'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

MenoSundays; Life Lived Lovingly

Regular readers, welcome as always; I hope you will find the adjustments made for April will be as fun and different as you expect from the YAMster, and regular service will resume in May. New readers, HELLO! If you prefer WordPress for some reason, click the link on the sidebar.

The first day of the rest of the month. This is to be my very first attempt at joining in the A - Z challenge and my theme is to be  'WORDS...possibly wise'. The 'alphabet' of words will all be Sanskrit, but given that Sanskrit has no actual 'f, q, w, x or z', the sound equivalents will be used. We begin with - 

अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
ego
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
individualization
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
pride
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
concept of individuality
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
haughtiness
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
self-consciousness
अह»a
m.
ahangkaara
thinking of self
अह»a>
m.
ahangkaaraH
arrogance
अह»a>
m.
ahangkaaraH
self-conceit
अह»avl!
adj.
ahangkaaraval
selfish
अह»avl!
adj.
ahangkaaraval
Proud

Formed from Ahm!/aham = "I, myself" and kar/kaara = the process of doing. Thus, ahangkaara = in the process of 'being me'. The subtext to ego is Attachment.

It is a good place to start with as, necessarily, it is how we identify. As a Vedantaachaarya, it might have been possible (or made more sense) to have completed this series on the teaching blog, but there are two reasons for not doing so.

  1. It has a set flow and 'curriculum' and to interrupt it for this challenge, which is purely a personal activity-choice, would be exerting the ego upon that blog
  1. On that blog, at no time do I, as the teacher, ever refer to myself in the first person pronoun. What I teach is not mine to own. To claim it as such would be highly egotistical - not to mention a flat-out lie.

While the A- Z presents an opportunity to share some insights to Vedanta, it will also be good to have a little more personal freedom, to be able to say 'I' in order to relate examples and to point to myself as a 'work in progress'. Am looking at this challenge not to teach Vedanta, per se, but to give insights as to how life can be viewed through its lens and how that is exceptionally close to how most would wish to live.

When I first went to the Sydney ashram, I was asked by the aachaarya, "Who are you?' I, of course, responded as almost everyone does (and as you thought right now on reading it) - with my name. When I went to Sandeepany, the same question was asked, and the first response was our names. We were asked again, more firmly, and the next response was to fall to identity with occupation -'I'm a homoeopath and counsellor'… then the question would come again, even more pointedly, 'WHO ARE YOU?' By the completion of our studies, having peeled away the layers of identity, we all knew we were something other than our small, individualised selves. We are but beams shed by the Source of light. The Source never diminishes, but the beams only have a finite time to shine. Sadly, each individual forgets its Source and thinks that it shines of itself. It identifies with its shape and form. The Source is forgotten because each individual is busy basking in its own light.

Overcoming the ego is central to progress not only as a Vedantin but as a human being whose driving force is Love with the capital 'ell'. Spreading Love can, however, become an egotistical act. One must always guard against self-serving motivations, even for acts of charity and compassion. The ego seeks approval, it hungers for attention, longs for recognition. It wants and needs to feel good about itself. Balanced self-esteem is vital for healthy social interaction, but it is fragile if we attach everything to it. To attach is to open oneself to a sense of loss when that attachment is no longer available to us. We all fall prey to it, some more than others.

To break our attachment to the material world (and, therefore, our ego), we must do it in stages. Gradually shift attachment to something Higher; for example - substitute chocolate with the ideal of rising half an hour earlier each morning, substitute caffeine with the ideal of regularly giving to charity… it is not that you must not have these things, but that you must not have an attachment to them. Attachment is recognised by the 'I must have…' which precedes the taking of these things. It is known by the feeling of a sense of lack if the objects of our desire are not obtained. Gurudev used to say, "You enjoy the coffee, let not the coffee enjoy you!" It may seem mundane to talk of chocolate and caffeine, but it is to demonstrate how the human psyche grows attached, dependent on so much. If one cannot break these peripheral attachments, how much harder will it be with the deep and powerful attachment to family, and to the body?

Of course, there will be those who are reading this wondering why would we want to do this at all. Mind you, they probably haven't read this far down the page… if you have, then you have the intellectual curiosity for delving into the human condition. You may not subscribe to 'God' - and be clear, neither does Vedanta, in the sense that most think of it - but you almost certainly do subscribe to the concept of 'being human', which is something very much 'other' from the rest of the existing world.

It is that wee, small spark of deeper awareness which has enthralled Mankind since thinking began and which has been brought down to our level, rather than us raising ourselves to That. History is littered with the saints and sages who proved time and time again that it is in rising above our physical and mental limitation, in the superimposing of Higher things to quash the ego, that great things can be achieved. Not material things, but purposeful, meaningful, life-assuring things. Just such a sage was Yeshu, the carpenter's son.


Who are you? 
Will you choose to roll away the stone of ignorance to reveal the True You, the Self at Source? 

Blessed Easter and हरि  ॐ 

23 comments:

  1. Happy Easter Sunday to you YAM-Aunty....what a very interested month April will be.
    I often say I love this object or that. However, I know in my mind 'love' is not the correct word. I especially like your sentence, I enjoy coffee!! Crazy as it seems I have never thought to say 'enjoy' but it certainly applies.
    Hugs HiC

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    1. Hari OM
      Thanks, Cecilia... it has been quite a workload the last fortnight and still only half done. It will be very different to the usual run of the blog, but it all happened so naturally, that am thinking the time is right to follow through on this. They won't all be as long as today's! I did finally get my two pieces for the WRiTE Club competition in today - a few hours before the deadline - but won't know until the 16th whether will even get out of the just the submission round. Certainly have taken on quite a lump - but am managing mostly within normal hours, so no complaints! Cheers for now, Yxx

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  2. on the subject of my coffee addiction, you would not want to be around the real me until after that first cup of java. LOL... i do GET what you are saying here and I do believe in Yeshu and the God he is and always was. I know to use His teachings to keep the ego under control, yet i do not do it. i am worse than some and better than some and should be a lot better at ahangkaara
    thinking of self.... I have always liked to help others and i have most of the time felt a little pride and wanted recognition. we are all slaves to our ego, but some of us do fight that desire to have live all about ourselves..

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  3. I have yet another comment, as I closed the comment I saw the words again, who are you? and this thought came to me, I am pretty much what was created by the parents and my up bringing. train them when they are young and they will not depart

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    1. Hari OM
      These are great reflections, Sandra - thank you so much for reading and contemplating on the theme! To a large extent, it is true that our upbringing will leave its mark upon us. However, that does not prevent us from breaking away from it, if that is our path. As we go through this month, more and more you will see this concept building - at least that's the plan... let's see how it executes! Have a super Easter! Yxx

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  4. You sure gave us a lot to ponder with your first A-Z post. And with the dawn of Easter, a most appropriate day for such reflection. We just know we are going to enjoy visiting here this month.

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    1. Hari OM
      Thank you dear ones - may your Easter be filled with true blessings! YAM xx

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  5. This has really got me thinking. We do get far too attached to material possessions
    Debbie

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  6. Happy Easter.
    Merle.............

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  7. What a lovely read! :) Thank you for sharing and Happy Easter!!

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  8. What a lovely beginning Yam ...will keep coming back for more . I am here from #AtoZ At Second thoughts First

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  9. Thought provoking and deep. Who am I, beyond my name and what I do? requires some serious thinking....let me get my coffee, helps clear the cobwebs, oh wait... :)

    Seriously though, I think attachment is like an onion, time slices through it, very slowly true...but it does, and as it does each layer falls away...

    Happy A-Zing, Easter and spring!

    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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  10. Hi Yamini - I'll have to re-read this ... but you've written a lot that needs to be thought about - thanks for visiting and good to see you here ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hari OM
      Thank you Hilary... the following posts will not be quite as lengthy - but they will, hopefully, be equally thought-provoking! Nothing like a bit of a challenge in life to help us move along... or sideways!!! Yxx

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  11. What a delicious deep dive - so many things to ponder here. I will truly enjoy visiting you throughout April.

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  12. At risk of focusing on the mundane, this post reminded me of a recent phone conversation with one of my London based cycling friends. Michael has long been very attached to his 'elevenses' coffee when out on bike rides. With time he had become more and more particular about being served his coffee at exactly the right time, strength, temperature, volume of milk etc. etc. So much so, he told me he came to realise that the stress of finding or failing to find the perfect coffee was outweighing any the enjoyment to be had from the drink. So recently he has decided to give up coffee altogether, and found that his mornings on the bicycle are now more enjoyable and relaxing!
    Cheers, Gail (still attached to, but not stressed by, her one cup per day of very strong coffee).
    PS A great start to the challenge. Best of luck with the rest!

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    1. Hari OM
      &*> Gail, this is a perfect example of the 'coffee enjoying the person'! It may seem mundane, but truly, we can all find something to which we are attached in such a way that it is 'enjoying us' and not the versa! Not one of us can truly say, that we are free of attachments and, for some, those can become such bindings as to suck the joy from life as they demand attention from us. Thank you for sharing this illustration.

      It's feeling like a long month already, but a fun one too! YAM xx

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  13. I am counting my blessing to have stumbled onto your blog this April Yamini. I love your writing and the topic is a bit bewildering for me, but something I have been looking to learn about. I hope you wont mind if I drop in a personal message to understand a few things?
    BellJar by Sylvia Plath #atozchallenge

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    1. Hari OM
      Not at all, Shalini - ask away - I may not necessarily have answers, but sometimes the asking is all that we require! Yxx

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  14. Well! I'll certainly be learning lots from you this month - there was a LOT to soak in with that first post - hopefully I'll catch up with all the concepts as we work our way through April. I really like how you don't exclude Christianity from all that you share - it's nice that the concepts aren't mutually exclusive. Lovely to meet you and thanks so much for visiting my blog yesterday xx

    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    B for Believe in Yourself

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  15. That is really interesting stuff, Yam. You are so wise. You spread this wisdom that I'd forgotten.

    For awhile, I was feeling guilty that I'd be sitting in my easy chair, and JB would bring me a cup of coffee or two. Then, I realized that he really likes to do it. He feels badly, with his bad back, that I have to go to the car and move the bird seed to the work bench. This makes him feel good, to be useful.
    Happy Easter!

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  16. I read it today and I am hooked. I have been called an egoistic person very frequently lately. So much so that I have started believing it. Reading your post has given me a new insight. Balanced self-esteem is the key word now. I will look forward to all your posts and going to follow your teaching blog. Thanks!

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  17. I have a curiosity to know more but I don't think I am ready to leave any of my material attachments even to my morning cup of tea, and definitely not to my family. Maybe I am not ready to imbibe such lessons into my life just yet.

    I was drawn to this blog by your comments starting with "Hari Om" in some of the AtoZ Challenge posts.

    I just realised how many times I just used "I" in this comment!

    My Blog is at NamySaysSo

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