Happy Paryushana! Approaching rites and rituals the Advaitic way!
Di, I finally had the experience and recognition, that everything is awareness, everything is Brahman! I am Brahman and everything is Brahman. Only Brahman is. And there is no karma. How can there be any karma in Awareness? It’s all just conditioning of growing up in a certain situation. It does feel a bit weird and stupid to follow any rituals or religious things. There is no God. There is nothing else. There is no ego or mind also. It’s all just a modulation of awareness working through this body-mind complex. But there is a residual feeling of guilt and fear, of not following rituals anymore, and I can’t seem to connect with them anymore and it’s dripping off naturally. But even if I try to do it, I can’t seem to follow them anymore. It’s a big deal for me to not do Paryushana. But I feel nothing either. It’s only when I speak with the family, then the guilt comes up. Am I getting it right?
Yes, dear, the conundrum that you are facing happens on the path of un-conditioning and unlearning. There are three aspects that need to be understood at this stage of your spiritual growth:
1] There is no need to push away anything. Reminder – whatever you push away comes back multiplied many folds.
Let it take its own course. Let the flow guide it. You simply remain the witness.
If the desire arises to do Paryushana, do it with the full understanding that the body-mind is currently engaged in this ritual, while ‘I – the consciousness’ am witnessing it like a play. This is the actual test if you are able to assimilate the new un-conditioning that ‘I am Brahman’ into your daily routine or not.
Recognize that there is a part of you that is totally detached from the ritual. Hold on to that ‘naturally detached part’ within you. When you successfully stay as that ‘asanga element’ [as explained in the Advaita level II session], you will be able to do the following:
- Recognize that the body-mind is like a computer program running automatically on account of the past data feed.
- If a desire is arising, it is also a past data feed.
- If the body-mind is engaging in any activity due to the data feed, it is also naturally arising and ‘I-the consciousness’ am not involved.
- Therefore, if it has to continue, it continues. If it drops, it drops. ‘I – the witness’ do not get involved at all. ‘The Witness does not choose and reject anything.
2] Thorough self-examination at every step of the way is essential. This is called Swadhyaya – self-study.
Recognize that the following happened:
- ‘rejection’ arose when it was time to do the rite-ritual.
- ‘guilt’ arose when questioned by another person about the ritual.
Investigate, who is guilty? Who is ‘rejecting’? That means there is still a stronghold of the old conditioning ‘I the body-mind’.
These two are proof for oneself that the knowledge ‘I am consciousness’ has probably been intellectualized only. It has not assimilated into ‘daily life’. Humbly and honestly accepting this, one starts the investigation of guilt, rejection, etc.
Follow that feeling:
- See where it arises from.
- Does it remain even if looked at in the face, continuously?
- How long does it remain?
- Does it exist forever?
- Is it really existent? or was it like a cloud passing by in the sky?
- Did it taint the ‘asanga element’ of the sky?
When this exercise is done repeatedly, again and again, the true recognition of ‘this world is simply an illusion’ arises. Only when this illusionary-world-understanding becomes apparent, does one totally get entrenched in the truth about himself – ‘I am consciousness’! Keep chugging to get to the ‘Complete assimilation of the Truth’ milestone.
3] Understand that the body-mind un-conditioning CANNOT be truly accomplished without the complete partnership of the body-mind:
The body-mind jiva needs to be totally convinced that:
– ‘I am a reflection of the Brahman’ &
– I am not really the ‘I’. &
– ‘I am not the doer’ &
– ‘I am not the experiencer’ even.
This conviction cannot come from intellectually telling yourself a zillion times because that will just be an attempt to color the previous conditioning with new conditioning. It needs to be proven to the jiva by actual experience. It takes time for the jiva to get there, therefore certain paths were devised. One of them is ‘mental purity & un-scatteredness’.
Because only when the mind is pure and un-scattered, can it allow the assimilation of the hard truth that ‘it is only a reflection’.
The real symbolism behind the rituals of Paryushana needs to be filtered out and understood properly. Paryushana’s das-dharmas are a path for mental purity so one gets a foot into the door of the ‘highest realization’ with least resistance from the mind. Only when the inner ‘dvaitam’ [duality] drops, then what remains behind is ‘Advaitam’ [Brahman].
Learn the art of filtering the main essence of truth from the inessential surrounding it. Here is the essence of Paryushana, which enhances the mental clarity of the Jiva and facilitates the assimilation of the higher Truth easily.
- Uttam Kshama (forbearance) – उत्तम क्षमा
- Uttam Mardava (supreme modesty) – उत्तम मार्दव
- Uttam Aarjava (straightforwardness) – उत्तम आर्जव
- Uttam Soch (purity) – उत्तम सोच
- Uttam Satya (truth) – उत्तम सत्य
- Uttam Sanyam (supreme restraint) – उत्तम संयम
- Uttam Tap (austerity) – उत्तम तप
- Uttam Tyaga (renunciation) – उत्तम त्याग
- Uttam Aakinchanya (non-attachment) and – उत्तम अकिंचन्य
- Uttam Brahmcharya (supreme celibacy) – उत्तम बह्मचर्य
Last Reminder: Even after the full realization of the Brahman, the wise one still chops wood and carries water. Adopting the middle path, neither leaning to either side is the path of the wise. He still lives life the way he used to without craving, without rejecting, merely playing the role assigned, voluntarily, happily, very well aware that it is merely a role.
Keep chugging girl. I am right by your side!
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🙏 very deep understanding
Amazing. Love you Ektaji. I have been having similar questions in my mind though I am still in elementary school. I have been practicing awareness but the conditioning pops up. Thank you so so much for This wonderful explanation.
Thank you Ektaji for such a detailed explanation. Such noble ideals in this festival! Nice to know about it. I too experience guilt at not following some rituals. My reasons are: (1) These are our family’s traditions that keep the family together. I feel I should not disrupt the tradition just because I have grown out of it. (2) I myself was in duality/bhakti for many decades and only got familiar with Advaita in the past decade. I feel, what if this is the route that other family members may take? So far, they seem to relate to duality more than Advaita, so I feel I should continue with the rituals that we all do together. Great idea to be a witness while doing it; I will try.
Part 3 in your post is eye-opening. I have been trying to over-ride the mind thinking intellectually ‘Mind does not exist’ or ‘ I have surrendered it’. But in practice, the mind keeps popping up. It is beneficial to know I need the co-operation of the mind to progress!