Philosophy And What It Means To Me.

“Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.”

Despite having written before about my tryst with philosophy  in my blog, it is still nice to be able to revisit my story from a different perch as it were.

I approach the topic with a historic perspective highly personal in nature as, I am deeply involved in the study of philosophy.  I was not always so and hence this approach.

I was burning both ends of the candle in the late seventies of the last century when a dear friend, concerned about my well being put me in touch with Transcendental Meditation. I learnt it and started practicing it in earnest with amazing results. While practicing, I also studied the first six chapters of the Bhagwat Gita translated and commented on by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

This continued till 1983 when on a dare, I attended a ten day Vipassana camp and got hooked to that form of meditation which I continue to practice till today.  That little adventure also led me to study Buddhist philosophy.

Two  more synchronistic developments that led to further incidents that got me thoroughly involved in Indian philosophy.

While on a business visit to Chennai, another dear friend insisted that I accompany him to a lecture on Vedanta by Swami Paramarthananda. That got me further interested and when the same friend on a visit to Pune requested me to take him to a colleague and fellow Sanyasi of the Chennai Swamiji, I did and met Swami Satswarupananda of Pune.

I not only met him, but became his student and studied Vedanta under him in our Guru Shishya Parampara for fifteen years.

He finally retired to full time sanyasa to Rishikesh after instructing his students in Pune that Shravanam. (Learning) and Mananam (Internalising the learning) were over and the time had come for them to focus on Nidhidyasanam. And that is what I have been doing since the last many years.

In the meanwhile, I also had the privilege of meeting Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the Guru to both the Swamijis mentioned earlier, both at Anaikatti, his head quarters and in Pune during two of his visits.

Having bored my readers with that background, let me now explain what Vedanta, means to me.

In the Vedantic system, one goes through various stages of life with four goals called the Purushartha.. Having crossed the first three fairly successfully, I am at the last stage of my progress to achieve Moksha.

End of my story.

To understand the contents of my post, please do use the links given for various words without which, it will be difficult to.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 4 On 1 blog posts where Conrad, Sanjana, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.

18 thoughts on “Philosophy And What It Means To Me.”

  1. Fascinating Ramana, I have followed a different path. not as detailed as you and explicit as yours but I am a firm believer in creating out own journey through life with all its complexity.

    I am a great fan of your journey.


    1. Thank you WWW. I believe that all of us choose some path or the other to sustain us through our lives. Yours and mine have been full of incidents that we have managed to handle with inner resources and that came through the paths that we chose.

  2. I truly enjoyed this post, the fact that you chose a spiritual take on it is lovely. This was my first introduction to the Vedanta and it’s been enlightening. Great writing as always!

  3. I am not surprised at all by what you have written. One of the things I enjoy most about you is your willingness to lay it all out – your life’s journey – with the speed bumps and wrong turns clearly defined. Of all the people I have encountered over my 71 years, you seem most at peace with your life and path. You discuss things like a human, not an academic trying to impress folks with your depth of understanding but with the caring and affection of a friend tring to help. Your philosophy of life is one worth emulating.

  4. It seems that you have reached the balance of life which is called wisdom. I agree with what Shackman said: “…. you seem most at peace with your life and path.”
    Do you think that the prophet who gave birth to many religions in this word was also a philosopher?

  5. I agree with Shackman

    For me, I’ve never followed much of a “plan” not that I’m jumped from “place to place” although at times, particularly right now when my own personal life has got off-track some how – I’ve had to step back and even step out and try and work through “why something isn’t going as well as it was”.

    Just this week, when I created a way of offering a “spirit” a note – the first one that I remember doing was “what if this is as good as it gets” – within a few days, some aspects of my health started to improve. But I never like to “count my chickens” as life is apt to swivel off in another direction. But a tiny light is glowing at the end of my tunnel.

    It’s still early days but I’m working on the philosophy that a new pathway/journey is unfolding … one that is definitely different to this time last year, and the year before that.
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    1. We all choose, or if you prefer, come across some path or the other that helps us navigate our way through our lives and it is only when deliberately thinks about it that such paths become objects of interest and analysis.

      1. Ramana, I suppose if we just “flow along in a good pattern” that doesn’t seem to need tweaking, we just let it be. “If it’s not broke why fix it” as the saying goes. When it is “broke” we may think “well this isn’t going to be difficult to fix”… I thought that 7 months ago! That’s the health side of those months but in a way it may have been linked to the personal thought side – because I’ve certainly taken a much different path of my own of late.

        A “new” path that is still in the making, baby steps here and there. Testing the water with short trips here and there, sometimes suffering with days of recuperation but starting to see if I work with the tools I’ve put in place then things could re-start or similar.

        Tomorrow I’m finally going to catch up (going in a cab to the base to save energy) with a friend at a cafe; I’ve already warned said friend, I may have to suddenly just get and and go. My friend has a lot of mental/personal issues and I’m not sure I can cope hearing all the ins/outs – that is one of the reasons I stopped trying to get out to cafe meet-ups and actually I’ve gone completely of the drink/food culture of these places. I go into them, and maybe get a cake in a bag and then wander away to a bench and watch the passing traffic.

        So it’s going to be a “test” to see if I can cope with sitting and wasting time in a cafe…I can already see that my “flow path” is changing – I would rather not be in such a place, feels like a waste of time! 🙂

        1. “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, the river flows and the grass grows by itself.”
          ~ Zen saying.

          Your method of disengaging after having prepared the other to expect it, is bound to be effective. I prefer the direct route. I simply do not meet people who can become toxic for me.

  6. I’m always thinking about the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, though I’ve never referred to my deliberations as philosophy. This constant search seems to me a bit like peeling off the layers of an onion one by one. Maybe eventually I’ll peel off the final layer and all will be revealed!

    Your own philosophical search is very thorough. Having once tried transcendental meditation, it did nothing for me. But I’ve found a lot of inspiration in Buddhism.

    1. I am not surprised that Buddhism inspires you as you are just the kind of person to whom it would appeal. Buddhism and Vedanta are not different if one just replaces one word in each.

  7. One of the beauties of the Indian approach is the integration of philosophy with the practice of life. There is no cleavage between the secular and the divine, the practical and the contemplative, as I understand it. It is quite a feat.

    1. Sanatana Dharma, popularly known as Hinduism, is NOT a religion. It is a totally anarchic way of life. The emphasis is on the individual’s connection with the divine and while one does get into groups, it is not necessary.

  8. I sometimes think in our search for knowledge, answers to questions, understanding, we overthink. Perhaps we needlessly complicate very simple matters. Sounds like you’ve gained insight on life with your many explorations that has brought you to a level of calmness to be welcomed, especially in these latter years of our lives. We all seek to achieve that soul peace in our ageing lives, I think, each in our own way, as you say. Perhaps we can only be more certain we’ve reached that point if confronted with unexpected life-altering challenges that serve to test how we cope.
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