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The qualities of the student

We often distort the meaning of words of somebody talking to us or are mistaken by the intention of the speaker because of our own subjectivity. This subjectivity distorts also our perception of the reality of situations and our relationship to people, colleagues or friends. If we cannot be objective with reference to this empirical reality, how will we be able to see the truth of the entire universe with clarity when it is being conveyed by the words of the teacher 37? Therefore Vedanta, along with unfolding the reality, highlights the need to prepare oneself to receive the knowledge 38 and specifies the means to accomplish this maturity.

In brief, to be available for the inquiry into the nature of oneself 39, a student needs to have some cognitive skills, be objective, tranquil and compassionate. He also should have an understanding of the nature of the fundamental problem and its solution, and be committed to the pursuit of knowledge. Traditionally, the qualifications enumerated are the following:

Dama :
Many of our responses to situations are reactive in nature or driven by our basic instincts. One needs to become more deliberate in one's actions. Even if there is some displeasure or anger, one gains certain mastery over oneself where one does not act upon the anger, but decides what is the appropriate response and acts accordingly. Dama is therefore the capacity to control or withdraw the inappropriate expression of emotions.

Sama :
However if I become deliberate in action, and decide not to express my anger, disappointment, etc., what can happen is all these emotions stay with me and soon I become a nervous wreck with all these unexpressed emotions. Hence, Vedanta also emphasizes that one must then look into one's anger, sadness, etc. find out the cause and correct one's understanding in light of which one's emotions are processed. When emotions are taken care of with right understanding, I become a cheerful, composed and tranquil person who is available for the pursuit of knowledge.

Uparatti :
Is the ability to do what is to be done at a given time, place or situation whether I like it or not. I am not any more under the spell of my likes and dislikes to guide my actions; I do what is appropriate in a given situation. This gives a sense of being in charge of one’s life, a sense of satisfaction about oneself based upon the understanding that one is connected to the world and has to act in harmony with it.

Titiksa :
Is the capacity to put up cheerfully with unpleasant and inevitable situations or people without concern or complain. Does it mean that I just take every situation as it comes and allow people to do what they do? Does it mean I never use my will to change an undesirable situation? No. It means that with reference to unpleasant situations, you do what you can to avoid or mitigate the impact of the situation. However, in spite of all your efforts, if things don't work the way you want, you are able to put up with them without a lot of complaint or negativity. Similarly, in dealing with persons, one tries to understand the person without being judgmental. However, one also draws boundaries when necessary to restrict an interaction that is unhealthy.

Viveka :
Is a certain capacity for discriminative understanding. When related to the analysis of my life experiences, I discover that my usual pursuits of security, pleasures, ethical and religious ends can give me only limited results but not freedom from insecurity, and sadness, that is what I am seeking 40. Having recognized that, I am also able to see that what Vedanta is saying, you are already free from limitation, is the only possible solution since a limited person, by adding limited things can not become free from limitation. Finally, my discriminative capacity helps me to dispassionately examine what Vedanta says, and detect fallacies in erroneous notions entertained by different individuals and schools of thought.




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