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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James Swartz – Great souls and devotion – Talk 15

One achieves devotion through Satsang. Satsang builds a devotion habit. Make the worship of god a habit.

Verse 38: However, the primary method by which one develops devotion is association with great souls, that means a free person of the vedic tradition. Teacher who was taught properly. The teaching sets you free not the teacher.

Verse 39: Contact with great souls is rare, difficult to understand and infallible. The reason is that qualified students are rare. Great souls: you see the self in a person pretending to be a person. Great souls transform your life. The effects of meeting great souls are infallible. The spirit of renunciation is the essence.

Verse 40: The association of great souls can be obtained, but only by the grace of the Lord. Don’t seek them. Isvara will supply a great soul when you are ready. Many schools are knowledge averse.

Verse 41: There is no difference between the Lord’s grace and the great souls that manifest it.

Verses 42-43: Strive only for God’s grace. By all means, renounce all relationships with ignorant, negative, selfcentered individuals.

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James Swartz – Devotion and dharma – Talk 11

Verse 10: Elimination of nonessential desires: Worldly or emotional security, wanting to be recognized. Single goal is freedom. Active sense of renunciation is important. The only security is your self. Five stages of devotion: 1. Sakama Bhakti 2. Nishkama Bhakti. Praying to Isvara to resist your desires. “Zorba the Buddha” versus “Sin intelligently”. 3. Istha Devata Abyasa, Personal deity 4. Visvat svarupa. Worship of everything 5. Non-Duality.

Verse 11: Suitable values. Crazy wisdom gurus. Follow dharma to protect society.

Verse 12: Firmly commit yourself to maintaining an ethical code even after your devotion to Isvara/God is firm.

Verse 13: As long the notion of doership is present there is the danger of a fall. Enlightenment Sickness. Dharma trumps enlightenment.

Verse 14: For as long as the body lasts, one should minimally engage in worldly activities and only perform those actions necessary to sustain the body. Non-dual devotion is expectation-free.

Verses 15-22. Various definitions of the characteristics of devotion. Love in presence, love in absence. Unconditional love.

Verse 23: If you forget that every person is your self, only selfish passion remains.

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James Swartz – Conciousness and matter – Talk 10

Swami Chinmayananda. Consciousness and matter. Four types
of devotees: Devoted to god because of suffering. Spiritual
materialism principle and Vedanta. Seeker of god or truth. Nondual
devotee. The lower and the higher self. Krishna, Arjuna and
the cosmic vision. Until you see the beauty in the ugliness you
are not free. Understand what is imperfect is perfect. You are
perfect.

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James Swartz – Nature of non dual love – Talk 8

Beginning of the verses of Narada’s Bhakti Sutras. Traditional
versus modern style of teaching. Vers 1: Using intellect for
justification is not useful. Devotion is directed to God. Treat
the people around you as if they are God. Devotion is rational.
Vers 2: Focus all of your attention on one topic: who am I?
Samadhana. Love is willing attention. Love of what is right
here and now. You are always present. You love your self.
Selflessness. You are the goodness that makes goodness
good. Hate is a perverted form of bhakti. Duality: Men are
defined by women. You don’t love objects, you love love.
Chasing love in objects is useless. Vers 3+4: You know you
don’t die and get a security benefit. The worry goes away.
Immortal love. Perfection benefit. Gain of knowledge, loss of
ignorance. Enlightenment sickness. Love is your nature. You
are not the body. You were here before your body was born.
Solution is to accept the words of the scripture. Vers 5: Life is
not jiva centered anymore. Free of passion for objects. No
need to feel special. Vers 6: Feel wonderstruck because you
understand and fulfilled the purpose in your life. You know you
are love.

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James Swartz – Love, Ishvara and Informal Devotion to God – Talk 4

By reading Vedanta texts it is easy to misinterpret them.
Ignorance and knowledge are mixed up. Teaching makes
difference between ignorance and knowledge clear. Live your
life based on knowledge not on emotions. Isvara and action.
What is real? You see reality on the basis of your experiences.
Reflecting media. Three gunas and the mind. 2. Informal
devotion. Personal deity, ishta devata. Religion. Influence and
judgements of the family. God is a helpful concept in the mind.
God doesn’t judge. Dead gurus don’t judge. Living gurus make
you grow. In informal devotion you bring God down to your
level. Vedanta lifts you up to Gods level. Karma Yoga as the
beginning stage.

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Karma Yoga and Devotion – Vedanta, Self Growth and Self Discovery with Swami Nityabodhananda

Talk 2 of Swami Nityabodhananda at Yoga Vidya Center in Cologne, Sept 2019.
Subject: Karma Yoga and results of actions. Prasadam. Attitude of Devotion to Ishvara. Roles in life. Vers 2:51 Bhagavad Gita. Clarity of purpose. Atma and body. Substance and form.

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