Shining World

Lucua Sunday 18th Satsang


At Home and at Work: Living Knowledge of Non-difference in a World of Difference

Swani Chinmaya indicates that Vedanta is the ‘art of living’ and it can be pursued under all circumstances, at all places, whether it be in our own house, in a factory, office or in the rice field. There is no problem in the world that can mow you down, if you are equanimous at all times.

But how, is always the question.

The scriptures guide us by the three-fold self-discipline, from chapter 17, verse 14-16 of the BG, when these are practiced with faith and without attachment to results, meaning Karma yoga, it cultivates sattva. As verse 17 says. With a predominant sattvic subtle body, we can navigate the environment, home, and work, thriving in the art of living.

These disciplines for the Bhagavad Gita are:

Verse 14 Discipline of the body:

  1. Worshipping the divine,
  2. honouring wise teachers, and
  3. maintaining purity, honesty, self-discipline and non-injury

Verse15 Discipline of speech:

  1. Speech which does not cause distress,
  2. which is true, pleasing and beneficial, and which
  3. conveys the wisdom of the scriptures.

Verse16 Mental discipline:

  1. Inner calm,
  2. cheerfulness,
  3. absence of compulsion to talk aimlessly,
  4. mastery over the mind, and
  5. pure intent.

Shankara’s Titiksa, one of the Sixfold Wealth, translated as Endurance of the polarities by Swami Tejomayananda or Forbearance as Ramji writes in Essence of Enlightenment, with Sama, mastery of the mind leads us to the art of living, mastery of life. This mastery is not control, as Isvara controls the field, the jiva’s mastery is simply not being swayed by the push and pull of likes and dislike, but able to attend to whatever life bring with equanimity and inner clam.

It is important to understand the relationship between thoughts in the mind, for mastery of the mind. Between the thoughts and the mind there is a relationship. However, thought alone is not the mind.

The yogis of India discovered and declared that thought and mind have a relationship, just as water and the river. Water by itself is not a river, a pool of water is also not a river. When the water flows continuously, only then do we have a river.

Just as a river is water flowing, so too, when thoughts flow through us, there is the experience of the powerful equipment known as the mind. Now if the water of a river is muddy, the river is known as muddy; if the water is clean, the river is clean; if the water is fast, the river is fast; as the water, so the river.

Similarly, as the thoughts, so the mind. If the thoughts are good, the mind is good; if the thoughts are bad, the mind is bad. A man may have a beautiful body, a big car, a million dollars, but if his mind is bad, he is bad. If his mind is good, the whole world is attracted towards him.

Therefore, systematically we must train and discipline the mind for right thinking and correct, diligent activity. Right thinking is a habit that can be cultivated. Accumulated knowledge adds to form ‘proficiency’, the ability to translate that knowledge into action in the appropriate fields is known as ‘efficiency’.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Because we value life more than anything and because it is a gift from the Field of existence, we reciprocate by taking the three dharmas into account and offering our actions as a gift to the Field. 

The three dharmas are Samanya Dharma (Universal Ethics). These are Universal moral values and underpinned by non-injury as we do no harm through words, deeds and thoughts. 

Visesa Dharma (Situational Ethics) is the application of dharma in a specific situation, according to samanya and your svadharma. Lastly, Svadharma is doing what is appropriate to your relative nature, your design.  

Karma yoga is a giving, not a getting, attitude.

It is the appropriate response to life’s demands. It breaks the hold of rajasic and tamasic desires, and converts an extroverted emotional mind into a peaceful introspective sattvic mind.

What you do with the gift of life is your offering to the Field or God. The Field is obviously intelligently designed, so there must be an intelligent architect. And the Field controls us completely right down to causing us to breathe and eat and digest our food, so it is called God.

If you appreciate this fact, which should be second nature, you will not offer a greedy, angry, vain, licentious life to the Lord. You will offer a pure life as a wonderful gift, with a cheerful, smiling face.

You may wonder why, considering the downsides of life, you should present a cheerful, smiling face. However, if you are fair-minded, you can find an upside for every downside because life is a perfectly equilibrated duality. The half empty glass is half full. A positive attitude is no less realistic than a negative attitude.


It is our duty as humans to take care of the Field which gives us everything we need to live. An attitude of gratitude is a prerequisite for a happy life.

Yes, the Field may not be real, but that does not mean that we should not care about it. It exists, we exist in it, from the jiva perspective, and it sustains us while we are in the body. We look after our body because we want to enjoy peace of mind.

The environment, the Field of Existence, is Isvara, is you, the Self. Lovingly acting as its steward and contributing to preserving it is a devotional practice and much encouraged as a practice.

We must remember that the body-mind-ego complex is part of this larger environmental system that also has interrelationships and needs synchronicity, in order for each part to function well.

That environmental factors that we have issues with are outward projections from our own mind. Things in the environment in and off themselves are not the problem.

This is a difficult concept for the mind to grasp because we are constantly bombarded with information about how things are bad for us.

The body-mind-ego complex is weakened and made susceptible to environmental factors because of what is happening in the mind. We must go to the level of disassociating beliefs and the emotional attachments created at the mind level.

The only reason a frequency from the external reality will not be harmonious with a frequency within a person’s body is that there is a discordant belief and/or emotional attachment to the environmental factor in question.

These underlying belief systems that makes the body-mind-ego complex susceptible are usually not evident, most often hidden in the subconscious mind.

These environmental factors can impact from 3 areas:

Head – mind games based on beliefs.

Heart – emotional games based on feelings.

Pelvis – control games based on power issues.

These are symbolic of the type of belief systems attached to the environmental factor.

If we apply the disciplines to the environment, by maintaining purity in our views of the environment and by applying benevolence to our view with an honesty focus we can unplug ourselves from these games. But unless we apply self-discipline to our mind and especially emotions, we will be unable to maintain non-injury.

We connect with the environment in how we speak to and about it. If we focus on speech that is true, pleasing and beneficial, we will ensure that we do not play games and therefore not cause any distress.

Mental discipline is the key when we look at the environment, calm is a superpower combined with cheerfulness and the ability to restrain our speech, and leads to mastery over the mind. Which is only possible if we cultivate pure intent for a value  living life.

Nondual relationship implies you don’t see the other person as something other than yourself. That is only possible if you subtract the person’s body from the relationship.

As soon as you start paying attention to and relating to the differences around that shining being inside, your communication suddenly becomes conflicted, which is evidence that you are having a dualistic stance to relationships. You want to extract from others. Then your likes and dislikes interact with ‘their’ likes and dislikes, and conflict is inevitable.

In nondual you always focus on the oneness, sameness of the two, not differences.

Of course it is not easy, because the ego, the most tamasic function in the subtle body, abhors change and does not like to relinquish the idea of control, even though it is not in control of the results in the first place.

Rather than follow the foolish advice of gurus who tout ego death, you need to make friends with your ego and educate, not eradicate, it, not that ego death is even possible. Enlightened or not, you cannot function in the world without an ego.

If you patiently educate your ego in the karma yoga spirit, it will like you because you have given it good noble work, and you will like it because it will stop being a problem.

Energy Flow

Energy flow must be balanced in the field and subsequently in the jiva system, as part of the field.

When we are needy all energy flows out and the apparent other unconsciously immediately lets it energy flow in as to balance it.

Because I know I am whole and complete, I don’t need anything and am already satisfied. I do not try to extract from others, as there is only the Self – what could I extract that I don’t have.

This whole and completeness is communicated silently and there is a great sense of lightness. This communication naturally incorporates discipline in speech, if we know we are whole and complete our speech is true, pleasing and beneficial. Our focus being on the sameness and thus not distressing any apparent other as we are not trying to extract form them.


Maintaining purity, honesty, self-discipline and non-injury at home is often absent as we struggle to apply the knowledge of non-difference to our most private space where we insist on our likes and dislikes, it is after all “our home”.

However, if you focus on the shining being that is in the body living with you. You understand that what you love in that person is that shining light, shining awareness, that loving Self that is in that person and you understand that it is the same being that is shining in you.

As soon as you start paying attention and relating to the differences that pertain around that shining being inside, your communication suddenly becomes duality.

At home discipline of speech becomes very important, if you focus on the shining being, your speech will not cause distress. You will not be motivated to be anything but true, pleasing and beneficial in your communication.

Mental discipline will transform your home life with great efficiency.

Inner calm is directly related to breathing, pranayama, a focus on the out breath is essential. Allow the nervous energy of the body to release with the CO², even use sighing when needed. Great emphasis is placed on in-breaths these days, greedily grasping for more life, more and more. By bringing the focus to outbreath, the reptilian brain is tricked into shifting from sympathetic to paratympanic, meaning from fight or flight to rest & digest, making inner calm viscerally possible.

Once the nerves system supports instead of distracts, it is easy to maintain cheerfulness and mastery over the mind becomes possible. The incessant need to compulsively talk aimlessly will disappear as the silence and quiet will easily rest on a tranquil and calm inner space.  

This will require pure intent to bring a change to the quality of your home life. If you want freedom, you have to be willing to give it to all other jivas too.

If you get angry in a relationship, rest assured it is because you did not get what you wanted. You had a need that was unmet. The fullness of our nature makes needing anything from your partner unnecessary, even practically.

Ishvara takes care of life, and we participate apparently when needed, thus I do not need to extract my husband’s time and energy, it will show up and work as needed as it always does.

The cure is always karma yoga – when we show up and do our best, offering our actions to Ishvara and not expecting any specific results. By default then, we unhook others from our demand on them to provide a certain outcome. Whatever we receive, we are grateful for as it is a gift from Isvara.  

Business & Work

The best life is not a material life, because it does not tap our real potential and it is a life of problems that tend to compromise our authenticity. The best life is a sincere life, one that manifests our innate spiritual potential and adds real value to the world. To do what you love is the best worship you can offer, assuming it doesn’t involve injury.

The modern world in its materialistic viewpoint strives to bring about a higher ‘standard of living’ by improving the world around man, the deep thinkers of the scriptures and the rational philosophers conclusively indicate that the happiness and the glory of a community depend upon the ’standard of life’ the individuals come to live.

Echoing this sentiment from Swami Chinmaya above the model developed by Regenesys Management, which demonstrates how the external environment, the levels of an organisation, the team and the components of an individual are interrelated in a dynamic and systemic way. The success of an individual depends on his/her self-awareness, knowledge, and ability to manage successfully these interdependent forces, stakeholders, and processes.

Vedanta teachings state that we should live a life in service of Isvara. That’s where karma yoga comes in. With karma yoga, our every action, right down to cleaning our teeth and sweeping the floor can be an act of service, bearing in mind that the universe and environment is Isvara‘s body.

Being able to use your work skills in a constructive and positive way is a wonderful opportunity for you to serve the Lord. The degree to which you do this, specifically in terms of workload etc, is a matter for your own discretion.

Everything has an upside and a downside in maya, and it’s really a matter of seeing how these weigh in. If you feel you want to offer more in certain areas, and feel the benefits offset any downside, then that might be a good choice.

Although, more isn’t always better. Again, for the inquirer, the inner work–worshipping Isvara by devoting time to our sadhana and inquiry–is no less important than the outer work. Sometimes we just need to be clear about that, and not be too upset when we realise that others with opposing values judge us harshly for what they see as missing opportunities or wasting our time.

Always be clear on your goal, and allow your values to guide your priorities accordingly.

Bring the view of non-difference to work requires maintaining purity, honesty, self-discipline and non-injury. Purity in relating to the contract establish of serving the goals of the organisation with honesty. Applying discipline to maintain a work ethic that serve and inspire, whiles ensuring that non-injury is maintained at all times in word, thought and deed.

Especially in a competitive work environment, this can be tricky. However bringing inner calm and cheerfulness to the work space, will transform the level that you relate to everyone, as the focus will be on sameness and not difference.

Abstain from the compulsion to talk aimlessly at work is critical for the art of living, as the content of speech mostly in these environments reverts to gossip and idle small talk.

Again, this will require a mastery over the mind, and pure intent especially, as we are bombarded with the dualistic view of competition.

It is advisable to ensure that the organisation you work for aligns with your values. If not, and nothing else is possible, always apply karma yoga. But working in an environment that is injurious to the field, must be avoided.

Ramji said that after he spent two years with Swami Chinmayananda decisions such as job, value for money, relationships and even where he lived were simple; if it didn’t support moksha he said no to them.

In Vivekachudamani, Shankara stresses that life’s greatest blessing is to have not only a human birth, but a good mind, good karma, the desire for freedom and access to the teaching and a teacher. This is life’s highest blessing because it’s the setup for moksa.

Nothing in this world can lead us beyond the world, but Vedanta + a qualified mind + a teacher is all that’s needed to ‘bestow’ our birthright of freedom. Worldly joys are finite and always offset by sorrow, whereas moksa is an infinite and lasting joy because it’s based upon that which is infinite and lasting–our own ever-free, self-effulgent nature as awareness/consciousness.

The realisation of this inherent freedom does not come easily to a mind habituated to worldly cravings and suffering. Indeed, applying Self-knowledge and re-educating the mind is pretty much a full-time job.


BodyTalk Fundamentals handbook, Ed 9th, John Veltheim & Sylvia Muizneks; p241-243

BG Divine Song, Ch 17 V 14-17, Ed 1, Rory Mackay, p326

A Manual for Self Unfoldment, Ed 8, Swami Chinmayananda, p2-14

Regenysis Business School, MBA Business Ethics and Corporate Governance Module Study Guide, p2-3

Tattva-Bodhah, Adi Shankaracarya, Chinmaya Mission, p 6-16

Youtube video, ShiningWorld, What is a Non-Dual Relationship?

Satsangs from Shiningworld website used by Rory Mackay & Sundari

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