Gunas, devotion and values – James Swartz – Yoga of Love, Bhakti Yoga, Bhakti Sutra, Narada

How to overcome tamas?

When you are rajasic and succesful you
have no time to pay attention to yourself. Stuck in sattva. Danger
of vanity and stop of growth. Verse 58: “Success is easier to attain
by informal devotion than by any other means.” If you bring
discipline into your life you do things that are good for you and
your self esteem grows. Verse 59: “Devotion is easiest because it
does not depend on any other authority; it is self-validating.” In
Vedanta you have to live according to the scripture. Verse 60:
“Furthermore, devotion is the embodiment of peace and supreme
joy.” Verse 61: “Once all worldly and spiritual duties are consigned
to God, the devotee need not worry about gain and loss.” Ishvara
takes care of your worldly affairs. Do the best every day and then
see what happens. Manusha the one who thinks and worry. Verse
62: “To attain non-dual devotion, do not abandon responsibilities
in this world, but surrender the results of all actions to the
Lord.”Expression of Karma Yoga. When you give the actions to the

Lord then your worry stops. Karma Yoga and gratitude. Gratitude
as a sadhana. Honesty and purity. Verses 63, 64: “Don’t chase
money or entertain yourself with sex. Don’t compromise your
values and don’t quarrel with others. Relinquish false pride,
hypocrisy and other vices.” Fearless moral inventory is necessary.
12 step program. Sorting out spiritual and material values. Fully
assimilate the good values, renounce the bad values. In the
Bhagavad Gita the values are called knowledge.

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Reincarnation, non-dual love and gunas – James Swartz – Yoga of Love, Vedanta, Bhakti Sutra Narada

Free will. Making no choice and turning it over to ishvara.
Issue of free will: what values are determining your use of

free will? Those values are chosen by the gunas. If tamas
predominates fear will inform your choices. If rajas
predominates desire will inform your choices. The self has
no values. It is value-neutral. Reincarnation view: this
person will transmigrate and will be the same person in the
next incarnation. The person‘s karma is coming along with
them. But: when the body goes this person is never coming
back. The only thing that transcends time are the subtle and
the causal body. The circumstances of the next birth will be
different. You will have a new identity. The person that you
think you are is a conceptual person, no actual person. You
claim that subjective and objective events equal ‚I‘.
Transmigration: What reincarnates is the subtle body
powered by the vasanas. Your parents will be selected by
ishvara according to your vasanas. Non-eternal jiva. Eternal
jiva is consciousness. It is the same ‚I‘ for everyone and it is
eternal. Irrelevance of the personal story and the
experiences of the person when you know your nature. ISense
is an image or a reflection of the I. The reflection is
not the Self. Vedanta is a complete teaching. Since we are
multi faceted people we need to understand the self from
different angles. 360 ° knowledge of the self and the world.
Verse 51: „The essential nature of pure love of God is
beyond description.“ But you can know it. Verse 52: “Trying
to describe the experience of pure love of God is like a
mute trying to describe a particular taste.” Verse 53:
„Occasionally, pure love of God is revealed in a qualified
person.” In great souls you find this kind of love that is
totally different from worldly love. Verse 54: “Pure love of
God is devoid of material qualities and desires, manifests
more and more every moment, is uninterrupted and is
always experienced as one’s innermost consciousness.”
Verse 55 “Having discovered non-dual love, you see only
the self everywhere, hear the self in every word, speak only
of the self and think only of the self.” You can discover love
but you can‘t make it happen. You get rid of your concepts
and discover that you are love. The gunas influence the way
you experience love. Then it is love conditioned by the
gunas. Verse 56 “Secondary devotional service is of three
kinds, according to which of the gunas predominates at any
time or according to the motivation – distress, desire or
knowledge – that brings one to devotion.” Verse 57: “Each
succeeding type of devotee is superior to the preceding
type.” Rajasic devotees are superior to tamasic devotees,
sattvic devotees are superior to rajasic devotees and nondual
devotees are superior to sattvic devotees. You need
rajas to get out of tamas. Tamas means you live in a fantasy
world. In rajas you are driven by ambition. You need sattva
and knowledge to get out of rajas. Self inquiry renders the
gunas non binding, so you can overcome attachment to
sattva.

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Ignorance, guru and change of attitude – James Swartz – Yoga of Love, Vedanta, Bhakti Sutra Narada

Trust in a guru? Manipulation and guru. Respect teachers with
knowledge. Don’t hand over your trust to a teacher simply
because you are suffering. If your heart is pure ishvara will give
you the right guru. You should be able to recognise fear in you
and root it out. What is maya? You have to act to change your
life. Change your attitude, start loving the right things and do
dharmic actions that produce beneficial results, i. e. sattva. If you
surrender and stay passive your life won’t change. Justifications
to keep negative thoughts don’t make sense. You punish yourself
when you hang on to negative thoughts. Low self esteem
motivates you to punish yourself. It’s just as easy to trust.
Associate with good people and good thoughts. Spiritual people
are samsaris dressed up in spiritual clothes. Tanmatras. Causal
body causes you to do actions to feel better. Problem is that you
have the wrong idea of who you are in the first place. Enlightened
people are happy to turn over their karma to ishvara. Shankara:
Self knowledge removes ignorance as light removes darkness.
The thought ‘I am small, I am inadequate’ generates all the
actions to feel better. Destroy it with the opposite thought.
Obstacle is attachment to ignorance. Ignorant people defend their
beliefs when you suggest an alternative attitude. Ask yourself: is
there any evidence that something is wrong with you? You should
question what you have been told in light of your values and
svabhava. A feeling is not a command. The tendency to fool
yourself is very strong. A real guru and the scripture prevent you
from that. You have to put you in a situation where you don’t get
egoic. Vers 48: “Who is capable of crossing Maya? The one who
transcends the pairs of opposites and renounces the materialistic
point of view.” You are valuable with normal hair. You don’t have
to be special. Vers 49: “Who is capable of transcending Maya?
The one who renounces even the Vedas and obtains exclusive
and unbroken love of God.” You contribute your love to the world.

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Association with materialists or sages? – James Swartz – Yoga of Love, Vedanta, Bhakti Sutra Narada

Revision of verses 38-43. Vedanta is a method that the teacher
applies to your mind. You are always aware. Elimination of nonessential
factors. Bliss in deep sleep. Do you stop existing when
you go to sleep? Something that you can never dismiss is real.
The scripture is never wrong. The problem is in my
understanding. Consequences of association with negative
people. Verse 44: Association with materialists causes anger,
confusion, forgetfulness, loss of intelligence and total spiritual
calamity. Verse 45: Rising like waves from association with
objects, these bad effects amass into a great ocean of misery.
You get a big samskara. Verse 46: Only those who abandon
material associations, serves the sages and becomes selfless
crosses beyond maya. Verse 47: The one who avoids society,
loves solitude, lets go of the belief that there is security in worldly
situations and transcends the gunas crosses beyond maya. You
don’t want to change your state of mind. Gunas teaching.
Awareness and the creation of the world. Causal and subtle body.

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The conscious principle – Vedanta, Self Growth and Self Discovery with Swami Nityabodhananda

Talk 4 of Swami Nityabodhananda at Yoga Vidya Center in Cologne, Sept 2019.

The conscious principle. All is in me. Consciousness and objects. One or several teachers. Path of action and path of renunciation.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 17 by Ira Schepetin

Revision and conclusion. What is the meaning of ignorance? The oneness of the individual and the supreme reality. The method of Vedānta. How to get a sattvic mind. Jñāni. You are the happiness you are looking for. You have to go beyond the gunas but in the end there are not even gunas. Direct experience of the self. Tat tvam asi. Neti neti.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 16 by Ira Schepetin

How Ira met Swami Dayānanda. Q + A. Books of Shankaracharya. Study Brahma Sutras only with a qualified teacher. Vivekacūḍāmaṇi. Are Advaita Vedānta and Yoga Philosophy harmonious? Vedantic dhyana. Kaṭhopaniṣad and vedantic meditation. Books and articles of Ira.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 15 by Ira Schepetin

Introversion of the mind and the witness. Intellectual knowledge is not helpful. Discriminative wisdom comes only to bhaktas. Bhakti means love of god. Unless you turn your mind to him he won´t reveal himself to you. The highest teaching in Vedānta is not this not this. Q + A. Ira and his teacher. Mumukshuttva.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 14 by Ira Schepetin

Discussion of the three states. The beauty of Vedānta is that it is based on common experience, not on mystical experience. Pūrṇa anubhava. 2 experiences: being aware of something or being not aware of anything. The states are not in the world. The states are not in time. Avyakta and deep sleep. Dream and waking are both private. Are you the
witness of the dream and the waking state? You are not in time because time is in the states. Is sleep the self? The Bhagavad Gītā has not to be studied sequentially.
Deliberate superimposition Bhagavad Gītā ch. 13, 13. īśvara and māyā. The world is imagined by ignorance. Ramanuja.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 13 by Ira Schepetin

Nirvāṇaṣaṭka. Morning remembrance prayer. Vedānta and modern science. No conflict between science and Vedānta. Science makes statements about the waking state. Vedānta is a subjective science: its about your own experience. Analyse of the three states according to Gauḍa-pādas kārikā.

 

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 12 by Ira Schepetin

Vedānta is not a business. The highest teaching of Vedānta. The method of Vedānta: deliberate superimposition for the purpose of teaching and negation of this teaching in the end. Mutual superimposition. 3 identifcations: knower, doer, experiencer. adhyaropa and apavāda. Tat tvam asi. Role of the teacher. You are everything. Is samadhi necessary?
Making the knowledge of the self firm? How many jñānis are there?

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 11 by Ira Schepetin

2 ways to get vairāgya: 1. seeing the defects of happiness from objects (it has a beginning and an end) 2. understanding that objects are not real. Bhagavad Gītā ch. 13, 7-11. Spiritual sadhana: developping qualities. Humility is knowledge because it leads to knowledge. Cultivate the qualities through effort. Only if a person has these qualities
direct knowledge can arise. Bhagavad Gītā ch. 13, 12. If you negate everything existing and non existing the self remains. There is no other way to teach the self except by
negation: neti neti. Is vers 13, 12 a contradiction? That which is devoid of all duality is described by adhyaropa and apavāda,” i.e., by superimposition and negation, by
attribution and denial. Intuition of the self. After negation of objects, even the mind, the self stands self revealed.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 10 by Ira Schepetin

Story about Swami Satchidanandendra and Kirtan. The concept of avidyā / ignorance. Best source is adhyāsa bhāṣya: Introduction to the commentary of Shankaracharya
on the Brahma Sutras. 2 notions of ignorance: Shankaracharyas notion of mithyā jñāna and Padmapādas notion of mithyā ajñāna. Avidyā and māyā. Waking ego, dream ego and the witness. Vedānta is no dogma. Ego is kṣetra. Every quality is an object to the witness. Sadhana: act to get rid of tamas. Do your duty with no desire for the fruit of your action to overcome rajas. Sadhana to become free from actions (naiṣkarmya): no attachment to saṅkalpa, karma, karma phala. Freedom from the gunas. Jñānaniṣṭha. Jñāni. Bhagavad Gītā ch. 18, 66.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 9 by Ira Schepetin

Explanantion of the shloka Brahmanandam paramasukhadam. Shankaracharyas critique of other schools of thought. Knowledge as the solution to remove ignorance. 3 types of ignorance: 1. not knowing as the root. 2. Misconception. Adhyāsa. Superimposition. 3. Doubt. Ancient vedantic position. Five fundamentals of Vedānta: 1. The witness 2. Nature of ignorance 3. Difference between doing something and knowing something 4. Absolute and relative perspective 5. Method of Vedānta.

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Intuition of Reality – Vedanta Talk 8 by Ira Schepetin

Review of the first two Shlokas of chapter 13 Bhagavad Gita Bhasya. Witnessing consciousness: unique teaching of Vedanta. Paramahamsa. Witnessing consciousness is identical with the supreme reality. Avidya: mixing up of subject and object. Forms: Not knowing, misconception, doubt. Verses 3-6: Kshetra. Ira and his teacher Swami Atmanandendra. Wise and Dharma. Jnana Sadhana is necessary. Q & A: Jnani versus Jnananishta. Role of a Guru.

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