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Books > Hindu > On The Path (Preparing For The Spiritual Quest)
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On The Path (Preparing For The Spiritual Quest)
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On The Path (Preparing For The Spiritual Quest)
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About The Book

All scriptures point out the real, lasting happiness is gained through an inner spiritual evolution. Yet in our attempts at scriptural study and mediation we find that this inner contentment ever eludes us. We come away disappointed and ask ourselves: What am I doing wrong?

The spiritual masters are emphatic in their advice: The Mind must become free of its worldly preoccupations. Only a relatively free, pure mind is capable of reflecting upon the subtle truths. To make the mind relatively free, an aspirants must undergo a process of spiritual preparation.

From the pages of On The Path we will gain insights into the qualifications of a seekers. These insights may bring to us a true sense of discipleship and an inner humility to evolve into a more glorious expression of life.

 

Preface

In order to become a master, one must first be a disciple. As seekers, we have all heard this. But how many of us, in the course of our spiritual pursuit, heed it? When aspirants of realization discover that the scriptures prescribe listening, reflecting, and contemplating upon the scriptures, they proceed to do so ardently. But what is too often omitted from the seeker’s scheme is the preliminary word of the prescription: “artha,” or “thereafter.”

Many of the Vedantic scriptures begin their teachings with this one potent word: “thereafter.” “Artha” means that the study can proceed “only after having purified the mind and rendered it a fit instrument.” In other words, if the mind has not been prepared, the study will not be fruitful. Vedanta asserts that one who has a purified and fit mind can attain Self-knowledge instantaneously upon hearing the Vedantic truths. So when we persevere year after year in study arid contemplation and yet make slow progress, it is a clear sign that we need to further prepare the mind.

The Hindu textbooks traditionally begin with the cultivation of the necessary qualifications for discipleship. The Upanisads are replete with stories of seekers who had to undergo rigorous preparation before gaining permission to study with the master. In the Prasna Upanisad, for instance, six seekers approached a master to clarify their doubts. Though the seekers were already very advanced, the master exacted a one-year trial period of austerities before he would hear their questions. In Chandogya Upanisad, a disciple was accepted by a master, only to be sent to the fields to care for a herd of cattle. In many Upanisads, such as Katha and Kena, the masters test the aspirants with series of temptatioiis to assess their preparedness.

Such stories reveal that no amount of scriptural study can bless us unless our minds become fit and pure. A scholar without a prepared mind becomes a spiritual parrot. Be first a disciple, only then unfoldment can take place. But what are the mental qualities of a true disciple?

Adi Sañkara, the great exponent of Advaita Vedanta, clearly enumerates the qualifications. They all place greater importance on mental attitude rather than on prior knowledge of the scriptures. It is the mental mood that makes a seeker fit or not. But all too often we seekers neglect making our minds fit instruments to receive the Truth.

As seekers living in the working world, it is much easier to set goals such as: I will rise earlier, I will attend spiritual meetings, I will study Sanskrit and holy texts. But how many of us resolve: I will surrender all my negativities, I will remain cheerful and uncomplaining, I will turn my attention inward? Achieving these goals requires constant vigilance. Yet without these mental qualities, mere physical austerities and intellectual study will not bless us. In order to identify with the Self within, our old identifications must be rejected. Nowhere does a human being’s identification lie so strongly as with his own mind and its multitude of thoughts. The enchantment with one’s mind is strong indeed, but without shaking it, we will never be able to shift our vision to our higher Self—which lies beyond the mind.

Sañkara prescribes a remedy with which to chop away the intense attachment to our minds: discrimination between the permanent and the impermanent. The main responsibility of a seeker is to develop a mind that is quiet, alert, and vigilant. Through honest, detached observation of our thoughts, we become aware of the futility of our preoccupations. In that awareness, the strength of our preoccupations diminishes, and we begin to experience a larger sense of freedom. Once the mind is free of distraction, an unimagined quietude descends : In that quietude, the only real desire of the heart will surface – the desire to end all separation, to become one with the all-pervading blissful Reality.

This process of earnest discrimination between trivial and the Real will lead the disciple to abandon his attachments. As the mind becomes purified of its self-centeredness , a torch of yearning for the limitless Self is lighted. Once the yearning is deep, spiritual progress is inevitable.

Sri Sankara describes this process with four terms: viveka (discrimination), vairagya (dispassion), satsampatti (mental control), and mumuksutvam (desire for liberation). When these qualities are present in a seeker, the mind can absorb, directly and immediately, the teachings of the Self. No further efforts on the part of the aspirant is required.

The articles in Part One emphasize the need for a single-pointed desire for liberation, above all other desires. Part Two looks at the aspirant’s efforts to surrender his preconceptions and open his mind in reverence to the holy teachings. Part Three presents ideas on discipleship from other traditions, illustrating that all religions have the same goals for their disciples : to cleanse the mind and open it to the higher experience.

 

Contents

 

  Preface 1
  Part One : Single - Pointed Yearning  
I Discipleship 8
  Giving Up Desires 9
  Contolling the Senses 10
  Faith in the Guru 13
  Desiring Liberation 14
  Discrimination 17
II The Thirst for Truth 18
  The Basic Qualifications 20
  Four Requirements 22
  The Role of Faith 27
  Cultivation Of Inner Poise 28
  Desire For The True Wisdom 30
III The True Spiritual Life 33
  Spiritual Disciplines 34
  The Value of Knowledge 36
  The Perfection of Knowledge 38
  Part Two : Devotion And Surrender  
IV Why Surrender to a Master? 44
  True Sence of surrender 44
  Right Attitude Towards the Master 46
V Surrendering 47
  Psychology of Surrender 48
  The Three Refuges 50
VI Advice to Aspirants 53
  God's Guidance 54
  Easy Way of Concentration 55
  Visvarupa Darsan 56
VII The True Devotee 58
  The Man of Perfection 59
  Mental Qualities 63
  Ethics in Action 64
  Part Three : Discipleship In Tradition  
VIII Requirements of a Spiritual Student 74
  Knowing The Goal 76
  Rebuilding the Mind 78
  Slow but Steady 80
IX The Supersensual Life 82
  Practice in Repentance 83
  Self - Will versus Love 86
  The Nearest Way 90
X The Fasting of the Heart 92
  An Instrument of Tradition 93
  Unity and Freedom 94

Sample Pages


On The Path (Preparing For The Spiritual Quest)

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Item Code:
NAF198
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2006
ISBN:
9788175972254
Language:
English
Size:
7.0 inch X 5.0 inc
Pages:
95 (3 B/W Illustrations)
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Weight of the Book: 120 gms
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About The Book

All scriptures point out the real, lasting happiness is gained through an inner spiritual evolution. Yet in our attempts at scriptural study and mediation we find that this inner contentment ever eludes us. We come away disappointed and ask ourselves: What am I doing wrong?

The spiritual masters are emphatic in their advice: The Mind must become free of its worldly preoccupations. Only a relatively free, pure mind is capable of reflecting upon the subtle truths. To make the mind relatively free, an aspirants must undergo a process of spiritual preparation.

From the pages of On The Path we will gain insights into the qualifications of a seekers. These insights may bring to us a true sense of discipleship and an inner humility to evolve into a more glorious expression of life.

 

Preface

In order to become a master, one must first be a disciple. As seekers, we have all heard this. But how many of us, in the course of our spiritual pursuit, heed it? When aspirants of realization discover that the scriptures prescribe listening, reflecting, and contemplating upon the scriptures, they proceed to do so ardently. But what is too often omitted from the seeker’s scheme is the preliminary word of the prescription: “artha,” or “thereafter.”

Many of the Vedantic scriptures begin their teachings with this one potent word: “thereafter.” “Artha” means that the study can proceed “only after having purified the mind and rendered it a fit instrument.” In other words, if the mind has not been prepared, the study will not be fruitful. Vedanta asserts that one who has a purified and fit mind can attain Self-knowledge instantaneously upon hearing the Vedantic truths. So when we persevere year after year in study arid contemplation and yet make slow progress, it is a clear sign that we need to further prepare the mind.

The Hindu textbooks traditionally begin with the cultivation of the necessary qualifications for discipleship. The Upanisads are replete with stories of seekers who had to undergo rigorous preparation before gaining permission to study with the master. In the Prasna Upanisad, for instance, six seekers approached a master to clarify their doubts. Though the seekers were already very advanced, the master exacted a one-year trial period of austerities before he would hear their questions. In Chandogya Upanisad, a disciple was accepted by a master, only to be sent to the fields to care for a herd of cattle. In many Upanisads, such as Katha and Kena, the masters test the aspirants with series of temptatioiis to assess their preparedness.

Such stories reveal that no amount of scriptural study can bless us unless our minds become fit and pure. A scholar without a prepared mind becomes a spiritual parrot. Be first a disciple, only then unfoldment can take place. But what are the mental qualities of a true disciple?

Adi Sañkara, the great exponent of Advaita Vedanta, clearly enumerates the qualifications. They all place greater importance on mental attitude rather than on prior knowledge of the scriptures. It is the mental mood that makes a seeker fit or not. But all too often we seekers neglect making our minds fit instruments to receive the Truth.

As seekers living in the working world, it is much easier to set goals such as: I will rise earlier, I will attend spiritual meetings, I will study Sanskrit and holy texts. But how many of us resolve: I will surrender all my negativities, I will remain cheerful and uncomplaining, I will turn my attention inward? Achieving these goals requires constant vigilance. Yet without these mental qualities, mere physical austerities and intellectual study will not bless us. In order to identify with the Self within, our old identifications must be rejected. Nowhere does a human being’s identification lie so strongly as with his own mind and its multitude of thoughts. The enchantment with one’s mind is strong indeed, but without shaking it, we will never be able to shift our vision to our higher Self—which lies beyond the mind.

Sañkara prescribes a remedy with which to chop away the intense attachment to our minds: discrimination between the permanent and the impermanent. The main responsibility of a seeker is to develop a mind that is quiet, alert, and vigilant. Through honest, detached observation of our thoughts, we become aware of the futility of our preoccupations. In that awareness, the strength of our preoccupations diminishes, and we begin to experience a larger sense of freedom. Once the mind is free of distraction, an unimagined quietude descends : In that quietude, the only real desire of the heart will surface – the desire to end all separation, to become one with the all-pervading blissful Reality.

This process of earnest discrimination between trivial and the Real will lead the disciple to abandon his attachments. As the mind becomes purified of its self-centeredness , a torch of yearning for the limitless Self is lighted. Once the yearning is deep, spiritual progress is inevitable.

Sri Sankara describes this process with four terms: viveka (discrimination), vairagya (dispassion), satsampatti (mental control), and mumuksutvam (desire for liberation). When these qualities are present in a seeker, the mind can absorb, directly and immediately, the teachings of the Self. No further efforts on the part of the aspirant is required.

The articles in Part One emphasize the need for a single-pointed desire for liberation, above all other desires. Part Two looks at the aspirant’s efforts to surrender his preconceptions and open his mind in reverence to the holy teachings. Part Three presents ideas on discipleship from other traditions, illustrating that all religions have the same goals for their disciples : to cleanse the mind and open it to the higher experience.

 

Contents

 

  Preface 1
  Part One : Single - Pointed Yearning  
I Discipleship 8
  Giving Up Desires 9
  Contolling the Senses 10
  Faith in the Guru 13
  Desiring Liberation 14
  Discrimination 17
II The Thirst for Truth 18
  The Basic Qualifications 20
  Four Requirements 22
  The Role of Faith 27
  Cultivation Of Inner Poise 28
  Desire For The True Wisdom 30
III The True Spiritual Life 33
  Spiritual Disciplines 34
  The Value of Knowledge 36
  The Perfection of Knowledge 38
  Part Two : Devotion And Surrender  
IV Why Surrender to a Master? 44
  True Sence of surrender 44
  Right Attitude Towards the Master 46
V Surrendering 47
  Psychology of Surrender 48
  The Three Refuges 50
VI Advice to Aspirants 53
  God's Guidance 54
  Easy Way of Concentration 55
  Visvarupa Darsan 56
VII The True Devotee 58
  The Man of Perfection 59
  Mental Qualities 63
  Ethics in Action 64
  Part Three : Discipleship In Tradition  
VIII Requirements of a Spiritual Student 74
  Knowing The Goal 76
  Rebuilding the Mind 78
  Slow but Steady 80
IX The Supersensual Life 82
  Practice in Repentance 83
  Self - Will versus Love 86
  The Nearest Way 90
X The Fasting of the Heart 92
  An Instrument of Tradition 93
  Unity and Freedom 94

Sample Pages


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