Thursday, July 05, 2012

Gone through

Disciple - Gurudev, I have gone through Bhagavad Gita many times.
Swami Chinmayananda - Very good. How many times the Bhagavad Gita has gone through you?

Funny. True. Reading books is not the end. It's just a means.

When you read, you may understand or may not understand. If you are able to understand, you may be able to internalize it or you may not be able to. If you are able to internalize it, you may be able to make it part of your life or may not be able to.

Point is if something happens or not happens, you should not worry. If you like to read, just read. Whenever time is right, understanding will occur.

It's like preparing the ground for growing crops. You have to prepare the ground, put fertilizer, do other preparatory work and so on. Then you sow the seed. Harvest will happen whenever nature decides it is the right time for the harvest. If you do not do everything that is needed or simply throw some seeds on unprepared ground, you are not going to get any harvest.

So is with reading very involved profound books. I can say there are excellent commentaries on Bhagavad Gita. I understand little because of those commentaries. Start reading the works of Adi Shankaracharya. They are even more complicated because Shankaracharya uses his highest level intellect to very finely analyze the concept of consciousness ('Brahman') and puts every question to rest. That kind of explanation is heavy duty analytical work.

First you listen to your guru imparting the knolwedge. That is 'shravna' (listening). Reading books is part of this step.

Second, you reflect on what you have heard and remove all the doubts at the intellectual level. That is 'manana' (reflection)

Third, you meditate upon the meaning of what you have learned and reflected upon. That is nididdhasam (meditation).

See, basically, this how spriritual knowledge works. You have to acquire, understand and meditate. Then when the moement is right something in you shifts and you undergo a transformation. It may not be monumental. Some habit may fall off. You may stop some bad activity. You may develop some new perspective. Something else may happen. Basically, you are one step closer. You can not determine when and how it happens. But, if you keep following the 3 step process, you are just doing fine.

Long time back, I had written a blog post based on a story which had great wisdom in it.  I am now reading Sri Adi Shankaracharya's commentary on Brahma Sutras. I am not understanding it much. I am unable to appreciate the profound wisdom and analytical treatment of Shankara. But, I am going to plough through it even if it is just 4-5 pages a day. In this context, I re-read my old post. It helped me feel motivated to keep plugging at it.


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