A Teaching for the Ages
James was invited to teach the Bhagavad Gita last summer for three months in Carbondale, Colorado at Eaden Shantay’s extraordinary meditation kiva. The Gita, as you perhaps know, is, one of the three pillars of Vedanta and the essence of its source texts, the Upanishads. It’s 700 verses are a dialogue between a sincere seeker and a self-actualized teacher that discusses three topics: (1) the nature of the world, which you can fairly call ‘empirical’ reality, (2) psychological reality, which is to say the nature of the human mind, and the transcendent non-dual factor: (3) existence/consciousness, often referred to as Awareness.
The Gita, which literally means “God’s Song,” is a thoroughly vetted, time tested means of liberation, which Vedanta defines as freedom from dependence on insentient objects... situations and material things...and sentient beings i.e. plants, animals and especially people. It takes an inquiring individual from the depths of a “dark night of the soul,” an existential crisis, to Self-actualized freedom and non-dual love. In short, it unfolds the complete spiritual path from Karma Yoga, stress and anger management, to Meditation, the disciplines required to refine and purify the mind, and onward to the three stages of Self Inquiry: listening, contemplating and assimilating Self Knowledge.
James unfolds all 700 verses in plain English with characteristic clarity and wit. It is available as 131 direct downloadable one hour files or from ShiningWorld’s streaming service for €150. It is all you need to overcome your sense of limitation. Included with the download are the James' Teaching Outlines of the whole course, a four thousand page Transcript of Swami Paramarthananda's Bhagavad Gita talks, Swami Dayananda's Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course, and two versions of James' Bhagavad Gita verses.
To purchase click here: Video download / Online view (streaming) / Audio download
When the Gita takes hold of your life you will sing its eternal melody with full confidence.
I AM the Song of the Self
- I Am whole and complete, non-dual, actionless, unlimited, ever-present, ordinary Awareness/Consciousness, the Self. My nature is Unconditioned Presence, Fullness, Pure Love, Pure Existence, Absolute Peace, and Unlimited Happiness. I never change for I Am the Lord of Immortality.
- I Am the Source. You will not find lasting happiness outside of me. I do not need experiences to make me happy. I am neither what is, nor what is not. I am pure Auspiciousness, the essence of wisdom and the eternal Reality. I alone give meaning to everything. Though I am Satya, that which is Non-dual, always present and unchanging, I created mithya, the unreal apparent reality, ever-present, changing world. I created the dualistic field in which dharma and adharma co-exist, where individuals (jivas) work out their karma. Though I created good and evil, I am neither good nor evil. I am the Good standing beyond both. I have no will. Know me and live a righteous life.
- I Am beyond the Creator and the Creation which seemingly limits Me but never hides Me. Maya, the creative principle, projects the myriad laws and principles that make up the miragelike creation in which the jivas sport.
- I Am the subject of all things and beings, not the object of all subjects. Seemingly real sentient and insentient objects are in me but I am not in them. I know them but they know me not.
- I Am the attributeless nature of everything, the invariable, essential factor that cannot be negated or removed. I am the water in the wave and the ocean, the gold that remains when the ring is removed. You cannot negate me because I am unborn ever-present Existence. I am sometimes called emptiness, but I am not empty because I am the witness of the illusory thought of emptiness. I am the fulness of unconditioned Awareness and cannot be changed, transformed, or reduced to anything else.
- I Am Isness, the substrate of everything that is. The existence of all names and forms belongs to me, but not the names and forms themselves. All things arise in me and dissolve into Me. I stand alone.
- I am self-effulgent, the light of lights. I shine and everything shines after Me. Though objects directly and indirectly reflect Me, they are not the same as Me, nor are they different from Me, just as the inert reflection of a person in a mirror is the same but not the same as the conscious person who casts it.
- I Am the independent Consciousness that enlivens the body like a ventriloquist enlivens a puppet. People seem to be independently aware but they are not. My light shines on the mind and it thinks. It shines on the senses so they feel and act. Hypnotized by my Maya, people identify with the body, believe they are doers and suffer. Maya crushes the deluded mind in its crocodile jaws convincing the jivas they are flawed and insignificant, entombed in decaying flesh, subject to ever-changing forces beyond their control. Staring in the contemptuous dualistic mirror of self-loathing, unlovable vulnerable people only see their perceived needs and angers. Instead of turning inwards toward me, they stare at the world, looking to be healed, seen, loved, wanted and known. With knowledge of me they remain unsatisfied.
- I Am not a part, product, or property of the body/mind. The human form is a microcosmic projection within the Macrocosmic projection. It is an object known to me. I am thought to be associated with the material body/mind/sense complex due to ignorance of my nature, although I am always free of it. I am the unlimited Self. I have no qualities or attributes.
- I Am the invisible, all-pervasive, intangible space-like Consciousness in which all bodies appear, including the one you call “mine”.
- I Am only ever One, though it seems like I am two. Apparent individuals think they are unique but there is only Me.
- Because people are a mixture of spirit and matter, as twilight is a mixture of light and dark, they become confused and seek to discover me but I am always present and known to myself alone. Duality does not exist in me, only in the minds of jivas.
- I Am the ever-experienced “I.” Though I appear as all names and forms, I am nameless and formless. I never become the world. Names and forms are in one order of reality, mithya, and I am in the other, Satya. The two orders never meet so they do not conflict. The reflector and reflection in a mirror don’t contradict each other. Smoke in space never sullies it. Nothing touches, contaminates or hides Me.
- I Am not limited by the boundary of the body. There is nowhere I am not. I pervade everthing like space. I am everywhere, brilliant, indivisible, and undefiled by sin. Wise beyond measure, I am both immanent and transcendent.
- I Am never an individual but I contact the world through individuals. Those who know Me as their innermost Self contact objects happily, never for happiness. I love and accept everyone because they are Me. There is nothing wrong with them. They need not change, nor perfect themselves but they can live free of their programming. Understanding who I am, their sense of doership disappears.
- I was never liberated because I was never bound. Sometimes, however, I seemingly forget who I am until I am mercifully set free by the teachings of Vedanta. If ignorance was real it could not be removed.
- Realize Me as your self and conquer death. I am hidden in the hearts of everyone, the first and only causeless cause, and the final resting place. Obsessively devote your mind to me and I will reveal Myself to you.
- I Am not in time. It is an object known to me, created by ignorance-informed desire. At my command evolution begins. At the end of time, I withdraw the whole creation back into itself like the spider reels in its web.
- I Am Self-Evident and need not prove that I am. When I am apparently under the spell of ignorance I know that I exist and am conscious, but I do not know that I AM Existence/Consciousness itself, or, what it means to be Existence itself, Consciousness itself. If I rely on the testimony of the senses, they fool me. Eyes cannot see me, ears cannot hear me, nor can words express me. The mind cannot grasp me, though I am That by which you know what you know. I other than the known and the unknown.
- I Am never contaminated or affected by the thoughts and feelings that appear in me even though without me, no thought or experience is possible. I illumine and pervade every thought/experience. I exist between each thought. I am in the waking, dream and deep sleep states and not in them. I do not change when thoughts, experiences and states appear and disappear. I am the knower of the coming and going of all things.
- I Am the non-experiencing witness to whom experience is presented by my Maya. Yet, I am also the ultimate experiencer, the one who is not affected by experience. Experience does not take place ‘in’ me because there is nothing but me. There is no ‘space’ to accommodate objects/experience in my non-dual Self.
- I Am the unborn Bliss which does not come and go when desirable objects are gained and lost. I always experience limitless bliss because it is my nature.
- I Am the Silence beyond silence and sound because there are no differences in me. I am the witness of the empty and the active, noisy mind. The silence which is devoid of sound cannot reveal me. Soundless silence will not remove ignorance of my nature. For that, only Self-inquiry with a valid means of knowledge works.
- I Am neither sentient nor insentient. I am the knower of both. My presence alone makes sentiency possible. I never modify to experience so I cannot be called conscious. Only when Maya, the power to delude, appears do I seem to be conscious because there is something to be conscious of.
- I Am Beyond the jiva’s means of knowledge. I cannot be known by perception and inference because I am the subtlest subject, not available as an object. I have given you free will to choose and the Vedanta sampradaya, by which you come to know yourself as Me. You must learn to think differently and surrender to me. I can only be known by the analysis of your own experience through inquiry into cause and effect. Use this powerful teaching to meditate on me. To qualify to know me you need to know that the world cannot fulfill you. You need a qualified teacher too, an expert restorer to help you painstakingly remove the accumulated accretions on the masterpiece of your Self. Don’t teach yourself, as your prejudices will contaminate the teachings.
- When I appear in human form I act like an ignorant person. I need not call attention to myself because I lack nothing. I worship the Creator and follow the Creator’s laws. I injure no one. I have nothing to gain by treating myself as an exception. I don’t believe in God. I know that there is only God and that we share the same identity. I Am totally free of fear, worry, smallness, insecurity, helplessness, confusion and need. Nothing can be taken from or added to me. I need no validation because I validate everything. Contented and free of the senses, I enjoy being alone, sipping the nectar of the bliss of my Self. I do not need distraction or entertainment. There is nothing other than me with which to identify. Positive and negative feelings leave no traces in my mind. They are like clouds that dissolve when the sun shines. Life and death are meaningless to me. I live happily on whatever comes.
- I am the altar fire burning in the homes of the righteous. I am the limitless light of Awareness that flashes in the lightening, that twinkles in the stars and in your eyes. I am the light shining on the day and the night, the source of the sun and of every light in the universe. Throughout my luminous robes are woven the heavens, the earth, mind, and body. I dwell in men, in the gods, in truth, and in the vast firmament. I Am the air you breathe, the fish swimming in the rivers and the plants growing on the earth. I Am the wind blowing in space, the replenishing rain falling on the land and the dewdrop on the flower. I Am the butterfly, the blue bird, and the green bird with red eyes. I Am the fiery volcano, the thundercloud, the violent storm, the seasons, and the seas. I Am the giver and taker of Life. I Am all that is beautiful and all that is ugly. I Am the innocent baby, the boy and the girl, the man and the woman and the old man tottering on his staff. My face is everywhere. I have no beginning and no end.
I Am You.