Foundation Vedanta Course
Foundation Mentor Program - Mahua ji
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Discussions and queries related to Foundation Mentor Program - Mahua ji


Discussions and queries related to Foundation Mentor Program - Mahua ji

Summary of Topics 2.1 and 2.2


  • Action is inevitable for all living beings - however the quality and texture of action varies, based on the individual's mental textures and attitudes

  • Action can be of 3 types - motivated by selfish desires, motivated by selfless desires, or not motivated by desire. Accordingly, the individual performing the action is a Vyavasāyī, Sevākāri or Yogī

  • The Vyavasāyī is mainly driven by his ego, the Sevākāri's ego is considerably less, while ego is totally eliminated in the Yogī.

  • Focusing on selfish desires makes life monotonous with nothing to inspire or aspire for. When the individual focuses on an ideal, it brings joy and a zest for living. When one continues to work selflessly, one eventually starts finding fulfilment in the activity itself - which elevates one to the status of a Yogī.

  • While any ideal can motivate one to work, the nobler one's ideal, the greater the beauty and efficiency of one's actions, the greater the joy one derives from it, and it makes the individual more successful.

  • Working selflessly for a cause higher than one's egocentric vision develops and integrates one's inner personality - and puts one on the path to perfection.


**Summary of Topics 2.1 and 2.2** - Action is inevitable for all living beings - however the quality and texture of action varies, based on the individual's mental textures and attitudes - Action can be of 3 types - motivated by selfish desires, motivated by selfless desires, or not motivated by desire. Accordingly, the individual performing the action is a Vyavasāyī, Sevākāri or Yogī - The Vyavasāyī is mainly driven by his ego, the Sevākāri's ego is considerably less, while ego is totally eliminated in the Yogī. - Focusing on selfish desires makes life monotonous with nothing to inspire or aspire for. When the individual focuses on an ideal, it brings joy and a zest for living. When one continues to work selflessly, one eventually starts finding fulfilment in the activity itself - which elevates one to the status of a Yogī. - While any ideal can motivate one to work, the nobler one's ideal, the greater the beauty and efficiency of one's actions, the greater the joy one derives from it, and it makes the individual more successful. - Working selflessly for a cause higher than one's egocentric vision develops and integrates one's inner personality - and puts one on the path to perfection.

Reflection on Lesson 2 Question 8: Based upon the mode of performance of activities, there are three categories of human beings working in the world. Enumerate and describe them briefly.


  • Activity can be motivated by selfish desire, selfless desire, or not motivated by desire. An individual whose work is motivated by selfish desire is known as a Vyavasāyī (Labourer), a person motivated by selfless desire is called a Sevākāri (Worker), while the individual who has overcome desire and works only to fulfill duties and serve all is a Yogī.

  • A Vyavasāyī's work, centered on fulfilling his own desires makes his life monotonous and boring, and the quality and fruits of such labour are low. A Sevakāri, working to achieve an ideal greater than himself, is inspired and finds joy in his work. This reflects in the efficiency and quality of his work, and makes him succeed in life.

  • However, true success from doing selfless work is the development and integration of the inner personality - which puts one on the path to perfection: self-realisation and liberation.


**Reflection on Lesson 2 Question 8**: _Based upon the mode of performance of activities, there are three categories of human beings working in the world. Enumerate and describe them briefly. _ - Activity can be motivated by selfish desire, selfless desire, or not motivated by desire. An individual whose work is motivated by selfish desire is known as a Vyavasāyī (Labourer), a person motivated by selfless desire is called a Sevākāri (Worker), while the individual who has overcome desire and works only to fulfill duties and serve all is a Yogī. - A Vyavasāyī's work, centered on fulfilling his own desires makes his life monotonous and boring, and the quality and fruits of such labour are low. A Sevakāri, working to achieve an ideal greater than himself, is inspired and finds joy in his work. This reflects in the efficiency and quality of his work, and makes him succeed in life. - However, true success from doing selfless work is the development and integration of the inner personality - which puts one on the path to perfection: self-realisation and liberation.

Reflection on Lesson 2 Question 9: What is the significance of the advice given by the religious Masters to choose an ideal or goal in life?


  • The religious Masters teach us to choose an ideal that is greater than us and dedicate ourselves to achieving it. Doing so gives us more peace and joy, brings greater efficiency in our work and makes us more successful.

  • This also develops our personality, preparing us to aspire for greater ideals. Ultimately, one can then pick the highest and noblest of all ideals - working for the Lord himself.

  • When one achieves the level where one's work is in service of the Lord, executing His will in every activity, one can find perfect peace within, even as one lives and works in this world.


Reflection on Lesson 2 Question 9: _What is the significance of the advice given by the religious Masters to choose an ideal or goal in life?_ - The religious Masters teach us to choose an ideal that is greater than us and dedicate ourselves to achieving it. Doing so gives us more peace and joy, brings greater efficiency in our work and makes us more successful. - This also develops our personality, preparing us to aspire for greater ideals. Ultimately, one can then pick the highest and noblest of all ideals - working for the Lord himself. - When one achieves the level where one's work is in service of the Lord, executing His will in every activity, one can find perfect peace within, even as one lives and works in this world.

1.1 Freedom and License.


Problem: more comfort less happiness paradox.
Reason: law of diminishing value joy temporary & decreasing.
over indulgence.
License: indulging in sense object without any control.
Freedom: indulging in sense objects with control - guided by intellect & religion.
Solution: we have the power to choose.
So choose freedom over licenciousness
Eg: Traffic signal


1.2 Art of Right Contact


Problem:
World gives trouble ; we feel rules bind.
Reason:
"Yatha drishti tatha Srishti "-
How we see the world it is like that.
Solution:
Face situation with positive attitude [Be contented].
This too shall pass.
Look at people with worst situation.
Eg: Stepstone & idol; electricity & appliance


1.1 Freedom and License. Problem: more comfort less happiness paradox. Reason: law of diminishing value joy temporary & decreasing. over indulgence. License: indulging in sense object without any control. Freedom: indulging in sense objects with control - guided by intellect & religion. Solution: we have the power to choose. So choose freedom over licenciousness Eg: Traffic signal 1.2 Art of Right Contact Problem: World gives trouble ; we feel rules bind. Reason: "Yatha drishti tatha Srishti "- How we see the world it is like that. Solution: Face situation with positive attitude [Be contented]. This too shall pass. Look at people with worst situation. Eg: Stepstone & idol; electricity & appliance
edited Oct 3 '23 at 12:05 pm

1.3 Human Heritage


Problem: Can't find happiness.
Reason :No happiness in external objects because:
same object does it give equal
happiness to all.
same object doesn't give me happiness at all times.
Solution: Happiness our own nature-
(suppressed when desire present & expressed when desire satisfied.)
Self restraint.
Keep head above heart.
Eg:beggar sitting on treasure box.
Ocean shore : changing world ; ocean inside: unchanging reality;
boat : who fall prey to senses;
lighthouse :who are not influenced by senses;
compass: Scriptures.


1.4 Joy of Living


Problem: We avoid sorrow & want happiness.
But desire satisfaction reduces happiness.
Reason: happiness = no. of desires fulfilled / no of desires entertained.
When Numerator ↑ Denominator ↑ denominator ->0 happiness-> infinity.
Solution: Focus on decreasing desires
Keep higher goal.
Eg: smoker cigarette joy reducing


1.3 Human Heritage Problem: Can't find happiness. Reason :No happiness in external objects because: same object does it give equal happiness to all. same object doesn't give me happiness at all times. Solution: Happiness our own nature- (suppressed when desire present & expressed when desire satisfied.) Self restraint. Keep head above heart. Eg:beggar sitting on treasure box. Ocean shore : changing world ; ocean inside: unchanging reality; boat : who fall prey to senses; lighthouse :who are not influenced by senses; compass: Scriptures. 1.4 Joy of Living Problem: We avoid sorrow & want happiness. But desire satisfaction reduces happiness. Reason: happiness = no. of desires fulfilled / no of desires entertained. When Numerator ↑ Denominator ↑ denominator ->0 happiness-> infinity. Solution: Focus on decreasing desires Keep higher goal. Eg: smoker cigarette joy reducing
edited Oct 3 '23 at 12:09 pm

A question to have a group discussion on:


Is it possible or practical to take our total number of material desires to zero?


A question to have a group discussion on: Is it possible or practical to take our total number of material desires to zero?

I feel material desires can never be 0 practically.
We must turn material into spiritual desire to make it 0.
Desires can be replaced or reduced.
Immoral desires-> Moral but selfish-> selfless desires for larger cause -> desire for Self/God realisation.
Then that desire too goes away.


I feel material desires can never be 0 practically. We must turn material into spiritual desire to make it 0. Desires can be replaced or reduced. Immoral desires-> Moral but selfish-> selfless desires for larger cause -> desire for Self/God realisation. Then that desire too goes away.

A question to have a group discussion on:


Is it possible or practical to take our total number of material desires to zero?


When we stop being attached both to the doing and enjoying of actions, it does not lead to any new desires. It also exhausts existing desires. Thus selfless action or Karma Yoga can be a way to reduce our desires to zero.


[quote="pid:474, uid:241"]A question to have a group discussion on: Is it possible or practical to take our total number of material desires to zero?[/quote] When we stop being attached both to the doing and enjoying of actions, it does not lead to any new desires. It also exhausts existing desires. Thus selfless action or Karma Yoga can be a way to reduce our desires to zero.
edited Oct 8 '23 at 12:47 pm

Reflection on Lesson 2, Question 10: Distinguish between Standard of Living and Standard of LIfe giving a suitable illustration


Standard of Living refers to the quality and quantity of the external objects of experience that an individual (or society) has access to, and the comforts that he is therefore able to enjoy. Throughout history, man has been pursuing improvement in standard of living through developments in the secular fields of science, politics, economics etc.


Standard of Life refers to the maturity and integration of an individual's inner resources, such as: one's body, mind, and intellect , the four personalities constituting an individual and how aligned they are, all of which determine the level of peace and happiness a person can enjoy. This is the domain of the sacred - religion, philosphy etc.


Reflection on Lesson 2, Question 10: _Distinguish between Standard of Living and Standard of LIfe giving a suitable illustration_ **Standard of Living** refers to the quality and quantity of the external objects of experience that an individual (or society) has access to, and the comforts that he is therefore able to enjoy. Throughout history, man has been pursuing improvement in standard of living through developments in the secular fields of science, politics, economics etc. **Standard of Life** refers to the maturity and integration of an individual's inner resources, such as: one's body, mind, and intellect , the four personalities constituting an individual and how aligned they are, all of which determine the level of peace and happiness a person can enjoy. This is the domain of the sacred - religion, philosphy etc.

Reflection on Lesson 2, Question 11: Write a short note on Path of the Pleasant and the Path of the Good


At every point, we are faced with a choice - choose what we find pleasant or choose what we know is good.


The ability to discriminate between the pleasant and the righteous is something we are all born with, however whether we are able to make the right choice in action depends on the relative strength of our inner instruments: mind and body.


If our mind is in control, we are driven by our feelings and emotions, and choose the path of the pleasant (Preyas).


When our intellect is in control, our actions are guided by our reasoning and judgment. In this case, we choose the path of the good (Shreyas).


Religion and scriptures can help us train the mind and educate the intellect, so that we are able to consistently choose the path of Good over the path of Pleasant.


Reflection on Lesson 2, Question 11: Write a short note on Path of the Pleasant and the Path of the Good At every point, we are faced with a choice - choose what we find pleasant or choose what we know is good. The ability to discriminate between the pleasant and the righteous is something we are all born with, however whether we are able to make the right choice in action depends on the relative strength of our inner instruments: mind and body. If our mind is in control, we are driven by our feelings and emotions, and choose the path of the pleasant (Preyas). When our intellect is in control, our actions are guided by our reasoning and judgment. In this case, we choose the path of the good (Shreyas). Religion and scriptures can help us train the mind and educate the intellect, so that we are able to consistently choose the path of Good over the path of Pleasant.

Reflection on Lesson 2, Question 12: Distinguish between Suppression and Sublimation


Our happiness, and evolution to perfection, is determined by how well we are able to control our desires. If we can control our desires and reduce their intensity and number, we are able to purify and prepare our mind to proceed further on the spiritual path. If we let our desires control us, we will stagnate or regress on the spiritual path.


There are broadly two ways to control our desire. One is by suppression - where we use the power of our will to overcome desire. Since will power is limited and desires are many, this approach is not sustainable, and we give into our desires sooner or later.


The other path to controlling desire is the path of sublimation. When we pick a goal or ideal that is greater than us, it elevates us above our desires. The desires become unimportant given the loftiness of our ideal. In this situation, we naturally overcome our desires and do not need to suppress them. This is the approach of sublimation of desires.


Reflection on Lesson 2, Question 12: _Distinguish between Suppression and Sublimation_ Our happiness, and evolution to perfection, is determined by how well we are able to control our desires. If we can control our desires and reduce their intensity and number, we are able to purify and prepare our mind to proceed further on the spiritual path. If we let our desires control us, we will stagnate or regress on the spiritual path. There are broadly two ways to control our desire. One is by suppression - where we use the power of our will to overcome desire. Since will power is limited and desires are many, this approach is not sustainable, and we give into our desires sooner or later. The other path to controlling desire is the path of sublimation. When we pick a goal or ideal that is greater than us, it elevates us above our desires. The desires become unimportant given the loftiness of our ideal. In this situation, we naturally overcome our desires and do not need to suppress them. This is the approach of sublimation of desires.

2.1 Inevitability of Action:


Action is must & nobody can remain without action.
Action is based on how we work NOT what work we do.
Labourer/Vyavasayi:
selfish desire;less focus & joy;no higher goal;
motivated by desire.
Worker/Sevakari:
selfless desire;more focus & joy;higher goal;
motivated by happiness.
Person of Perfection/Gyani:
no selfish/selfless desire;action done not for happiness but from happines.
They are ever happy in Reality.


2.2 Secret of Success:


Problem:Work seems stressful & makes us tired.
Reason:selfish work ->more fatigue & less joy.
selfless work ->more joy & less fatigue.
Solution:
Vyavasayi -> sevakari->gyani.
Go from self-family-society-God.
Scriptures tell working for God Highest.
Result:
Achievement with joy;
Dynamic action + calm mind.
Eg: Krishna in Mahabharata War.


2.1 Inevitability of Action: Action is must & nobody can remain without action. Action is based on how we work NOT what work we do. Labourer/Vyavasayi: selfish desire;less focus & joy;no higher goal; motivated by desire. Worker/Sevakari: selfless desire;more focus & joy;higher goal; motivated by happiness. Person of Perfection/Gyani: no selfish/selfless desire;action done not for happiness but from happines. They are ever happy in Reality. 2.2 Secret of Success: Problem:Work seems stressful & makes us tired. Reason:selfish work ->more fatigue & less joy. selfless work ->more joy & less fatigue. Solution: Vyavasayi -> sevakari->gyani. Go from self-family-society-God. Scriptures tell working for God Highest. Result: Achievement with joy; Dynamic action + calm mind. Eg: Krishna in Mahabharata War.

2.3 Sacred and secular:


Life = series of experience. Experience =world + me.
2 types of scientist:
Objective scientist:
Comfort in world; Improve standard of living.
3 types of people who focus on improving-
Economist: wealth,politician: inter people & scientist: resources. Improving science without values will result in destruction like nuclear bomb.
Subjective scientist:
Better me.
Improve standard of life.
Rishis investigate & reasearch into human personality & draw attention to divine Self.
Also the findings are logical.
Problem: Happiness & sorrow while contacting the world.
Reason:Imbalance of sacred & secular or (world & me).
Eg:mast = secular world;
Anchor= sacred me;
mast high ,anchor not deep-> ship topple.
Anchor deep, no mast ->ship doesn't move
Solution: Work without attachment & improve standard of life(me).


2.4 Dual path:


Problem:-Some think religion binds them& takes away freedom, so they avoid spiritual practices.
-Some forcefully deny enjoyment & it creates suppression.
Reason:Lack of knowledge of pleasant & good.
Solution: Understand pleasant & good path- Choose good over pleasant.
Sublimate desire don't suppress.
Suppression:
Forceful denial of sense objects without understanding knowledge of Higher.
Lower tendencies bounce back like spring.
Degenerates individual's mental attitude.
Eg:child throwing away doll in anger.
Sublimation:
controlling the senses with understanding.
Lower tendencies disappear automatically.
Improves mental attitude & individual
be comes greater.
Eg: teenager realizes dolls are not so important.


2.3 Sacred and secular: Life = series of experience. Experience =world + me. 2 types of scientist: Objective scientist: Comfort in world; Improve standard of living. 3 types of people who focus on improving- Economist: wealth,politician: inter people & scientist: resources. Improving science without values will result in destruction like nuclear bomb. Subjective scientist: Better me. Improve standard of life. Rishis investigate & reasearch into human personality & draw attention to divine Self. Also the findings are logical. Problem: Happiness & sorrow while contacting the world. Reason:Imbalance of sacred & secular or (world & me). Eg:mast = secular world; Anchor= sacred me; mast high ,anchor not deep-> ship topple. Anchor deep, no mast ->ship doesn't move Solution: Work without attachment & improve standard of life(me). 2.4 Dual path: Problem:-Some think religion binds them& takes away freedom, so they avoid spiritual practices. -Some forcefully deny enjoyment & it creates suppression. Reason:Lack of knowledge of pleasant & good. Solution: Understand pleasant & good path- Choose good over pleasant. Sublimate desire don't suppress. Suppression: Forceful denial of sense objects without understanding knowledge of Higher. Lower tendencies bounce back like spring. Degenerates individual's mental attitude. Eg:child throwing away doll in anger. Sublimation: controlling the senses with understanding. Lower tendencies disappear automatically. Improves mental attitude & individual be comes greater. Eg: teenager realizes dolls are not so important.
edited Oct 9 '23 at 5:51 am

Most of us, most of the times, primarily work for selfish motives and to satisfy our ego. We invest heavily into the result of our efforts - get exhausted and turn to consumerism for temporary relief. Then we want these objects more and more and to be able to afford that, we need more money, so back to work.


Can someone exit from this cycle at any point? Please comment.


Most of us, most of the times, primarily work for selfish motives and to satisfy our ego. We invest heavily into the result of our efforts - get exhausted and turn to consumerism for temporary relief. Then we want these objects more and more and to be able to afford that, we need more money, so back to work. Can someone exit from this cycle at any point? Please comment.

Answering Priyaji's question posted on WA Group, here:


Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are four goals in human life. When Artha and Kama are based on Dharma (righteousness), they enrich rather than endanger our lives. The key of success is to remain pure, restrained and disciplined even when praying for more wealth, and be strongly discriminative in nurturing desires. Having said that, the supreme goal of human life is to attain Moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and death.


Answering Priyaji's question posted on WA Group, here: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are four goals in human life. When Artha and Kama are based on Dharma (righteousness), they enrich rather than endanger our lives. The key of success is to remain pure, restrained and disciplined even when praying for more wealth, and be strongly discriminative in nurturing desires. Having said that, the supreme goal of human life is to attain Moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

it from this cycle at any point? Please comment


Yes, it is possible to exit this cycle because it is a state of mind. Once we modify our state of mind through the art of right contact with the world outside, we are able to break free. Just like we discussed in Lesson 1.the scriptures improve the emotional and intellectual standards and help establish proper contact with the objects of the real world.


[quote="pid:482, uid:241"]it from this cycle at any point? Please comment[/quote] Yes, it is possible to exit this cycle because it is a state of mind. Once we modify our state of mind through the art of right contact with the world outside, we are able to break free. Just like we discussed in Lesson 1.the scriptures improve the emotional and intellectual standards and help establish proper contact with the objects of the real world.

Once a great piece of advice was given to me by a wise person.


When a desire has fully bloomed in our conscious mind, it is much harder to tackle it. Often people apply suppression, which is a dangerous tool.


But, as we become more aware of ourselves, with an increasingly subtler mind, we can catch a desire in the stage of a bud just rising up from the subconscious to the conscious.


It is much easier to nip it then, applying more effective tools such as knowledge, discrimination and self-effort - we walk the path of Shreyas.


Once a great piece of advice was given to me by a wise person. When a desire has fully bloomed in our conscious mind, it is much harder to tackle it. Often people apply suppression, which is a dangerous tool. But, as we become more aware of ourselves, with an increasingly subtler mind, we can catch a desire in the stage of a bud just rising up from the subconscious to the conscious. It is much easier to nip it then, applying more effective tools such as knowledge, discrimination and self-effort - we walk the path of Shreyas.

When we clearly understand that the happiness lies in us & objects outside don't give us happiness, we stop wanting them.
Then we can do work as duty & it will not create further desires.
By doing so we can exit the cycle.
As you have mentioned for fully bloomed desires(existing ones),I feel it can be reduced gradually( reminding ourselves the path of Shreyas everytime ) & then stopped to avoid suppression.


When we clearly understand that the happiness lies in us & objects outside don't give us happiness, we stop wanting them. Then we can do work as duty & it will not create further desires. By doing so we can exit the cycle. As you have mentioned for fully bloomed desires(existing ones),I feel it can be reduced gradually( reminding ourselves the path of Shreyas everytime ) & then stopped to avoid suppression.

Can someone exit from this cycle at any point? Please comment.


Yes we can when we develop higher goals of life and also identify that we brought nothing nor will we take anything .
Materialism is often an outward manifestation of deeper unmet psychological needs and insecurities.
Materialism is a slippery and desperate path that leads to apathy, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression, ushering in negative impacts on well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Materialism can be reduced by enhancing self-esteem ie.experiential consumption, prosocial giving, and healthy social development in children.
One needs to go to the root of material desires,declutter living space,practice gratitude,identify triggers,identify what sparks ones joy,prioritise experience over material items, stop the cycle of buying,tossing and replacing items; instead do right as per ur wallet and the need.


Can someone exit from this cycle at any point? Please comment. Yes we can when we develop higher goals of life and also identify that we brought nothing nor will we take anything . Materialism is often an outward manifestation of deeper unmet psychological needs and insecurities. Materialism is a slippery and desperate path that leads to apathy, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression, ushering in negative impacts on well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. Materialism can be reduced by enhancing self-esteem ie.experiential consumption, prosocial giving, and healthy social development in children. One needs to go to the root of material desires,declutter living space,practice gratitude,identify triggers,identify what sparks ones joy,prioritise experience over material items, stop the cycle of buying,tossing and replacing items; instead do right as per ur wallet and the need.
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