One Year Course

Vedanta is an impersonal method of self inquiry. The first stage is listening with an open mind, setting aside your personal views. Listening without judgement is difficult but not impossible. If you find yourself deciding whether or not you like what you hear, you are not listening. There is nothing to like or dislike, only something to know. If you listen without prejudice, the words will make complete sense, but if you are only looking for an explanation of reality that fits your views, Vedanta is not for you. If you surrender to this process, you will succeed.



Lesson 10 Webinar Transcription: The Ropes, the Gunas.

Welcome. This chapter follows logically after the lastchapter Karma Yoga, because the idea here we need tools to work on ourselves.Obviously if you know who you are and you don't have doubts and you'reexperiencing sense of freedom, constantly feeling free and independent of yourmind and so forth, than you don't need to do any work. You've already done thework. The proof of the pudding is in the feeling of freedom, not just in theknowledge. You can have the knowledge, many people have the knowledge andthey're clear about who they are, but yet the feeling, the sense of being freeis not there, which means that there's still some more work to do.

This knowledge is good before the knowledge is firm. To gain the knowledge you canmanipulate your gunas or control your gunas to get a sattvic mind. Then onceyou've got the knowledge, to experience freedom constantly in every thought, inevery experience, then you need to do work or sadhana on your mind. And thisguna teaching. All the teachings have two aspects basically. They're just pureknowiedge on one level.

I nother words if you understand the teaching it's as good as moksha. Like KarmaYoga, if you really understand that Isvara's the doer than you willautomatically surrender all your actions to Isvara and therefore your mind willconstantly be clear and your experience of yourself will be blissful, full andbe free. In fact Ramana Maharshi says surrender to Isvara is equal to selfinquiry, cause it is self inquiry if you understand. You can't surrender toIsvara without understanding why you really have not choice but to surrenderthe results of your actions to Isvara. And that will destroy your sense ofdoership. It won't keep you from doing obviously but it will remove all theanxiety that's associated with action and the results of action.

And the gunas teaching is the same way. If you know that you are the knower of thegunas than that's all you need to know. Because the gunas just represent thethree varieties of experience that each person has. Just like each person, eachjiva, only has three states...a waking, dream, and deep sleep state..eachperson only has three states of mind. They're either rajasic, tamasic, or sattvic,or one is predominate and the other two are suppressed, hidden, dormant, ingeneral. So only one idea, one energy is in your mind for a period of time. Soif you can just discriminate the knower from the energy in the mind, the gunathat's playing in your mind, than that's moksha.

So all these teaches have two: they can used as sadhanas or they can be used asjust knowledge. Well in this context we're talking about the gunas as sadhana.As sadhana means the work you do on your mind to get it prepared forenlightenment or to purify once you're clear about who you are.

1. Why is knowledge of the gunas essential for anyone seeking liberation?

The answer is because experience itself is made up of those three gunas andeverything that happens in your life is regulated and controlled by them.Moksha is freedom from experience so I need to know what my experience is. Ineed to be able to separate myself from what I'm experiencing. And that allsounds very simple, but is it really? No. Cause I'm like completely identifiedwith what I'm experiencing all the time. If somebody calls you up they don'task you who you are they say, 'what's going on?' Isn't that right? And you justtalk as if you were your experiences.

So getting an understanding clarity between the knower of the experience and theexperience, that's moksha. There's really nothing you can do about experienceitself. You can manipulate the type of gunas that you experience to somedegree, but you basically can't do anything about the fact that experience istaking place all the time. why is that? Because you're not generatingexperience. Experience itself is not generated by the jiva. The type ofexperience the jiva has is generated by the choices that the jiva makes, by thejiva's actions and the results...the type of experience that you have...but theexperience itself you don't have any control over. That's produced by Isvarashining on the Causal Body, on Maya. That's just producing experience ingeneral.

So moksha is freedom from experience. And the experiencing entity. Obviously theexperiencing entity is part of experience itself. Experience itself is one butthen it's broken up into all these little discrete jivas, each one thinking'I'm an experiencer', but the 'I' that's experiencing is just Ishvara orexperience itself experiencing objects. I have to get this clear who I am andit's not easy. It's a simple theory. You know, when you get sad, when sadnesscomes you say I'm sad. Is that right? No. But how many times you say I'm happy.Well hey, you don't even think about it. It means what? You're identified withthe experiencer which is identified with experience which is identificationwith a guna. Some aspect of experience that actually belongs to Isvara and notto you.

Like in Vedanta we're trying to shift our identify from the experiencing entity tothe non-experiencing witness. It's a gradual shift. When I talk about the shiftpeople imagine or they want an instant shift of the whole thing. They want onebig experience that will shift them out of the jiva completely into thenon-experiencing witness. So that in all one big go you're going to get yourmoksha. But it isn't like that cause the tendencies that are created byignorance are working against you all the time. So even if you shift up you'regoing to shift back. We use to call that the firefly stage. You blink on you'dbe light and aware and happy and high, then you'd blink off and be down insamsara groping around with the objects trying to make sense out of things.Then boom you'd shift back.

So you have the spiritual people with these two types of experience going on. Oneis an experience of non-attachment and wholeness and happiness and oneness andcompleteness, and the other just a normal samsaric experience and they seem tohave any control over it. And you won't have control over it except by constantapplication of this teaching. This teaching is just the same as all the otherteachings. If this doesn't work for you take one of the other teachings causeall the teachings do the same thing. Every prakriya, every teaching that wehave is intended to shift your identity, shift your point of view from thisbody level to the level of the witness, the seer of experience.

An enlightened person doesn't feel like they're in the body. They feel they'resituated outside the body. It's a very strange thing actually. It's like thereis three eyes...one outside the body and two here. And they see what the eyesare reporting but they don't feel they're behind those eyes. And then theywatch the reaction of that jiva to the experience that's coming in through theeyes. And that's when the identity is completely shifted to awareness.Sometimes it's kind of hard to negotiate in the world because at certainmoments when the mind is really sattvic there's a very strong sense ofnon-attachment to objects. From the level of the two eyes in the material worldit seems very solid and substantial, but from that vision everything seemsfluid and ghostlike and insubstantial. So we've got to get this clear whatexperience is.

2. Why are you not able to stay in a happy state of mind all the time?

That's basically ano-brainer isn't it? No, because of the action of the gunas. If you're mind ispredominately sattvic than you're going to feel happy most of the time. Youcan, through manipulation of the gunas, create a mind that's predominately, 90%sattvic, or even more. Some yogis who sit in samadhi and stuff...yogis likeRamana who's life was extremely simple, who really didn't have a karma at all,and who ate like birds and didn't have any relationships with anything...withmoney, or people or anything. Even when Ramana was sitting with a bunch ofpeople, he wasn't in a relationship with them. His body was sitting there buthe wasn't attached or connected to any of those people.

So through manipulating these gunas you can basically feel happy and good and high andpeaceful most of the time. But if you don't do any work and you'repredominately tamasic and rajasic than you're going to just get little blips ofhappiness here and there, just feel happy for an hour or two or a morning orafternoon or something, but then that feeling of happiness will go when therajo guna or the tamo guna comes back.

Now to a person who knows who they are and established in the self as the self it doesn't matter ifthey're tamasic, because they don't care if their jiva is happy or not.See...if the jiva's unhappy they just say, 'it's tamasic today,' or if the jivais rajasic they'll say, 'oh the jiva's like a monkey. Look at it jumpingaround. What does it have to do with me,' and they're amused by it and theysay, 'that's really silly. Why is my mind jumping around with chicken with itshead cut off when I'm sitting here totally non-attached to this. These peopleare not concerned about their gunas. They could, because what is producingthese different states of mind is the type of actions you do.

See, there's really no time here. The action and the result are really not separate. People say,'Well what's the first thought,' cause they think you have to have a thoughtbefore you have an action. But you can't get a thought without an action andyou can't get an action without a thought. It's like the idea, the chicken andthe egg...now which one came first? Well there's no first, is there, cause youcan't have a chicken without an egg and you can't have an egg without achicken. So there's no time involved in this thing at all. So you need to lookat whatever action you do is going to produce a particular result and thatresult will either be instant or be delayed. To get a mind that's really prettyclear, you have to look at the delayed reaction, what we call adrishta phala.Because very often certain actions will produce sattva in the beginning butafterward they produce rajas and tamas.

Like, if I'm really, really tired and I've worked hard all day and I go and drink a beer,I'll feel really sattvic and good...for how long? Maybe a half hour, or if youget really high it might last an hour or two, but basically you have one beerand you start to come down that's why you have another beer. If the one beerdid the job and it just kept pure sattva...but then you have another beer andkeep drinking more and more, each time getting less and less result. So, whyyou aren't able to stay in that state of mind because of the action of thegunas. That's the idea.

3. Which guna causes happiness and which gunas produce suffering?

Well, most everybody here knows the answer to this one. There may be some new people whoare following the course online who don't know that. The answer is sattva gunacauses happiness, and tamo guna causes dullness and sleepiness, and rajo gunacauses pain. All pain comes from rajas. There's no pain in tamas and no pain insattva. All the pain that you experience psychological and physical and allthatthat comes from rajo guna. That's the cause of it.

These are the basic signs of the guna that's playing in you. So when you're feeling dull and sleepyand tired that's tamo guna obviously. When you're feeling really busy and activeand frustrated because there's some block, or apparent block to yourdesire...if your desire is flowing nicely and the objects keep manifestingproperly what you want, than there's no rajas. You just feel really good. Butas soon as an obstacle appears, the desire gets blocked, then boom therajo guna comes. You don't even have to have the guna, the desire, blocked. Allyou have to do is think that maybe it will be blocked. That maybe you won't getwhat you want. Even though you didn't have it, and you don't have it now, andyou may possibly get it later, but if you think you won't get it you canimmediately get frustrated and angry. Just a thought can block the flow of thatpure energy.

Your experience is just pure desire, pure energy. As Krishna says in the Gita, "I amthe desire not opposed to dharma." The reason he says that is becauseenlightened people and just everybody is driven by this outward going energy.If you're here, you're moving through this time-space dimension and desire ispushing you or pulling you through this dimension, however you want to look atit. So there's nothing wrong with having desire, understand. That's not theproblem. How can you create anything without desire. How can I teach Vedanta ifI don't have the desire to teach Vedanta? I don't know what I'll bedoing...I'll be going fishing or doing something else because always desire isfunctioning through you. Whenever there's a blockage it produces this rajas,this rajo guna.

So rajo guna is the source suffering or pain. This is why in our scriptures, Karma Yoga isbasically anger management. Because when you're getting what you want there'snothing to manage is there? You're sattvic and you're happy. But when you'renot getting what you want you're angry.

4. Why are the gunas called ropes or chains?

Because they...and think about this sentence...they tie the jiva to experience. Is thatright, do they actually tie jiva to experience? No they don't, they apparentlytie the jiva to experience. What is making the bondage that's tying the jiva?Identification. If the guna ties you, you're screwed because what can youdo...it's the guna that's doing it. Now it does look like the guna is makingyou do these things. This again is Isvara, understanding that Isvara is thecontroller. If you can't see that it's just your identification that'sproducing the attachment than you're screwed...there's no way out. You're justa prisoner of your experience. It's an awful feeling. That awful feeling that Ican't escape from my karma, from my situation. It's just brought on not by theguna itself but by the identification with the guna. Cause experience is goingto be sattvic, rajas, and tamasic anyway for everybody.

There's no jiva that's free of all those gunas. So no experiencing entity is free of all thosegunas. My guru was particularly rajasic and sattvic. Very sattvic and veryrajasic. This other Swami we've been watching here, Tattvavidananda, he's aSwami in the Chinmaya Mission, he's sattvic and tamas, almost no rajas. You seeall these different combinations. I had another guru, he was almost completelysattvic, with a little rajas which manifested in singing and chanting. So theguna isn't actually binding you. To say the guna is binding me is not correct.I'm identified with a particular guna and therefore...like, why do I go out formy duner (food) when I come to Amsterdam? Because I've got tamo guna...tamoguna is in me. If I didn't have tamo guna I wouldn't go out and have my diner.And you know I felt kind of guilty about my diner so told them to leave thebread off so then it's a little less tamasic. So even though I don't get thatnice feeling of the bread, at least I feel better emotionally that I avoided alittle extra tamas. By just changing my behaviour a little bit and you justchange your behaviour a little bit and you notice your state of mindimproves.

So this is a great teaching because it gives you hope that you can transform your experience.There's no reason why you have to sit around and feel like you're a prisoner ofyour experience.

5. Rajas is passion for objects. Itinclines an individual to nonstop action. Why does it generate considerableanger?

We just covered this...because the world in which you're acting doesn't respond directly toevery one of your desires. Isvara, what we call the total, means yourenvironment and the world around you, its got other needs to fulfil than givingyou what you want. And the rule in Karma Yoga, Isvara considers the needs ofthe total and then distributes results according to the needs of the total. Soif my actions are in harmony with the needs of the total than it's highlylikely that I will get the result that I want. But whereas my desire is notbeneficial to the total than the result is not going to manifest and if the resultdoesn't manifest what's going to happen? Rajas, anger, and with that anger youget a huge problem...you get a self esteem issue. Because rajasic peoplebelieve they should have what they want when they want it the way they want it.And if they don't get it you know what they feel like? Failure. They're so egocentric they think they should be able to control their actions, control whathappens to them. And when they can't they feel like they're losers. So you haveall these people, self esteem is such a huge issue in our cultures.

Huber and I were talking the other day and he said he never met anybody in India who had a selfesteem problem. And I never met anybody in India who had a self esteem problem.I never had one Indian whine and complain and say that there was somethingwrong with themselves. Because there they an appreciation of dharma, theenvironment, and the total and they understand that everything they get comesfrom the total, and that's not really easy to control...can't really control thetotal. You can cleverly manipulate to some degree to get what you want. Sobasically they just have a laissez faire attitude - que c'est ra c'est ra, andit will be what it will be and I'll do my little duty whatever that is.

But here, our whole notion of happiness is to get what I want. It doesn't always involve taking myenvironment into account. But the environment doesn't care what I want. It justdoesn't care. You walk into an office, you want something from some corporationor you got some problem...well hell you don't know if you're going to get it ornot. They've just got rules and laws and people who are administering rules andlaws and you just have to submit your request and you just pray you'll get somefavourable result, or not, but it's not up to you. So this is the source of theanger...this rajo guna.

6. What is the primary bondage caused by rajas? Interms of a feeling or idea?

I'm a doer. Doership. I's called kartritva...enjoyership, doership. Enjoyership anddoership are the same basic idea cause you only do to enjoy. So this sense thatI'm a doer is the result of rajo guna. Now that's an interesting idea becauseit doesn't mean that you shouldn't do. A lot of people misunderstand thisteaching 'I'm not the doer'. I'm not the doer doesn't mean you're not a doer.It means you're the self. It means the doer is the doer...that doing isabsolutely unavoidable. There's no way that you as a person can stop doing.Even if you just sit there and somebody walks in and says, "What are youdoing?" And you say, "I'm not doing anything." Well yeah youare, you're sitting there. I mean non-doing is a huge doing. Try to non-do fortwo hours. So doing is inevitable, no problem about that. It's just the feelingthat I have to do, that I suppose to do, that I should do,that I must do this. It's that pressure. You do not have to doanything. You're not required to do anything. You can do, you can do somethingelse, you cannot do, it doesn't matter. So you can always say no to an action.You do not have to do it. If that feeling is there it means the vasana pressureis so strong you've lost your freedom.

You know some people, particularly rajasic people, they'll set out the day with theirlists...10 things to do today or 20 things to do today. And even, like if theyget 5 or 6 things done but it's taking longer than they thought and it's notworking out, things start becoming more and more difficult and they get moreand more frustrated...then this feeling of they've got to do it. They won't letgo because they've decided they have to get all those items off my list todaycause in their mind they know there's a whole other list they have to dealwith. So then they force it. They go faster, they get more and more angrybecause of this pressure, this doership is there...if I don't do it I'm not ok,I'm not valid, I'm not a good person, I"m inefficient , people areexpecting. You've got all these reasons why you need to keep pushing the issueand forcing it and getting all these things done.

So whenever you have this feeling it's a sign that you're over burdened. You've got too muchrajas. And first of all you should cut back on your activities. Try to tellthat to a rajasic person. They don't want to hear it. There's two kinds ofsannyas. There's karma sannyas and jnana karma sannyas. Karmasannyas is just cutting back on your activities. Now that's just thebasics. That's common sense. Now try telling a rajasic person that. They've gota reason why every single thing they want to do is absolutely essential forthem to do. They do not want to let go. Even one small thing they will not letgo. They'll say, "Ok I won't do it today," but they'll put it ontomorrow's list. So there's all this pressure all the time. This stress, orpressure. I call it pressure they call it stress...constant stress. And if youhave that it's a sign you're rajasic, and rajas is the total enemy of inquiry.It's the enemy. Krishna says in the Gita, "This rajas, this desire,it's your enemy and it's an inveterate sinner". It means it's a sinnerconstantly forcing you to be unhappy cause it's your sins that make youunhappy.

So without looking at my desires and rajo guna, it's not just looking at the actions I'm doing,it's looking at why I want what I want. And that's going to involve a fierce moralinventory - my values. We're going to have a chapter on values coming up nextor shortly. Because obviously I have a value problem if I'm doing too much andcan't let go of these things. So I've got to analyse my values, analyse myactivities and so forth and so on.

And the other way you deal with it besides cutting down on your activities, is to renounce thedoer through knowledge. That's called jnana karma sannyas. That's tounderstand that I'm not a doer. But I can't do that if I'm too attached to allthis stuff. So I've got to do my Karma Yoga to reduce my doings down enough soI can understand that Isvara is the doer and the field of action is the doerand that I don't need to have all these things to make myself feel complete andwhole. This rajas it's the biggest problem.

7. Does the statement I am not the doer mean thatnothing can be done to attain enlightenment? If yes, why? If no, what does itmean?

That's for your lazy tamasic people, for your instant enlightenment people. The people that don'twant to do any work. They just want to go to some satsang or some shaktipatguru or have some kind of technique that's going to instantly solve theirproblem. No. In fact, the whole first section of the Gita is aboutexercising your free will. The second six chapters are about the influence ofIsvara on your life. The first six chapters are all about exercising your freewill because you've got these people who say they want to be free. Andeverybody wants to be free. Everyone will tell you I want to be free. Isn'tthat right? I mean they don't have to be spiritual, but if you talk to them fora little bit, 'Yeh you bet I'd like to be free...free of my this or that or theother thing.' Everybody wants to be free. They've got all these things they thinkare tying them down and limiting them. But in the spiritual world you've gotall these people who want to be free but they don't want to do anything.They're children of this instant gratification cultures...I want it and I wantit now. They have this thing here..."If we don't deliver your order toyour table in ten minutes you got a free meal." You've seen that? Now whycan't I wait eleven minutes for my meal? Why is ten minutes the limit I canwait for my meal? Well because I want it and I want it now.

But moksha doesn't happen like that. It's a slow chipping away. It's a gradual reorientation ofyour vision from this material point of view to this spiritual point of view.And that's just steady hard work and practice day in and day out. Whichconsequently you don't see that many people in Vedanta cause our definition ofmoksha is difficult and the sadhana we've got is difficult. So it doesn't meannothing can be done. Something can be done and our sadhanas are what you can doto do it. We've discussed Karma Yoga is the basic sadhana. the basic practiceis Karma Yoga. And Karma Yoga in conjunction with Jnana Yoga, inquiry both. If you can't inquire at all you just do Karma Yoga. If you have apretty reasonable life and you can think and act at the same time... mostpeople are just mindless, they're just acting and doing and they're notthinking about it. But some people have a little more detachment and they canthink and act so they can discriminate and do Karma Yoga at the same time.Karma Yoga actually is discrimination.

8. Tamas causes a failure to see what has to be donein a given situation and a lack of will to accomplish it. Why is it spirituallycounterproductive?

Talking about tamoguna. Why can't you see what needs to be done? Cause your mind is too dull.Tamas...you say I don't know what to do, you're confused in a given situation.This means tamo guna is operating there. Because it should be clear. If yourmind is sattvic will be clear. The solution to any action is available at everymoment in your own environment. Everything you need to do is immediatelyavailable for you. You can process your karma immediately unless you'retamasic. If you're tamasic you can't see what's appropriate. Your mind is toodull. And even if you can, even if someone tells you what you should do...andthe world is full of people telling everybody what they should do...and it'sthe right thing to do, you probably won't do because you don't have enough willpower, enough rajas to actually do it. You're too slothful and lazy to do it.It just seems like a huge, huge problem.

Even the smallest person to a tamasic person seems like a huge, huge problem. Like paying yourtaxes, it seems like a huge problem. It isn't that big of problem. It's only inyour mind. Actually you have to sit there adding up figures and looking upstuff. I've just been doing that for the last couple weeks. I mean it's boring,yes it is, but it's not that hard. It's just that I don't want to do it. It'snot glamorous and it's tedious and so forth and so on, so I don't want to doit.

And why is tamas spiritually counterproductive? In other words, why isn't it good for youspiritually? Because the vasanas are hardwired and you've got to work hard onit. And you won't, you'll just use your intellect to justify not tackling theproblem, not acting, not doing very well what you should be doing spiritually.

9. Give at least two reasons why is sattva the mostdesirable state of mind for self inquiry?

(a) It makes awareness accessible experientially because it reflects awareness. When youfeel happy, what is that happiness you're feeling? It's your self reflecting ina sattvic mind. Your mind is like a mirror and when the mirror is clearawareness shines in it and you feel bliss, you feel happy.

(b) It inclines the mind to objectivity. This is the scientific state of mind to non-attachment.This is where you're clear and you see what's going on and you're notevaluating what's going on. In rajas you're saying, :'Do I want that or I do Inot want that? Is this good or is this bad?' You're trying to figure outwhether what you're seeing and experiencing is going to give you what you wantor create problems for you.

But in sattva you're just still and clear and you can see the big picture. You're objective.You can see the upside, you can see the downside. Your mind is like still andclear. It's a scientific or objective state of mind. And that's obviouslydesirable for inquiry because I don't want to make the wrong choices and wrongdecisions in life. I want to be able to make my decisions based upon a clearknowledge of the upside and downside of every situation. Because I'm operatingin duality here and nothing is what it seems to be. That's what Maya means,it's a world of appearances and you can't really trust your initial reaction.You can't really trust your desires and your fears to deliver accurateinformation. They're going to distort information. But with sattva you actuallysit still, quiet enough to think about things and gather all the information andcome up with an objective evaluation so you can make an intelligent orthoughtful decision.

And obviously it makes the assimilation of the teachings easy. If you're tamasic or rajasic andI tell you to do Karma Yoga, or just hearing the teaching, you'll misunderstandthem. Whereas if you're sattvic you actually can hear what we're saying. Liketonight, people are sattvic, you're thoughtful, the mind is still here andquiet so you can actually hear what we're saying. Whereas if you're sittinghere thinking about your life or when you can have your big samadhiexperience... you know, people come to satsang waiting to get high. And they doget high cause there's an energy of anticipation that builds up there. So theywalk into this energy bubble and they're lifted up. And that's all they want,that's what they went for. Then the guru doesn't have to deliver anyinformation at all, so they can just babble. These satsang gurus a lot of themjust talk. It's really very little logic. Most of it is kind of nice, vaguepatter about this and that, encouraging thoughts and feelings... nice warm andfuzzy stuff. In the end there's not much to get.

People tell me over and over again they enjoy these teachings and these satsangs and these teachersbut when I ask them what the teaching was or what they got, they can almostnever can tell me. It's really odd. Every time I ask, "Well, what aboutAdyashanti, what does he teach?" Well nobody seems to know what heactually teaches. They just feel good there and something about moksha and thisand that. "Or Mooji, what does he teach?" "It doesn't matterwhat he teaches. It feels good. You feel spiritual. You're there."

But in sattva...obviously our argument is, you're already free so no experience is going to setyou free cause you're already free. Which means what? That there's some lack ofknowledge here, some ignorance needs to be addressed here, and therefore youshould listen to these teachings with a dispassionate and clear mind and clearup your doubts. I mean, we say you're already enlightened, you're already free,and if you don't feel it, if you don't get that feeling that your'e free, theonly issue then is that there's something you don't understand. Because youcannot get free if you're already free. So this is not an experiential thing.This is some lack of understanding in my mind, so sattva is just essential forthat.

There's several reasons. It gives you control over your destiny. You can actually evaluated theconnection between your actions and the results. So you can create the kind oflife you want. This is a big issue. People say, "Oh no, no I can't. Isvarais making all this happen." But Isvara is not a big boss. Isvara is notyour big daddy in the sky telling you you have to do this and you have to dothat, and you're just a helpless little devotee and 'I just do whatever Isvaratells me to do.' Isvara is as dependent on jiva as jiva is dependent on Isvaraas far as moksha is concerned. Cause Isvara is just that force or that factorin life that facilitates the results of your actions. So if you put in actionsA,B,C and D, Isvara's going to give you results A,B,C and D. If you put inactions X,Y, and Z, Isvara's going to give you results X,Y, and Z. Your resultsare going to be according to your actions. So is Isvara the boss or is jiva theboss? Who's the boss here?

If you're sattvic and you'e got this knowledge and you can understand, then you can actuallydesign your life. Can actually consciously design your life according to what'sbest to you...according to your swadharma. Or in out case, what are we about?Freedom. Every intelligent choice I make for freedom Isvara is going to what?Reinforce that choice cause that's what Isvara 'wants' for you. And if you justwant to be a miserable screwed up person then Isvara will see to it that you'llbe a miserable screwed up person.

10. Does transcendence of samsaric experience i.e.spiritual experience result in spiritual growth independent of theassimilation of samsaric experience? If yes, why? If no, why?

Ok I understand, that's a tough sentence. In other words, can you have a spiritual experience that can produce spiritual growth or maturity apart from understanding what that experience means? No. This is aimed at the people who think thatexperience is going to give them enlightenment. They just think there's aparticular experience that's going to make them enlightened, make themunderstand. And the answer is no because you can have a non-dual experience andmisunderstand it completely. Usually what happens...and this is the mischiefnot just in the modern spiritual world. This is the big problem since day onebecause you see the arguments in Vedanta against this notion way back fromVedic times. And that is, because I have a non-dual experience I'm enlightened.Because I'm experiencing non-duality I'm enlightened. But hey, no, that's notcorrect. That's the experiential notion. You're not enlightened because youhave a particular experience. You're 'enlightened' i.e. you were the self, youwere awareness, before that non-dual experience happened. Understand. And whenthat non-dual experience happens you haven't gotten unenlightened. You're stillthe light. You're just the light shining on a miserable experience, that's all.Before I was the light shining on a miserable experience. Now I'm the lightshining on an enlightened experience. And then when that enlightened experienceends, I'm the light shining on another miserable experience. See the samsara?

See all these experiences including all these spiritual enlightening experiences are only insamsara. If you're in samsara you'll always in samsara. If you're out ofsamsara you're always out of samsara. There's no connection between the two.There's no tunnel or bridge...you can't hop out of samsara into nirvana. Youcan't tunnel underneath Maya and stick your head out there in the infinitetranscendental state. It's not going to happen. Why? Cause they're in differentorders of reality...one is satya and one is mithiya. Even though thisexperience here exists it's as good as non-existent because it doesn't have anyeffect on awareness.

So whatever happens here doesn't actually effect you. But I'm looking for enlightenment because I want this experience to change me. And you know it's an honest mistake becauseevery experience I have does change me if I'm this experiencing entity. If I'mthe experiencing entity, the person I think I am then every experience changesme. Enlightened and non-enlightened experience all change me. So I want onethat's going to change me for the better. And yes, temporarily you'll feel goodfor awhile. I even met one fellow who was experientially enlightened for fouryears and then boom it went off. That's a weird case I never heard of...usuallypeople get little glimpses, what they call satoris, just a minute or two you'reout of it, and then you realise there's something more than this and suddenlyyou pop back down into it again. But he was like out of it for four years andthen suddenly boom he went back down and into this again.

So there's no way out of this except to understand you've always been out of it. That's why whenyou understand that you're awareness nothing ever happens. 'How could I havethought I was that person who was so concerned about what was happening all thetime with my experiences.'

11. Why is it necessary to assimilate experience? Whynot just live like an animal without understanding the purpose of life?

Yeah it's actually a good question. That's what people actually try to do. I mean, look at thecoffee shops here. They're all dark. They're so dark inside there. I kind ofwanted to go in but I was afraid I might get lost. They just want to live inthat realm of the senses where everything is dark and narcotic and dull, youknow.

No, cause unassimilated experience causes psychological pain, that's all. If you don'tunderstand why you're doing what you're doing, you're in pain. And what are the two states of mind that cause misunderstanding or that compromise assimilationof experience? Rajas and tamas. However sattva can also cause a distortion ofexperience. A distorted assimilation of experience can come from sattva. Thatwould be love of beauty, love of truth, love of goodness, all of these. So ifyou're looking at everything through...I had a friend who was an artistic type.He was an architect and he loved old buildings. But you can't drive through acity with this person because wherever there's an ugly building his mind goesabsolutely insane. He starts ranting and raving and cursing, "a society andthis and that," and goes on and on and on. And he can't get calm until hesees another beautiful building and then he's happy again.

Or people who areparticularly sensitive to dharma. They can't stand anger or deceit or violence.They can't read the paper. If they read the newspaper they're really pissed orangry all the time cause they want everything to be righteous and justice andgood and so forth.

But in sattva guna,if you've been taught properly, if have this Vedanta vision and doing yoursadhana than yes, that's the guna for assimilating information.

12. Why does the individual have only limited controlover the three gunas?

Cause they're unconscious forces. The whole idea here is to make what's unconsciousconscious, to bring these tendencies that are hidden from us into the light.That's why we want to understand what these are because all these three gunasthat are hidden in you manifest as particular thoughts and feelings. So thosethoughts and feelings are the indicators or the sign that are pointing to theunconscious forces or factors that are working on you. Once you can identifythem then you can do actions that will neutralise, transform, or change thosegunas.

I mean basically this is the most amazing psychological tool there is. It's a shame that modernpsychology hasn't figured this out. They don't seem to be interested in it. Iwish I had a huge audience and could really talk to some of the big people whoare in that psychological world, cause it would empower them. It would reallyempower people so much and would solve so much. A Ted Talk. Oh yeah, that'sfunny you mention about that but who's going to invite me? (group discussion onhow to get James on Ted Talk). To explain the psychology of this is amazing.

I've finally gotten all the books up to speed. You know we've got a new one, Essence ofEnlightenment, that's been out for a few months. People are really enjoyingthat. And next week we'll have Inquiry Into Existence on the website.That's the analysis of Pancadasi's existence and consciousness. That'slike the most high-level text. So the next one up is the gunas. I've alreadygot all the files and research done and I suppose by the end of the year wecould have a really good book on the gunas. Then I'll do the Ted Talk.

No, it's such ashame that psychology doesn't understand this...desire and action. The simplebasic stuff that everybody knows. I have a friend who's a psychologist. A lotof psychologists come to Vedanta...the psychiatrists don't generally. And Ihave one... I don't know if he's certified as a psychologist but basically he'sa psychologist...and he said even kids understand this guna things. He saideven teenagers can get this. It's simple, It's just you're own basicexperience.

These gunas arejust the result of lifetimes of unexamined experience. This is all the stuffyou've been too busy or too miserable to deal with so it just keepsaccumulating in the unconscious and it effects you negatively. So in terms ofcleaning up...and the beauty of this guna model is that it's impersonal. Youdon't have to blame your mom and your pop and the federal government and thechurch or the gays, or the Muslims, or anybody for all your problem. None ofthose things are the cause of your suffering. It's a simple unconscious psychologicalmechanism that needs to be exposed and then used to transform your life andyour experience.

13. How does rajas affect the assimilation ofexperience?

It just disturbs the mind so much you can't discriminate. Your mind is so agitated that you can'tget information. In tamas your mind is so dull that you can't figure out what'shappening. In rajas your mind is so busy it creates the problem, you can'tfigure out what's happening because your desires and your fears are constantlyclouding your evaluation of experience. And as a result of that what do you do?You continue to repeat actions that cause suffering. Same with tamas cause youcan't see so you keep doing things that create suffering. You can't draw theconnection between your action and the result and when you can't do that youblame. You point the finger...and three fingers are pointing back at you,always. And those three fingers are the three gunas. I never thought of thatuntil just now.

So when you're sattvic you can actually draw the conclusion between your actions and yourexperience. And it's obvious that if an action is producing suffering than youshould stop doing it. If you can stop doing it, fair enough, stop doing it. Ifyou can't than you have to dig deeper and find what the causes are just releaseit by understanding. But basically why did into all that stuff. My teacher useto say, "Why pick through your vomit." All this vomit is there inyour mind, why pick through it to see what you've been eating. Don't bother withit. Just vomit, throw it away, get your mind clear, move on, and don't do thoseactions that are producing this kind of situation.

People in failed relationships say every relationship always ends, it doesn't work, cause theynever really examine what they're actually doing there. I learned through myrelationships. Every one got better and better and better til I figured outwhat was the problem. I had to run through a dozen or more relationships. Buteach time I was paying attention to myself and I could figure out, 'Oh I seehere's where the problem is.' And then I could correct the problem so the nexttime that wouldn't be a problem in a relationship. And you can only do thatwhen you're sattvic and clear and rational and committed to developing a quietmind.

(talk ends here...some technical difficulties)