Retreat 2012: Vivekananda & True Freedom

Notes & Reflections, July 2012
The 2012 summer retreat at the American River focused on the teachings of Moksha, True Freedom.  The English language and the way we use it will never be the same for those of us who study Vedanta and the divine vocabulary of Sanskrit – a language by which, as Babaji often tells us, a substantial cross-section of an entire culture became illumined.  The English “equivalents” to Sanskrit terms like freedom, peace, knowledge, ignorance, consciousness (Moksha, Shanti, Jnana, Avidya, Chaitanya) take on a new-found depth and bring inspiration even in casual conversations.  Freedom, Moksha, has no opposite; it is not a changing state, but ever-present.  Throughout the week’s classes, Babaji presented charts and teachings that drove this Truth deeply into our consciousness.  Charts like “The Supreme Pathway to the Eternal Moksha” and “The True Meaning of Moksha” revealed the uncaused nature of this Freedom as the Reality of our own Self, and also revealed the mental overlays that hide it from us.  An entire week was spent delving into this, tasting it, trying it on – how? through hearing, through study of those who lived in full consciousness of this Freedom, through reflection and meditation.  Below are a few notes from the Satsang portions of our days, when questions arose from the students as they sought to assimilate these teachings.

Satsang is about Atma Vichara [inquiry into the Self]. Atma Vichara is one of the Four Sentinels: Shanti, Santosha, Atma Vichara, and Sadhu satsangha. [peace, contentment, Self-inquiry, and Holy Company]

The deep sleep state, sushupti, is the potential for everything to come into form.  Ordinary beings do not know this, and that is why they are born in ignorance again and again.  Never knowing where form comes from, they are unsure of where their own form has originated.  This cloud of unknowing that covers the mind causes them to eventually assume that they are the body.

Babies are fresh from the mother’s womb.  They are carrying the memory of the bliss of being formless.  That is why they shine, initially.  The seers are ever fresh from the Divine Mother’s Womb, and that is why they shine eternally….not for just a few years.

As soon as you are qualified for Kundalini rising, you are healed in mind, emotion, and body – and these come under your control.

Conventional therapy hashes and rehashes mental-stuff (chitta) from the subconscious and unconscious mind.  But sadhana deals with these things in a unique way.  Sadhana is reserved for those who are ready to work on themselves without the use of drugs, elixirs, moral regimens, counseling, and the like.

There is an attraction between Purusha and Nature, Spirit and matter, and it is eternal.  If the attraction is about attachment there is lower chakra suffering.  But if the attraction is without desire, then it is a matter of sport – from the heart chakra upwards.

Attracted to form?  We want to be masters of form, never its slave.  Nature is insentient and has somehow tricked the soul into thinking that it is matter.  This is so ignoble.  It is the responsibility of the sincere seeker to reverse this misguided trend.  As Vivekananda has said, if it is at all noble to bear with suffering of the body in matter, then it is nobler still to come up and out of matter – by leaving matter alone.

It is better to be meditating on what you are instead of what you are not.  This is how the great ones conquered attraction to form.  The world is a gymnasium for souls; in it they can overcome attachment to form.  When mastery is attained, you can do what you want.  It is not that form is evil.  Evil begins when attachment to form develops.

In Vedanta, the principle of intuition is not given a very high place.  Intuition can operate merely at  emotional and psychic levels.  A higher intuition is pure Knowing; the death of ignorance is its fruit. It makes one aware of Atman.

The world goes away in deep sleep because of ignorance, and then returns due to the selfsame ignorance.  But the world goes away, never to return as a world, in enlightenment.  Whatever returns in that Condition, is only Brahman.

Krishna states in the Gita that beings are unmanifested in the beginning, manifested in the middle, and unmanifested in the end.  You see this when your baby is born and your grandfather dies.  We have gotten used to calling it birth, life, and death.  Meditating on this triputi, and coming to know it inside out, we can rename these three phases of our own consciousness “projection, sustenance, and withdrawal.”

At death you drop the annamaya kosha (physical sheath).  In most cases, the pranamayakosha then takes the manamayakosha and the vijnanamayakosha into the anandamayakosha (energy, mind, intellect sheaths into bliss/ego/causal sheath.)  Seeing beyond this final sheath, some seers have described the Atmamayakosha – the sheath of pure Awareness.

Everything Is; it does not become anything.  Being and becoming are two very different things.

Anytime you find work, family, or money impinging on your spiritual life, it is time to beat a hasty retreat to a Retreat.  Retreats are for householders, mainly.  Without them, life becomes a nightmare of either suffering or boredom.

When you get your discrimination intact, then you will know what to love and what not to love.

Until one has surrendered the self/ego to God, one is a danger to oneself and to others.