God Bless Deepak Chopra

July 21, 2010

Joe expresses typical neo-advaita-fuelled confusion in his letter to Deepak:

Can you imagine if Deepak went on Oprah and told people that their twenty years of meditation has absolutely no value to you because there IS NO YOU???? Well, Oprah probably wouldn’t have you back on…HA

Deepak replies:

…and while this insight is powerful and transformative to you based on your life experience, the reason I don’t spend all my time on this message to “dynamite the masses” as you say, is because this is a not the most useful message for most people who are aspiring to spiritual freedom. In fact it can be spiritually counterproductive to many people because it can confuse and disorient them. Especially if they misinterpret it as: “Everything I know myself to be is false, meaningless and wrong. It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, nothing matters because I don’t exist and neither does anyone else.” It can make them morally confused and take away their sense of purpose and productivity which are still important for spiritual growth at that point.

When one is ripe for this knowledge of unity, then you feel liberated, blissful and powerfully engaged with all of life within and around you. You are everything. When you aren’t ready for it, it and you try to adopt the teaching intellectually, then it can make one’s behavior unnatural, artificial, or apathetic.

If all it took to give someone enlightenment was telling them that their ego self is not real, then enlightened beings would not be as rare in the world as they are.

Different knowledge is applicable to different states of consciousness, one size does not fit all. In order for consciousness and the body (which must be strong and pure enough to sustain that consciousness) to be ready for this knowledge of Vedanta, the old conditioning that holds those false patterns in place must be released. This is the stage that requires some doing, meditation, or something to clear out the old impressions. Meditation, far from being of “no value,” is actually one of the few activities in life that is of real value.

You say that the message of “meditation and doing things” is what attracts people. I’m not so sure about that. Most people would dearly love to be enlightened without having to do anything. If they could attain it through a quick revelation or inspiration they would take that in a heartbeat, rather than the prospect of decades of meditation.

But you are probably right that meditation is a more understandable message than telling people they don’t exist. (Especially because the concept of communication between people implies that somebody must exist.)

There’s another phenomenon I have witnessed over the years as people become fascinated by the message of Vedanta: Sometimes an aspirant get so weary with the pace of their spiritual progress, that they convince themselves that they must be done by now and ready for the big realization of unity consciousness. So they assume the language and behavior of an enlightened person believing that this must be how it is supposed to happen. It isn’t. Unity consciousness has to be a natural, authentic, organic experience. When the fruit is ripe, then it falls from the tree.

My teachings cover a broad range of techniques and subjects because different people need different knowledge at different times. I don’t expect everyone to resonate with everything I say or write about. I assume people will pick out what works for them and leave the rest.

Love,

Deepak


Common Sense Defined

July 18, 2010

Mme. Blanchard Yoritomo-Tashi says:

For people who possess common sense, everything is summed up in one unique perception:

The love of directness and simplicity.


A Vegetarian Defends Meat-Eating

July 18, 2010

This is my reply to the post Yoga Teachers Don’t Eat Meat by Yogita Chaitanya.

>Vegetarianism … comes straight from the Yoga scriptures’ mouth: Ahimsa paramo dharmah. Non-violence is the highest virtue.

I think it is a mistake to assume that ahimsa must mean vegetarianism. Patanjali does not explicitly advocate vegetarianism. Nor does Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. I cannot think of any Vedic text that advocates vegetarianism. But there are Ayurvedic texts that prescribe meat.

Vamadeva Shastri (Dr David Frawley) says in this interview (here at Google Video) that the most healthy diet for most people includes some meat.

>Yoga in the traditional sense of the word has always meant the propagation of non-violence toward other beings

Yoga as defined by Patanjali (Yogas chitta vritti nirodha) has always meant union with consciousness and not a kind of social relationship with other individuals.

Ahimsa is not about becoming a vegan pacifist or a social activist. I have heard ahimsa translated as “don’t hurt” which is a very good principle to live by, but it is not a written-in-stone commandment. It is a practical guideline that says that a non-violent approach to life is conducive to achieving samadhi – the purpose of the Yoga Sutras.

Violence is a fact of life and we need to find our peace with it. The Vedic tradition recognizes this too and it is discussed at length in the Bhagavad Gita which is set on a battlefield. Also, the Vedas recognize the kshatriya class of warriors who were trained in Dhanur Veda – the art of war. So ahimsa is not about avoiding violence (which is impossible), but rather just not feeding the desire for violence within ourselves.

Notice how Patanjali says non-violence rather than peacefulness. He is not advocating peacefulness. In the same way non-drunkenness doesn’t exclude drinking. It is more a prescription for balance.

Anyway, ahimsa isn’t properly achieved until we see that there is no duality, but just the One in many forms. Then we see that there is no death, no sin, no injustice and no mistakes in life – just the perfect activity of the One-without-second. This is what Lord Krishna tells Arjuna when he is encouraging him to fight.

Personally I am a vegetarian. I agree that the way animals are treated is terrible. But I don’t agree that a yoga teacher has to be vegetarian or that ahimsa equals vegetarianism.


Yantras

July 12, 2010

I have developed a sudden interest in yantras.

Here are some created by Charles Ellik:

Jupiter

Saturn

Venus

Ganesha


You are Innocent, I am Innocent and so is Adolf Hitler

July 11, 2010

He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey.

He who blames himself is halfway there.

He who blames no one has arrived.

– Chinese proverb

Update: Thought I’d just add a few words here about the last line. Someone who has arrived sees that there is never any mistake in life, therefore there can never be any blame. Such a person of mature vision sees that there is no duality. There is no ‘I’ blame ‘you’ because there is only the One appearing as “I” and “you”.

From the point of view of the halfway man, he sees his circumstances as a reflection of himself. He understands that he is the creator of his own reality. This is the level of the Law of Attraction. Yes, it is true that your thoughts and actions create your reality and that you are responsible for everything in your life. But to say to someone with cancer that they brought it upon themselves is not quite right. Nobody chooses cancer. Nobody chooses to screw up their life. Nobody. Life happens by itself.

When we blame ourselves we create guilt and thereby shame. The fact, though, is that underneath all of the grievances that make up day-to-day life everyone is innocent. You are 100% innocent, I am innocent, Adolf Hitler is innocent. The more you recognize this, the freer you become.

A good way to transform a life of blame to one of gratitude and understanding is the Demartini Method. See here and here.

However, to truly appreciate that innocence is everywhere and injustice is nowhere you need to know yourself as pure awareness which comes from meditation.


The Personal God

July 9, 2010

Yesterday I picked up a book in a bookshop by Ramana Maharshi. Someone asked him if he believed in a personal God. He said yes, the “I” within is the personal God. An external God is impersonal.

Ha ha. Don’t think my Hare Krishna buddies would like that one!


Sickest Buddhist Rap Song

July 4, 2010

Sickest Buddhist Rap Song