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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