Value management and attaining unconditional love – James Swartz – Yoga of Love, Bhakti Sutra

In the satsang we create a sattvic atmosphere that makes it easier
to focus on the knowledge. It is important to keep the knowledge
active when the mind is rajasic or tamasic. When the values are
assimilated the mind stays sattvic and the knowledge stays active.
A change in your lifestyle may be necessary to make the mind
sattvic enough. Deliberate thinking is observing the mind, step
back and think about it before you act. If necessary pause, collect
your thoughts, you can edit your thoughts as they come up. Pay
attention that the information is appropriate, kind, timely and
credible. Impulsive thinking has the need to react immediately. 11.
Dispassion towards sense objects, for example music, food, sex. No
obsession, except obsession for Vedanta. Assimilating these values,
starting with an intellectual understanding brings you a lot of
experiential and emotional satisfaction. 12. Renunciation and
Austerity. Eagerness to get rid of things and to live simply. Do not
accumulate stuff. 13. Absence of egoism. It’s about a simple
recognition about the difference between my (real) Self and the ego
(reflected self). Sadhana: Whenever you say the ‘I’ in the day-to-day
activities ask yourself which ‘I’ is meant. This helps to
discriminate. Keep track of your speech. Keep a short leash on your
ego and let it walk in front of you. 14. Appreciation of time. Don’t
waste time and go on with self-inquiry. 15. Absence of ownership. Is
it your body or your children? Everything comes from isvara.
Sadhana: Pay attention to the word ‘mine’. 16. Absence of
excessive attachment to loved ones. Serve the people in your field
with love but don’t get excessively attached. 17. Sameness of mind
under all circumstances. Cultivate the value of a quiet mind and for
sattva. Read the book Yoga of the three energies. Importance of
the management of the gunas. You can remove most of the
physical pain with guna management. Most of the daily pains are
caused by blocked prana or tamasic energy. 18. Non-dual devotion
to God. 19. Love of solitude. You can hear the silence speaking.
Gradually work to it if you have a busy life. 20. Absence of craving
for company. People can be in your life but you should have no
need for it. 21. Constant practice of self-knowledge. 22. Value for
completing or resolving things. Too much agitation prevents you
from finishing projects and brings to starting new ones. Karma yoga
reduces your karmic load. The degree to what you reduce your
karmic load is the degree to what your mind is peaceful. Tamasic
people don’t want to complete things. Rajasic people want to
complete things but they are too busy to do the completion.
Consequence is that they are always agitated. 23. Precaution,
deliberation and restraint. Think ahead and make a plan before you
judge. Value for holding back. Rajasic people want to do things
immediately. If you can’t hold on you find yourself doing a lot of
things you don’t have to do. 65. Offering all activities to the Lord,
one should direct negative feelings – desire, anger and pride – to
Him. 66. Transcending the gunas, the devotee should act only out
of pure love of God and remain perpetually in the relationship of a
servant to his master or a lover serving her beloved. 67. Among the
Lord’s devotees, the greatest are those who are dedicated solely as
intimate servants. Sakhya bhava and further bhavas. Secret love
affair with God behind the back of your husband. What is your
dominant way to express your love? Love with understanding is
better than only emotional love, for example sakhya bhava. 68.
Conversing among one another with throats choked, hair
standing on end and tears flowing, the Lord’s intimate servants
purify their own followers and the whole world. 69-83. 84. Anyone
who has faith in these auspicious teachings will attain non-dual
devotion. Indeed he or she will attain unconditional love.

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Jealousy, consistent effort and mastery of the mind – James Swartz – Yoga of Love, Bhakti Sutra

These values are qualifications for moksha. When you are
spiritually stuck it’s probably because one or more spiritual values
are only partially assimilated. When you are not up to the mark,
pick a value and work on it for 1-2 months. It’s a constant practice.
When you find a consistent pattern of frustration, anger or
depression there is some value that needs work. Apply the opposite
value. If you are a selfish person then learn how to be generous.
Value management is extremely important. 8. Jealousy and Envy:
Rajas is the problem. Don’t compare yourself to others. If you don’t
know who you are the bad values are obstacles and the good
values are helpful. Pay attention with comparisons that make you
feel inferior. Nobody is trying to make you feel inferior. You have to
make yourself feel inferior or superior. Comparison leads to
competition and competition leads to violence, anger and
sometimes destruction. Jealousy and Envy are transformed anger
and they usually lead to depression. You are never jealous of a
whole person only of an aspect. In other words, jealousy is a
projection that masks an insufficient appreciation of my own nature
and the abundance of good qualities that spring from it. A self-realized
person is never jealous, because she is mindful of her
fullness. The Bible’s statement that God is “a jealous God” means
that when you know God you cannot love anything else. Shiva
means what is always good at any place and time, that’s me the
self. Ask yourself: ‘Why do I feel guilty?’. Without following dharma you
won’t get enlightened. When I feel jealousy I should apply the
opposite thought. If you realise that you are greedy try to be
generous. Give 5 or 10 Euros to a beggar. When you break one of
isvaras rules you should feel guilty. 9. A consistent effort to achieve
a stated goal is required for self-knowledge because self-knowledge
is not partial knowledge like worldly disciplines. Tapas with
steadiness and devotion over a long period of time is necessary for
self-realization. As the gunas are constantly changing the tapas
should take guna management into account. 10. Mastery of mind:
4 types of thinking. Impulsive, mechanical, deliberate thinking and
spontaneous thinking. Idea of instant gratification is a problem.
Fast food: I want my food immediately. The mantra of impulsive
people is: If it feels good do it. Better mantra: if it feels good think
about it before you do it. You are bored to death doing and thinking
the same things. Then you need entertainment, for example
different food every day: You live to eat. If your mind is mechanical
or impulsive it is not under your control. Convert these types of
thinking to deliberate thinking with the help of Vedanta. Applying
the opposite thought or always thinking from a non-dual
perspective. Intuition is normally impulsive thinking. Learn to think
like god from a perspective of love. Learn to think useful thoughts
and avoid useless thoughts. Channeling. Value of visions. Meaning
of angels and demons. Being separated from god is painful.

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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.

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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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 – Vedanta, Ishvara and the importance of devotional practices – Talk 14

Vedanta: means of knowledge based on the upanisads or knowledge that ends the quest for knowledge.

Modern advaita teachers and qualifications. Arguments from satya viewpoint and from the mithya viewpoint. Example of Ramana Maharshi, his spiritual experience and the knowledge he got from it. Knowledge is the only way to get free because I am already free. But I am ignorant of this fact. You know you exist and that you are conscious. But you don‘t know that you are limitless and free. Vedanta helps you to remove the notion that you are incomplete. The scriptures reveal something to you that you already know. Swami Chinmayananda: gurus are temporary psychological aide.

Verse 36: One achieves devotion by worshiping the Lord ceaselessly. Every action becomes a worship if you offer it to the Lord. Be a caretaker of all the things borrowed by the Lord.

Verse 37: One achieves devotion by hearing and talking about the Supreme Lord’s special qualities, in every relationship. Avoid gossip. The world is a shining reflection of the Lord‘s glory. Go back to the source whenever you see an object. Isvara is both the intelligence and the matter for the creation. Everything is Isvaras body. Two creation teachings: projection teaching and cause and effect teaching. Mandukya Upanishad. Location of objects teaching. You love love. We have to know that objects are love even though they don‘t look like love. You should question what you see and look deeper.

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James Swartz – The role of Ishvara – Talk 13

Verse 25: Advaita devotion is superior to karma yoga and jnana yoga.

Verse 26: Vedanta is a means of knwoledge, non-dual love is the end.

Verse 27: If you take credit for something that belongs to the Lord you won‘t like yourself. Your self knows it when you fake something. All glory should go to god. Bhakti means acknowledging the source. See the Mighty – How They Fall!

Verses 28+29: The more you know about god the more you love him. The more you love god the more you want to know about god. Dvaitas get stuck in humility. You can be humble and glorious at the same time. Isvara and god. Original and reflected consciousness.

Verse 30: Its all love. Actions can‘t produce non-dual love, only dual love. Self-knowledge can‘t produce non-dual love. It removes the ignorance. Love is your nature.

Verses: 31-33: Prepare yourself by loving the people around you and your own imperfections. By giving love you are not loosing love. The source of love is infinite. Chapter III: presents formal dualistic practices required for achieving unconditional love and emphasizes the value of values.

Verse 34: A teaching presented by the tradition not by a person.

Verse 35: One gains devotion by giving up sense gratifications and associations with worldly objects. Simple lifestyle is necessary. Isvara is the devotee of the devotees. Think of the Lord in every activity. Anger happens. I am not the doer of the anger. Advaita shuffle. Actions have to be appropriate and timely to produce the right result. Jiva has a responsibility. In every situation there is something unknown.

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James Swartz – Are the self and the world jiva connected? – Talk 12

The supreme person. Experiencing or being the self? Two orders of reality. You are never not experiencing yourself. Duality and Non-duality are not opposites. You can be and experience yourself at the same time. It is not necessary to get rid of the ego to become the self. Parinama, substance, name and form. Not two. The self is no object but it is always present and always experienced. Unfortunately it is not always known. Claiming the self as your primary identity. Your identy as a person doesn’t go away. Dvaita bhakti is an intelligent use of my free will. Samsara problem is: transacting with something other than you. Vedanta solves the problem of experience and knowledge. The knowledge gives you the permanent appreciation of your self as love. There is only one love. A non-dual bhakta is still a person. Just being and knowing your are the self doesn’t change the life as a person. If you want to create something in the mithya dimension you have to do the work there. Non-dual love is understanding that satya and mithya are in different dimensions. Superimposing the perfection of the self onto the jiva. But the jiva never becomes perfect. There is no connection between the self and the world. You know you are free as the self although duality is happening in you. Verse 23: You look at people in terms of what they can do for you. Selfish relationships develop. The heart that gives gathers. The needs of the Lord come first. He who eats the remnants of the sacrifice incurs no skin. The joy of offering your self as a service. The joy of doing the right thing is more important than getting any object. Course in miracles and Vedanta. Rama is taking his joy from following dharma, doing the right thing. By acting with selfishness you inhibit your growth.

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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 – Action, renunciation and indifference to objects – Talk 9

Actions won’t remove ignorance. Actions and ignorance are not
in conflict. Knowledge will remove ignorance. By sadhana you
don’t remove the basic ignorance: I am the doer! Moksha is the
negation of the doer. Actions don’t give lasting happiness.
Verse 4: Supreme love of your self. The immortality benefit. All
your worries stop, no tension anymore. The instinct to do
something to survive is produced by ignorance. Its a beautiful
world. Verses 5-7: Everything is perfect. Teaching is perfect. No
need for a new teaching. It does not generate desires. Turning
everything over to the Lord. You are like a baby. Verse 8: Spirit
of renunciation. You hurt yourself with the fear thought. Its good
to get rid of things. Renunciation of worldy and spiritual duties.
The wonderful power of desire to make the lifes of people better.
Desire is your life force. Verse 9: For renunciate objects
are value neutral because they are inert, matter. Value is
projected of conscious beings on inert objects. You only
experience the thought of an object. The location of objects
teaching. Inference versus direct perception. The value of an
object is projected by your conditioning depending on your
values.

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Scriptures for the Yoga Vidya Tradition

In this video Sukadev is talking about which yogic scriptures the most important for our tradition are and which scripture the most value for himself has.

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Sutdying the yogic scriputes is jnana yoga. The jnana yoga is a spiritual practice that pursues knowledge with questions such as “who am I, what am I” among others. The practitioner studies usually with the aid of a counsellor (guru), meditates, reflects, and reaches liberating insights on the nature of his own Self (Atman, soul) and its relationship to the metaphysical concept called Brahman.

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If Enlightenment takes more time than you thought…

Sincere Yoga aspirants often practice quite  intensely to attain Enlightenment, Samadhi, top realize the Absolute. After some years, they sometimes get frustrated, as Enlightenment seems further and further away. How can you stay motivated in Yoga practice, if Samadhi, Enlightenment, seems so far after years of practice? Sukadev from Yoga Vidya Ashram Germany asks this question to the Yoga Masters Narayani and Nalini, while both women were present in the Ashram. Their answer is quite reassuring and heart opening. This Podcast is in English and translated into German.

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