Authentic Self-Effort

bjmmNamaste and Namaskar from the timeless realm of India, and aloha from the ocean-locked lands of Hawaii,

The present issue of SRV Association’s Mundamala arrives to you in time for my forthcoming dharma visit to the mainland centers in Oregon and San Francisco, and is adequately demonstrative of all the sterling ideals which we strive to meditate upon in spiritual life.  And since selfless service and detached activity are very much a part of our life and path in the world, this email newsletter finds the mark there as well, sporting articles on the several branches of religious endeavor SRV undertakes to fulfill, all evinced from the powerful platform of sacrifice in nonduality.  And here is where life in the world and existence in the Spirit come together so well in Sri Ramakrishna’s realm.  Not content to merely act selflessly and dharmically amidst the changing stream of phenomena which plays itself out daily and yearly in physical space, SRV devotees, initiates, members, and students move to further their understanding of universal dharma and deepen their commitment and dedication to its tenets at the same time, thus transforming what is otherwise only a relative existence into a divine life of realization and spiritual expression.

An example of this is readily to be found close at hand in the light of SRV’s retreat on Advaita Vedanta on the Oregon Coast, April 23rd through the 27th.  Armed with fresh resolve and gathering under the banner of holy company, utilizing the timeless material of Indian scripture, and all enacted at a new and beautiful location, retreat participants will take a unified stance against the presence of ignorance and suffering to court what most beings consider either nonexistent or impossible – enlightenment of mind and attainment of the Atman within.  In a world of beings who seek what truth-knowers perceive to be a false sense of security in maya, striving to possess that which does not truly exist, this authentic self-effort in the proper spirit of dharma is both admirable and inspiring.  True friends of mankind act and move in this manner, despite mounting obstacles and outer appearances, defiant of complacency, illusion, and death. 

It is therefore, in the sight and presence of the noble human spirit, that I welcome several of my new students from Hawaii to this retreat, who are both compelled and galvanized by the mere mention of nondualism, and who will jump the ocean like Hanuman in order to hear, contemplate, and realize the advaitic message and put it into practice.  For, as mentioned above, seclusive study is only a part of the package, even as rare as that is.  The ardent spiritual aspirant must be willing to move about the world and even move mountains along the way for the sake of realizing Truth and doling It out to others.  What if Vivekananda had only remained in India (which he may well have decided to do considering the condition of his homeland) and not moved, with all intrepidity, to the West with his much-needed message?  How much poorer of spirit would we have been then?  Immeasurably so, I would think, and in fact, I would not be writing this message to you at present if that had been the case.

So welcome, “all ye who would avail yourselves of the Truth!”  This is not a matter of “my truth” or “your truth,” as the notes on my last visit’s classes in this present issue of Mundamala declare, or of “my religion” and “their religion,” as others would aver.  The term “foreign religion” ought to be struck from our vocabulary for a time, at least until we can comprehend that expression in its proper light – to denote a geographical connotation only, and not one of difference leading to separation and separatist factions.  Religion, with a capitol “R,” is unchanging and eternal, indigenous to our very souls – to The Soul, whether one calls it Spirit, Atman, God, or Prajnaparam.  And it is this Religion which not only lies as the foundation for our formless Existence, it also is present as the ground for all phenomena which takes place in relativity as well.  In this light I offer here a few slokas from Gaudapada’s world famous Karika, his commentary on the Mandukyopanisad, for your consideration.  These two texts will soon act to form another ground and basis for us, that of the subject of our April retreat on the shoreline of the boundless ocean along the Oregon Coast:

The dream state is for those who comprehend Reality otherwise; the sleep state is for those who do not know Reality at all (therefore, the waking state is for those who mistake matter for Reality).  When these (three) views become extinct, the Fourth state (turiya) shines through naturally.

When the sleeping soul, influenced by the beginningless Maya, is awakened, it then realizes the unborn, sleepless, dreamless, nondual Reality.
If the projected creation really existed, it would continue, no doubt.  This projection of duality is all Maya’s doing, however.  In reality, there is only nonduality.

If illusion is imagined, it could be or is liable to be turned away.  This statement on Vikalpa is useful only for instruction,  when the highest is known, duality does not exist.

If there is thus this unreality of entities and objects in both these states (waking and dream), who then is the cognizer of these things, and who, again, is their imaginer?

(answer) The shining Atman imagines himself by himself, through his Maya.  It is That alone that cognizes entities, which is the conclusion of the Upanisads.

The Atman (in its dynamic phase) diversifies other entities, those differently set up and those fixed within the mind; thus does the Lord imagine.

Thoughts and dualities existing within are also mere products of the imagination, and differentiation between the two is not due to any other reason.

All things existing without (waking) and within (dream) are products of the imagination, their differentiation being due to association with the different organs of the senses.

The Lord, then, verily imagines the Jivas (the embodied), the entities of various sorts – external (objective) and internal (subjective); as one cognizes, so one remembers.
(excerpts from Gaudapada’s Karika on the Mandukyopanisad)

I will abbreviate my message by leaving it here, but with a promise of truths to come pending my visit to the West Coast in April.  I trust that all those who are attracted to pure mind and its unique mode of thinking will attend – upon its tenets, upon its mouthpiece, upon its sangha, and particularly upon its practice which, if adhered to faithfully and with perseverance and longevity, will both bring an end to suffering in maya and transport the aspiring soul into the bliss of Brahman.

Peace, Peace, Peace
Babaji Bob Kindler
Spiritual Director
SRV Association