Talking About Enlightenment: the Beginner’s Practice

ADI DA SAMRAJ: Certain proponents of Advaitism, even some who may be genuine Realizers of the Great Truth of Advaita Vedanta, generally represent or advocate what I call the “talking” school of Advaitism. That is to say, their contact with disciples is primarily one of conversation, and the process in which they engage their listeners is basically a matter of attendance to verbal argumentation.
There is even a kind of “Emperor’s New Clothes” syndrome associated with the “talking” school. It is said that, yes, there are many practices that could be engaged, but such practices are only necessary for those who are immature. 
Few, of course, want to acknowledge their immaturity or unreadiness for the One Thing desired by all. Therefore, the proud listeners doggedly refuse to acknowledge the necessity of their own self transcending ordeal of sadhana, and so they merely listen.
Unlike the “talking” school, the original tradition of Advaita Vedanta requires great preparations and real qualifications for the Advaitic Realization, and such preparations include practical self-discipline, the development of a disinclination toward the search for the conditional satisfactions associated with what I have described as the first five stages of life, and the achievement of a clear-minded and profound motivation toward Transcendental Self- Realization. 
Indeed, only individuals who were thus prepared would, in the strictest traditional setting, be welcomed even to listen to an Advaitic Teacher’s discourses on Transcendental Truth.
In any case, the practice of listening is traditionally called “sravana”. All proponents of the “talking” school tend to isolate this first stage of the total process and thus make it the Only Method. And they do not generally require the traditional preparations or qualifications on the part of their listeners.
The complete traditional process of “practicing” Advaitism goes on from the “talking” and listening stage of sravana to the advancing stages of manana and nididhyasana. Although the proponents of the “talking” school generally look for some kind of understanding, or hearing, to develop in their listeners, the great practice and the Great Realization associated with the traditional discipline of nididhyasana appear to be generally neglected by them.
This distinction between the “talking” school and the “practicing” school points to a basic controversy within the tradition of Advaitism. At least since the time of Shankara, both of these two schools have existed.
The “talking” school generally attracts those who have a minimal capability for renunciation, Yogic discipline, and deep meditation, but who otherwise are habituated to constantly talk, listen, and think. 
The “discipline” and the “Realization” in the “talking” school are generally minimal, weak, superficial, temporary, and merely mental, and the “talking” school is rightly criticized because of this.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
talking about Enlightenment


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