Book Sale: The Method of Early Advaita Vedanta – Michael Comans

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I’m getting ready to move yet again and I have a massive book collection I’m tired of carting around.  It’s time to lighten the load so I’m getting rid of some great books I’ve already read.  

Next up is “The Method of Early Advaita Vedanta: A Study of Gaudapada, Sankara, Suresvara and Padmapada” by Michael Comans.  Comans, a longtime student of Swami Dayananda, goes back to the roots of the Advaita Vedanta methodology by analyzing and comparing the writings of it’s earliest known writers: Guadapada, author of the Mandukya Karika; Shankara, commentator on the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras; Suresvara and Padmapada, two of Shankara’s closest disciples.  If you want to see where Advaita Vedanta as we know it comes from, this is a highly informative read.  This book is a hardcover in Like New condition with completely clean pages and no marks on the spine or cover. 

Lesser quality versions (acceptable to good) of this book are available on Amazon  for 33 to 69 dollars.  You can buy it from me on Ebay in “Like New” condition for 34.99, where other sellers are listing it in merely “Good” or “Acceptable” condition for a similar price.   

Currently, I’m not shipping outside of the U.S. because of the shipping costs.  But if you’re willing to pay extra, Contact Me directly and we’ll work out the details. 

Steady Wisdom: Day 78

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 78

I am always the same, beyond lineage and social status.  I am always the same, beyond cause and effect.  I am always the same, beyond division and unity.  Dear mind, you are none other than me.  There is no reason to grieve.
Avadhuta Gita 5:20
Meditation

Lineage and social status belong to the body.  But as consciousness, the witness of the body, I am beyond (unaffected by) lineage and social status because they are objects known to me.

I am not a cause because the so-called “effect” of the body-mind and world are unreal appearances that upon investigation are none other than myself.  Since I alone exist, I cannot be divided.  If I cannot be divided, then I have no parts.  If I have no parts, then I cannot be a unity (collection) of parts.  I am existence itself, one without a second.  OM.    

Read Series Introduction

Steady Wisdom: Week 11 Progress Check

Steady Wisdom: 108 Days Of Changing My Thinking

DAY 77

One who knows is neither happy nor miserable, neither attached nor unattached, neither liberated nor an aspirant for liberation.  They are neither this nor that.
-Ashtavakra Samhita 18:96
Meditation

I am one alone, without a second.  I am beyond all pairs of opposites such as happy and miserable etc. because they do not truly exist.  If my mind is unshakably established in this knowledge, it is said to have steady wisdom.  But ironically, this knowledge shows that I myself am beyond wisdom, steady or otherwise—I am neither this nor that.  OM.   

Read Series Introduction    

Self-inquiry for busy people

Ava: If I don’t know the self, how can I become established in its point of view?  

Vishnu: By being taught scripture. It tells you about the nature of self (which is just your true nature), it tells you the self’s ‘point of view’ (which is really just your true point of view) and then shows you how to think from that point of view until you directly realize that it’s already your own point of view (and always has been).  

The scripture tells you that you, the self, are the limitless, non-dual, ever-present, eternal, unchanging ‘witness’ of everything. You lack nothing and aren’t affected by anything. In other words, you are completely okay at all times and in all circumstances.

Taking into account what the scripture says about your true nature, examine your fears and desires. If you lacking nothing, are your unnecessary desires warranted? If you are unchanging is there any reason to hang on to unreasonable fears? This is one way to take the ‘point of view’ of the self.

Another way is to remember the scripture’s assertion that you are the unchanging, ever-present reality in which all objects appear, objects being any aspect of external experience (people, places, things) or internal experience (thoughts, emotions, memories). Since you are that in which the objects appear, like a movie screen in which images appear, you cannot be the objects that appear in you, the same way that a movie screen is never the images projected onto it. 

Since you are unchanging, you cannot be an ever-changing object. Since you are ever-present, you cannot be a transient object. Applying this logic to your everyday experience on a moment-to-moment basis is another way of taking the ‘point of view’ of the self. It is called the discrimination (viveka) between the self (atma) and the ‘not-self’ (anatma), or atma anatma viveka. It is continuously distinguishing oneself—unchanging ‘witnessing’ consciousness—from objects. 

Ava: How can I be in the self when I’m surrounded by friends, family, work etc. and not just when I’m by myself?  

Vishnu: It just takes practice. It’s like learning to ride a bike. First you have to have a strong desire.  Otherwise you won’t have the will to get back on the bike when you fall off. Then you simply get on the bike, fall off, get back on and fall off again and again until you develop the ability remain perfectly balanced and ride. After a while, it becomes so second nature to ride the bike that it doesn’t require as much effort. You may even be able to take your hands off of the handlebars!

With Vedanta, you also need a strong desire, specifically the unyielding desire (mumukshutva) for liberation (moksha). Without this, it’s difficult to muster up the effort required to bring the mind back to the point of view of the self when it gets distracted. You simply have to try, get distracted, try and get distracted again and again until the mind remains firmly established in the point of view of the self.

Although thinking from this point of view starts to become second nature, unlike the bike example, don’t be tempted to take your hands off the handlebars of inquiry, so to speak. Self-ignorance is persistent and tricky so if you stop paying attention to it before it’s fully rooted out, it will come right back.

Finally, looking at your initial question from the point of view of the self, ask yourself this: If I am already the self, how you can I ever not be in the self?

Ava: This isn’t coming naturally for me.  It takes effort and concentration which hard to do when I’m busy non-stop and don’t have time to reflect on it.

V: Again, it takes no effort to be in the self because you are the self. It is the most natural thing there is. The hard part is to see that this is true.  When it’s not clear that you already are the self, a lot of effort is required to conduct dedicated self-inquiry, and no, this does not come naturally. It just takes hard work, plain and simple.

Still, it helps to take an objective look at your life and find out if there are people or activities that are needlessly taking up your time (and thus distracting you from inquiry). You might be surprised. Keep only what is essential, get rid of the rest. Whatever is essential, do with a positive attitude.  And do it for it’s own sake, not getting overly concerned with the result.  

Ava: Can people really get self-knowledge when they don’t have a peaceful environment to do self-inquiry?  

V: Absolutely, assuming you are properly qualified—meaning mentally prepared—because self-inquiry is meant to go on at all times and in all situations. It is equally important in times of quiet contemplation as it is in times of stress. In the scriptures there are many examples of enlightened people who had families and busy lives.

So, in no uncertain terms, let me repeat that moksha is possible for any qualified person irrespective of their life circumstances.

And not to put too fine a point on it, saying “I’m too busy for self-inquiry” only means, “I’m not serious about self-inquiry.”  Why?  Because people always make time for what is most important to them.  

Sincerely,
Vishnudeva

Have a Question?

Steady Wisdom: Day 76

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 76

I am the limitless ocean of consciousness.  Although the appearance of the world arises in me, I remain formless and fully at peace.
– Ashtavakra Samhita 7:3
Meditation

Like water remaining inherently formless despite assuming various forms like waves, clouds or mist, I, consciousness, remain inherently formless despite assuming various forms such as the body, mind and world.  Untouched by these forms, I remain fully at peace.  OM. 

Read Series Introduction