Superlative Self-Effort

Dear and precious SRV Sangha,
In past issues of this noble newsletter I have concentrated – as I am apt to do in an age such as this – upon sadhana, what we know as spiritual practices.  This endeavor, unarguably the singular spiritual artform, demands discipline, and requires it on a day to day basis. What we see in those rare beings who exemplify realization is the result of this superlative self-effort, always ongoing.  And so, the conclusion comes, after scrutiny and rapt observance (early stages of detachment), as well as striving long and laboriously in this field myself (disciplehood), and moving to transmit the teachings to others (assuming the robe of a teacher), that sadhana is for those who are truly ready.  Ready for what?  For either Divine Life or Transcendent Life.  Please read the following teachings to gain more clarity on this statement.

For the discriminating human soul (and even this requires some preparedness as well), there are three opportunities, or choices, that human embodiment affords us: We can live a dharmic life; we can live a divine life; or we can transcend embodiment all together. The word “transcendence” here is used to indicate the attainment of Formlessness, or All-pervasiveness.  But transcendence, of a type, is also had in both the other aforementioned forms of desirable living, the dharmic and the divine.

In the first, dharmic life, one transcends adharma.  Adharma amounts to a life lived in direct opposition to religious and philosophical precepts.  In the second, divine life, even such things as duty and dharma are abandoned — at least as the sole focus of one’s life and goal. Then, the Eternal Life mentioned by Christ, and the Goal Eternal mentioned by Lord Buddha, point to what is transcendent of all Maya — name and form in time and space based upon causation. Even dependance upon Ishvara, focus upon salvation in the highest lokas with a sublime form as one’s Ideal, is transcended.  Swami Brahmananda, the Great Master’s spiritual son and devotee, called this transcendence the real beginning of spiritual life, also referring to one’s initial experiences of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

Put in another way, dharmic life is a real, a true beginning towards the Eternal (all that went before this is, at worst, darkness and delusion, and at best, early nocturnal strugglings to get out of ignorance).  Here, the precepts, or principles (teachings), are focused in on. One takes certain vows, and promises to keep them, and has a sense of dharmic duty to friends, neighbors, the culture, etc.  In our country, the modern day Christians had a sense of this up until the 1950’s or so, when other movements took the fore of the field.

But, as Sri Krishna states in the Gita, “Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me.” You might have noticed a few rare souls, who have no allegiance to anything, not even the world – though they still help it whenever they can.  They have realized the utter futility of works, of doing good, of trying to rid the mind and the world of suffering (these three areas all belong to the mind, and can never be gotten rid of so long as the body/mind mechanism persists), yet they still keep their own radiant minds on humanity.  Theirs is a direct transmissiontheir help, one of assisting others to transcend rather then to merely purify – all based upon the fact that the Soul of mankind is pure and perfect in its inception, beyond inception.  And so, while they act as examples, they also sport here, and this shows us Divine Life.  But it also infers a Supreme Transcendence, without which they could have never managed such a task, such a return to embodiment, such a consummate Realization.

And so, and to conclude:

Dharmic life corresponds to Kramamukti, to a succession of lives lived in service.

Divine life corresponds to Jivanmukti, a living liberated condition.

Transcendent life (admittedly, a sort of contradiction in terms), corresponds to Videhamukti.

Interestingly enough, these three do not necessarily have to be seen in any sequence, as in superior to inferior, since adept souls assume them seemingly randomly and in turns, depending upon what is the need of the time, and what is the purpose of any particular embodiment they may choose.

Very fine, these teachings – yes?  Jai Ma!

I trust I will see each and every one of you, in some context, on my forthcoming May dharma visit – San Francisco from 5/6 through 5/12; Portland from 5/15 through 5/23. Then there is the Seattle retreat – wonderful Gaudapada Advaita teachings – 5/27 through 5/31.  Check your local listings and the SRV web for specifics.

For your advance information, I will have with me and on hand three new offerings:
1) Plenty of fresh copies of the new Yoga Vasishtha book;
2) The new six CD set, Coalescing the Four Yogas discourse, from the March, 2010, weekend seminar at the Portland SRV ashram;
3) The new Siva! Siva! CD, another long-awaited musical offering, the 26th of its kind to date……