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#4540 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #4540 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights ... SWAMI DAYANANDA SARASWATI
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      #4540 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz
      The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights

      Interview with non duality magazine
      Swami Dayananda Saraswati is a contemporary teacher of Vedanta and a scholar in Sanskrit in the tradition of Śankara. Swamiji has been teaching Vedanta in India for more than five decades and around the world since 1976. His deep scholarship and assimilation of Vedanta combined with a subtle appreciation of contemporary problems make him that rare teacher who can reach both traditional and modern students.
      A teacher of teachers, Swami Dayananda taught six resident in-depth Vedanta courses, each spanning 30 to 36 months. Four of them were conducted in India and two in the United States. Each course graduated about 60 qualified teachers, who are now teaching throughout India and abroad. Under his guidance, various centers for teaching of Vedanta have been founded around the world; among these, there are three primary centers in India at Rishikesh, Coimbatore, Nagpur and one in the U.S. at Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. There are more than one hundred centers in India and abroad that carry on the same tradition of Vedantic teaching.
      NDM: There are many modern advaita teachers out there today. Some of them communicate by silence or by looking into others’ eyes. Is it possible to communicate Vedanta by silence?                        
      Swamiji: If Vedanta by silence, Kena Upanisad will be one page, empty. Brihadaranyaka Upanisad will be 50 pages total, empty – empty pages – by silence.
      If you ask a question, and I am silent and look into your eyes, what will you do? You have to look into my eyes. If I don’t blink, you have to close your eyes. Because you get embarrassed, you close your eyes.                        
      And then you have to think. Whatever question you asked disappears, or you try to find some answer, some something. That’s not an answer to the question. You get whatever answer you can get from your own interpretation. Each one gets his own answer.                        
      Somebody asks me, “What is God?” I sit there. (Then Swamiji sits still staring straight ahead for a long time and everyone begins to laugh.)                        
      I have practiced this for a long time (laughter) without blinking. So what answer you will get? Each one will get his own answer, that’s all. If silence is the answer, we won’t have Upanisad.                        
      With all the teaching, if people don’t understand, where is the question of silence? (Laughter) 
      NDM: Does a Vedanta teacher have to be enlightened?
      Swamiji: You know there are two types of teachers, those who are in the process of knowing and sharing the knowledge, and those who know. Therefore no Vedanta teacher worth the name will teach without knowing the text. So they will teach the text.
      So why should we judge whether he knows or not? If he knows, you will also know. If he is capable of teaching you – making you see – then he must be knowing. Otherwise he can’t make you see. So why judge? If he is ready to teach a text, you give the benefit of doubt to that person.
      If somebody says, “I’m running classes in Oracle,” you join, assuming that the fellow knows. And therefore if somebody says, “I’m going to teach Vedanta,” you join, assuming that he knows. And if he knows, he will make you know. If he doesn’t know, then he will pull you into the whirlpool. (Laughter)
      NDM: Modern advaita teachers today charge money for sitting with the teacher. Like to sit with a teacher like this it would cost maybe $35 for an hour. So maybe they get 100 or 150 people together in a group. Then each person gives the teacher money. Traditionally, how do you do that?
      Swamiji: (Laughs). You know, they have to survive, and this is India’s contribution to that fellow’s life. And so, for his livelihood, India has contributed something – some words, which are useful for him to earn his livelihood. And he earns his livelihood, and there are always blokes to subscribe to all that. And therefore, that’s fine. There is nothing wrong in it. He has to live his life. He has to pay his bills, and therefore he charges what he needs to take care. So teaching becomes his profession. He is an advaita professional. (Laughter).                        
      What I say is that there is nothing wrong in it as long as he teaches properly. If the teaching is alright, what he does is fine, it’s okay. But if the teaching is not alright, then I don’t know what people pay money for.
      But generally teachers don’t deny people – teachers in India, they don’t deny people who want to know. They don’t bring money in-between. Money is required perhaps, but money is never brought in between a true student and a teacher, no.
      NDM: Why not?
      Swamiji: “You give me this much money and I will give you…” Then you are trading ātmā – and you are not giving anything to that fellow. What you are giving is himself – for a price – and it’s not quantifiable. What is involved here is infinite. For infinite, you have to charge infinite. Therefore the value of this knowledge is not understood. If the value of this knowledge is understood, you will not trade. You will not make it a commodity – a tradable commodity.
      When you teach a discipline of knowledge like astrology or yoga or something, you can charge. There is something you are giving, and so you can charge.
      But everything will pass if the teaching is proper.
      The truth is – if the teaching is proper, you won’t charge. Now you can figure out what’s going on. (Laughter)
      ~ ~ ~
      Read the entire interview:
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