All of us here appear to be fascinated by the reach, scope and the eternality of the Ancient Wisdom. Those of us who understand it, will view everything within the framework of this wisdom. Others who may be struggling, will spend a lot of time and effort to understand it.

So, a natural question may arise as to what is in this Wisdom that is not available in modern thought? For the purpose of this discussion let us say modern thought comprises of what has been available to humanity in last two hundred years. 

History of Humanity indicates that despite many great teachers like Gautama Budha, Christ, Krishna etc. appearing regularly and giving those eternal teachings, mankind has remained as selfish, greedy and arrogant as ever. Why do we not consider their way as inappropriate and not look for new wisdom if that exists? If the previous ways of communication used by the great tecahers had less than desirable impact then what stops us from looking for new ways, terminology, doctrines etc. For example, let us pick the three basic concepts of Ancient Wisdom:

1. UNITY - of all beings. We now know that the same basic particles are present in everything. It is only the configuration that makes them appear different.

2. LOVE - as a force to overcome all negativity. We now know which hormones activate this emotion and how beneficial it is for everyone.

3. RESPECT - for all beings. We are aware that violence against even inanimate objects like rivers, earth etc. is only going to harm us.

 

I must refer to the excellent concept put forward by Martin Euser in the form of recipes. I would request him to kindly repost those here. What can we do to convey these pearls of wisdom to the common man of today?

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If it were mainly a matter of Their poor "communication" skills that would leave humanity in the clear would it not? Those blundering ancient (and modern) Adepts - how sad; we deserve better do we not; we know better is it not so?

As Shankara put it:  "Readiness of the disciple is all important.  Knowledge, practices, meditation, prayer etc. are secondary."

Poor communication skills is in the context of the quantum of impact their teachings had on the humanity as a whole. For example, Lord Rama communicated to the Hindus regarding the absurdity of "Untouchability" by eating the already bitten berries from the hands of an untouchable, Shabari. Did his communication had any impact on the Hindus?

Shankara may be admitting his own failure, where the Knowledge (which otherwise is communicated as supreme, being path to the light) becomes secondary to the "Readiness" of the disciple.


Nicholas Weeks said:

If it were mainly a matter of Their poor "communication" skills that would leave humanity in the clear would it not? Those blundering ancient (and modern) Adepts - how sad; we deserve better do we not; we know better is it not so?

As Shankara put it:  "Readiness of the disciple is all important.  Knowledge, practices, meditation, prayer etc. are secondary."

Captain, I'll post here a link to my recipes. In #11, one will find some general ideas as well. Nothing works better than good examples. Humans are copy cats and social animals. The modern network technology can help to spread ideas and sane practices/habits. Paul McCartney's endorsement of "Meatless Monday" being an example. "Earth day" being another. There is so much info available today that there is no excuse anymore to be not informed about things. True wisdom is eternal. It's form and expression will vary with the ages, being adapted to fit the temperament of the people and condition of society. It's up to the individual to find his or her own way in these things. With the coming of the Aquarius age, cooperation in groups will become ever more important, to find ways of sustainable living. Ideas of unity in difference and connectedness are gaining ground now. That ties in with theosophical thought. The age of ego is slowly changing into the age of community. Personally, I believe we may be in for some hard times. But that's another discussion.
principles such as the golden rule ("do not unto others what you would not like to be done unto you") and karma ("what you sow is what you will reap") are eternal. Together with ideas such as "unity in diversity" these principles can be promoted and explained (and they are being done so) through several media. Humanity being as it is, it usually learns best through hardship and adversity brought about by its stupidity and arrogance. Especially, the failure of the political, intellectual and economical elite, during the last centuries, have brought us in the current deplorable situation.

Thanks Martin.

Recipe no.1 is missing in the link provided, which begins with the recipe no.2.



Martin Euser said:

Captain, I'll post here a link to my recipes. In #11, one will find some general ideas as well. Nothing works better than good examples. Humans are copy cats and social animals. The modern network technology can help to spread ideas and sane practices/habits. Paul McCartney's endorsement of "Meatless Monday" being an example. "Earth day" being another. There is so much info available today that there is no excuse anymore to be not informed about things. True wisdom is eternal. It's form and expression will vary with the ages, being adapted to fit the temperament of the people and condition of society. It's up to the individual to find his or her own way in these things. With the coming of the Aquarius age, cooperation in groups will become ever more important, to find ways of sustainable living. Ideas of unity in difference and connectedness are gaining ground now. That ties in with theosophical thought. The age of ego is slowly changing into the age of community. Personally, I believe we may be in for some hard times. But that's another discussion.

Actually, the text with which it all starts forms recipe #1, but I couldn't edit the main text later on to insert the number #1. (Ning doesn't allow one to do that). So, it is:

#1: Connect the seemingly isolated mass of cultural creatives.

Help them exchange ideas, narratives, methods.

 

Links: http://www.culturalcreatives.org/connections.html

and http://www.ecolivingcenter.com/ring/webring.html

 

and for our Dutch readers: http://www.gevoeligheidalskracht.nl/waardenennormen.htm

(other readers: use Google translate to understand these texts)

 

 

Capt. Anand Kumar said:

Thanks Martin.

Recipe no.1 is missing in the link provided, which begins with the recipe no.2.



Martin Euser said:

Captain, I'll post here a link to my recipes. In #11, one will find some general ideas as well. Nothing works better than good examples. Humans are copy cats and social animals. The modern network technology can help to spread ideas and sane practices/habits. Paul McCartney's endorsement of "Meatless Monday" being an example. "Earth day" being another. There is so much info available today that there is no excuse anymore to be not informed about things. True wisdom is eternal. It's form and expression will vary with the ages, being adapted to fit the temperament of the people and condition of society. It's up to the individual to find his or her own way in these things. With the coming of the Aquarius age, cooperation in groups will become ever more important, to find ways of sustainable living. Ideas of unity in difference and connectedness are gaining ground now. That ties in with theosophical thought. The age of ego is slowly changing into the age of community. Personally, I believe we may be in for some hard times. But that's another discussion.

Every class in any subject has students who fail to understand; and that is just intellectually.  In spiritual or ethical growth it is similar.  Without an inner drive & inspiration, no guru, no matter how wise or skilled a teacher can help.  The qualifications for the student must be fulfilled.

More context from Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discernment:

14. Success depends essentially on a qualified aspirant; time, place and other such means are but auxiliaries in this regard.

15. Hence the seeker after the Reality of the Atman should take to reasoning, after duly approaching the Guru – who should be the best of the knowers of Brahman, and an ocean of mercy.

16. An intelligent and learned man skilled in arguing in favour of the Scriptures and in refuting counter-arguments against them – one who has got the above characteristics is the fit recipient of the knowledge of the Atman.

17. The man who discriminates between the Real and the unreal, whose mind is turned away from the unreal, who possesses calmness and the allied virtues, and who is

longing for Liberation, is alone considered qualified to enquire after Brahman.

18. Regarding this, sages have spoken of four means of attainment, which alone being present, the devotion to Brahman succeeds, and in the absence of which, it fails.

19. First is enumerated discrimination between the Real and the unreal; next comes aversion to the enjoyment of fruits (of one’s actions) here and hereafter; (next is) the group of six attributes, viz. calmness and the rest; and (last) is clearly the yearning for Liberation.

20. A firm conviction of the mind to the effect that Brahman is real and the universe

unreal, is designated as discrimination (Viveka) between the Real and the unreal.

21. Vairagya or renunciation is the desire to give up all transitory enjoyments (ranging)

from those of an (animate) body to those of Brahmahood (having already known their

defects) from observation, instruction and so forth.

22. The resting of the mind steadfastly on its Goal (viz. Brahman) after having detached

itself from manifold sense-objects by continually observing their defects, is called

Shama or calmness.

23. Turning both kinds of sense-organs away from sense-objects and placing them in

their respective centres, is called Dama or self-control. The best Uparati or selfwithdrawal

consists in the mind-function ceasing to be affected by external objects.

24. The bearing of all afflictions without caring to redress them, being free (at the same

time) from anxiety or lament on their score, is called Titiksha or forbearance.

25. Acceptance by firm judgment as true of what the Scriptures and the Guru instruct, is

called by sages Shraddha or faith, by means of which the Reality is perceived.

26. Not the mere indulgence of thought (in curiosity) but the constant concentration of

the intellect (or the affirming faculty) on the ever-pure Brahman, is what is called

Samadhana or self-settledness.

27. Mumukshuta or yearning for Freedom is the desire to free oneself, by realising one’s

true nature, from all bondages from that of egoism to that of the body – bondages

superimposed by Ignorance.

28. Even though torpid or mediocre, this yearning for Freedom, through the grace of the

Guru, may bear fruit (being developed) by means of Vairagya (renunciation), Shama

(calmness), and so on.

29. In his case, verily, whose renunciation and yearning for Freedom are intense,

calmness and the other practices have (really) their meaning and bear fruit.

30. Where (however) this renunciation and yearning for Freedom are torpid, there

calmness and the other practices are as mere appearances, like water in a desert.

Thanks Nicholas.

Historically, knowledge has been used as a tool to keep the population subjugated. Rtaher than for welfare of all it was used to propagate welfare of a few. Those who will join the order by becoming disciple. Just like in former Soviet Union, where one could not get any important post, if one was not the menber of the party.

 

But there have been efforts in all ages to give knowledge directly to the people. First effort appears to be the one when the Vedas first got converted into text from the oral tradition. This was an effort to take the learning of vedas to those outside of the oral traditions. The teacher-disciple traditions also were seriously challenged from time to time as would be evident from the stories of Shmabuka from Ramayana and Eklavya from Mahabharata. There are more.

 

Shankara himself used his conquest to free the knowledge from the clutches of a few. During his conquest all his debates were in public and never within a closed circle. Gautam Buddha gave public discourses too. Rama lived a virtuous life and gave explanation for all his actions totally removing the mystery part of it. There is no dearth of isntances to quote. Let us examine if these made any impact on the followers. Jesus Christ asked his follower to "turn the other cheek", but the followers became the biggest killers of humanity in the history, in the name of Jesus.

 

Who taught the teachers? Alright, Shankara had Gaudapadacharya and Rama had Vasishtha. But who taught Gautama, Jesus or Krishna? The answer to this question alone will expose the limitations of teacher-disciple principle.

 

All the great tecahers gave something new to the humanity. A new thinking. They could not do so by merely reciting what they learnt, but by expanding upon it and by solving the riddles. As the folklore goes, the identification of the house of Mandan Mishra (whose wife is believed to have defeated Shankaracharya by asking questions about sex ) was that even the parrots were reciting Vedas. The symbolism is difficult to miss.

 

Nicholas Weeks said:

Every class in any subject has students who fail to understand; and that is just intellectually.  In spiritual or ethical growth it is similar.  Without an inner drive & inspiration, no guru, no matter how wise or skilled a teacher can help.  The qualifications for the student must be fulfilled.

More context from Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discernment:

14. Success depends essentially on a qualified aspirant; time, place and other such means are but auxiliaries in this regard.

15. Hence the seeker after the Reality of the Atman should take to reasoning, after duly approaching the Guru – who should be the best of the knowers of Brahman, and an ocean of mercy.

16. An intelligent and learned man skilled in arguing in favour of the Scriptures and in refuting counter-arguments against them – one who has got the above characteristics is the fit recipient of the knowledge of the Atman.

17. The man who discriminates between the Real and the unreal, whose mind is turned away from the unreal, who possesses calmness and the allied virtues, and who is

longing for Liberation, is alone considered qualified to enquire after Brahman.

18. Regarding this, sages have spoken of four means of attainment, which alone being present, the devotion to Brahman succeeds, and in the absence of which, it fails.

19. First is enumerated discrimination between the Real and the unreal; next comes aversion to the enjoyment of fruits (of one’s actions) here and hereafter; (next is) the group of six attributes, viz. calmness and the rest; and (last) is clearly the yearning for Liberation.

20. A firm conviction of the mind to the effect that Brahman is real and the universe

unreal, is designated as discrimination (Viveka) between the Real and the unreal.

21. Vairagya or renunciation is the desire to give up all transitory enjoyments (ranging)

from those of an (animate) body to those of Brahmahood (having already known their

defects) from observation, instruction and so forth.

22. The resting of the mind steadfastly on its Goal (viz. Brahman) after having detached

itself from manifold sense-objects by continually observing their defects, is called

Shama or calmness.

23. Turning both kinds of sense-organs away from sense-objects and placing them in

their respective centres, is called Dama or self-control. The best Uparati or selfwithdrawal

consists in the mind-function ceasing to be affected by external objects.

24. The bearing of all afflictions without caring to redress them, being free (at the same

time) from anxiety or lament on their score, is called Titiksha or forbearance.

25. Acceptance by firm judgment as true of what the Scriptures and the Guru instruct, is

called by sages Shraddha or faith, by means of which the Reality is perceived.

26. Not the mere indulgence of thought (in curiosity) but the constant concentration of

the intellect (or the affirming faculty) on the ever-pure Brahman, is what is called

Samadhana or self-settledness.

27. Mumukshuta or yearning for Freedom is the desire to free oneself, by realising one’s

true nature, from all bondages from that of egoism to that of the body – bondages

superimposed by Ignorance.

28. Even though torpid or mediocre, this yearning for Freedom, through the grace of the

Guru, may bear fruit (being developed) by means of Vairagya (renunciation), Shama

(calmness), and so on.

29. In his case, verily, whose renunciation and yearning for Freedom are intense,

calmness and the other practices have (really) their meaning and bear fruit.

30. Where (however) this renunciation and yearning for Freedom are torpid, there

calmness and the other practices are as mere appearances, like water in a desert.

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