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Maturity & Knowledge

Becoming a mature human being

The cognitive nature of this pursuit has been elaborated so far, but what about my day to day interaction with the world? How Vedanta can help me to live better and more intelligently? Are there any 'spiritual' practices in Vedanta? Has meditation any place? And prayers? What about ethics and values?

Maturity is an indirect means for gaining this knowledge
As we have seen in the section about the qualities of the student, Vedanta highlights the importance of qualities that a person must have, to prepare oneself for this knowledge. This aspect of human maturity is highly elaborated in the Bhagavad Gita 77, and hence the study of Gita gains such an importance in the tradition.

If I have to understand the reality of myself, the world and Isvara, I have necessarily to examine my relation to the world and to Isvara. This step cannot be bypassed. From the position of an isolated individual confronted to a random, inimical and meaningless universe, Vedanta makes one appreciate the presence of Isvara in the entire creation in form of order that governs various aspects of one's life 78. Seeing oneself as part of a larger scheme of things, itself influences ones day to day interaction with the world. One becomes relaxed and objective individual, connected to the total. Anxiety, fears, resistance, denial, sadness, sorrow, sense of guilt, failure, etc. have less power and subside. Ones whole life becomes yoga, a means for gaining objectivity. I clearly recognize that actions, even though, directly not related to knowledge, when performed with a proper attitude, lead to objectivity that is essential for gaining knowledge79.

The more objective I am in relating to people and situations by understanding my place in the whole scheme of things, the more I am mature. The person who is mature is able to live intelligently, which in turn makes him ready to understand ones identity with Isvara 80. We will see now in more detail how to grow into being a mature person.

Unconditional and graceful acceptance of life situations
Certain understanding about ones relationship with actions and their results is crucial for living a life with objectivity. I have to recognize that I cannot control the results of my actions as there are infinite numbers of variables that influence the results 81. The results are sometimes equal or more than what I expected, and other times less or the opposite of what I expected. My expectations have a limited say upon the results. Since I do not control results of actions, I have no choice but to accept what comes to me. However with reference to action, I have a choice; if there is anything that I can do to change the situation that I am in, I do what is appropriate under that condition.

If one assimilates this relationship between action and result, it brings in a lot of objectivity. However, Vedanta goes several steps further in explaining this relationship. As we have seen in the previous sections, all that is here is the manifestation of all knowledge and power of Isvara. Everywhere there is intelligence in the form of many orders, physical, biological, cognitive, etc. Vedanta reveals that there is also an order which governs the actions and their results. This is called, the law of karma. This law takes into account the actions of a given individual and those of others. It determines their mutual interactions and creates situations at global level. This law of karma is not separate from Isvara. When I understand that, Isvara is taken as the giver of the results of actions. The attitude on my part changes: in religious terms, it means that I begin to accept gracefully all that comes to me as coming from infallible order of Isvara. Even if I do not see the reason behind the occurrence of some painful, unfavorable or undesirable event, I have an attitude of graceful and unconditional acceptance towards them 82.

As my understanding of Isvara in the form of order grows, I begin to appreciate that my reactions such as sadness, jealousy, anger etc. are part of a psychological order that is not separate from Isvara. I try to understand why they are coming, and replace any wrong understanding of the situation with the right one, which enables me to deal with them better.

As this attitude of graceful acceptance sinks in, I suffer less from regret, hurt or sorrow. I become relatively more cheerful, peaceful, not anymore swinging between the extremes of elation and despair. I become more and more ready for understanding the vision of Vedanta.

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Vedanta, the Yoga of Objectivity
In this interview done in Bangkok, Neema explains why we have chosen to call this website, Vedanta, the Yoga
of Objectivity. What is the relationship between objectivity and seeing the reality as it is? What are the different
levels of objectivity we are speaking about?
Listen to audio (3:46 minutes)

The timeless teaching of the Bhagavad Gita
Watch this series of 20+ videos which unfolds the
essential verses of the Bhagvad Gita in a modern, accessible and yet profound manner. These talks
highlight how its vision is relevant to our contemporary world. It also shows how its teaching can help us to
live a meaningful and objective life.

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