What makes a cult? | Exploring false teachings

Another video in our ‘Exploring False Teachings’ Series. See the playlist on my YouTube channel for more in this series of videos

Note that even ‘false teachings’ may be useful to us at times, and are often part of our (apparent) journey. ‘False teaching’ here just means teachings that do not directly point to liberation.

Q. What does J. Krishnamurti mean when he writes ‘The Observer is the Observed?’

Tom: If you read JK carefully you will realise that he just means that what you take to be you, the observer, is actually something that is observed. ie. the observer is actually the ego-mind or thinking-mind, and whilst you may take this to be the subject-observer, it is actually an object, ie. something that is observed.

Put differently, the thinking mind or thought often makes comments and commentary about the world, and so appears to be the observer-subject. However, if investigated, we can see that these comentarial thoughts are actually appearences or objects – ie. they are observed.

Best wishes

Tom

Swami Sarvapriyananda: Seeing the eternal in daily life not just in samadhi

Also see: Does Swami Sarvapriyananda teach the same as Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna?

Above is a nice presentation from Swami Sarvapriyananda, but this in my view this is actually a distortion of genuine vedanta teachings. I do want to be respectful towards Swamiji as I think he is doing a great job sharing Vedanta teachings – he is raising awareness of and popularising Vedanta in a very accessible and approachable way – and he is also a gifted teacher who is benefitting many – so I hope I will not offend anyone by merely stating an alternative view that I also hope will be of benefit to those seeking liberation (see the link above for more on my view of these types of teachings).

Imho these ‘Vedanta’ teachings are predominantly on the intellectual plane only and the genuinely infinite and blissful nature of the Self is not revealed with this type of teaching. The Jnana (knowledge) of the scriptures is not mere intellectual knowledge, as suggested by Swami Sarvapriyananda, but a synonym for Self-Realisation which is beyond any intellectual comprehension and does not depend on the mind/thought. Jnana is not merely a change in a point of view, but something much more radical and fundamental than this.

eg. there is a direct contrast between Swami S’s teaching in the video and with that of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who I consider to teach the genuine Vedanta teaching, as taught in the Upanishads and by Sri Shankaracharya. The following is taken from Sri Ramana’s text Who Am I? – can the teachings be any clearer? See how it contrasts to the exposition given, eg at around 23:40 mins into the video above where Swami S states the world/’what is seen’ need not be removed:


Questioner. When will the realization of the Self be gained?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self which is the seer.

Questioner: Will there not be realization of the Self even while the world is there?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: There will not be.


Questioner: When will the world which is the object seen be removed?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition’s and of all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear.

This teaching is given by Sri Ramana as ignorance is only removed when we turn away from Maya and towards the Subject-Self, and thus discover what we truly are beyond the mind and objective phenomena. Sri Ramana is also telling us that the entire world is in fact an illusory projection of the mind, something that he further explains in the text ‘Who am I?’.

Ironically, this teaching given by Swami Sarvapriyananda is also in direct contrast to Swami Vivekananda (the founder of the organisation Swami S is in) who again and again explained the need for Samadhi, eg:


‘The conclusion of the Vedanta is that when there is absolute [ie. nirvikalpa] samadhi and cessation of all modifications, there is no return from that state’

Or contrast this with Sri Shankara, the founder of ‘modern’ Advaita Vedanta, in his commentary on the Katha Upanishad 2.1.1:

‘…The group of sense organs, beginning with the ear, should be turned away from all sense-objects. Such a one, who is purified thus, sees the indwelling self. For it is not possible for the same person to be engaged in the thought of sense-objects and to have the vision of the Self as well

Guru Ramana gives a rather cutting teaching in Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 599:

599.
The innocent girl-bride thinking that
Betrothal is full conjugal union
Is filled with joy. Even so the learned
Who have yet to turn within and taste true bliss
Claim that the verbal wisdom which they prattle
Is advaita jnana.


See here for more many more quotes like this from Sages such as Sri Shankara and the Upanishads: Do we need to turn away from the world of objects to realise the Self? | Advaita Vedanta | Sri Ramana Maharshi | Upanishads | Shankara