Some of us who spend a lot of time in the third agni cakra, are very fond of achieving greatness.
great means “Of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average.”
We want our kids to come first in school! We want our spouses to be the best looking and most accomplished! We want to have the most and best stuff! A bharat ratna wouldn’t hurt and a nobel prize would do nicely! And yes any other sign from the external world that confirms that we are indeed better than others.
Some people work really hard to achieve greatness.
Some people happily “claim it” in conversations.
They project their failures on to you, they claim success for themselves and in every word and gesture they say, “I am better than average, better than you in fact – let me give you a little advice!”
They are desperate to recruit you to their idea of their success – because – here is the funny thing, many of us need some other human to tell us/agree that we are great. Especially when we are not sure about ourselves.
Some people feel great by belittling others.
Whether it is Rama or Gandhi or Julia Roberts they simply like to feel better by looking for flaws in people that other people hold up to be great. Only they or their families they consider great.
Some people fix the meter or the yardstick used to determine greatness.
They place themselves at perfect. Anyone more progressive is “too forward”, and anyone more traditional is “too backward”. And so on. They have the perfect height, figure, complexion, attitudes, family……achievement. They are not merely great they are as great as great can be, the maximum of the curve while all others are below.
Some people tell you that you are great.
Some do this to encourage you.
Some do this to manipulate you.
Some do this because they think you are like them, or think like them or say what they want to say.
Some people think you are great because you have already achieved what they want to do.
And some people actually like or benefit from what you have done.
Some people in fact have searched a long time for someone like you and know how rare it is to find such a person!
Of course some people say that you are great because others are saying so.
And some others think that if you are famous, that must imply that you are great.
You have already met and/or reconciled the needs for safety and love to even come to this level.
So it is not that you want to win the Nobel Prize so you can pay the electricity bills or to have the worship of your family. Many young mothers have safety and love in dollops and yet they are restless for some ‘achievement’. They want to do something and be somebody.
And even if you taste that perfect dish which you made, you are not happy unless others also say it is good.
Any child knows that in a game of pretence – the others must pretend too – or it is no fun at all!
Those who are at the agni cakra are not happy with singing a beautiful song. We have to be A.R. Rehman or S.P. Balasubramaniam or whoever else has been rewarded with both fame and money for their music. We are not happy with our love for Rama, we have to be as great as Thyagaraja…
We even view spirituality as a sort of a ladder to climb. Guruji, we ask, have I advanced? Do you think I will reach the 7th cakra this weekend? Because, I do have other plans for the next week!
We think even of advaita in terms of “advancement”! Someone told me, “I think of you as a senior or advanced sAdhaka”.
Yes, you guessed right.
There is one more thing to let go – is the obsession with achievement and it’s connection to “validation by others”.
Whether you are dvaitin or an advaitin – ahankAra (I-ness) and the related concepts of “advancement” and “others” are not going to help you at all.
So at some point, vEdAntins will lose interest in tantra yOga. Especially advaitins.
The model of tantra yOga reinforces and strengthens the idea of advancement and thus duality.
It may lead to the same goal as vEdanta, but as someone once told me, you can’t ride with a foot in each boat.
So choose carefully a system that you have trust in for whatever reason and follow it with s’raddhA (meticulous, careful, dedicated, discipline).
If your goal is the jivan mukti of advaita – then I believe it best to stick with vEdAnta.
There are mixed systems available in modern times and of course you will take the path that is right for you.
But my recommendation, for someone who trusts it, is stick with vEdAnta.