Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi
  AHYMSIN Newsletter, Issue - Dec 2012  

Imparting the Knowledge of Brahma Vidya

by Swami Rama

An excerpt from Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Rama, published 1985 by the Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the U.S.A.

Imparting the knowledge of Brahma Vidya is the most difficult of all tasks for the following reason:

  1. Students cannot organize their internal states due to a lack of discipline, and thus their mental energy remains dissipated.
  2. The desire to know Truth is only one of many desires of the human mind, and without a single and one-pointed desire, one is not able to direct the course of his life.
  3. The modern way of life distracts one with many preoccupations and involvements.
  4. One does not find a suitable and quiet environment for sadhana.
  5. The aspirant is easily swayed by a variety of philosophical statements and concepts, and so due to lack of experience, changes his way of sadhana.
  6. For lack of true and selfless guidance from a competent teacher, the student does not make the decision that sadhana is his prime duty and that all other duties that he has to fulfill are only a means to attain the goal of sadhana. The goal of sadhana should be understood comprehensively both in theory and practice before one treads the path. There are many opportunities to become lost in the inner jungle of thoughts, feelings, and desires.
  7. The further the aspirant advances in his experience of the inner levels of life, the greater are the obstacles he finds. One therefore needs considerable patience.

Unless one follows discipline in all levels of life, regulating the four primitive urges — food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation — sadhana is impossible. And without sadhana there is no experience of the Self. Five or ten minutes of practice may give one a bit of solace, but sadhana that is not motivated toward the attainment of constant consciousness does not lead to experiential knowledge. For lack of direct experience, one knows yet does not know. The Upanishads say, “One who believes that Atman can be comprehended through the knowledge of the mind is ignorant.”

Many aspirants acquire superficial knowledge from reading books or listening to scholars and then contend that they have acquired profound knowledge, but they are merely feeding their egos. Thus they created additional barriers instead of removing those that already exist. The ego maintains a fortress all the time. It loses consciousness of the Self and forgets that is a representative of the Self. This is the prime source of delusion.

One should not merely acquire intellectual knowledge but should practice self-discipline, which is an essential requisite and not a source of stress and strain. It is impossible to perform one’s own duty successfully without being disciplined. It is important to note here that modern teachers and leaders are not disciplined themselves but nonetheless try to discipline others. Thus they are not successful. He must first discipline himself before he can teach others self-discipline.

Editor’s Note:
Definitions from the glossary in Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita:

The science of BRAHMAN, the absolute Reality, which includes philosophical and practical disciplines that lead one to the spiritual goal.
The absolute Reality, pure Consciousness. According to ADVAITA VEDANTA philosophy, Brahman is the Absolute non-dual Reality, and Its essential nature is existence, consciousness, and bliss. There is a perfect identity between the Self and Brahman; the difference or duality between Brahman and the Self is mere illusion.