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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: Dis-illusioned ()
Date: November 15, 2020 02:50PM

It seems Sahara was saying similar things to what I have just been reflecting on. Well spoken Sahara. Spot on and useful references you made. Thank you.





Sahara71 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Some interesting points:
>
> Advaita Vedanta as a belief system has a
> strong ethical component. I mention this because
> someone posted on here that they were not
> interested being "good" but merely in being
> "free". As though being "good" is a little
> old-fashioned and restrictive. How can you ever be
> "free", and therefore in a constant state of
> "bliss" (I presume), if you have to be good
> as well?
>
> In seems to me like contemporary spirituality has
> gone down the road of being entirely self-serving
> and introspective in the worst possible way. In
> doing so, it has to completely disregard history,
> the scriptures, thousands of years of practice and
> the tidal wave of religious/spiritual scholarship
> that points to "being good" and consciously "doing
> good" as being essential to spiritual
> liberation.
>
> I refer to this article by Dr. N. K. Srinivasan:
>
> [www.advaita.org.uk]
>
> He writes:
> "The three gateways to ‘hell’, according to the
> Bhagavad Gita are lust, anger and greed. Avoiding
> these gateways would be the most essential step in
> the practice of advaita. Advaitins, as a group,
> are given to intellectual arguments and ‘logical’
> reasoning. They can easily invent ways to
> circumvent the moral injunctions. Herein lies the
> danger in the practice of advaita."
>
> And later he writes:
> "It is alright to have glimpses of “Reality’ or
> advaitic experience or anubhUti . But that is
> fleeting indeed. If one wishes to be ‘stabilized’
> in advaitic or Vedantic experience as a j~nAnI or
> Advaitin, one needs the tail plane of ethical
> practice. Otherwise an advaitin may have a
> tail-spin leading to depravity, as many
> philosophers and new-styled gurus have experienced
> in mythical times as well as in modern times - in
> our living memory."
>
> In other words, without knowing right from wrong
> and putting this into practice, you will end up
> 'depraved'. I suppose there is some kind of
> freedom in depravity, but if
> depravity is what you are after, why embrace
> spiritual practices at all? You may as well be a
> depraved atheist and save yourself time and
> energy!
>
> Swartz and others who brag about being a
> "lothario" or whatever, without any remorse or
> insight into their actions, will not progress
> along a spiritual path, be it Advaita or any other
> path. If they believe that they can, then that is
> a very unhealthy misunderstanding of the teachings
> and they will only lead others into unhappiness.
>
> I refer also to
> [newworldencyclopedia.org]
>
> Quote:
> "Ethics has a firm place in Advaita; the same
> place as the world and God. Ethics, which implies
> doing good Karma, indirectly helps in attaining
> true knowledge. The Shruti (the Vedas and the
> Upanishads) constitute the basis of merit and sin.
> Dharma infuses truth, non-violence, service of
> others,
and pity while adharma (sin) infuses
> lies, violence, cheating, selfishness, and greed."
>
> Also take a look at
> [liveanddare.com]
>
> Quote:
> "It is true we are not bound and that the real
> Self has no bondage. It is true that you will
> eventually go back to your source. But meanwhile,
> if you commit sins, as you call them, you will
> have to face the consequences of such sins. You
> cannot escape them.

> If a man beats you, then, can you say, ‘I am free,
> I am not bound by these beatings and I don’t feel
> any pain. Let him beat on’? If you can feel like
> that, you can go on doing what you like. What is
> the use of merely saying with your lips ‘I am
> free’?"
>
> - Ramana Maharshi

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: November 15, 2020 03:06PM

Quote
earthquake
Earlier in the year, I was posting some sociological stuff on my timeline. Another teacher in our lineage ( a friend) asked me why would I bother with these things, since it doesn't affect I. I pointed out lovingly that the world does still matter. Even if one is free.

I'm glad you're pointing this out because I think Swartz's dismissal of the world as unimportant is the most harmful aspect of his teaching (and other faux/neo advaita teachers).

Swartz's teacher Chinmaya dedicated himself to helping his community by funding hospitals, schools, etc. Swartz, with his psychopathic interpretation of vedanta, thinks all that is nonsense.

From Swartz's autobiography (p. 186): "While he [Chinmaya] squandered his capital at an alarming rate helping others, I husbanded mine, selfishly investing it in pure meditation."

The part of his autobiography where he says that is a must-read for everyone interested in understanding James Swartz. He describes being called out by his teacher. Chinmaya: "Ram thinks he's special. He thinks he's beyond the rules. He's convinced he's not a human being"

A few paragraphs later, Swartz confirms that he sees himself as beyond human: "I think seeing me like that, more a god than a human being, must have called attention to the negative side of his own situation."

Obviously, Chinmaya recognized that James is a narcissist posing as an enlightened being, and called him out on it. James largely dismissed the criticism and protected his ego by explaining it away as envy. James writes that he became "too powerful" for his teacher.

Here's the whole section: [pastebin.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/15/2020 03:13PM by zizlz.

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: Dis-illusioned ()
Date: November 15, 2020 03:26PM

Fascinating ziziz- absolutely fascinating.

You’ve really studied up on this, and make things pretty plain to see.

I’d not read that section of the autobiography before, but it is just so revealing!!

I wonder how James remembered the details and word-for-word rendition of what Swami C said, even though it’s actually so accurate in exposing James.
I’m quite surprised and even impressed really, both that James would share all of that, abs then make it out to be what he says it was.

Jaw-dropping



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/15/2020 03:29PM by Dis-illusioned.

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: earthquake ()
Date: November 15, 2020 04:35PM

Quote
Dis-Illusioned
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks Earthquake, but I don’t understand what
> you’re referring to exactly. Do you mean the part
> about loss of compassion and heart etc?

Yes, what you'd said in regard to Vedanta and having loss of heart, compassion, etc. I'll just write a little of what I had deleted earlier, to explain.

In regard to 'heart'. While there's no expectation that one has to be single while in Shiningworld, there's definitely an air of control in regard to relationships. Not only me, but one of the people you mentioned earlier, in the 'inner circle', they were ejected in an extraordinary way, and this was in regard to their relationship.

Not so long ago, there was a major seminar lasting months. Swartz also disagreed with another relationship that had formed there. What he then decided to do, was publicly berate one of them live, in real time. For months in the seminar.

There's a pattern of not accepting and judging relationships by them. Except for their own. It's 'non-dual' and has been used to promote Sundari's book, as they' gave their own relationship special status. it's a nonsensical label.


Swartz is also on video and e-satsangs putting down feelings in general.

It's been said that the land of Advaita is cold. This isn't the case. One only has to look at the Bhakti hymn from Shankaracharya called 'Bhaja Govindham' to see. It's one of my favourites, as it's the second text I was asked to teach under the lineage. While this text is devotional to God/Consciousness, it does place a big importance to things like romantic and parental love.

Also, the first 6 verses of Narada Bhakti Sutra also show that kama (romantic/physical love) and prema (emotional/parental love) are not opposed to Bhakti (in this context enlightenment). It's not a linear progression, and this is because Bhakti isn't a destination. It's what one already is. Since it's what I/You already are, there is no issues with kama and prema. Life carries on having value. The different perspective that's moksha isn't one that excludes joy, romance, compassion, etc.

:)


Quote
Dis-Illusioned
>
> Whether or not you do mean that, what came to mind
> after both your and Sahara’s posts was that the
> teacher or guru one follows has to be someone you
> respect and hold in high regard, surely?
Not
> perfect in all ways, but morally so.

Yes, definitely. There are two things to this. The first is that dharma underpins everything. Vedanta is about heart and compassion, and dharma is living in accordance with that. With that in place, the student is then invited to set personalities aside. if this doesn't happen, individual projections and judgements come into play. This is the one's that aren't valid. If dharma is in place foremost, then it's safe to do this. It's not always the case, and that's why forums such as this are so useful.

The teacher is human and might make mistakes, but like you said, there has to be some quantifiable point. It's that if a mistake is made then it can be acknowledge, and this is due to humility which should show. The usefulness of moksha is that it enables the person to learn really quick from any mistake, or any karma. They can do something about it so much quicker. They're free, so free to chose not do, but a good example if meant to be shown.

There are some teachers who like to cultivate an air of importance about themselves, and create a cult like following. In this way, they're ignoring a primary teaching in Vedanta.






Quote
Dis-Illusioned

I remember
> James once saying something to me about tax
> evasion, and I was surprised. It’s none of my
> business, and I don’t need to know how he conducts
> himself, but there’s a naive part of me that seeks
> a role-model who can guide me on issues of
> morality, and also on right-living.


The law exists for a reason, the moral compass of it is dharmic. it's true though, to have the teacher leading by example is at the least what should be evident. Not revealing, or being willing to, financial records is one sign of potential shadiness in regard to cults (I saw online).



Quote
Dis-Illusioned
Living by the
> rules, as well as being universally compassionate,
> didn’t seem to go with the territory with James,
> and that was a sticking point - to me. I think any
> kind of in-congruency in a spiritual teacher will
> eventually detract from the teaching. It seems a
> tall order to expect so much from a teacher, but
> how else can it work. If the teaching isn’t having
> an effect on the living, what’s the point - as you
> say.

It's a really good point. I'm going to be biased though, haha. Swami/Swamini in our tradition have no agenda (I can't speak for other lineages, as I dont know enough). In our lineage, we don't even care about money at all. The teacher just teaches, and won't even ask for money, nor expect it. And they're not going to interfere in private lives. They only care to teach Vedanta. It's so refreshing.


Quote
Dis-Illusioned
>
> I think I lost the plot, and have over-focussed on
> trying to get the knowledge, at the expense of the
> lived experience. Better to be pure in heart, and
> to attend to lifestyle, than to talk the talk but
> not walk the walk.

That's a really good point. If I can say also, that the way the knowledge is lived is through assimilation, in real time, we both know this of course. Assmilation f our conditioning and any karmic events. Karma is so damn cool. Every single day there are countless opportunities to assimilate. A student and I spoke last night about inquiry. When the person inquires into something in the mind its' creating new neural pathways, and this is what changes the plasticity in the mind, and re-orientates perception. Living the knowledge is both applying and perception though application in real time.

Zizliz, Yes, if I remember correct, he claimed that he was outshining his teacher or something to that effect. Swami Chinmayananda, one of the pivotal teachers of the last few hundred years. The ego is amazing...

...They posted about me a couple of years ago. After awarding me enlightenment, and taking it away when I didnt do what they told me (I reminded Swartz Vedanta doesnt teach this) they wrote I had enlightenment sickness. I didn't have enlightenment, but I was working through major issues coming up, so yea, there were ego issues. In the last e-satsang posted about me recently, Sundari has reminded everyone that I had the worst case of enlightenment sickness they've ever seen. I don't mind that. But at least I didnt equate myself as more important than Swami Chinmayanda...

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: Dis-illusioned ()
Date: November 15, 2020 05:11PM

Thank you for the above, earthquake. Such clarity.


Your clarity stands out to me, as I have struggled with a lack of clarity on practical matter such as this, so much when corresponding with James.

There seemed to be duality, and contradiction in things he said.

I couldn’t seem to see the bridge between the teachings, and ordinary life, when corresponding with him. I now see that’s perhaps because there’s a split for him, hidden there somewhere. I couldn’t pin it down, abs thought it was in my understanding - that the flaw lay.

Yes - I get the Satya mithia aspects, but still there is a world reality that we are all speaking from, and I wasn’t understanding how the teachings really worked, in day-to-day life.

You’ve suggested ideas that are new to me, about the assimilation of the teachings, and its application to ordinary living - and although I will need to sit with that, and reorganise things I had been led to believe, and ideas I may have made up as a result of that confusion, and piece it all together for myself - I can already notice a massive difference between the clarity you’ve expressed, and the simple straight-forward logic of what you’ve explained, and the split that I kept encountering, when speaking to James.

That, together with things that Sahara said, are invaluable in setting the record straight, so to speak.

This gives me hope that Vedanta is a lot more practical and accessible, than I had begun to think.

Clearly, the danger of misrepresenting Vedanta and the teachings, is not merely a thing of personal differences. The role of the teacher is to bring truth and clarity, to seekers - isn’t it?
It’s not to score points and to create an empire. If James’s personal stuff is blurring the purity and clarity of the teachings, and confusing minds - that seems pretty serious stuff.

Of course it is. I’m staying the obvious - but I’m speaking out loud, what I need to fully embrace and recognise, when I start to question myself about all that has gone on between myself and James. For me it’s not so much a personal debate of what he did right or wrong. Yes a lot went wrong but for a long, long time, I felt as though he was helping me. At the same time, I often felt that he was mis -reading me, and that led to confusion for me. Not his fault entirely. I could have enquired, but my brain wasn’t able to keep up.

What remains is still my quest to be busy with the truth/Truth, if I have any hope at finding freedom.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/15/2020 05:41PM by Dis-illusioned.

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: earthquake ()
Date: November 15, 2020 05:55PM

Quote
Dis_illusioned
...when corresponding with James. There
> seemed to be duality, and contradiction in things
> he said. I couldn’t seem to see the bridge between
> the teachings, and ordinary life. Yes - I get the
> Satya mithia aspects, but still there is a world
> reality that we are all speaking from, and I
> wasn’t understanding how the teachings really
> worked, in day-to-day life.

That's really interesting. i really don't want to appear political in Vedanta here, but this is important. Swami Dayananda sat at the feet of Swami Chinmanayanda for 10 years. I suppose it could be said he was the number 1 student (that's not correct to say but it gives a point). Swami Dayananda openly taught in our lineage how he had great problems with Vedanta. So much so that he was about to sell his books and go back home. Even though that isn't allowed.

And this is under even a great teacher. One day he was out walking, and a devotee or Ramana Maharshi told him that he isn't using Vedanta properly. He went back to Chinmayananda and spoke to him about this. Swami Dayananda was sent to another teacher, and learned one or two things.

Swami Dayananda came back and studied Shankaracharyas works and the Bhagavad gita. And in a short time, that was that, he attained moksha. Inquiry was missing.

Swami Dayananda said that he was expected to sit at the feet of his Guru, and just 'get it'. This is what has been taught by Swami Dayananda to his direct disciples, and down to the rest.

I should mention something else. It's something that myself and a Swami have found strange. It's a sign of modern Vedanta actually. Using karma yoga while the person is at the stage of nididhyasana. That is wrong.

Karma is the opposite of jnanam. That's why karma yoga as a practice is preparatory for the qualifications. Once one starts sadhana as in Srvanama, they're not a karma yogi. They're a jnana yogi.

Karma yoga is samsara. The person/world/God. Nididyhasana is no longer primarily identifying as the person, and not needing enlightenment. As they are Brahman. How can one fully assimilate they are Brahman, if they keep reinforcing they need karma yoga.

What this does do, is life management. It feels good. But then there are issues. And it keeps students stuck in samsara, but with sattva. Which doesn't last. These personal expressions of what to teach is what modern Vedanta is.





Quote
Dis-illusioned
You’ve suggested ideas
> that are new to me, about the assimilation of the
> teachings, and its application to ordinary living
> - and although I will need to sit with that, and
> reorganise things I had been led to believe, and
> ideas I may have made up as a result of that
> confusion, and piece it all together for myself -
> I can already notice a massive difference between
> the clarity you’ve expressed, and the simple
> straight-forward logic of what you’ve explained,
> and the split that I kept encountering, when
> speaking to James. That together with things that
> Sahara said, are invaluable in setting the record
> straight, so to speak. This gives me hope that
> Vedanta is a lot more practical and accessible,
> than I had begun to think.

I know you weren't giving credit, but I can't take credit for what i've said. It's traditional Vedanta. it's grounded & simply because of it's precision. :) .


Quote
Dis-illusioned
>
> Clearly, the danger of misrepresenting Vedanta and
> the teachings, is not merely a thing of personal
> differences. The role of the teacher is to bring
> truth and clarity, to seekers - isn’t it?
> It’s not to score points and to create an empire.
> If James’s personal stuff is blurring the purity
> and clarity of the teachings, and confusing minds
> - that seems pretty serious stuff.

That's the best point of all. The teacher is to lead the person to the edge of samsara. Then they walk the rest themselves. It's about sharing information that empowers the person to make the choices themselves, as it's their inner voyage of discovery.

The teacher doesn't want to, or need to hang onto students either. So, there's no need to make a student needy. Vedanta shows that I/You are not lacking. So the teacher does a bit, and even the teacher and Vedanta itself may not be needed in the end. In fact, the teacher is not really meant to be involved by the final stage of Sadhana, nididhyasana

I was taught that the student doesn't say anything wrong in Vedanta ever. That's it's never about that. It's only about clarity. That's a really positive approach.

Quote
Dis-illusioned

>
> Of course it is. I’m staying the obvious - but I’m
> speaking out loud, what I need to fully embrace
> and recognise, when I start to question myself
> about a that has gone on between myself and James.
> For me it’s not personal. It’s a quest to be with
> the truth/Truth, if I have any hope at finding
> freedom.


When we move away from good and bad karma, to everything being a blessing. Karma is an opportunity then. That's really empowering.

The other thing that I noticed in the different of approaches is in regard to meditation. While sattvic and samadhi states aren't enlightenment, we use meditation for the clarity it brings to sravanam. That first stage is both listening and applying. Mananam, is removing doubts. Without meditation, we simply won't 'get it'.

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: Dis-illusioned ()
Date: November 15, 2020 06:10PM

Thank you. You wrote well, but I’m not quite keeping up. I think you think I can see the bird’s eye view that you have, but I can’t (yet.)

By bird’s eye view I mean these differences in ways of teaching.

When I say I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying I include the story about Chinmuananda and Dayananda. I don’t get what happened and what Swami D needed and then how it played out.

This is part of my problem I think - and why I was trying to investigate what it is in my brain, that struggles to put two and two together and get four, when others seem able to. (Possible autism or neuro-diversity.)

Logical progression escapes me sometimes, or maybe literality looms too large.

James told me off for my literality, calling it tamas, and boring. (Another example of his way of being insulting and critical, to make a point. I didn’t find that helpful, and now see that it just took me into further confusion and fear and hopelessness with my own struggles.)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/15/2020 06:12PM by Dis-illusioned.

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: earthquake ()
Date: November 15, 2020 06:27PM

Sure,:) . Pujya Swamiji (Swami Dayananda) was expected to sit at the feet of Swami Chinmanyananda and just 'get it'. As in enlightenment. Pujya Swamiji found that impossible. and was going to try to return back home. He went through a horrible time.

Once he found out something was missing Chinmayananda sent him to another Guru. Isn't it interesting he was sent to someone else?

Pujya Swamiji was taught what he needed an used that to attain enlightenment. Inquiry was what was needed. Inquiry is applying the knowledge of Vedanta to existing conditioning in real time. Because we're applying it in real time, we're living it. It's not like a remembering of the teachings. and it's not listening to them. Its' looking at our daily lives, as things appear, and follow the breadcrumbs in the mind. We always bring the inquiry (or try to) back to what we are. Brahman. Basically we look at our actions, projections & reactions and try to see what teachings apply to them. In doing this we are twinning Vedanta to existing conditioning and resolving our previous notions.

All the conditioning is making I assume that i'm this limited form. And Vedanta shows otherwise. So we use Vedanta to 'challenge' the existing thinking. It's a fine process. It's here that we may use karma, but it's the jnanam from assimilating the lessons that we get from the Vedantic perspective, that set's us free. Shankaracharya said its' jnanam.

:)

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: Dis-illusioned ()
Date: November 15, 2020 06:35PM

Beautifully explained. Thank you. It’s only the last paragraph that I don’t follow.

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Re: James Swartz—What is the Truth?
Posted by: earthquake ()
Date: November 15, 2020 06:57PM

Karma isnt here to punish us. It's here so we learn. But in order to learn from it, we've to inquire into what's being revealed. We look at our reactions, projections, etc, and see how valid they are according to VEdanta.

I mean, if someone says something about me online. and I react. Why am I reacting? is it out of dharma, or is it because there is a sense of limitation or lacking inside? If I answered the latter, in that I feel limitation, then it may put any notion that I was acting dharmically into another light once I recall that I am not limited (per Vedanta). This free's me from an assumption. And this assumption enables me to make a freer choice. Maybe I will still act, but it will not be react. Or, maybe I will choose not to do anything at all.

Either way there may be more peace. Its here that there is equal vision in acting or not. Neither limit or improve me. Which enables me to be free.

Another example is a recent conversation you and I had. I wasn't interested in giving my side, but I wanted to hear yours. That's because I wanted to see if there was something I might not see and needed to learn, as I know that this mind (of mine) might have things that need cleared.

Our exchange is karma. And it's just as likely that i'm also being shown things. Which makes everything humble and grounded.

:)

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