? or Something else? – 2

Posted by on February 6, 2018

Second part

We were discussing about religion and the problems of religion, not of God. You have to understand that. God, as accepted in the religion, will have all these problems invariably.
Religion, over a time period, becomes so diluated that the founder of the religion will find it very difficult to understand that religion. Whoever was the founder of any religion, let us say Buddha. Buddha comes back now, he will say ”what is this” ? This is buddhism . You don’t know? We will tell Buddha: you don’t know? This is buddhism. He will find it strange to see so many things in buddhism which he didn’t teach. Over the time period, the religion changes.
So religion is not the way. We cannot understand the truth through religion. We keep religion aside.
Therefore, we don’t want Vedanta to be a religion. As we said, If Vedanta is also a religion, no thanks.
What is a philosophy? When we discussed about it yesterday, we said philosophy is that where we inquire into existence, knowledge and bliss, academically.
We have so many philosophies. We saw yesterday the topic of the materialistic philospy. Materialistic philosophy is also a philosophy, because what they accept is, there is no God. Religion needs God. Philosophy doesn’t need any God. So what they say is, there is no God. Then what are we? We are creation of elements. What is a stone? Stone is a creation of elements. Then how can the stone is not sentient and I am sentient? Stone is also made of five elements, taken in brief. We are also made of five elements. Now the stone is not sentient, but we are sentient. How can this be in the context of materialistic philosophy? So for this, the materialistic philosophers have a different view. What they say is : let us take an example: we have grapes. I give you one kg of grapes. Two kg of grapes, and you eat. Will you feel intoxicated? When we eat five kg of grapes, will we feel intoxicated? No. But if the grapes are let to become sour, when we make wine out of it, that gives intoxication. Grapes as such don’t give intoxication, but the wine produced from the grapes is intoxicating. Similarly, stone made of elements, five element, does not have sentiency, but in a different level, the beings which are made of five elements are sentient. This is their idea, the way in which they take on the different types of creation. So this is the diffrence.
What about rebirth? They don’t accept rebirth. The being becomes sentient because of a different type of mixture, at a different level, it becomes sentient. Once we die, we are not going to come back. This is their understanding.
But there will be problems with such an idea. You are doing good karmas and bad karmas, good and bad deeds. Who is going to be responsible for that? If you are told you are not going to come back, you will not be this good, you’ll not come back so why worry about the consequences of your deeds? So that is why the materialistic philosophy has a very strict code of conduct. When we explain it in India we say, european , american philosophy (the way of life), is materialistic philosophy. In India also now you can see this philosophy, but we say european and american with reference to it. Why? Though they follow materialistic philosophy, there is a strict code of conduct. They respect law. So that way, they take care of this ambiguity, this error in the philosophy, but anyway, since we are already in trouble, this materialistic philosophy will not lead us out of the trouble. There is no explanation about existence, knowledge and bliss to get rid of the troubles. When we want a philosophy for what do we want it? We want that philosophy to help us remove our sorrow, remove our limitation which is not possible in the materialistic philosophy. So that is not a philosophy for us. So it is not the path.
We come to buddhism. What is buddhism? As we started we said: Buddha will not understand the buddhism at present. Why? Because this buddhism which we see came 300 years after Buddha. They called it tripitika. They kept three boxes and they voted: should we be in european union or no? ? like that, they voted what is buddhism. There is hinayana, mahayana etc. Buddhism is classified in 4 groups. One is called sautrantika, second: vaibhashika, third: yogachara, fourth: Madhyamika. We say buddhism , but we don’t know what it is. And some people have the fancy to say ”we follow buddhism”. And it is a fancy now to say, i am a buddhist. We don’t know what it is. That is why we say, I follow buddhism.
What is this? There are 4 different statements made during the time of Buddha: sarvam dukkham dukkham, sarvam kshanikam kshanikam; sarvam swalakshanam swalakshanam; sarvam shunyam shunyam. These are 4 different statements made during the time of Buddha. Based on this, we have 4 schools: sautrantika, vaibashika, yogachara, maidhimika. Sautrantika is sutra. We have diamond sutra, this, that sutra etc. Based on the sutra, the teaching is accepted, that is called sautrantika. Vibasha is commentary, the bashya on the sutras. Based on that the philosophy is called vaibashika. The first group accepts the internal world and the external world. The second accepts the internal world, but not the external world. Third one, the yogachara accepts the internal world to be momentary. The second one accepts the external world to be momentary , and the internal to be real. The first one says both are real. The second says internal is real, external is momentary. Third says internal and external, both are momentary. The forth one, madhyamika says no, neither internal nor external world are real, they are shunya, void. This is the classification of buddhism.
So this is the buddhism philosophy. Now here, accepting everything to be void is supposed to be the ultimate philosophy of buddhism. Everything is void, internal and external. But logically, we don’t see existence coming from non-existence. If existence is going to come from non-existence, then we won’t read Harry Potter. Because everywhere where you will be walking something will come, will appear in front of you. You don’t know what it is. Because everywhere there is non-existence. You want to eat apple, so you sow the apple seed and then you will see a bannian tree coming from that seed; you sow the apple seed but then something else will come out, an orange tree, because everything is void, non-existence. There cannot be any rule in non-existence. So these are all some problems. Why do we go to philosophy ? Because we have problems and our problems are real. Just by saying it is all non-existent doesn’t solve the problem. So buddhism is not our way.
So we come into yoga philosophy. Yoga is a philosophy, too. So what yoga accepts is, when you follow the 8 steps as prescribed in yoga; yama, niyama etc., completly, then the 8th stage, Samadhi, will be gained. You will be able to gain samadhi which is stillness of mind. Understand this: there is a difference. When they say samadhi, what is samadhi? ”Yoga citta vrtti nirodah”, as per first sutra from Yoga Sutra. Yoga is cessation of thought function. The mind produces thought function, this is not right. The mind is thought function. This thought function is the problem. By practicing yoga, we stop this thought function. This we experince when we are in deep sleep. There are no thoughts in deep sleep. When we come out from deep sleep, there are dreams. That is thought function. When we completly come out from sleep and dream, we see the world. This is thought function. But in deep sleep, you don’t see thought function. In the state of coma, you don’t see thought function, in the state of ultimate happiness or ultimate sorrow, you don’t see thought function. So, that thought function missing during these different periods, through practice is made to be experienced for a longer time. That stillness of mind is gained for a longer period through yoga.
So when we practice yoga samadhi, till we are in samadhi, we don’t see the world, until we don’t see the world, we don’t have problems. But once you wake up, you see problem sitting in front of you. I am not talking about me ?. You see the problem in front of you once you come out from samadhi. So that also cannot be permanent cure, because it is like the people who drink or take drugs. For what ? To forget the world. Once they come out of that indused state, they see the world, so they want more drug or alcohol. So yoga will become something synonym to drug and drink. That is not what you want, because that is not a solution.
Yoga is also not our philosophy.
We negated the religions, but the religious will say: we have a philosophy too. So will bring in that philosophy. By worshipping our God, by accepting only our God, you will gain heaven. Any religious pilosophy says the same thing. You worship only our God, then you will go to heaven. If you worship some other God, you’ll go to hell. That is basic for any religious philosophy. Which is the good God, bad God? Shall we do a contest to find out? Or to cast the dies? To see who reaches in semi-final, then in final and so on? This is not the way. It’s a problem. Any religious philosophy has this problem. So we cannot do this contest to see which is best religious philosophy. Because any religious philosophy has limitations, because we are accepting a God who has problems, as we saw yesterday. So religious philosophy is also not a way.
So we finally come to Vedanta. We saw different religions, philosophies and we see limitations everywhere. Is there a philosophy which has no limitation? Yes. What is that? It is Vedanta. Why? Because I tell so ?. We’ll see what it is so.
What is Vedanta? When someone asked a great man: can you explain Vedanta in a nutshell? He said: a statement: 1. The absolute self is one, non-dual. This is the truth. 2. The creation is illusory. 3. And the individual self is nothing but the absolute self.
When I was talking to someone, this other person heard that I have studied a lot so he came to me and he said : I heard you have studied those texts. I said yes. Can you tell me what those are , he asked. I explained him the ultimate text in Vedanta. So he asked me why do you need those text? When these commentaries are good enough. Then I understood he is not interested in knowing the nature of those texts, but he wants to just say, those are useless. I told him , the later period different people came , they found in one statement different meanings. Like when I say sutra, the moment you hear the name sutra, something else comes up, instead of diamond sutra etc. Similarly, these words are twisted, one statement is twisted. We see always the journalist does that. Some politicians say something, he didn’t mean that, but the journalist will say, politician said so… we see this twistings. So, in a later period, people twisted the meaning of commentaries, therefore, to set it right, we need those texts, philosophies. And I told him: ”for you who are so intelligent, this one statement is good enough: the absolute self is one, non-dual truth, the world is illusory and the individual self is not different from absolute self. This is enough. For a person who is intelligent”. So when I said this, he imediatelly accepted it. Yes, he said. I told him then: ”absolute self is non-dual truth. We cannot understand that for the moment, so we let it aside for now. The final statement: individual self is nothing but the absolute self. This also cannot be understood if you don’t know absolute self. So that also can be kept aside. So the middle statement: the creation is illusory. This we need to undestand. We are not ready to understand the first statement; if we don’t understand this, the final neither can be understood . So what we can understand is the creation is illusory. Right?” I asked him. ”This statement you say the creation is illusory, is it true or false?” He said: true. And he thought I don’t understand. ”It is true, don’t you see this?”. To this I said „go slow. Absolute self is non-dual truth and you have creation is illusory which is also truth. So there is one non-dual truth and there is the other truth, how can there be another truth in non-dual truth? So that is logical fallacy”. No, no i am sorry , he said, it is false. He immediately changed. I said ”ok. Creation is illusory is false, that means creation is real, absolute self is non-dual truth and you have also creation, in this way. How can there be non-dual truth by this logic? Logical fallacy.” So this understanding of illusory-ness is the key thing. What is this illusion is the key.
The world we see, what is the reality of it? If it is real, true, we cannot remove the sorrow. Because it is real, how can you remove it? If it is non-real, if it is false, again you cannot remove it, because it doesn’t exist, there isn’t any sorrow there. If it is real you cannot remove it, if it is non-real, you don’t have to remove it. So what is this creation? We see the creation when we are awake. In the dream state, this creation doesn’t exist. There is a different creation. Which gives similar happiness and joy. Even that doesn’t exist in deep sleep state. If this creation is real, then you should see it in deep sleep and in dream also. But we don’ t experience it then. Isn’t it?
To understand this we need to have focus. To understand this reality, we need to have single pointedness. For that your yoga and other meditation means are useful, your religion is useful. For what? To bring this focus, this single pointedness, that’s all. Because if the truth is gained, then it is not the truth. You gain money. What happens by the end of the month? It gets spent. You lose that. Similarly, if you say you gain the truth, there is always the fear of loosing it. So if it is gained, there is no need to accept that truth because it is again momentary.
So when we come to Vedanta, first what is the truth, first we tell ”do yoga”. Then the same question again: what is the truth? We recommend ”do bhajan” (singing songs on the God) and again when you asked the path, we say no, ”chant the mantra”. Again when asked the path, we say ”now go and read some texts on Vedanta”, example Tattva Bodhah. Again one say i don’t have the clear knowledge, we tell them understand this completly. Why do we say to study from the Guru? Because any philosophy you learn will have so many intricacies. What is our problem? Our problem is doubt. There are so many doubts. You touch one idea, there is a doubt, you touch another idea, there is a doubt. Everywhere you see only doubt. If you say, no i don’t have any doubt. Today i was discussing. I don’t have any doubt, someone said. Is this good or bad? You don’t even know you have doubt. Is that good or bad? So this is the situation we are in. Don’t even know we have so many doubts. When we say, no, no , no. I know, i know eveything. What is that? Let’s take simple things for eg.: global warming. Immediately, everyone has an answer. And if you ask, what is it? they answer, global warming is global warming, you know. We don’t really know. We always think we know. That’s it. We never try to understand it completly, without doubt. We never try to understand anything without doubt. We are happy accepting the rational knowledge from others.
So Vedanta accepts japa etc. for focus. That’s the limit for that.
So Vedanta is not a religion. Any philosophy, western , eastern, northern , southern, any philosophy accepts one core value which is control of mind. Whichever be the philosophy says only one thing: control the mind. So for that we need chanting etc. that’s it. So Vedanta is not a religion.
Is Vedanta a philosophy? No. Why ? because philosophy is academic. We talk about existence, knowledge and bliss. This is kept as the subject and it is disected , analysed. Vedanta does not make this existence, knowledge and bliss as the subject in front of you, but as yourself, Vedanta teaches that this existence, knowledge and bliss which we are trying to understand doing an inquiry into, is nothing but your own nature.
Vedanta is not a religion, Vedanta is no a philosophy. So Vedanta is something else?
What is that something else? Vedanta is that which teaches about our real nature, not about something else externally, but about the truth. There are 3 parts we say, the first part is: the absolute self is unique, non-dual truth, creation is illusory, individual self and absolute self are not different. Now Vedanta teaches us that this absolute self which is non-dual truth is the reallity and that reality is not different from you (3rd part). You are that reality, you are the truth. You don’t gain the truth, you don’t reach the truth, you are the truth.
So what is this creation? It is illusory. Why do I see this creation? We will say because of ignorance. Why do I have ignorance? Next question. That cannot be answered. Why do I see the dreams? Because of the ignorance of the reality. Why did it come? Why did this come and not that dream? Do we have any answer here? Ignorance cannot be explained. This is the nature of ignorance. Ignorance cannot be explained as existent. Ignorance cannot be explained as non-existent. If ignorance is existent, you cannot get rid of it, you will never gain Realisation. If ignorance is non-existent, you don’t need to get rid of it, because it is non-existent. Therefore, we define ignorance as: ignorance is something which is different from existence and non-existence. When we say different from existence, we think it is non-existent, and vice-versa, when we say different fom non-existence means existence. How can ignorance be different from existence and non-existence? That is how we see it, right? Absence of light means darkness. Absence of darkness means light. So absence of existence means non-existence, absence of non-existence means existence. And here we say it is different from existence and non-existence. How can that be? We answer that simple. What is the vehicle which you came in? It is not a bus, it is not a car. If it is not a bus, it may not be a car, if it is not a car, it may not be bus, can be bike. Different from car and bus, can be bike, different from existence and non-existence, can be something else. That’s something else, it is ignorance. That is why we call it inexplicable. It cannot be explained. Nothing in this world can be explained. Nothing is explainable. We just accept things as they are. We cannot explain anything. That is the highest truth. We were discussing today about a text when we ask what is a table? We are using table every day. We say four legs and a flat surface. A bed also has four legs and a flat surface. Then we say: no,no, no it is something on which you keep your note and you write on. But i have the habbit to write staying on the bed so ? no, no, it is something on which you keep your plate and eat. Some people eat on the bed. So ? no, no, something on which you keep different things, books etc. I keep them on the bed. So you are not able to explain what a table is. Try it out. You try out yourself. Ultimately, you have to say table is something which is kept in front of a chair. I will not say I will keep my chair in front of the bed. Ok. Table is something which is kept in front of a chair.
Forget that. What is a chair? After failing, you will say chair is something you will keep in front of the table. You cannot explain even a simple thing in this world. You experience and you are not able to explain, you experience pleasure, you are not able to explain, you cannot explain anything. When somebody says this is sweet, oh good sweet, we say. This is what we do, we understand something which is accepted in general as sweet, like global warming. When we ask what is sweet, you repeat three time the word, and that’s it and you think the other understood. We cannot explain anything in this world, but we accept the transaction even if it is not explained, so Vedanta accepts this illusory creation at the transactional level. Don’t go beyond! Is it real, is it non-real? Don’t ask this questions. There is a transactional reality for it.
By understanding this, the real nature of the creation, that is illusory and understanding the non-duality of individual self and the absolute self, through the teaching which recreates it through different examples and explanations, Vedanta makes us understand our real nature, which is existence, knowledge, bliss, viz. sat cit ananda.
Since the creation is illusory, the pain and pleasure of the world cannot be real, they are illusory and that does not affect the sat cit ananda which is me, I. This is what Vedanta is. It is not a religion, it is not a philosophy, it is reality, it is yourself.
This is what we understand through the teaching of Vedanta, that I am the Absolute Self. That understanding of I is what is taught through Vedanta. Then we don’t need anything else. Everything in the creation is illusory, the individual self, the God, the world we see, it’s all illusory. Then there is no need for explaining their reality. That is what is Vedanta.

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