Worldly self-identity and group identity

As soon as one identifies with a quality of name and form, not to say, most minds identify with different qualities of names and forms simultaneously as ‘This is I with such and such qualities’, one generates separateness between ‘I’ and others who don’t identify with the similar qualities of names and forms, or who identify with some other kinds of quality of names and forms that are different from oneself.

No doubt that living in the modern society, everyone need to have a personal identity that allows people to have a registered given name and identity number, to be legalized to apply for a citizenship, to open a bank account, to enroll for school education, to find a job, to purchase property, to have a passport to travel, to be monitored/controlled by ‘certain organizations’, and so on.

For many people, personal identity doesn’t just stop at the legality purpose to be living and moving around in this world ‘legally’ and ‘conveniently’, but many people put high importance/necessity onto the self/group identification with certain qualities of names and forms to be acknowledged by oneself and others as ‘I’ or ‘This is I with such and such qualities’, to nurture/empower self-esteem and take pride in being ‘somebody with such and such qualities’ and to attain the recognition/respect/approval as ‘somebody with such and such qualities’ to feel satisfy, confident, happy and meaningful towards oneself and one’s life existence, which is truly unnecessary.

Self/group identification with qualities of names and forms gives rise to the sense of separateness that generate many side-effects of unnecessary ‘problems’ of discrimination/prejudice/hatred/bullying/violence in the world.

In the world where most minds are functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, and most people deliberately teaching/encouraging/influencing everyone to develop and empower a strong self and group identity that attached onto certain qualities of names and forms from very young age to be who they are, or ‘This is I’ and ‘This is my origin/ancestor/race/tribe/family/friends/relatives/community/social circle/culture/religion/spirituality/gender/sexuality/education/qualification/nationality/political stand, and so on, and that they should take pride for being identifying with those qualities of names and forms as ‘who they are’, and that they should protect/defend those qualities of names and forms AT ALL COST. And hence, all kinds of fear, discrimination, defensiveness, animosity, intimidation, offensiveness, prejudice, hatred, bullying and violence exist due to this ignorant egoistic prideful ‘self/group identity’.

People don’t need to discriminate, intimidate, condemn, bully and attack other beings just because one dislikes and disagrees with the others based on one’s attachment and identification with certain qualities of names and forms that is different from the others. But due to ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification with the sense of pride, arrogance and superiority towards certain qualities of names and forms, there are those who feel proudness and superiority towards their particular thinking and belief, as well as there are those who want their identification with certain qualities of names and forms that are different from the others to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by the others who are different from them in the society, to receive understanding, equal treatment, kindness and friendliness from others, to feel satisfy, happy, confident and meaningful about themselves and their life existence, but this actually creates the opportunity for discrimination to be existing.

One can have a particular way of thinking and belief/disbelief, way of life and way of doing things, skin colour, sexual orientation, genital organ, physical appearance, physical ability/disability, action and reaction. But, all these qualities of names and forms are not ‘I’ or ‘who I am’. One doesn’t need to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by the others who are different from oneself in the society, and one doesn’t need to rely on receiving understanding, equal treatment, kindness and friendship from others, to feel happy, satisfy, confident and meaningful about oneself and one’s life existence, if one knows yoga/dharma, or namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness/selflessness.

What other people want to think, believe, feel, act and react is their freedom, even when they are discriminating others who are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, but one doesn’t need to be determined or disturbed by other people’s thinking, belief, feeling, action and reaction that are not necessarily agreeable, pleasant, friendly, nice or kind, if oneself is free from ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification, or free from expectation towards how other people should and shouldn’t think and behave and treat others.

Anyone who identifies with any qualities of names and forms as ‘This is who I am with such and such qualities’, and expect to be verified, approved, acknowledged, accepted and respected by others, will never be free from generate discrimination towards others and perceive discrimination from others. This is a ‘natural’ behavior of all minds under the influence of ignorance and egoism. Most minds don’t like to be discriminated and will feel angry, disrespected, insulted, bullied, attacked and hurt when being discriminated, but then they don’t mind discriminating others, whether wittingly or unwittingly.

Not all who think themselves are ‘yogi/yoga practitioner’ or ‘Buddhist’ are all really practicing yoga and Buddhism. Those who truly practice yoga or Buddhism, they go beyond all the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms. They don’t have identification as ‘yogi’ or ‘Buddhist’. They only see a whole bunch of mortal beings that are subject to the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness, and all kind of names and forms are subject to impermanence and selflessness. All beings are mere moving skeletons covered with skin, flesh, blood, organs, nerves, glands, pus, pee and shit with limited life span that is subject to changes, decay, illness, old age and death/decomposition. There’s no superiority or inferiority. There’s no good people or bad people. There’s no black or white. There’s no male or female. There’s no enjoyable or non-enjoyable. There’s no separateness or discrimination or fear or hatred. The physical body that comes in different qualities of names and forms is being born to change, decay and decompose from the very beginning of it’s existence, regardless of what qualities of names and forms that everyone identify themselves with as ‘who they are’.

All these identifications and discrimination towards different identifications are truly unnecessary, if one knows how to transcend all the different qualities of names and forms. All these different qualities of names and forms are not ‘I’. Be free from any self/group identity with any qualities of names and forms. Neither this or that is ‘I’. Who and what is there to receive discrimination from anybody, if there’s no ‘I’ or ‘This is I with certain qualities of names and forms’?

If people want to discriminate others, or they are being discriminated by others due to attachment and identification with the qualities of names and forms to be who they are, and they are longing for endorsement, acknowledgement, acceptance, respect, approval, understanding or friendliness from others, that’s their freedom.

The mind that knows the truth of ignorance and egoism is free from any self/group identity. One will be free and peaceful, and allow others to be what/who they think they are, thinking and behaving as they are. None can remove or take away the ignorance and egoism in others, not even enlightened beings who were/are free from ignorance and egoism.

Those who know, some of them retreat from the worldly minded society that emphasizes on developing/empowering self/group identity, to conserve energy, to live a simple quiet life. Those who remain in the society, they are not determined or disturbed by the ignorance of others.

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Be open-minded, not to be limited by any thinking and belief

Most of the ‘unnecessary problems’ in the world, of fear, animosity, hostility, discrimination, prejudice, racism, hatred, unjust, bullying, invasion, intrusion, condemn, unrest, violence, oppression, clashes, conflicts, killings, wars, and etc, is due to most minds are limited by a particular thinking and belief that influence one’s judgment towards everything, way of life, way of doing things, behavior, action and reaction. It’s not because there are many different kinds of thinking and belief that create the sense of separateness that is responsible for the ‘problems’ in the world. It’s not that there will be no more ‘problems’ in the world if all minds have one same thinking and belief.

The sense of separateness is coming from the mind itself due to ignorance and egoism, it’s not coming from the different qualities of names and forms. The minds that are free from ignorance and egoism are free from the sense of separateness even though the minds perceive all the names and forms that are different from one another.

The different kinds of thinking and belief are just what they are. They are neither good nor bad. It doesn’t matter there is only one type of thinking and belief exists in the world, or there are many types of thinking and belief co-exist in the world, they are not the ‘problem’.

Some people try to convert or reform everyone in their society or in the world to have only one uniform of thinking and belief to solve ‘problems’ in their society or in the world. It doesn’t help, as even under the same family, the same culture, the same religion, the same society, the same race, the same nationality, or the same political party, there will always be different opinions/points of view/likes and dislikes/agreements and disagreements that generate conflicts/discrimination/bullying/oppression/unrest/tension among one another due to ignorance and egoism of pride and arrogance, superiority and defensiveness towards ‘I’.

Even children would hurt their own parents, and vice versa, or lovers/spouse/siblings will hurt each other either intentionally or unintentionally due to ignorance and egoism. Out of ignorance, there are painful consequences onto oneself and others derived from actions being performed under the influence of passionate lustful desires, intoxicants and drugs abuse, mischievous and destructive urge, survival instinct, fear, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anger, jealousy, hurts, irritation, agitation, obsession, possessiveness, pride, boredom, mental illness, ill-will and ill-thinking, and all sorts of impurities.

The ‘problem’ is ignorance and egoism, regardless of what type of thinking and belief/disbelief.

It’s when the mind attached onto and identified with any particular thinking and belief and certain qualities of names and forms as ‘I’ or ‘my family/community/race/culture/nation/religion’, and generates pride and arrogance, superiority and defensiveness towards the attachment and identification towards such thinking and belief and qualities of names and forms to judge and condemn and interfere with others whom are different from oneself, whom one dislikes and disagrees with, based on one’s particular thinking and belief, that’s where all the problems begin.

It’s not about not thinking in certain ways or not believe in anything. Autonomously, the mind will be thinking in certain ways and believing/disbelieving in certain things. And it’s fine, as long as there’s no attachment or identification, the sense of pride and arrogance, superiority and defensiveness towards that particular way of thinking and the belief and disbelief about certain things in the mind. This mind won’t be offended/threatened/intimidated by any other kinds of thinking and belief that are different from it’s thinking and what it believes or disbelieves.

It’s about being open-minded, unattached towards any particular thinking and belief to be identifying as ‘I’, and see things as they are, without being limited by any particular thinking and belief to judge and interfere with everyone and everything, allowing everyone and everything to be different from one another, to be what they are, as they are, without expecting everyone and everything has to be the way according to any particular kind of thinking and belief/disbelief.

Yoga and meditation practice is about freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism of attachment and identification towards any particular thinking and belief, letting go or be free from being limited or determined by any family/cultural/social/religious/spiritual/racial/national/political thinking and belief, to allow the mind to be opened to see things as they are, be free from judgment and expectation. The mind will also be free from desire of craving and aversion towards what the mind likes and dislikes, agrees with and disagrees with, that are based on particular thinking and belief.

This mind will have peace, regardless of how many kinds of thinking and belief that are different from one another are existing in the world.

More important is that, regardless of all the different kinds of thinking and belief/disbelief, whether the mind believes or disbelieves in ‘God’, ‘spirituality’, ‘ghost’, ‘evil spirits’, ‘angels’, ‘karma’, ‘reincarnation’, ‘heaven and hell’, ‘black magic’, ‘astrology’, ‘miracles’, ‘auspiciousness/inauspiciousness’, and so on, the truth is still the same – The existence and function of the body and mind, and all the names and forms (quality of good or bad) is subject to impermanence and selflessness.

Go beyond the sense of contentment, joy and meaningfulness

This teaching is for those who want to go beyond the limited mind perception of ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, who are interested in transcending worldly life existence of the function of an impermanent and selfless physical body and the mind perception of names and forms that is subject to the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities, restlessness, birth, hunger, thirst, ungratified desires, separation from people and things that one loves, coming in contact with people and things that one dislikes and disagrees with, impermanent changes, decay, old age, illness and death, but somehow, the mind is still being determined by the qualities of names and forms, and be disturbed by the situation in the world that is not the way that the mind would like it to be.

Those who have already gone beyond ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’, ‘meaningfulness’ and meaninglessness’, being peaceful as they are, being undisturbed or undetermined by all the qualities of names and forms, they don’t need this teaching.

Those who are aware of the truth of impermanence and selflessness, but they are not interested in silencing the modification of the mind to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of restless ceaseless births and deaths, instead, they just want to enjoy life to the maximum. That’s their freedom.

Those who are not interested in transcending the worldly life existence of a body and mind that is subject to suffering, who believe in positive thinking/mind power to change the world to be a better place, who attached onto the presence of ‘goodness’ or ‘meaningfulness’ and the absence of ‘badness’ or ‘meaninglessness’, to feel good, content, happy and meaningful in life, they don’t need to take up this teaching and practice. Be happy.

The teaching and practice of yoga to eliminate ignorance and egoism is beyond the desire of craving and aversion towards names and forms. There’s neither clinging onto pleasant/desirable worldly life experiences nor aversion towards unpleasant/undesirable worldly life experiences. But merely seeing the truth of impermanence and selflessness of the body and mind as it is, and making use of this worldly life existence as the precious platform to transcend the mind perception of a worldly life existence of an impermanent selfless body and mind that is subject to the suffering of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness.

One can develop great tolerance and forbearance to endure suffering when suffering arise, repeatedly, without aversion, but one doesn’t have to endure any suffering at all. Suffering doesn’t exist upon the annihilation of the cause of suffering – The modification of the mind under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

There is hidden attachment that bind the mind to worldly life existence that is unaware by the mind that attached onto ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’ that give rise to the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ towards the ‘achievement’ of “I am living a good and meaningful life doing the good and the right things. Life is good and meaningful.”

Just as the impure mind easily falls in love with or attached onto the objects of names and forms that appear to be good, pleasant, attractive, beautiful, lovable, enjoyable, fun, or cute. The mind naturally attached onto the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ deriving from “I am doing the good and the right thing” achieving what the mind perceives as ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’.

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating ‘goodness’ and it’s very good to feel ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ due to the presence of ‘goodness’ and the absence of ‘badness’. Just that the mind could unwittingly attached onto the presence of ‘goodness’ that give rise to the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’, where the mind will be disturbed/disappointed/dissatisfied when the presence of goodness is disturbed/interrupted/unavailable.

Many people like to engage in community works because the minds can easily find the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ working or serving in a particular community, to be able to contribute to the community and seeing others getting the help/assistance that they need to achieve a similar goal. This is very good especially for those who suffer depression.

Within a particular community, even though everyone is not perfect and there might be conflicts of different opinions and personal desires of want and doesn’t want, but all are following the similar values, thinking and belief, and are doing their best to work their way towards the same goal under the same vision of that particular community. For example, a Buddhist engaging in selfless service/karma yoga to serve the others in the Buddhist community, or a Muslim engaging in serving the others in the Muslim community, or a Christian engaging in serving the others in the Christian community, or someone engaging in serving a particular community in need of shelter, food, love and care.

It’s even better, as what most people would hope for, if regardless of all the different religious/cultural/spiritual/social/national/political thinking and belief, everyone has one similar universal goal of achieving the similar ‘good and meaningful life’, where everyone works together to maintain peace and harmony in the diverse world of different groups of communities with different thinking and belief, values and way of life, while respecting each other for being different from one another without interference/intrusion towards others who are different from ‘I’ or ‘my thinking and belief’ and ‘my community of a particular values, thinking and belief’. That would be so nice, a world without fear, discrimination, prejudice, hatred, unrest, animosity, invasion, intrusion, clashes, violence, wars, killings, and etc.

But the reality is not necessarily the way that the mind would like it to be. For those who don’t know yoga/dharma, this is depressing and negative. For those who know yoga/dharma, this is not depressing or negative. It’s just the truth of the world of impure minds functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

The different communities of different thinking and belief, values and way of life, goal and vision that are under the influence of ignorance and egoism will most likely being protective/defensive towards their own community out of survival instinct, discriminating/condemning/bullying/attacking others who are not from one’s community, and treating the other communities that are different from oneself as potential enemies that might generate threats to one’s community. There is always unrest, distrust, offensiveness, animosity, tension and fear towards the others might offend/intrude/invade/conquer oneself. This is truly unnecessary, but that’s the way it is in this world due to ignorance and egoism.

It’s not difficult to attain the sense of ‘contentment, joy and meaningfulness’ while serving in a particular community that has the similar goal and vision, thinking and belief, even though everyone is not perfect. But when come to the reality of a world of diversity, of different communities with different thinking and belief about what is right and wrong/good and bad, having different ways of cultural/religious/social/spiritual practice, different values and ways of life with different goals and visions that give rise to different meanings of ‘good and meaningful life’, where most of the minds are not free from the influence of ignorance and egoism, there will be many challenges and difficulties and frustration.

The mind would feel disappointed, tired, frustrated and depressed about the situation in the world that is under the deep influence of ignorance and egoism, that is not in the control/desire of ‘I’ about how ‘I’ would like it to be, no matter how good ‘I’ am, how much good actions/sacrifices ‘I’ have done, how positive/optimism is my mind, or how much ‘I’ want to help to bring peace and harmony into the world.

The mind will be in great disappointment, tiredness, frustration and depression, if one has ‘wishful thinking’ or expectation towards all beings in the world should put aside all the differences and work together towards living in peace and harmony among all the different communities.

If the mind can be free from attachment and ‘wishful thinking’ or expectation, and goes beyond that ‘disappointed, tired, frustrated and depressed’ reaction in the mind, and starts to see the truth of the nature of the impure minds and understand that this is the nature of the beings in the world under the influence of ignorance and egoism, it will let go the ‘wishful thinking’ of hoping everyone will be free from selfishness to work together to make the world a peaceful harmony place that is free from fear, discrimination, hatred, prejudice, unjust, corruption, violence, bullying, oppression, invasion, intrusion, killings, wars and all sorts of human religious/cultural/race/national/social/political tension, clashes and conflicts.

When the mind is free from ignorance and egoistic attachment, there’s no difference between ‘good life’ and ‘not good life’, or ‘meaningfulness’ and ‘meaninglessness’. Life is just what it is. It’s neither good nor not good, neither meaningful nor meaningless. This mind will be free from disappointment, tiredness, frustration and depression towards the reality of a world of diversity under the influence of ignorance and egoism that is not necessarily the way that it would like it to be based on certain thinking and belief about what is ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’ and ‘meaningful and meaningless’.

Once the mind is free from the attachment towards a particular thinking and belief about ‘goodness or badness’ and ‘righteousness or wrongfulness’, this mind can serve the world of different diversities, without attachment towards a particular thinking and belief, without discrimination/interference towards the different thinking and beliefs, without being disturbed by the reality that is not necessary pleasant or nice. There’s neither contentment nor discontentment, neither meaningfulness nor meaninglessness. The world is just what it is. Minds are just what they are, mostly behaving under the influence of ignorance and egoism restlessly.

Even those who are highly educated are not necessary free from ignorance and egoism that generate discrimination, prejudice, hatred, violence, or intrusion towards others who are different from them whom they disagree with and dislike, as they attached onto their own thinking and belief about what is ‘goodness and badness’ or ‘righteousness and wrongfulness’ to judge and condemn everyone and everything. And that’s their freedom. But they have no peace due to the egoistic reactions and impurities in their minds towards names and forms that they dislike and disagree with.

One can be doing lots of selfless service/karma yoga to serve others in a community under one similar thinking and belief (not too challenging), or serve others in the world of different communities under different thinking and belief (extremely challenging), but one is undetermined or undisturbed by one’s action and the fruit of action.

Not even attached onto, “Even if I can bring joy/goodness/happiness/meaningfulness/awareness to just one person, and change this person’s life, it’s already good enough.” Let it go.

There’s no disappointment, tiredness, frustration or depression, if the world is still full of fear, discrimination, hatred, prejudice, unjust, corruption, violence, bullying, oppression, killings, wars and all sorts of human religious/cultural/racial/national/social/political tension, clashes and conflicts everywhere, even though one has done a lot to serve others in the world, to bring awareness, peace and harmony into the world.

Friendliness towards all beings without discrimination, intention and expectation

This teaching is a contemplation for those who are interested in learning and practicing yoga and meditation, to silent the restless impure egoistic mind. Those who are not interested in practicing yoga or meditation to silent the mind don’t need to observe or contemplate on this teaching.

Friendliness in yoga is nothing to do with sociable talkative personality or behavior, or being sociable to be accumulating personal connection and friendship with as many people as possible.

Being friendly to all beings doesn’t mean that one has to be sociable and talkative, or accumulating many personal friendships that involve engagement in physical/verbal/mental interactions and activities from time to time.

Being sociable and talkative doesn’t necessarily mean that one is being friendly towards all beings without the influence of egoistic discrimination of likes and dislikes, selfish intention and expectation.

Quite many people, including health professionals think and believe that being quiet or not being talkative, especially in young children, is something ‘sick/unhealthy’, ‘bad’, ‘negative’, or ‘wrong’. The best time for yoga and meditation practice is when everyone else has gone to sleep. Why? Because it’s the only precious time of quietness and peacefulness available on earth in that time zone without people doing things, playing, arguing, negotiating, making noises, shouting, or talking. Does that quietness and peacefulness on earth when everyone/the minds being away in sleep, being non-interacting, non-talking, or non-action causes more chaos in the world? Nope. Instead, when people/the minds are awake, many people criticize other people who don’t talk much as being unhealthy, disturbing, rude and unfriendly?

The friendliness in yoga and meditation practice is about respecting all beings as they are, being free from superiority or inferiority, without egoism of attachment, identification, possessiveness, discrimination of likes and dislikes, desire of craving and aversion, intention or expectation, without dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurt, fear, offensiveness, hostility, ill-thinking, or ill-will towards all beings, be undisturbed and without interference towards other people being different from oneself, or having different thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction from oneself, without intention of accumulating friendships or companionship from other people to get rid of boredom or loneliness, or to be accessible to support and help whenever one needs one, without expecting other people have to behave, act or react the way that one thinks it should be, or expecting other people to treat oneself the way that how one would like to be treated.

People who would feel disturbed or offended if other people do not join in their conversation, or are disinterested in their invitation to a function or event, are due to their own expectation towards how other people should response towards their ‘friendliness’. People get unhappy, disappointed or offended when they don’t get the response that they expect to be getting from other people. Those who are truly friendly won’t mind at all if other people are not interested to participate in any conversation or event.

Those who are truly friendly, it’s not necessarily that they are sociable, or talkative, or actively interacting with other people. They might be very quiet and mind their own things. But, they have no ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, judgment, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, disrespectfulness, animosity, offensiveness, interference or expectation towards other people’s different way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction.

Take a look into most of the usual conversations among people, we will see that these conversations are mostly full of talking about hanging onto the past, projecting into the future, planning, plotting, scheming, worldly/personal attachment, worldly/personal identification, pride, desire, fear and worry, and lots of complaint, moaning, dissatisfaction, disappointment, blame, ill-will, ill-thinking, ill-talking, criticism, condemn, gossip, slander, back-biting, story telling, untruthfulness, justification, boasting, manipulation, as well as interference or expectation towards other people’s way of life, thinking, belief, practice, values, behavior, action and reaction. Not that all these activities are bad or wrong, but the yoga and meditation practice is to free the mind from all these worldly habits of physical/verbal/mental/emotional activities/restlessness of impurities.

It’s very common that when people want to talk to other people and they expect other people to talk to them in response to their ‘friendliness’, but then they would feel greatly disturbed or offended if other people don’t response to their ‘friendliness’, or when other people talk about things that they don’t like and don’t want to hear, that they disagree with.

The most effective way to help oneself or anyone to be free from all the ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’ that one thinks and believes is what disturbing one’s mind that one feels and thinks that one needs to talk to other people to talk about one’s problem or suffering to seek help or advice, is to be quiet and listen. Listen to the Dhamma that is here and everywhere when the mind is quiet, and the mind sees the truth of ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’, or ‘suffering’. It’s not about expecting someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one’s problems, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, hurt, fear, worry, complaint, blame, moaning, or bitching about other people that one feels angry or unhappy with, that one doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, so that one will feel slightly relieved or feel better about oneself for a few moments, but then the mind continues to be restless and disturbed by the ongoing worldly life experiences that are not necessarily the way that one likes it to be, or the mind perception of names and forms that the ego doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, while thinking and believing that one’s ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’ are caused by the experiences or qualities of names and forms that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, or ‘negative’.

Performing yoga and meditation practice, especially attending silent meditation retreats or courses, will allow people with a disturbed/unhappy/suffering mind to learn to be quiet and listen to or seeing the Dhamma that will free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities, and thus be free from all kinds of ‘unhappiness’, ‘problems’ or ‘suffering’, and one doesn’t need to talk/complain/boast about anything. One doesn’t need someone, or other people, or guru, or God to be there to listen to one’s complaints, as there’s none. The mind is silent and peaceful, so as the surrounding environment is also undisturbed by a silent peaceful mind. That is true friendliness towards all beings and the environment.

Be free.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (2)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta by Swami Sivananda

In one sense from the highest viewpoint, all the leaders of the world are wasting their time, life and energy. Had they directed their energy and mind towards Yoga and transcendental Atma Svarajya, they would have become great divinities on this earth and done more spiritual good to the world. These great men would have taken to Nivritti already, had they really understood the glory and necessity of Nivritti Marga, had they come in contact with great sages, had they a real grasp of the purpose of life, goal and the nature of the Svarupa of the Atman, mind and the world.

A little comfortable living, a little bread with butter and jam cannot relieve the sufferings of the people, cannot give salvation or Absolute Independence and Freedom to them, cannot remove ignorance, the root cause of all human miseries and of births and deaths. Wise men, with great talents, should attempt to give spiritual food to the people and make their lives lofty, worthy, sublime and grand and make them immortal.

Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.

Poor worldlings! One would think that they have taken a contract with Brahma that they will procreate children in this world and take care of it!

The world is unreal. All are born to die only. All are illusory in this world.

Egoism deludes people. Though the world is nothing, it deceives the worldly man into thinking that it is everything. It is associated with ‘mineness’. This egoism is born of Avidya (ignorance). It springs from conceit. Vanity fosters it. It is the greatest enemy ever known. The secret of renunciation is the renunciation of egoism. Ahamkara or ego is the direst of diseases. He who is free from egoism is ever happy and peaceful. Desires multiply and expand on account of egoism. This inveterate enemy has spread about man the enchantments of wives, friends, children, relatives, whose spells are hard to break.

This world is a manifestation of this mind only. All pains are generated through the mind only. If this mind is annihilated through discrimination and Atmic enquiry, all pains, along with this world will vanish.

Desire is the cause of rebirths and all sorts of pains, miseries and sorrows of this earth.

The body has a tendency to rot. Egoism lives in this body as the master with avarice as the mistress. The body is in reality a pot of filth. The shining skin is subject to wrinkles in old age. Fie and shame on them who have mistaken this body for the immortal Pure Soul and rely on it for their happiness and peace!

This body appears only in the present. A thing, that has neither past nor future must be considered as non-existent in the present also. If you think over this matter more deeply with Suddha-Buddhi or pure intellect, you will find Atyanta-Abhava or complete non-existent of the world.

“Nothing on this earth belongs to me! This body even is not mine.” This is true wisdom. “He is my son. She is my daughter. She is my wife. That bungalow is mine. I am rich. I am a Kshatriya. I am a Brahmin. I am lean. I am fat.” This is foolishness of a superior order. This body is the rightful property of fishes, jackals and vultures. How can you call this as yours?

In this scientific era – the age of the so-called modern civilisation – greed, passion, selfishness are increasing day by day, nay, hour by hour. One nation wants to devour another nation. Man has lost his manliness. The son drags his father to the courts for the division of property. The wife divorces her husband and marries another, if he happens to be more rich, more beautiful and younger. The younger brother poisons his elder brother to take possession of the estate. You see cruelty, dishonesty, injustice and atrocity everywhere. No one keeps his promise. The father has no faith in the son. The wife has no faith in the husband and vice versa.

There is no end of craving (Trishna) in the life of a worldly man. That is the reason why a worldly man is ever restless despite his wealth and comforts. There is always dissatisfaction with his lot. He is ever discontented. Before one craving is satisfied another craving is ready to occupy his mind, and this craving agitates the mind and makes a constant demand for gratification. He forgets his real divine nature and plunges himself in the ocean of Samsara (worldliness).

If you place the worldly-minded persons in the company of saints, Yogins and Sannyasins, in solitary places with charming sceneries, they can never live in peace. They will feel as if they are fish taken out of water.

Sages compare a worldly-mined man to a street-dog, or a pig that eats filth, or a worm that revels in rubbish. The comparison is very very apt, indeed!

O worldly-minded persons! Wake up from the deep of dark ignorance! Open your eyes now. Stand up and acquire the knowledge of the Self. Approach the Brahmanishtha Guru. Attain Absolute Independence of Kaivalya. Merge yourself in the State of Satchidananda.

A worldly man kills himself by clinging to things unreal. That man who does not struggle to attain Self-realisation, although he possesses knowledge of the scriptures, human body, youth, energy and other conveniences, commits suicide. His lot is very miserable. What greater fool is there than this man who neglects the goal of life? That man who does not care to make enquiry of ‘who am I?’ ‘what is the goal?’ ‘how to attain the goal?’ is really a great fool, although he may be endowed with high secular knowledge.

Imagine for a moment that your skin and flesh are inverted and exposed. Then some one will have to stand always with a long hill-stick to drive off cows and jackals. Why do you have Moha (infatuated love) for this dirty body? Why do you apply perfumes? Are you not a big fool? Get Jnana. You are the Atman, ever pure and Effulgent.

Birth is suffering; disease is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, grief, pain, lamentations are suffering; union with unpleasant objects is suffering; separation from the beloved objects is suffering; unsatisfied desires are suffering. O man! Is there any real pleasure or happiness in this world?

Why do you cling onto all these mundane objects? Why do you stroll about here and there like a street-dog in search for happiness in this earth-plane? Search within. Look within and introspect and rest in the Supreme Abode of Peace and Immortality now. Realise now and be free.

Lust invariably leads to extreme suffering on the impediment of senses in old age.

Nobody has been benefited in this world by this Maya. People invariably weep in the end.

The worldly man never comes to the senses although he gets severe knocks, kicks and blows from different corners. The strolling street-dog never stop visiting the houses even though pelted with stones every time.

The whole world is a ball of fire though there are the so-called charming sceneries of Mayaic illusion. The whole world is a huge furnace wherein all living creatures are being roasted.

Lord Buddha says: “On the whole, life is a sorrow.” Patanjali Maharshi in his Yoga Sutras says: “Sarvam Duhkham Vivekinah” – “All indeed is pain to a person of discrimination.” Just as a fish in its desire to eat flesh does not see the hook that lies beneath, so as man in his passionate desire to get sensual pleasure does not see the noose of death.

Pleasure is not in the objects; it is in the imagination or inclination of the mind. Mango is not sweet but imagination makes it sweet. Woman is not beautiful, but imagination renders her so. An ugly woman appears very beautiful to her husband because his imagination is beautiful. There is a grain of pleasure in objects, but the pain that is mixed with it is of the size of a big mountain.

Sensual pleasure is tantalising. There is enchantment so long as man does not possess the desired object. The moment he is in possession of the object, the charm vanishes. He finds that he is in an entanglement. The rich but childless man thinks he will be more happy by getting a son; he worries himself day and night to get a son, goes on pilgrimage to Ramesvaram and Kasi and performs various religious ceremonies. But when he gets a child, he feels miserable. The child suffers from epileptic fits, and his money is given away to doctors. Even then there is no cure. This is Mayaic jugglery. The whole world is fraught with temptation.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart; for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. “How to part with the sensual objects?” is his great cause of misery. Pity!

The body is the first Mayaic knot or tie. Wife is the second knot round the neck. Son is the third knot round the waist. Daughter is the fourth knot round the knee. Grandson is the fifth knot round the ankle. He who has cut asunder these knots or ties and who has no Moha is really a strong and powerful man (Dhira).

All hope of happiness in this world terminate in pain, despair and sorrow. Pleasure is mixed with pain. Beauty is mixed with ugliness. Kindness is mixed with anger and harsh words. There is no real prop in this world to lean upon. Sensual indulgence brings diseases, exhaustion, weakness, and loss of vigor. The sensual objects destroy the whole man, and he has no help from any quarter of this earth. Fair sex infatuates. Money and power fill the mind with hollowness and vanity! There is often war between nations. There is no peace anywhere. Trust not this illusory world.

Go wherever you may, to Gulmarg or Pahalgaon in Kashmir, to Darjeeling or Simla, to Vienna or the Alps. It is all the same. You will not find any real rest. The charming scenery may soothe the retina for a second. Raga, Dvesha, jealousy, passion and greed are everywhere. You will finds the same earth, the same sky, the same air and the same water. And you carry with you the same mind. Imagination and change of places have deceived not a few.

Friends! Is there not a higher mission in life than eating, sleeping, drinking and talking?

An ignorant worldly man says, “I have to do my duties. I have to educate my four sons and three daughters. I have to please my boss. I have got heavy duties in the office. I have to remit money to my widowed sister. I have a large family. I have six brothers and five sisters. Where is the time for me to do Sandhya Vandana and Japa and study religious books? There is no time for breathing even. I have no leisure. Even on holidays I have to work. Even on Sundays I have to worry myself with work. I bring office-papers to my house and work at night till the small hours of the morning. I do not want Yoga. This office-work and the maintenance of my family is itself a great duty or Yoga.”

Do you call this duty? It is mere slavery. It is a work of a coolie. It is mere bondage. The man is in fear every moment. Even in dreams he meets his office-mates and his boss and posts figures in the ledger. This is not a right sense of duty. He takes tea, eats food, and sits at the table for writing, sleeps and procreates. His whole life passes away like this. This is not duty. This is gross delusion. This is foolishness. This is selfishness. This is work for gain and satisfaction of lower appetites. Anything done under compulsion and expectation of rewards is not duty. You must not take as duty works done from attachment, greed or passion.

You have travelled in many countries, fed your dear relatives, and amassed immense wealth. Yet, of what avail are these, O friend? You have not realised the Blissful Brahman.

Desire for name and fame, infatuated love for the body, desire for vast erudition, are stumbling blocks in the attainment of the Self-knowledge. He who wants to free himself from Samsara should annihilate the desire for these mundane things.

Who are you? Who am I? Where from have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply in these. Leave off this world, which is a dream, and seek the One, Eternal, Undivided Essence of Brahman.

Friends! Is there any limit to the number of fathers, mothers, wives, sons, daughters, uncles and aunts you have had in the countless incarnations in the past? And yet the clinging to these false relationships has not gone. Discrimination has not yet dawned. What a great pity it is!

The attraction for external objects ceases; but there yet remains the internal craving or sense of hankering or thirsting, which is called Trishna.

You have spent eight hours in sleep, and the rest of the day in idle gossiping, telling lies, deceiving others, in selfish activities, in amassing wealth. How can you expect spiritual good, how can you expect immortality and peace, if you do not spend even half an hour in the service of the Lord, in singing his names and in divine contemplation?

Will your son or daughter or friend or relative help you, when you are about to die? Will they accompany you to share your miseries? Have you got one sincere, unselfish friend in all this world? All are selfish! There is no pure love. But that Lord, your real Friend of friends, Father of fathers, who dwells in your heart, will never forsake you, though you may forget Him. Adore Him in silence, that God of gods, that Divinity of divinities, the Highest of the high. May He bless you with His love, Wisdom, Power and Peace!

The Rishis and the Seers tapped the source through living the Truth. They had deep penetration into the Truth through the eye of wisdom or intuition in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. They did rigorous Tapas and intense meditation. They disciplined the outgoing senses and led a virtuous life. They were absolutely moral and righteous. They developed all the qualities of the heart. They practised dispassion and renunciation. They had no attachment for mundane things. They kicked off ruthlessly all wealth, relatives, wife, family, children, position and status. They embraced poverty, purity and austerity. They lived in forests. They ate fruits and roots. They breathed pure air. They lived on the banks of the Ganga amidst Himalayan scenery, which had, and has, high spiritual vibrations. They did not live in Mount Road or the Mall.

All the things of this world pertaining to men are attended with fear; renunciation alone stands for fearlessness. Shun honour, respect, degrees, name, fame, power, position and titles. They are absolutely worthless. They will not give you eternal satisfaction. They will only intensify your vanity. They are all intoxicants of the mind. They bring misery and mental disturbance.

In the Vishnupurana it is said: “If the deluded fool loves the body, a mere collection of flesh, blood, pus, faeces, urine, muscles, fats and bones, he will verily love hell itself! To him who is not disgusted with the nasty smell from his body, what other argument need to be abduced for detachment?” It is needless and useless to say more.

Knowledge of the Self or Brahma Jnana is more precious and important than the kingdom of all the worlds.

If you do not possess Viveka, if you do not try your extreme level best for the attainment of Salvation, if you spend your whole lifetime in eating, drinking, sleeping, marrying, divorcing and propagating the race, how are you better than an animal? As a matter of fact, they are better than you! You will have to sit at the feet of the animals and learn a few several lessons from them. Even animals possess self-restraint to an astounding degree. O man! where has your self-restraint gone?

O man! Never say; “My body, my son, my wife, my house, my property, my garden, etc.” Attachment is the root cause of the innumerable miseries and troubles of this world. Discipline your mind well, realise the illusory nature of all that appears here in this world.

Renunciation comes only to those who were once kings in their previous births, who developed discrimination between the real and the unreal in their previous births, who have done meritorious actions in their previous births, who led the life of a Sannyasin in several births. Only those who have tremendous will-power, spiritual strength, dispassion, discrimination, and who thirst for salvation can renounce the world. Renunciation demands superhuman strength. Renunciation or Sannyasa is stern stuff.

After all, what is this world? It is like a footprint of a calf when compared to the Infinite Brahman or the Absolute. It is a small bubble in the ocean of Existence. It is less than an atom. The worthless nature of the joys of this world is already known to a Viveki or a man of discrimination or an aspirant or an ordinary worldly man even in whom there is not even an iota of spiritual awakening or a little opening of the eye of wisdom.

The Upanishads emphatically declare: “Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham – Naalpe Sukhamasti!” You cannot have real happiness in this world. The real ‘Santi’, is Peace which the mind is hankering after is only to be found in the ‘Bhuma’. Bhuma is unconditioned, beyond time, beyond space and causation. Bhuma, the Great, is freedom, – freedom from the trammels of flesh, freedom from the tricks of the mind, freedom from the plays of delusion. Bhuma is perfection, beyond all limitations. Bhuma is Brahman, the eternal Absolute! You will have to remember all this constantly. You will have to write this and read this, talk of this and preach this, meditate on this and live in this, ‘Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham.’