Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression



ONE, by Jerry Katz

Photography by Jerry Katz

Dr. Robert Puff



Rupert Spira

DISSOLVED, Tarun Sardana

HIGH JUMP, Tarun Sardana

Greg Goode -
After Awareness: The End of the Path

Consider joining our Facebook discussion community, Nonduality Salon, going on 20 years of active participation. We were the first online discussion group dedicated to nonduality in a popular sense.


compiled by Jerry Katz

We recommend reading ONE: Essential Writings on Nonduality as an excellent introduction. Also read Dennis L. Trunk's FAQ on nonduality and the Advaita Vedanta website FAQ


1. What is nondualism?

2. What are the relative degrees of stability within the nondual perspective?

3. Isn't nondualism the same as Advaita Vedanta?

4. Can you really speak about nondualism? Isn't that duality?

5. Discuss, maya, moksha, karma from the nondual perspective.

6. How has Nondualism come to acquire meaning in the West?

7. What about nondualism in Buddhism and Christianity?

8. How is the nondual perspective applied practically in the everyday world?

9. Where is the compassion in nondualism?

10. Where is the responsibility in nondualism?

11. Where are the ethics in nondualism?

12. What reading on nondual perspective is recommended?

13. Where can I read about modern day descriptions or stories of nondual awareness?

14. What sadhana leads to nondual awareness?


See the What is Nonduality? page, where there are over 60 printable pages of definitions, and contribute your own definition of nonduality/nondualism while you're there. There is no final definition! I recommend the article by Ken Wilber.

For some handy descriptions of what nonduality is, consider the following:

from The Lotus Sutra translated by Burton Watson and The Threefold Lotus Sutra translated by Bunno Kato, et. al.:

"The concept, often described in English as "nondualism," is extremely hard for the mind to grasp or visualize, since the mind engages constantly in the making of distinctions and nondualism represents the rejection or transcendence of all distinctions."


from The Lankavatara Sutra:

What is meant by nonduality, Mahatmi?

It means that light and shade, long and short, black and white, can only be experienced in relation to each other; light is not independent of shade, nor black of white. There are no opposites, only relationships.


Bede Griffiths (1997):

"Advaita (nonduality) does not mean "one" in the sense of eliminating all differences. The differences are present in the one in a mysterious way. They are not separated anymore, and yet they are there."


Justin Stone:
T'ai Chi Chih and Non-Duality:
"Advaita" in Sanskrit means "Non-Duality." This is a difficult concept for most people as we look about us and see multiple objects. But what we see are only transformations not permanent forms, whether we are speaking of a chair, a tree, or a human being. Each exists provisionally, but is certainly not lasting. One day the tree may become the chair and the human body will be eaten by worms. The "I" that observes all this may disappear and become another "I".


Non-Dual Awareness/Nirvana:
Lama Yeshe: When you contemplate your own consciousness with intense awareness, leaving aside all thoughts of good and bad, you are automatically led to the experience of non-duality. How is this possible? Think of it like this: the clean clear blue sky is like consciousness, while the smoke and pollution pumped into the sky are like the unnatural, artificial concepts manufactured by ego-grasping ignorance. Now, even though we say the pollutants are contaminating the atmosphere, the sky itself never really becomes contaminated by the pollution. The sky and the pollution each retain their own characteristic nature. In other words, on a fundamental level the sky remains unaffected no matter how much toxic energy enters it. The proof of this is that when conditions change, the sky can become clear once again. In the same way, no matter how many problems maybe created by artificial ego concepts, they never affect the clean clear nature of our consciousness itself. From the relative point of view, our consciousness remains pure because its clear nature never becomes mixed with the nature of confusion.


Noted scholar Georg Feuerstein summarizes the advaita realization as follows: "The manifold universe is, in truth, a Single Reality. There is only one Great Being, which the sages call Brahman, in which all the countless forms of existence reside. That Great Being is utter Consciousness, and It is the very Essence, or Self (Atman) of all beings."


from A Brief History of Everything, by Ken Wilber

Realms of the Superconscious: Part 2

Q: Again, rather technical. Perhaps there's a more direct way to talk about Nondual mysticism?

KW: Across the board, the sense of being any sort of Seer or Witness or Self vanishes altogether. You don't look at the sky, you are the sky. You can taste the sky. It's not out there. As Zen would say, you can drink the Pacific Ocean in a single gulp, you can swallow the Kosmos whole--precisely because awareness is no longer split into a seeing subject in here and a seen object out there. There is just pure seeing. Consciousness and its display are not-two.



Advaita Vedanta is nondualism in the context of Hinduism. Nondualism, for purposes of this FAQ, is considered in whatever context it appears: all religions, new Western traditions, personal enlightenment confessions, physics, ecology, education, communication, poetry, medicine.

Thanks, in part, to the internet, people are becoming comfortable with the nondual perspective outside religion. For now, Advaita Vedanta is the best known teaching on nondualism.

Advaita means nonduality. Vedanta means "end of the Veda." The Vedas, the most ancient texts of Indian literature, are books on mythology and sacrifice. Their origins are superhuman, their authority divine, the Orthodox believe. The end of the Veda marked the coming of the Upanishads, which are books on the nondual nature of reality, but which offer different levels of nondual understanding, and have even given rise dualism, which says that God and the human body are eternally separate.

The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion defines Advaita as "a state that can be ascribed to God or the Absolute alone. It is not accessible to reason, for the ego-bound mind in the waking condition cannot step out of the duality of subject-object relationship."

The same reference work says "Advaita-Vedanta teaches that the manifest creation, the soul, and God are identical." Shankara (788-820), the main representative of Advaita-Vedanta, uttered, "Brahman alone is real, the world is appearance, the Self is nothing but brahman."

The Avadhuta Gita, quoted in the previous question, is a text of extreme Advaita Vedanta. People, like Nisargadatta, who speak in ways not different than what Advaita-Vedanta teaches, may come from distant backgrounds, even within Hinduism. They are not formally Advaita-Vedantists, yet speak as one. Nondualism is the same as Advaita-Vedanta. Only contexts differ.



The first reference I am inclined to introduce is well known; that portion of the Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (The Way of Life, or, Integrity and the Way, to give just two translations) which says, "The names that can be named are not the eternal name. The nameless is the origin of the myriad creatures. But things have a mother and she has a name."

Thus the nondual nature of reality is recognized. No name is the same name as that nondual nature or eternal name. But the mother has a name. It is I AM. Taoism states that one cannot talk about nondual reality, but that one can name the Mother of creation, a Mother which emanates out of nondual reality.

Buddha wouldn't even bother with the Mother. As Kriban Pillay reminds us: ''No wonder the Buddha kept silent when asked about the Ground of Being. No doubt if I were to go up to the Buddha and ask him what I should do in the face of (major global challenges), his Noble Silence would simply reflect me back upon myself, challenging me to awaken in the moment, in the now."

In Zen FAQ (author unknown) it is stated, "Zen has little use for words which don't precipitate or point to, Awakening. Even logic must take a far, far, second place to the all-important task of a personal realization of the unborn, undying, pure wisdom source which is the birthright of every human."

The Lankavatara Sutra, an essential chapter of The Buddhist Bible, states: "...let every disciple take good heed not to become attached to words as being in perfect conformity with meaning, because Truth is not in the letters. When a man with his finger-tip points to something, the finger-tip may be mistaken for the thing pointed at; in like manner the ignorant and simple-minded, like children, are unable even to the day of their death to abandon the idea that in the finger-tip of words there is the meaning itself. They cannot realise Ultimate Reality because of their intent clinging to words which were intended to be no more than a pointing finger. Words and their discrimination bind one to the dreary round of rebirths into the world of birth-and-death; meaning stands alone and is a guide to Nirvana. Meaning is attained by much learning, and much learning is attained by becoming conversant with meaning and not with words; therefore, let seekers for truth reverently approach those who are wise and avoid the sticklers for particular words."

Renowned scholar of Advaita (nondual) Vedanta, Eliot Deutsch, says that "Brahman (pure unqualified Being, Ultimate Reality) defies all description or characterization." He goes on to say, "All characterizations of Brahman, in short, are intended in their experiential dimension to aid those who are searching for Brahman but have not yet realized it."

And further on: "Human language has its source in phenomenal experience; hence, it is limited in its application to states of being that are beyond that experience; logic is grounded in the mind as it relates to the phenomenal order; hence, it is unable to affirm, without at the same time denying, what extends beyond that order."

And: "Advaita Vedanta, then, must labor under this fact, which it explicitly acknowledges, that whatever is expressed is ultimately non-Brahman, is ultimately untrue."

Finally, Becky Fitzsimmons offers this sense of the nondual perspective: "A sense of the nondual perspective may be gleaned through a kaleidoscopic view of selected esoteric doctrines and practices. Since doctrines and practices are necessarily the dry shells of Spiritual Matter, one must place oneself in the center of a mandala of lifeless words and set the self and the words in motion, until the bits and pieces whirl and spin into transient patterns of unlimited beauty, their intricacies as inwardly boundless as their unfolding is ever new, yet always perfect."

From all these words I've quoted, it is seen how futile the words are. It really isn't a question of whether words create duality. Or whether what created the words, creates duality. That's a very peripheral, distracting concern for the one driven toward development of awareness of nondual reality through the I AM.

What matters is that one attends to one's intuition of God, Nondual Reality, Brahman, The Self, Pure Being, Nirvana, I AM. Having done that, one may use words to point toward what they intuit. The words, logically presented, do not impart knowledge of Ultimate Reality. That is their limitation.

The Hindu text, The Avadhuta Gita, says: "In Self there is nothing to learn, no verses to study. The Supreme and Free One, the Enlightened One, absorbed in the consciousness of the Pure Being sings in his delight of a pure heart, the highest truth, as a prattler, one who speaks the nearly nonsensical."

Words have limitations. Does that bother the one who "sings in his delight of a pure heart..."? Would it bother the one who sings in his delight of a hungry heart? Aware of the limitation, the heart sings anyway. Duality or no duality. Nonduality or no nonduality.



MAYA is the veil over the Absolute. That which hides the Absolute. In its highest category, maya is Grace, the force of the Absolute, the highest state of consciousness. In its lowest category maya is fear, attachments, dreams. But they are all maya. From the nondual perspective there is only the Absolute. Maya is the creation of existence and existence itself. It is not a matter of maya being illusion or unreal, because that perspective would be illusion or unreal. Rather, maya is all that is, can be, or ever will be. Even the Real. Even the Absolute. There is no dividing line between maya and the Absolute. How could there be? Maya is the veil over the Absolute. This includes the Absolute. As long as we are talking about it, maya includes the Absolute.

KARMA is mental and physical action, its consequences, the sum of all consequences in this or another life, the chain of cause and effect resulting from "good" and "bad" deeds, such that everyone is conditioned and determined by his conduct over a span of lifetimes. The Brhad-aranyaka Upananishad says, "According as one acts, according as one conducts himself, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action."

From the nondual perspective karma is a "convenient fiction," so-called by Eliot Deutsch. There is not cause and effect. Nothing is happening.

Because the doctrine of karma is so ingrained in the popular thinking and the practical religion of India, Advaita Vedantins, Upanishadic Gurus, and other Worldwide Teachers from Varied Backgrounds (whose students would be fascinated or drawn to the religious culture of India) have used the doctrine as a convenient tool -- in full recognition of its fictional status -- in order to satisfy philosophical problems of the student seeking moksha or liberation. For in order to seek liberation, one must understand one's bondage. Karma describes that bondage to life, death, rebirth, one's deeds, thoughts, actions. Moksha is liberation from all that.

The doctrine of karma would confer tremendous importance and significance to one's thoughts and actions. Such a kind of attention is prerequisite to any spiritual practice and the growth that would come. There is no karma, but karma is used to get students to attend to what is fundamental and simple, to what is removed from money, food, sex, power, and entertainment.

Additionally, because the doctrine of karma tells about many lifetimes, the student comes to believe that no effort is wasted, that moksha will be attained, if not in this lifetime, in the next, or the next. This belief keeps students from becoming discouraged.

The doctrine of karma -- fictional as it is from the nondual perspective -- is also used to explain differences among people regarding spiritual development, intelligence, social standing, physical attributes.

Therefore, from the nondual perspective karma is a widely accepted tool to keep spiritual students pathed.

MOKSHA is liberation from the bondage of karma. When it is understood that there is no karma, moksha is liberation which consumes the "bondage of karma." So initially moksha is liberation from bondage. Later it is just liberation. Not liberation from anything.

According to Advaita Vedanta, moksha is attained through jnana-yoga, a discipline which, for the sake of modeling, can be described as the fulfillment of four general qualifications and the traversing of three general stages.

The four qualifications include the ability to discern between the spiritual and the superficial; the will to give up the pleasures that distract the mind; the acquisition of mental tranquility, self-control, dispassion, endurance, intentness of mind, and faith; hunger for freedom and wisdom, dedication to the quest for understanding.

Once capacity and will to attain moksha are shown, the three general stages may be approached. They include 'hearing', which is listening and studying of nondual teachings; 'thinking', which incorporates the learned nondual teachings into life so that the nature of nondual reality comes to be known; and 'constant meditation', intense concentration on Reality itself, a stage arising when the second stage exhausts itself in the knowledge that the insights it offers are transitory.

This culminates in one becoming a jivanmukta, the one who is free while living, the one who spontaneously and unceasingly utters, I am Brahman.



This presentation is offered not in the spirit of comparative nondualism, nor for the purpose of providing a basis for such comparative study; it is a few meaningful fragments from nondual literature with attention to the perspective of Adi Da. (pardon the defensiveness, but the letters I receive prompt this: no, this website isn't a 'front' for Adi Da, or anyone else it refers to. Or, rather, yes, it's a front for everyone that ever lived, including you.)

I have already taken from Buddhism's The Diamond Sutra, in the introduction to this FAQ. And a portion of the Lankavatara Sutra was quoted in the question, 'Can Your Really Speak About Nondualism?'.

Adi Da, in Nirvanasara, says, "Gautama's own ultimate consideration or insight was most simple and direct: Conditional existence (aparent as the phenomenal self and the phenomenal non-self) is inherently painful (or disturbed) and unnecessary. This insight permitted Gautama to Awaken suddenly and spontaneously into the Transcendental Samadhi or most profound Realization of the most prior, 'unborn', or unconditional Reality. And it is this insight and intuitive Realization that is the core of Gautama's Teaching."

Adi Da has described Buddhism's Lankavatara Sutra as "a kind of 'Catch 22' literature. You know that the Truth is ultimate transcendence of the discriminative mind, but in order to realize the transcendence of the discriminative mind, you must already have realized the transcendence of the discriminative mind! Any approach you might make to it is the exercise of the discriminative mind and therefore inadequate. Basically the argument (in the type of literature the Lankavatara Sutra represents) is that anything you want to do to realize the Transcendental position is the exercise of the discriminative mind, and that is precisely what is wrong with you -- you are exercising the discriminative mind."

From the Lankavatara Sutra: "The Blessed One (Buddha) replied: My teaching of no-birth and no-annihilation in not like that of the philosophers, nor is it like their doctrine of birth and impermanency. That to which the philosophers ascribe the characterisitic of no-birth and no-annihilation is the self nature of all things, which causes them to fall into the dualism of being and non-being. My teaching transcends the whole conception of being and non-being; it has nothing to do with birth, abiding and destruction; nor with existence and non-existence. I teach that the multitudinous of objects have no reality in themselves but are only seen of the mind and, therefore, are of the nature of maya and a dream. I teach the non-existence of things because they carry no signs of any inherent self-nature. It is true that in one sense they are seen and discriminated by the senses as individualised objects; but in another sense, because of the absence of any characteristic marks of self-nature, they are not seen but are only imagined. In one sense they are graspable, but in another sense, they are not graspable. When it is clearly seen that there is nothing in the world but what is seen of the mind itself, discrimination no more rises, and the wise are established in their true abode which is the realm of quietude."

Adi Da writes on the spiritual Advaitism of Jesus of Nazareth: "The ultimate and secret teaching (or 'nighttime') Teaching of Jesus (such as he is reported have given to Nicodemus, in the third chapter of the Gospel of John) goes beyond the traditional esoteric and mystical notion that we are each indentical to an individuated immortal soul and need to identify with that soul inwardly and apart from the body in order to ascend to the nonphysical spiritual or psychic world. Jesus Taught recognition of our total born bodily (or psycho-physical) being as soul, not merely in the sense of being an immortal subtle individual, but in the eternal sense, totally inhering in and thus totally identical to the Spiritual and Transcendental Divine. He Taught that we are utterly Spiritual (or eternal, and thus, in Truth, unborn), now and forever in intimate free Communion with God, Who is Spirit, or Radiant Transcendental Being -- in (and thus as) Whom we love and move and exist."

The above mentioned teaching by Jesus in John 3, is paraphrased by Adi Da as follows: "Don't you know that you are gods? God is Spirit. The Spirit gave birth to Man. That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit."

From an old Anglican Church Bible, the following is taken: (John 3:8): "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." This in nondual Christianity as far as I can tell.

The Gospel According to Thomas is considered nondual, nearly Eastern in tone. Consider the following: "Jesus said to his disciples: Make a comparison to me and tell me who I am like. Simon Peter said to him: Thou art like a righteous angel. Matthew said to him: Thou art like a wise man of understanding. Thomas said to him: Master, my mouth will not be capable of saying whom thou art like.

Jesus said: I am not thy Master, because thou hast drunk, thou hast become drunk from the bubbling spring which I have measured out. And he took Thomas, he withdrew, he spoke three words to him. Now when Thomas came to his companions, they asked him: What did Jesus say to thee? Thomas said to them: If I tell you one of the words he said to me, you will take up stones and throw at me; and fire will come from the stones and burn you up."

And this portion of the Gospel According to Thomas reveals how glimpses of Truth enrage people and how Truth consumes them anyway. Because that is all there is.



I can identify two sources of meaning for nondualism. One is dualism, the idea that God and man are separate. The other is quantum physics, which is based on the experience of an undifferentiated reality.

Certainly the growth from the perspective of dualism to the perspective on nondualism is encouraged by findings in quantum physics. Without going into those findings here, listen to what physicist David Bohm has said: "The word 'reality' is derived from the roots 'thing' (res) and 'think' (revi). 'Reality' means 'everything you can think about.' This is not 'that-which-is'. No idea can capture 'truth' in the sense of that-which-is."

The above quote -- arrived at from immersion in quantum physics, and delivered as part of a lecture to physics students at Berkeley in 1977 -- says that ultimate perception, or 'Knowledge of  that-which-is', though manifested by a material structure, the brain, is not known by any mental mechanism; it is beyond that. Bohm proposed, in fact, a new "instrument of thought" to be used to understand today's physics, one which would shift the perspective of the student and scientist toward the "unbroken wholeness" of that-which-is.

In the last 20 years there have been several books written relating Eastern philosophy and the findings of modern physics. There are also several good websites on the subject.

Dualism, too, has to be one of the places to look when searching for sources of meaning in the West for nondualism. Those in the West who have come to intuit nondual reality or at least have an interest in it, come to that from the dualism they learned growing up in the churches, temples, and synagogues of their childhood.

Not satisfied with traditional religious upbringing, some began to look beyond. They came either directly to Hinduism or Buddhism in one of its forms, or came indirectly to the Eastern teachings via some New Age path or one of the Western Gurus.

Now just because a person begins entering the teachings of Eastern religion does not mean that the nondual perspective is at once assumed. But, because the nondual teachings of Advaita Vedanta are accessible, and because the nondual teachings of Buddha are fairly accessible, and because the nondual teachings of Western Gurus are accessible, and because the findings of quantum physics are accessible, too, and, finally, because of the gathering of nondual confessors and realizers on internet websites, mailing lists, chat rooms, and newsgroups, makes them easily accessible (and nearly unavoidable), Western seekers on paths beyond traditional upbringing, beyond dualistic roots, have been made familiar with the nondual perspective and literally drawn to it.

So nondualism has acquired meaning in the West from the findings of quantum physics and the change in consciousness it requires; and from dissatisfaction, departing the dualistic way of perceiving existence and arriving at meaning imported from the East.



Spiritual awakening is not a tidy, predictable stepwise progression from one kind of awareness to another. Certain stages can be identified, however. When people communicate, they communicate from one or another stage of awareness, whether or not they own that awareness. It's important to know where people, including oneself, are coming from. It will help in communication.

The first degree of relationship is Intuition. One intuits that his or her real nature is one with all that is.

The second degree of relationship is Recognition. One has "seen" nondual reality.

The third degree of relationship is Stability. One "walks in" nondual reality.

Some people approach the nondual perspective from the disposition of Intuition. They have a real feeling for what the I AM is. They know a part of them is pure spirit, unchanging, perhaps that it is a portion of God. The intuition would be strong enough to bring the person to a spiritual path, to help guide a person. Part of having that intuition is that one's values are directed toward enjoying silence and quiet being. They are different from many other people's values. It is possible that the one who intuits I AM, still has to live as though 'other people's values' are their own.

The one who intuits, knows the I AM from a distance. As something to be strived for. As a retreat to visit from time to time. One's life may be colored by that intuition, but that coloring hasn't penetrated life as yet. It hasn't seeped through.

A second relationship is Recognition. This is an intimate awareness of I AM or nondual reality. Not merely an intuition, the stage of Recognition allows one to see existence as the I AM. It may come as a full-blown mystical experience or a flash of insight, a vision flash. It is a time when the colors of Intuition saturate and drip off all that is, all existence.

Whereas one can live a stable existence from the perspective of Intuition, the one who has recognized, who has looked into the eyes of God, so to speak, will have a hard time forgetting that. A person has to deal with it. But the nature of Recognition is instability. It is an insight and then a distancing from insight. A failure to stably retain insight. So it is by nature unstable.

The one whose relationship with nondual reality is one of Recognition can speak very knowingly of the nature of nondual reality, because he or she has seen. The one who still only Intuits, may feel distant from such reports. Yet the one who but Intuits, may be better favored by Grace. The relationship that Recognition offers can be difficult and frustrating. A person firmly stabilized within the relationship of Intuition and who is taught to value that, will return to it after Recognition.

The relationship of Stability is desired. It is the stage where one is in unceasing Recognition of the nondual reality, the I AM. Ideally, one would progress from Intuition, to Recognition, back to Intuition, and then to Stability, with other journeys to Recognition along the way.

The one whose relationship is Recognition and who is overcome by arrogance to return to mere Intuition, is bound to suffer and wonder why he or she has not been favored by Grace to win Stability. Often these people negotiate that seeming unfairness in positive ways through creative works, or in negative ways through unacceptable escapes, or in both positive and negative ways. The key, though, is to return to Intuition. In this case, you can go back. A person just needs to be told they can go back.

When the relationship with nondual reality is one of stability, then one is "walking in" a reality that is nondual.The one who has achieved stability can recognize the relationships of Intuition and Recognition. The one who knows stability acts as anyone else does. They may or may not reveal the relationship they know. They may pretend it is just Intuition, or just Recognition. It just depends on whom they are communicating with.

Spiritual life includes the attentional work that it takes to gain that stability and then to grow within and beyond it.



The reader is referred to the Nondual Perspectives web page.



This question and the following one on Responsibility may be read as different kinds of answers to nearly the same question. This question on compassion admits to kind of compassion. The following question on responsibility admits to no kind of responsibility, saying there is neither responsibility nor no responsibility from the perspective of extreme nondualism. The difference lies in different nondual perspectives.

The following is taken from Becky Fitzsimmons' article on nondualism

In Dostoyevski's Ivan (The Brothers Karamazov), we find the tension of a man torn between compassion and salvation. In Albert Camus' brilliant analysis of the situation, we find Ivan's sad solution: "If the suffering of children serves to complete the sum of suffering necessary for the acquisition of truth, I affirm from now onward that truth is not worth such a price." "I would persist in my indignation even if I were wrong." As Camus says, "He rejects the bargain....In addition, Ivan is the incarnation of the refusal to be the only one saved, He throws in his lot with the damned and, for their sake, rejects eternity." Camus sums his case: "There is no possible salvation for the man who feels real compassion...we arrive at Everyone or No One." (Camus, The Rebel, 56-57).

For the nondualist, the dilemma dissolves. Salvation, enlightenment, Nirvana; even nonattachment itself, do not preclude but, rather, encourage compassion:

'Impartiality' is clearly and unmistakably defined as including friendliness and compassion, when at first sight it seemed to exclude them. Far from excluding compassion, impartiality ensures that the Buddha is equally compassionate to all, 'as if they were his only son,' and 'it is the desire that comes of its own accord to do good to all beings without the least craving for their love'....Paradox and contradiction are inseparable from all statements that can be made about selfless behavior. The Bodhisattvas 'practice compassion, but are not given to petty kindnesses; they practice loving kindness, but are not given up to attachments; they are joyous in heart but ever grieved over the sight of suffering beings; they practice indifference, but never cease benefiting  others.' These paradoxes cannot possibly be translated into the ordinary logic of common sense, because that is based on self-centered experiences which are here set aside. -- Edward Conze, Buddhist Thought in India, p. 218



Portions such as these from the Avadhuta Gita can give one who is distant from the nondual perspective concern regarding where responsibility lies:

"Never do I practise concentration...know me as free from any relative or ultimate aim...the wise give up all meditations...How shall I perform the actions related to death or life?...there is no need of knowledge, reasoning, instruction from a have no mother, no father, no wife, no son, no relative, no friend... ."

The extreme nondual teachings are intended for those who already know them, perhaps wordlessly. Otherwise they can truly be a source of irresponsible behavior or fear of irresponsible behavior in others.

Jan Barendrecht: "Many doctrines can be abused. The nondualistic view 'the world is unreal' has caused many to abort 'normal' life and start meditation as a recluse in the woods. Another 'interpretation', that suffering isn't real, isn't very different from the 'interpretation' that God punishes the 'bad ones' and rewards the 'good ones' so 'one gets what one deserves' and 'nothing needs to be done'. As the Buddha was familiar with the misinterpretations of nondualism and he probably thought it to be useless to 'reform' it, he made suffering the central theme. Life has some definite rules. All life-forms will try to find happiness, whatever that means to them. Life is expressing itself in forms of ever increasing complexity, being better vehicles for the expression of the inexpressible. Knowing this, it is only natural to assist in the process, irrespective of dual or nondual perspective."

Ultimately, Mark Hovila says, "If one acts without 'doing' (i.e., thinking that one is the doer), then the question of responsibility does not arise. There is no one to be responsible or not responsible. The so-called doer does not want to face the fact of its own nonexistence, so it will come up with endless arguments to try to keep the lie going, such as 'Who will be responsible?' It wants us to worry about chaos, perhaps wild nondual serial killers running amok. Think about the 'chaos' of a world of people free from the doer. Now think about our world full of 'responsible' doers. What do we have to lose?"

To the one who is suffering, even freedom from suffering is not tolerable, for responsibility would appear to be absent.

Anyone who has died in this life does not so persistently ask about pain, suffering, or responsibility. In dying is the answer. Fear of that dying generates endless unanswerable questions about pain and suffering that hide the real question.

If any "answer" can be put into words it could be heard in these further portions of the Avadhuta Gita (compare these to the portions quoted at the beginning of this section): "I am the nectar of Knowledge, homogeneous Existence, like the sky...Know me to be the one Self, vast and like the sky...I am naturally the perfect Consciousness, like Real, like the sky, spontaneous and steady...He is the enjoyer of the pure, stainless, and homogeneous Being... ."

On the other hand, perhaps the one who fears irresponsibility from the ranks of nondual perceivers, finds even greater reason for that from the preceding quotations.

Contained within extreme expressions of nondual perspective are intonations which frighten and concern some people.They will not find any satisfaction from those extreme expressions. There is not responsibility in extreme nondualism, and there is not the absence of responsibility. There is, however, spiritual work or sadhana performed from the nondual perspective, and it is all about responsibility.



What I want to present are the words of Eliot Deutsch, renowned scholar of Advaita Vedanta (Nonduality) related to ethics.

Deutsch says, "But what about the man who has realized the highest value, who has gone beyond good and evil? Is he justified in committing any kind of act whatsoever? The logical answer is yes; but the psychological answer is no. According to Advaita, nothing that the realized person, the jivanmukta, does is subject to moral judgment; he is no longer a judge himself, and he cannot be judged by a phenomenal scale of values. Psychologically, however, this does not mean that he could in fact perform certain actions that, from the lower standpoint, would be judged immoral (e.g., extreme acts) because the performance of these actions presupposes egoism a desire for self-enhancement and the like, on the part of the actor -- and egoism that results from a false identification of the self with the body, senses, mind, and so forth. And if such egoism or ignorance were present, then the actor could not in fact be the realized sage."

Deutsch continues, "The quality then that ought to inform human action is non-egoism which, positively expressed, is what the Advaitin understands to be 'love'. One must interrelate with 'others', one must conduct oneself, with the knowledge that the other is not-different from oneself. Love, the meeting of another in the depth of being, must be grounded in knowledge, and when it is so grounded, it expresses itself in every action that one performs."

To me, this sounds pretty good. But am I the only one who detects some struggle within Mr. Deutsch as he sets forth these words? I have an urge to finish-off his words. I have an urge to look into a depth of understanding that the above quotation has not considered. What is that incompleteness I sense?

Ali Hassan says: He's trying to paint a picture of the Realized one, based on what he intuits- again, an idealistic simplification. As he quotes Advaism, I am supposing he is correct. Keep in mind that 'moral judgement' would refer to the 'Laws of Man', rather than Karma. The Realized Sage is still operating within the laws of karma, but like the best tax lawyer, knows the loopholes, the deferments, etc.His/her actions cannot be judged by the unrealized as they are on entirely different planes of cause and effect, thsu the added confusion of the onlookers(unrealized) at some enigmatic actions of true jivanmuktas. Thus, truly Realized Beings may display terrible flashes of 'temper' toward their devotees, neutralizing and correcting the devotees' karma- but to an onooker it may look like madness. Here too is a loophole for the unscrupulous pretenders who have no Light yet con their deluded devotees by declaring, " You can't judge the Realized Ones," It's a fine line, many subtle distinctions.

Niren says: The more I read this quote by Deutsch, the more I like it, actually. Making knowledge the basis of performing actions perhaps at first sounds like too much thinking would be required. Like going thru some mental checklist to be sure there was no egoism present. So maybe what you sense is missing is just some affirmation by Mr. Deutsch that in practice this would occur "on automatic pilot"..the steps of removal of our usual ego and separations having already been accomplished in the beingness of the jivanmukta. What he describes takes a rather impersonal sounding( basis of knowledge here is from that "we are not-different-nor-separate" oneness perspective)- a state of "being" and translates THAT into what filters thru as "actions that one performs". Thus he transforms the seeming impersonal into what is a personal one-to-one situation in time.

I cannot pretend to say I understand all this going "beyond good and evil", because it seems to totally remove our usual human preference for experiencing the "good". To simply equate that the lack of egoism would automatically result in only "good" or love actions. This implies that all so-called evil is similarly egoistic selfishness. However, Deutsch very logically points out that once egoism and ignorance are removed, that non-egoism would in practice result in such a deep understanding that the insight alone would produce what we normally call "love" actions. That love is not just some emotion but actually IS understanding another person.

So maybe the usual dualistic definitions of love simply make the error of putting the cart before the horse?? Are we not used to assuming that first we feel love towards a person in order to even want to understand them? So we expect to first feel love as an emotion when its actually the result of first being willing to understand?

Gene Poole treats Deutsch's passage as follows:

Deutsch says, "But what about the man who has realized the highest value, who has gone beyond good and evil? Is he justified in committing any kind of act whatsoever? The logical answer is yes; but the psychological answer is no. According to Advaita, nothing that the realized person, the jivanmukta, does is subject to moral judgment; he is no longer a judge himself, and he cannot be judged by a phenomenal scale of values.

Gene: The above is a very tricky transition to make, and one which has justified many a totalitarian regime. To state that... 'one who is not a judge, cannot be judged'... is false. There is not an inherent state to transition from; this is true both in logic and in nondualistic philosophy. True, there is an apparent shift, an apparent 'transformation', but this is a factor that is built-in to human nature. It does NOT imply the literal transcendence of humanity and/or morality/eithics. A nonhuman Being is still bound by human ethics, when relating to/with humans. Being is the commonality; failure to recogize this factor isolates (separates) that one. One who is isolated in that manner is thus tempted to judge ALL others as outsiders (out-tribe) and thus is tempted to establish a rule of infantile 'me-ism'. Such is exactly opposite of I Am.

What is not spoken in the above is to define _who_ is doing the judging.

If one reads the above as referring to 'judgement' of oneself BY ones own makes a little more sense. The author fails to allude to the depth of metaphor he employs, if any. A literal reading of the above does disclose the insight of the difference between the logical and the psychological, itself a thouroughly dualistic presumption.

Of course, this was a short quote. But I refer any reader genuinely interested in such questions, which pertain to the relativism of behaviour as moderated by self-imposed ethics, to the study of the works of Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna performed deconstruction of language in a manner which has never been equaled. It is an illuminating study to undertake.

Deutsch: Psychologically, however, this does not mean that he could in fact perform certain actions that, from the lower standpoint, would be judged immoral (e.g., extreme acts) because the performance of these actions presupposes egoism a desire for self-enhancement and the like, on the part of the actor -- and egoism that results from a false identification of the self with the body, senses, mind, and so forth. And if such egoism or ignorance were present, then the actor could not in fact be the realized sage.

Gene: Well, the above _seems_ to deal with the issue, but it is a mere surface-gloss. As much as I appreciate the effort which goes into such considerations, and appreciate that such considerations may be made for the benefit of those who may need to hear this kind of "if/then" logic...for the purpose of settling into a decision to behave ethically, it does not deal with the actuality of "the situation".

Deutsch continues, "The quality then that ought to inform human action is non-egoism which, positively expressed, is what the Advaitin understands to be 'love'. One must interrelate with 'others', one must conduct oneself, with the knowledge that the other is not-different from oneself. Love, the meeting of another in the depth of being, must be grounded in knowledge, and when it is so grounded, it expresses itself in every action that one performs."

Gene: The above is 'more like it', and would have been a better place for the author to have started his exposition. However, what I also hear in the above, is a helpless surrender to the puzzle of morality, in the face of Pure or Raw Being. I would say, that the actual experience itself, draws One through the full circle. Like this: "Since I now see that it doesn't matter, what matters is to make it matter". That is an expression of self-imposed ethical alignment. That being said, upon what basis "should" it matter? What criteria are drawn upon to make such a decision?

Gene: In short, my answer is this; that as humans, 'we' have no choice but to accept what comes to us in what-ever state we are in. It may be disruptive to burst into uncontrollable laughter at a funeral, as it is also disruptive to practice abiding in the face of certain intimidation and death, as did Ghandi. In either case, it is possible that NO_ONE will 'understand' "why" One acts as one does, yet the actor is informed and virtually compelled to act in that manner.

Gene: Morality is the issue if we make it the issue. Morality emanates from the nature of Being; it is 'moral' for me to _survive_ by eating a cow, according to my biological nature, and the non-survival of the cow is in that case a non-issue. A 'higher' question is, is there a 'higher' nature than the biological nature? An even 'higher' question it 'moral' to pay attention to the nature which transcends biological nature, IF such means the extinction of the biological Being? Again, please refer to Ghandi as an example, if not Jesus or Socrates.

Gene: I think that "Love" needs to be understood, before the question that you ask can be answered. Not 'Disney' love, not a bulging-eyed idealistic love of furry puppies or smooth, shining nations, but Love which is the true radiation of Being. It is That Love which shatters all temporal/relativistic "logic", and it is That Love which I Am.

Gene: Heart is not relativistic...and that is the most difficult realization to make. Heart is not logic. Heart is the center and all is radiation from it. This is Nondual perspective in dynamic Being. All observations made from _other than_ the center must be 'dualistic' by nature and thus relativistic. All pronouncements made concerning 'ethics and morality' are founded upon a dualistic/relativistic perspective, but in contrast to that, we have now to consider the relativism of the 'dualistic' VS the 'Nondualistic'. It is in consideration of THAT, which digests the "logic" of the first species of relativism, and leads to the non-relativistic Being of I Am.

Gene: Because I Am is nonrelative, choice is finally possible, and That is Freedom. Such Freedom cannot be justified, it is unconditional, it is unfounded; it is ""only"" what is.

Jerry: Am I the only one who detects some struggle within Mr. Deutsch as he sets forth these words? I have an urge to finish-off his words. I have an urge to look into a depth of understanding that the above quotation has not considered. What is that incompleteness I sense?

Gene: It is probably the false logic which is employed to communicate with those who understand only through the filter of false logic. I question whether such an effort is needed or desired; that when we concede in such a manner, that we are essentially lying, which does not speak well for the Nondual perspective. It is possible to communicate directly, to the Nondual, which does understand, of course. Why pretend otherwise?

Jan Barendrecht treats Deutsch's comment as follows:

Deutsch says, "But what about the man who has realized the highest value, who has gone beyond good and evil? Is he justified in committing any kind of act whatsoever? The logical answer is yes; but the psychological answer is no.

Jan: Both answers are wrong. Going beyond good and evil is far from the highest "attainment", as mere reasoning can show that "good" and "evil" are in the mind and what is good for one can be evil for another. For a jivanmukta there is no contradiction between the way of "mind" and the way of "heart". As a jivanmukta is a knower of both, his (seeming) actions are performed in the "interest" of Truth. So depending on one's stand, one will "explain" differently.

Deutsch: According to Advaita, nothing that the realized person, the jivanmukta, does is subject to moral judgment; he is no longer a judge himself, and he cannot be judged by a phenomenal scale of values.

Jan: The issue only exists for non-jivanmuktas. "Standard" moral and ethics are based on duality. When duality ceases to be, so does everything derived from it.

Deutsch: Psychologically, however, this does not mean that he could in fact perform certain actions that, from the lower standpoint, would be judged immoral (e.g., extreme acts) because the performance of these actions presupposes egoism a desire for self-enhancement and the like, on the part of the actor -- and egoism that results from a false identification of the self with the body, senses, mind, and so forth. And if such egoism or ignorance were present, then the actor could not in fact be the realized sage."

Jan: A jivanmukta responds and / or performs his/her duty. If this duty was to fight a war, (s)he would fight a war, without any identification with mind, body, senses, friends, enemies etc.. Fighting a war or being the adviser of the warrior, both are covered in the Bhagavad Gita. Performing acts of war will leave no impressions in a jivanmukta.

Deutsch continues, "The quality then that ought to inform human action is non-egoism which, positively expressed, is what the Advaitin understands to be 'love'. One must interrelate with 'others', one must conduct oneself, with the knowledge that the other is not-different from oneself. Love, the meeting of another in the depth of being, must be grounded in knowledge, and when it is so grounded, it expresses itself in every action that one performs."

Jan: Human action should be based on ahimsa, in order to realize the unity of Life. Love requires subject and object, it is dual in nature. Ahimsa is to put the unity of Life into practice. It requires no duality.

Jerry: Am I the only one who detects some struggle within Mr. Deutsch as he sets forth these words? I have an urge to finish-off his words. I have an urge to look into a depth of understanding that the above quotation has not considered. What is that incompleteness I sense?

Jan: A newly born cat or a puppy will act in such a way, that no one will get the idea to harm it. In some third world countries small children will show the same behavior. It is the natural , spontaneous behavior. The jivanmukta will "act" likewise. Whether living in a country of "law and order" or in a country of anarchy, the observable behavior will always be harmless.

Deutsch is on a slippery road. Jainism mentions a total of 8 karmas that have to be burnt before liberation. Although one can be considered to be in a nondual state when the first four are burnt, this doesn't mean one is immediately freed from motives or that one's state is jivanmukta. For this to happen, a few more karmas are "in the way". Even before the first four karmas are gone, one will experience the wish to share the joy of enlightenment, especially when the "before" was a hard time; this is the "cause" of Buddhism. Strictly speaking this is the "brighter side" of egoism. Deutsch is throwing all nondual states on a pile; one cannot do this, as there are several states and they are differing in matters like presence / absence of motives (however subtle), etc.. Nondualism, Jainism, Buddhism are existing because one's tendencies don't all burn up in a flash; rather, the ones preventing the "seeing" of Truth are removed first and the "positive" ones will stay (for some time), forming the basis for the above systems. Nonduality will get its true expression when even these "positive" tendencies are gone.

Rik says: please forgive me for not addressing the convoluted logic of the quoted author, and for forgetting its name. in my mind the only question regarding ethics, at least at this moment, is "am I serving the Self?" This is the long version of "Self?", which is the long version of "?", which disappears when I get it right.

Tim Gerchmez offers, aside from the Deutsch discussion::

There are no ethics or morality in nonduality. Neither is there a lack of ethics or morality. Rather, things occur naturally as they do. There is no "me-entity" to control things, neither are there other "me-entities." In an unsplit, homogenous reality, there is simply nobody to control anything, so events just (seem to) occur, and who can say whether a particular event is "right or "wrong?" It may be right in one context, wrong in another. The entire universe is a single wave crashing on the rocks of a remote, isolated beach. Solar systems are exploding, entire galaxies are self destructing, universes are expanding and contracting. These grand events take care of themselves without interference. Likewise, in nonduality, "morality" and "ethics" take care of themselves in a similar fashion. There are no volitional entities to influence the conflux of perceived events. In reality, nothing is happening. The Here and Now are the only place and time, morality and ethics relate only to the past and to "somewhere else." When the "me-entity" (consisting of the past, based on memory) gets out of the way, peace and rightness of an order unknown to "duality" automatically pervade everything, the universe is a safe place and physical birth and death is a dream. Thus, in nonduality the question does not even arise. If in "duality" it arises, the questioner may be turned back upon himself. Until "Who am I?" is examined closely, there is no possible answer. Afterwards, no answer is either necessary or desired.


Spiritual Slavery and the Prostitution of the Soul
A Dialogue with Andrew Cohen

Question: I'm very confused about this matter of ethical conduct and its relationship to the enlightened
understanding that you speak so much about. Why is it that so many gurus seem to be prey to the very same
weaknesses as ordinary people? I would have thought that an ego that had died would not be able to act in the
same selfish way as people who did not claim to be enlightened.

Andrew Cohen: Maybe in the cases that you are speaking about, the ego didn't die. Maybe in these cases, there
is a fully intact ego coexisting with a profound realization. Most people don't realize that ego and profound
realization can coexist. It is for that reason that so many people have gotten into trouble.

Q: But I don't understand how, even after the failings of the guru have become obvious, people will still allow
themselves to be taken advantage of. They often will continue to be followers in the face of unethical behavior,
and in some cases even gross abuse.

A: Often when a person meets a teacher in whom the Absolute is manifesting to a powerful degree, their heart
will open up unexpectedly. They may experience unusual insight and understanding just through mere association
with this kind of extraordinary individual. After this kind of experience it is easy to understand how one may get
very attached to that individual. The bond that is formed through experiences like these runs very deep. Slowly
without even realizing it, in order to protect the love and beauty of that precious event, the person starts to be
willing to overlook things. The minute that begins, they become corrupt themselves.

Q: Is that when they start to rationalize?

A: Yes, then they become corrupt, in the same way the guru is. When you try to talk to the disciples of these
gurus about simple virtues, they often are unable to make any sense. Also, they will frequently say things like,
'Ethical conduct and enlightenment have nothing to do with each other,' in an attempt to justify the confusing
behavior of their guru. The minute anybody allows themselves to tolerate corruption they become a part of it.
These people desperately don't want to see the depth of the corruption that they themselves are immersed in.
The security of their spiritual well-being depends on the fact that no matter what, the actions of the guru are
never questioned. Because their hearts are so invested in the guru, they will make almost any rationalization or
justification for the guru's actions. They will do almost anything in order to protect that love that the guru has
revealed to them. This is spiritual slavery and prostitution of the soul. In weak-minded people the seal of
enlightenment becomes a license for abuse.

Q: How is it then with the matter of trust? Does one ultimately only surrender to one's own knowing of the truth?

A: Yes.

Q: Then not to the guru?

A: Ultimately the guru and your knowing of truth should be one and the same. There shouldn't be any difference.
If there is, there's something wrong. That means there is either something wrong in your idea of what the truth is
and your experience of what the truth is or there's some defect in the guru. Ideally they should be perfectly

Q: But shouldn't surrender be to truth alone?

A: But in a sense that's all people surrender to anyway. They surrender to their own experience. If you go to a
teacher and you have a powerful experience, it's that experience that you surrender to. What usually happens
next though, is that you get involved with the personality of the teacher. Powerful experience makes you hungry
for more. That's why people get more involved. They want to get to know who this guru is. They fall in love and
then want to be more intimate. Then they get involved with the personality of the teacher. At that point it's no
longer just a spiritual experience; they begin to get involved with a human personality. That's when the trouble
starts. If there's any trouble that could start, that's when it's going to begin.
When the personality of the guru and the love and beauty that the guru revealed begin to conflict with each
other, that means something is wrong.
As I said before, people are weak, weak-minded, and if someone is truly enlightened, they will have a very
powerful mind and be very charismatic. People are easily overwhelmed by that. Because their heart has been
awakened, because they have been deeply touched by something, they often don't care about anything else.
And in order to protect that experience, they will often tolerate just about anything. This is dangerous. This is a
corrupt condition that a great deal of the spiritual world is in these days. If the guru is corrupt and you're
intimately involved with the guru, you can't help but be corrupt yourself. It's unavoidable. By association it's an
automatic result. It's a very delicate business.

Q: So how does one discern? To what degree do I question my own perception and trust?

A: Just go by the basics. There are some very basic, ethical laws that anybody who's not insane knows. They are
not esoteric.

Q: So where do you draw the line?

A: The line is drawn where suffering is caused to other people due to selfish actions that stem from ignorance.
That's where you draw the line.

[the science of the student teacher relationship]



Perhaps many would agree that 'required reading' in the field of nonduality includes the works of Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharshi, and the nondual scriptural works.

Through perusal of this website's page on Gurus/Realizers/Confessors, one will meet samples of writings that have been expanded into books, or which are confined to limited confessions within this website.

The reader will find excellent nondual book lists in the form of books for sale, at Inner Directions, The VidyaSagar Bookstore, Books Beyond Words.

Expansive (not strictly nondual) lists of consciousness books include Consciousness Timeline by Steve Dinan, and Great Traditions Bibliography.


Religion W4620 Course, Columbia University - this web site includes several lists of recommendations
Mark Hovila's List
Greg Goode's List
Francis Lucille's List
Phil Servedio's List
Dinu-Stefan Teodurescu's Lists (Lengthy)
Books Osho Had Loved
Bob Rose's 'Meditation Society of America' List
Kriben Pillay's List of Recommended Authors
What Papaji says about books on awakening
Scott Morrison's list
Lama Surya's Book Recommendations
Michael James's list
Ronda LaRue's list

The following book list serves the scholarly inclined and is from a Columbia University website on the course Religion W4620: Nonduality in Indian and Tibetan Thought, taught by Robert Thurman and Gary Tubb:

Religion W4620. Nonduality in Indian and Tibetan Thought. Columbia University, Fall 1998. Textbooks for the Course. To be purchased at Labyrinth Books, 536 West 112th Street:

Eliot Deutsch. Advaita Vedanta: A Philosophical Reconstruction. University of Hawaii Press, 1985. ppb.

Jay L. Garfield. The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamikakarika. Oxford University Press, 1995. ppb.

Natalia Isayeva. From Early Vedanta to Kashmir Shaivism: Gaudapada, Bhartrhari, and Abhinavagupta. SUNY Press, 1995.

David Loy. Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy. Humanities Press, 1997. ppb.

Guy Newland. The Two Truths in the Madhyamika Philosophy of the Ge-Luk-Ba Order of Tibetan Buddhism. (Studies in Indo-tibetan Buddhism.) Snow Lion Publications, 1992. ppb.

Patrick Olivelle. Upanisads. (World's Classics.) Oxford University Press, 1996. ppb.

Karl H. Potter. Presuppositions of India's Philosophies. Motilal Banarsidass, 1991.

Robert A.F. Thurman. The Central Philosophy of Tibet: A Study and Translation of Jey Tsong Khapa's, "Essence of True Eloquence." (Princeton Library of Asian Translations.) Princeton University Press, 1991.

Robert A.F. Thurman. The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture. Pennsylvania State University Press, repr. 1987. ppb.

Recommended for purchase (also at Labyrinth Books):

Jeffrey Hopkins. Meditation on Emptiness. Wisdom Publications, 1996. ppb.

Anne Klein. Knowledge and Liberation: A Buddhist Epistemological Analysis in Support of Transformative Religious Experience. Snow Lion Publications, 1987.

Klaus K. Klostermaier. A Survey of Hinduism. SUNY Press, 1994. ppb.

Donald S. Lopez. A Study of Svatantrika. Snow Lion Publications, 1986. ppb.

Sengaku Mayeda. A Thousand Teachings: The Upadesasahasra of Sankara. SUNY Press, 1992.

Steven Pinker. How the Mind Works. W.W. Norton and Company, 1997.

Geshe Rabten. Echoes of Voidness. Wisdom Publications, 1986. ppb.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore. A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy. Princeton University Press, 1971. ppb.

Richard Rorty. Contingency, Irony and Solidarity. Cambridge University Press, 1989. ppb.

Th. Stcherbatsky. Buddhist Logic (Volumes 1 and 2). South Asia Books, reprint.

Th. Stcherbatsky. The Central Conception of Buddhism and the Meaning of the Word "Dharma." South Asia Books, 1994. ppb.

Edward O. Wilson. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Knopf, 1998.

On reserve: Anthony J. Alston, tr. The Realization of the Absolute: The "Naiskarmya Siddhi" of Sri Suresvara. London: Shanti Sadan, 1959, 1971.

Margaret Chatterjee, ed. Contemporary Indian Philosophy, Series Two. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974.

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. Metaphysics (Selected Papers, Volume 2). (Bollingen Series.) Princeton University Press, 1987.

Harold G. Coward, ed. Studies in Indian Thought. Columbia, MO: South Asia Books, 1983.

Harold G. Coward and K. Kunjunni Raja. The Philosophy of the Grammarians. Vol. V of Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, ed. Karl H. Potter. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1990.

Eliot Deutsch and J. A. B. van Buitenen. A Source Book of Advaita Vedanta. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1971.

Padmanabh Jaini. The Jaina Path of Purification. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.

Gerald James Larson. Samkhya: A Dualist Tradition in Indian Philosophy. Vol. 4 of Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, ed. Karl H. Potter. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.

T. M. P. Mahadevan. Gaudapada: A Study in Early Advaita. Madras: University of Madras, 1952.

T. M. P. Mahadevan. Ramana Maharshi: The Sage of Arunacala. London: Allen & Unwin, 1977.

Nisargadatta Maharaj. I Am That. Tr. Maurice Frydman. Bombay: Chetana, 1973.

Karl H. Potter. Indian Metaphysics and Epistemology: The Tradition of Nyaya-Vaisesika up to Gangesa.

Vol. 2 of { Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, ed. Karl H. Potter. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977.

David Seyfort Ruegg. The Literature of the Madhyamaka School of Philosophy in India. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1981.

Mervyn Sprung. Lucid Exposition of the Middle Way: The Essential Chapters from the Prasannapada of Candrakirti. London, 1979.

Swami Venkatesananda. The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984.

The following list of books and authors is offered by Mark Hovila:

Jean Klein: Numerous books, i.e. Transmission of the Flame. Highly recommended!
R.P. Kaushik: Organic Alchemy and others. May be out of print now.
Francis Lucille: Eternity Now.
Ramana Maharshi
Huang Po
Atmananda (Krishna Menon)
Meister Eckhart
Ramesh Balsekar: Experiencing the Teaching (and many others)
Bernadette Roberts
Albert Blackburn: Now Consciousness and Worlds Beyond Thought
Frankin Merrell-Wolff: Pathways Through to Space
Hui Hai: The Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening (tr. John Blofeld)
Sunyata: The Life and Sayings of a Rare-Born Mystic (ed. Betty Camhi & Elliott Isenberg)
Suzanne Segal: Collision with the Infinite (tough to put down)
Wei Wu Wei: All Else is Bondage
J. Krishnamurti: Freedom from the Known (and many others)
U.G. Krishnamurti: Mind is a Myth and The Mystique of Enlightenment

Greg Goode, Ph.D., submitted the following list of recommended reading to Nonduality Salon:

Dear Harsha-ji,

You asked about some books I like. On some of the meaty topics over the
last few days on NDS, stuff like existence, consciousness, Advaita,
Madyhamika, Buddhism, etc., here are some I like a lot. Some books are
Western, some are Eastern. These come to mind readily. There are many
more I like, but I'd have to browse my library at home.

1. On what exists, and the relation between mind and objects
-Brand Blanshard. THE NATURE OF THOUGHT. (2 vols.)
-Krishna Menon. ATMA DARSHAN.
-Francis Lucille. ETERNITY NOW.
-Frederick Franck. ZEN AND ZEN CLASSICS.

2. Against causality
(Vedanta Press, Swami Nikhilananda trans.)

3. Basic Advaita Vedanta teachings
-Swami Chinmayananda. SELF UNFOLDMENT.
-Adi Shankaracharya. TATTVA BODHA.

Intermediate Advaita:
-Swami Vidyaranya. PANCHADASI (5 Vols.)

Advanced Advaita:
-Adi Shankaracharya's commentary on: BRAHMA SUTRAS.

(Vedanta Press, Swami Nikhilananda trans.)

-UPANISHADS, Vol 4 of 4 volumes (Vedanta Press, Swami Nikhilananda trans.)
Contains the Taittiriya and Chandogya Upanishads
See especially the appendix on, with a great argument
on how there's no difference between the waking state
and the dream state!

4.Emptiness and Madhyamika
-Jay L. Garfield, translator and commentary:
-Jeffrey Hokins/Elizabeth Napper, ed. MEDITATION ON EMPTINESS.

Francis Lucille's Recommended Reading:

Jean Klein, BE WHO YOU ARE
Krishna Menon (Atmananda), ATMA NIRVRITI
Krishna Menon (Atmananda), ATMA DARSHAN
Shankara, ATMA BODHA
Parmenides, FRAGMENTS

A List of Recommended Journals

SELF-INQUIRY (Ramana Maharshi Foundation, UK)

The following lists are from Dinu-Stefan Teodurescu

Here are the Top 10+ Books Dinu reads as Info on Spiritual

1. Norbu Namkhai - The Mirror- Advices on the Presence of
Awareness ( Dzogchen )

2. Huang Po - The Zen teachings of Huang Po

3. Bankei - The Unborn - The life and teachings of Zen Master
Bankei ( tr. Norman Wadell)

4. Ken Wilber- One Taste - The Journals of Ken Wilber

5. Sunryu Suzuki- Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

6. Guru Rimpoche: Self-Liberation through seeing with naked
awareness (tr. Reynolds J.M.); Free Tibet!

7. Tilopa -Teachings of Mahamudra ( in The six yogas of Naropa
and teachings of mahamudra- tr. Garma C. C. Chang)

8. Ramana Maharishi - Be as you are, Who Am I ? , Self Enquiry,
Spiritual Instruction,

9. Nisargadatta Maharaj - , I AM THAT (1), I Am That(2)

10. Poonjaji - Wake up and roar !

11. Lao Tzu- Hua Hu Ching- The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu(tr.
B. Walker)

12. Chinul- Korean Zen Master

13. Ch'an Masters in Ancient China - Teachings of Sudden

Poetry books, as an Inspiration on the Path. Dinu's favorite poets:

1. Swami Rama Tirtha - Yoga and the Supreme Bliss- Songs of
Enlightenment(tr.Alston A.J.) ; In woods of God-Realization

2. Indian Mystic Verse-Compilation by Hari Prasad Shastri (
Shanti Sadan. 29. Chepstow Villas, London,W.11.3DR)

The Poets mentioned are: Attar , Al-HallajBankim Chandra,
Bodharanya, Bullashah,Dadaji, Firdowsi,Ghalib, Ghani, Hafiz,
Hafiz , Harischandra, Harsha, Hussein, Ibn- Arabi , Insha,
Jemshid, Jnaneshvar, Kabir, Kabir Kamal, Kalidas, Khayyam Omar,
Khalis, Khujand, Khusrau,Kushrau, Nasir-i Kushrau Kishiori,
Krishadas, Krishnapriya, Lachi Rama, Makhfi, Mira,
Mirabai,Nanaka, Namadeva,Narayana,Nazir, Nirbhayanandaji, Niyaz,
Nizami, Rafel, Raidas, Ramdas, Rama Tirtha, Rasakhan, Sa'Di,
Sa'Di(Gulistan), Sahaja, Satchitanandaji,Surdar das, Surdar,
Tagore,Tenali Ramakrishna, Tulsidas,Tulsidas,Tukaram, Valmiki,
Vyasa, Zafar,Zauq,

3. LALLA - Naked Song (tr. C.Barks)

4. Tukaram - Village songs of western India ( (tr. Hoyland J.)

5. Rumi - The Greatest Sufi Poet

6. Japonese Folk Zen Saying ( Haiku, Doidotsu, Waka) - A Zen
Harvest ( compiled by Soiku Shigematsu)

7. Basho- (japonese Haiku)- Japon's National Poet ; Hakuin

8. Paul Reps - 10 Ways to Meditate

9. Mihai Eminescu- Romania's National Poet

10. Seng-ts'an- The Third Zen Patriarch from China- Hsin Hsin
Ming- Verses on the Faith Mind

11. Saraha- Three Dohas .

12. Dza Paltrul Rimpoche- Advice to my self

13. Thayumanavar

14. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

15. T.S. Eliot- Poems

16. Walt Whitman- Leaves of Grass

17. Lord Alfred Tennyson

18. Henry David Thoreau

19. William Blake

20. Ralph Waldo Emerson

21. Rabindranath Tagore: GITANJALI


15. Other Invaluable Resources:Turks medieval poets,

1. Persian Poets ( Resource site)

2. Hymns from Rig Veda

3. Urdu Poetry Archive(286 poets)

Recomended 20+ Nondual Books for an Introduction to the Nondual

*RAMANA MAHARISHI:Who Am I ? , Spiritual Instruction, Self
Enquiry, , Forty Verses on Reality

* Nisargadatta Maharaj - , I AM THAT (1), I Am That(2) , THE
JNANI , Absolute Perfection is Here and Now , ,

* H.W.L. Poonjaji( Interview 1) , H.W.L. POONJAJI(Iinterview 2)
*Ramesh S. Balsekar; A net of Jewels
*Book of Quotes- Non Dual Petals - compiled by Michael Szyper
Padmasambhava:Self-Liberation through seeing with naked awareness (tr. Reynolds J.M.)
.TILOPA: Mahamudra instruction to Naropa
.VIMALAKIRTI:Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra
.BUDDHA: The Heart Sutra, The Diamond Sutra
.DATTATREYA:Avadhuta Gita
.ASHTAVAKRA:Ashtavakra Gita
.SWAMI RAMA TIRTHA: In woods of God-Realization
. The Six Vajra Verses
.ADI SHANKARA;Vivekacudamani- The Crest Jewel of Wisdom
.GAUDAPADA:Gaudapada Karikas
.Brahma Sutras
.Sadananda: Vedantasara,
.SIVA SUTRAS (trad. Laksman Joo)
Bernadette Roberts: The Experience of No-Self: A contemplative Journey
.WEI WU WEI:, The Tenth Man ,Open Secret , Ask the Awakened: The Negative Way , Why
Lazarus Laughted ,Fingers Pointing Towards the Moon , All Else is Bondage , Posthumous
Pieces ,La Voie Negative

Hui Neng- Treasure of the Law Sutra

Western Nondual Spiritual God-Realized Authors

1. PLATO: Phaedrus , Meno, Phaedo ,Phedo(ex.2) , Parmenides ,
Sophist , Timaeus , The Republic ,

2. PLOTINUS: The Six Enneads .

3. PSEUDO- DYONYSIUS the AREOPAGITE:The Celestial Hierarchy ,
Mystical Theology

4. MEISTER ECKHART; Sermons, Sermons(selections)

5. THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING:The Cloud of Unknowing

6. JACOB BOEHME: Mysterium Pansophicum

7. TERESA OF AVILA:The Way of Perfection , The Interior Castle

8. St. JOHN of the CROSS:Dark Night of the Soul , Ascent of Mt.

9. JOHN OF RUYSBROECK:The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage

10.EMANUEL SWEDENBORG: Arcana Coelestia, Heavenly City , Heaven
and Hell,The Last Judgment,

11.Thomas the Apostle: The Gospel of Thomas

12.Brother Lawrence: The Practice of the Presence of God

13.Bernadette Roberts: The Experience of No-Self: A
contemplative Journey

14.WEI WU WEI : , Ask the Awakened: The Negative Way , Why
Lazarus Laughted ,Fingers Pointing Towards the Moon , ,La
Voie Negative

15.Jan Koehoorn:Advaita Vedanta

Eastern Nondual Spiritual Enlightened Authors

A. TAO-ism

2.CHUANG-TZU:The Zhuangzi
3.LIEH-TZU:Fragments from his works


2.VIMALAKIRTI:Vimalakirti Sutra
Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra(version 2)

4.The Diamond Sutra
7. Sukhavati - Vyuha - The Land of Bliss


2.Seng-ts'an- The Third Zen Patriarch from China- Hsin Hsin Ming- Verses on the Faith Mind
3.Huang Po - The Zen teachings of Huang Po
4. The Religion of the Samurai by Kaiten Nukariya


1. Athisa- The Seven Points of Mind Training

2. Padmasambhava: Self-Liberation through seeing with naked
awareness (tr. Reynolds J.M.)

3. Tilopa's Mahamudra instruction to Naropa

4. Nagarjuna's Mahamudra Vision

5. Lama Mipam- Calm and Clear

6. Flight of the Garuda- teachings of Dzogchen (trad. Keith

7. Sky Dancer- the Life and Songs of Lady Yeshe Tsogyal(trad.
Keith Dowman)

8. The Six Vajra Verses

B-3. Yogachara


"Verse 5. The essence of the whole Vedanta is this Knowledge,
this supreme Knowledge: that I am by nature the formless,
all-pervarsive Self. Verse 6. There is no doubt that I am that
God who is the Self of all, pure, indivisible, like the sky,
naturally stainless." - from Advahuta Gita of Dattatreya(trans.
Sri Ramakrishna Math)

1.ADI SHANKARA;Vivekacudamani- The Crest Jewel of Wisdom
2.GAUDAPADA:Gaudapada Karikas
3.DATTATREYA:Avadhuta Gita
4.SWAMI RAMA TIRTHA: In woods of God-Realization
5.ASHTAVAKRA:Ashtavakra Gita
6.RIBHU: The Ribhu Gita
8.Avastratryaya - Advaita Consciousness
10.RAMANA MAHARISHI: Who Am I ? , Spiritual Instruction, Self Enquiry,
11. Brahma Sutras
12.Ramesh S. Balsekar; A net of Jewels
13.Jan Koehoorn:Advaita Vedanta


1.ABHINAVAGUPTHA:Tantraloka, Paratrisika Vivarana,
2 .Ksemaraja:Sivasutravimarsini,Stavacintamani,
5.Mahesvarananda: Maharthamanjari
6.Rajanaka Sitikantha : Mahanayaprakasa
7.Vasugupta: SIVA SUTRAS
8.Laksmirama: Parstrikavivrti
9.Anantasakipada: Vatulanathasutra

Works: Spanda Karika, Sivadristi, Malinivijayottara, or
Malinivijaya Tantra, Utpala, Pratyabhijna Karika, Svacchanda
Tantra, Vijnana Bhairava, Tantrik Texts - trad. by Gene R .


"Verse 5. The essence of the whole Vedanta is this Knowledge,
this supreme Knowledge: that I am by nature the formless,
all-pervarsive Self. Verse 6. There is no doubt that I am that
God who is the Self of all, pure, indivisible, like the sky,
naturally stainless." - from Advahuta Gita of Dattatreya(trans.
Sri Ramakrishna Math)

You may find free on line Advaita Vedanta texts, so you may
search the web on the titles of the works or of the authors.
Buying cheap books from India direct, from Advaita Ashrama(
Ramakrishna & Vivekananda order) it is also possible.

Resources & Bibliographies on Indian Philosophies

1. Advaita Vedanta Book Cataloque from Inner Quest
2. Gaudapada Karikas
3. Adi Shankara
4. Advaita Books from Blue Dove Press
5. Motilal Banarsidas- Books online from India- The Biggest Indian Bookshop
6. Wei Wu Wei- La Voie Negative


*RAMANA MAHARISHI:Who Am I ? , Spiritual Instruction, Self Enquiry,
* Nisargadatta Maharaj - , I AM THAT (1), I Am That(2)
* H.W.L. Poonjaji( Interview 1) , H.W.L. POONJAJI(Iinterview 2)
*Ramesh S. Balsekar; A net of Jewels
*Book of Quotes- Non Dual Petals - compiled by Michael Szyper
*Francis Lucille: Eternity Now ( excerpts)
* 8 Interviews with Contemporary Non-Dual Teachers
-THE AWAKENING WEST by L.M. Lumiere & J.Lumiere-Wins


1.Gaudapada- Gaudapadakarikas, or Agamasutra
Mandukyopanisadbhasya, with Gaudapadakarikabhasya
Balabodhini, or Atmajnanopadesavidhi
Crest Jewel of Wisdom , Vivekacudamani
Advaitapancaratna, or Atmapancaka
Vakyasudha, or Drgdrsyaviveka
Stotram to the Guru
Lalita Stotram

3.Mandana Misra: Brahmasiddhi
Daksinamurtivarttika, or Manasollasa
Pancikaravartika, or Pranavavartika
5.Padmapada: Pancapadika
6.Totaka, or Trotaka: Srutisarasamuddharana
Stotram to Sri Shankara
7.Hastamalaka: Hastamalakaslokah
8.Sadananda: Vedantasara,
9.Swami Vidyaranya:
10.Dharmaraja Adhvarindra: Vedanta-Paribhasa
11.Vasudevasastri Abhyankar: Advaitamoda

(INFO: Karl A. Potter (1981). Encyclopedia of Indian
Philosophies, Vol.III , Advaita Vedanta up to Samkara and his
Pupils; Bader J.(1990).Meditation in Sankara's Vedanta)


1. Manual of Zen Buddhism by Teitaro Daisetz Suzuki
2. The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo
3. Zen Archives
4. Hsu Yun- Teachings of Zen



1. An annoted Bibliography of Articles and Books about Bon from Lingmicha Institute

2. Tibetan Archives

3.Nyoshul Kempo Jamyang: The Mirror of Essential Points
4.Trumgpa Chogyam: , Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness , , Cutting
through Spiritual Materialism
5. Aspiration for Mahamudra
7. Athisa

Books Osho Had Loved

List #1
1-THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA/Friedrich Nietzsche
2-BROTHERS KARAMAZOV/Fyodor Dostoevsky
3-THE BOOK OF MIRDAD/Mikhail Naimy
9-GITANJALI/Rabindranath Tagore

List #2
1-THE BOOK of the Sufis
2-THE PROPHET/Kahlil Gibran
6-RUBAIYAT/Omar Khayyam(a Sufi)
7-MASNAVI/Jalaluddin Rumi
11-LEAVES OF GRASS/Walt Whitman

List #3
1-HSIN HSIN MING/Sosan(cn)
2-TERTIUM ORGANUM(the third canon of thought)/P.D. Ouspensky
3-GEET GOVIND(the song of God)/Jaydeva
4-SAMAYASAR(the essence)/Kundkunda(a Jainas)
6-THE BOOK(Teachings) OF HUANG PO/(cn)
7-THE BOOK(Teachings) OF HUI HI/(cn)

List #4
1-The FRAGMENTS/Heraclitus
2-The GOLDEN VERSES/Pythagoras
3-THE SONG OF SARAHA/Saraha(Tibet)
4-notes from the songs of Tilopa
6-LET GO/Hubert Benoit(Frenchman)
9-MULA MADHYAMIKA KARIKA(the essence of the path of the middle)/Nagarjuna
10-THE BOOK OF MARPA/Marpa(Tibetan mysic)

List #5
3-YOGA SUTRAS/Patanjali
8-Rabiya al-Adabiya(Sufi)
9-Songs of Nanak/Nanak(the founder of Sikhism)
10-VIVEK CHUDAMANI(The Crest Jewel of Awareness)/Shankaracharya
11-KORAN/Hazrat Mohammed

List #6
1-DHAMMAPADA(the path of truth)/Gautama Buddha
2-JIN SUTRAS(The Sutras of the Conqueror)/Mahavira
3-ZORBA THE GREEK/Kazantzakis(Greek)
4-declarations of al-Hillaj Mansoor
5-anecdote of Mahakashyapa?founder of Zen?
6-SIDDHARTHA(the name of Gautama the Buddha)/Hermann Hesse(Nobel prizewinner)
7-anecodote of Baal Shem Tov(Hassidism founder)
8-songs of Farid(Sufi)
10-TATVA SUTRA(the ultimate reality)/Uma Swati

List #7
2-GURU GRANTHA SAHIB(the book of the masters)/(by Sikhs)
3-LIGHT ON THE PATH/Mabel Collins(Theosophist)
4-Songs of Lalla(Kashmiri woman)
5-words of Gorakh(tantric)
6-THE SUPREME DOCTRINE/Hubert Benoit(Frenchman)
7-SHIVA SUTRA(the techniques of all meditations)/Shiva(the Hindu concept of Ultimate Goodness)
8-message of Gaurang(the white one)
9-Dadu's songs

List #8
1-WILL TO POWER/Friedrich Nietzsche
3-statements of Sanai(essence of Sufism)
4-statements of Dionysius(belongs to the great world of the buddhas)
5-AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER/(J. Krishnamurti)Annie Besant
6-fragments from Junnaid/(Sufi mystic,the master of al-Hillaj Mansoor)
7-GOD SPEAKS/Meher Baba
10-anecodote/Mulla Nasruddin(He is not a fictitious figure, he was a Sufi and his grave still exists)

List #9
4-THE SUFIS/Idries Shah
5-THE WAY OF ZEN/Alan Watts(American)
6-SAYINGS of Rinzai/Lin Chi(took the flower of Zen away from China to Japan)
7-lectures by Hazrat Inayat Khan(the man who introduced Sufism to the West,a musician)
8-Books by Hazrat Vilayat Ali Khan(son of Hazrat Inayat Khan)
9-JESUS, THE SON OF MAN/Kahlil Gibran(Syrian)
10-THE MADMAN/Kahlil Gibran

List #10
2-TIME AND BEING/Martin Heidegger
3-TRACTATUS LOGICO PHILOSOPHICUS/Ludwig Wittgenstein(This book was written when Wittgenstein was studying under G.E.Moore and Bertrand Russell)
4-NIRDESH SUTRA(guidelines)/Vimalkirti
5-COMMENTARIES ON LIVING/ J.Krishnamurti(his diary)
6-COMMENTARIES/Maurice Nicoll(a disciple of Gurdjieff)
7-OUR LIFE WITH GURDJIEFF/Hartmann(another disciple of Gurdjieff,playing the piano)
8-SHREE PASHA(a commentary on BRAHMAN SUTRAS)/Ramanuja(a Hindu mystic)
10-THE BOOK OF BAHAUDDIN(Bahauddin created the tradition of Sufism)

List #11
1-THE OUTSIDER/Colin Wilson
3-THE GARDEN OF THE PROPHET/Kahlil Gibran(reminds me of Epicurus)
5-WHO AM I?/Maharshi Ramana
6-THE MIND OF INDIA/Moorehead and Radhakrishnan
9-THE WANDERER(a collection of parables)/Kahlil Gibran
11-WAITING FOR GODOT/Samuel Beckett

List #12
1-TALES OF HASSIDISM/Martin Buber(a Jew,What D.T. Suzuki did for Zen, Buber has done for Hassidism)
2-I AND THOU/Martin Buber
5-MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE MEN/Gurdjieff(It is not a fiction like DON JUAN)
6-THE GRANTHA(tying down the leaves,a small book of poems)/(a disciple of Kabir)
7-THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO/Karl Marx and Friedrich
10-THE SONGS OF DAYA(She was a contemporary of Meera and Sahajo, but she is far more profound than either of them)

List #13
1-LUST FOR LIFE(not just a novel, it is a spiritual book)/Irving Stone
2-THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY(on Michelangelo)/Irving Stone
4-NOTES ON JESUS(the fifth gospel,has just been found in Egypt)/Thomas(the body of Thomas is still preserved in Goa)
5-WAR AND PEACE(the whole history of human consciousness)/Leo Tolstoy
6-THE MOTHER/Maxim Gorky
7-FATHERS AND SONS(should be read by everyone, because everyone is entangled in some kind of relationship )/Turgenev
8-THE PHOENIX/D.H. Lawrence
9-PSYCHOANALYSIS AND THE UNCONSCIOUS/D.H. Lawrence(really a revolutionary, a rebel,far more revolutionary than Sigmund Freud)
11-BIJAK(means 'the seed' )/Kabir's selection of songs
12-ONE DIMENSIONAL MAN/Herbert Marcuse
14-NADI KE DWEEP(ISLANDS OF A RIVER,a Hindi novel,it is a meditator's novel)/ Satchidanand Vatsyayana

List #14
3-THE TALMUD(a Jewish book)
4-SHUNYA SVABHAVA(The Nature of Emptiness)/Taran Taran(the founder of a very small section of Jainism)
9-PROSE POEMS/Kahlil Gibran

List #15
1-MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH/Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography
2-CONFESSIONS/Saint Augustine
4-THE ART OF TANTRA/Ajit Mukherjee(Bengali)
6-BHAJ GOVINDAM MOODH MATE(O thousand years old, and is nothing but a small song)/Adi Shankaracharya
7-PHILOSOPHICAL PAPERS/Ludwig Wittgenstein
8-ZEN FLESH, ZEN BONES/Paul Reps(being an American, and yet, I repeat, and yet getting the full flavor of Zen)
9-ZEN BUDDHISM/Christmas Humphries(a disciple of D.T.Suzuki)
10-THE SONGS OF CHANDIDAS(a Bengali madman, a Baul,Baul means a madman)

List #16
1-The book is about an absolutely unknown Indian mystic, Shivpuri Baba/Bennett(an Englishman,also the first man to discover Gurdjieff)
2-LISTEN LITTLE MAN/Reich(he must have been possessed by some unknown spirit,died in jail, condemned, reduced to a madman)
3-PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA/Bertrand Russell and Whitehead
5-THREE PILLARS OF ZEN(the most beautiful book written about Zen)/Ross
6-THE GOSPEL OF RAMAKRISHNA/Mahendranath(a disciple of Ramakrishna)
7-Ramateertha's books
9-THE SONGS OF RAHIM/Rahim Khan Khana(of the same height and same depth as Kabir, Meera, Sahajo or Chaitanya)
10-DIVAN(a collection of poems)/Mirza Ghalib(the greatest Urdu poet)
11-THE BOOK(his testament, his whole experience with Zen masters, Zen classics)/Alan Watts(of tremendous intelligence,also a drunkard)
——??Books I have Loved?1982-1985

Kriben Pillay:
The works of the following teachers are highly recommended:

Adyashanti, A.H. Almaas, Arjuna Nick Ardagh, Ramesh Balsekar, Andrew Cohen, Meister Eckhart, Gangaji, Douglas Harding, Byron Katie, Jean Klein, J. Krishnamurti, Stephen Levine, Barry Long, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, H.W.L. Poonja, Robert Powell, Jelaluddin Rumi, Suzanne Segal, Eckhart Tolle, Chogyum Trungpa, Alan Watts, Wei Wu Wei, Ken Wilber.

What Papaji says about books on awakening

Q: Papaji, you recommend that we don't read books about awakening because it just creates the preconception and expectation of what awakening will feel like, taste like, of what it will be like. What then do you hope to convey about it in an interview?

PAPAJI: I don't recommend that you read any sacred books or books about saints. When you read a spiritual book, you will probably like some part of it. If you read it and like it, you store it in the memory. Later, you sit in meditation, trying to get freedom. You want to be free, and you have a conception of freedom which you have acquired from your books. When you meditate, this preconceived idea will manifest and you will experience it. You forget that what you are experiencing is something that is stored in your memory. What you get is a past experience, not enlightenment. The real experience is not an experience of a past memory. The mind deceives you when you meditate. The mind is always going to deceive you and cheat you, so don't depend on the mind. If the mind wants or likes something, don't listen to it. Whatever the mind likes, dislike it. Memory means past. When you meditate, you are trying to execute a plan which is in your mind: 'I have to arrive at the place I have read about.' Your later experience is therefore preplanned and that is what you get, because whatever the mind thinks, it manifests. When you have a thought of samsara, manifestation arises. This is your thought, your wish. That is why the world manifests. It looks so real to you because you have faith in its reality. Once you experience that Reality is somewhere else, you will reject samsara instantly. You will have a very new, very fresh experience. Each moment will be new. You will not experience it with the mind. Then there will be no mind, you will be all alone. This and this alone is called 'experience'. I won't use the word experience again because all experiences are planned from the past. It is not really going to be an experience, it is going to be a very direct meeting. For the first time you will meet That. You will go to meet It after denuding your mind, after denuding all the concepts of the mind. You have to go there undressed. Undress everything. Be nude. Even denude yourself of the nudity. Do you understand? The chamber of this Beloved is so sacred, this is the only way you can enter. If you want to meet your Beloved, go there. Who stops you? Do it now itself. It is so simple. To dress up takes time. To undress is much easier. from

Scott Morrison's list: Recommended Reading and Listening

Investigative, Meditative, and Experiential Approaches

Editor's Note: It is useful to remember that books are simply dried ink on paper, offering ideas, instructions, stories, explanations, inspiration, from the mind and heart of the author. When you pick up a book, you are sharing with the author your greatest possession - your time. All books, and this is particularly true of the list below, are best read with great attention, healthy skepticism, passionate curiosity, sincerity, and care. Suspend both belief and disbelief, be unflinchingly loyal to the process of truth, and your rewards in exploring the books below will be truly extraordinary. If you are especially diligent, honest, and willing to be intimate in that most sacred of places, where you are now, you will find yourself putting down the book from time to time, for a moment of great purity and exquisite beauty - an open heart and an open mind.

Suggested Exploratory List

Michael James's list from

I have read around 2000 spiritual books and here are the most
direct, enlightening and illuminating books I have read. They
also are part of the exact same spiritual path and therefore
work very well together.


#1. Non-Dual Consciousness, The Flood Tide of Bliss


Published by the Bangalore Center for Learning.

Sri Ramana Maharshi glanced at Sri Muruganar and Sri
Murganar’s ego ended. This is Sri Muruganar’s description of
that experience. It is one of the most detailed, clearly and
beautifully communicated descriptions of the experience of
Liberation (Awakening) ever written.

You can read a portion of Sri Ramana Experience in David
Godman’s book


#2. GARLAND OF GURU’S SAYINGS by Sri Muruganar.

Muruganar spent decades with Sri Ramana Maharshi.

This is a collection of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teachings as
seen through the awakened eyes of Sri Muruganar. Here the
emphasis is on awareness.


The most detailed explanation of how to practice Self-inquiry
in print.

Excellent shift from asking the question Who Am I to

Sri Sadhu Om spent five years with in the company of Sri
Ramana Maharshi and decades in the company of Sri Muruganar.


published by Shambala. This includes the book WHO AM I, which
was the most recommended book by Sri Ramana Maharshi and it


By Sri Sadhu Om. The Essence of Spiritual Practice.


Annamalai Swami spent decades with Sri Ramana Maharshi.

#7. FORTY VERSES ON REALITY by Sri Ramana Maharshi

#8. TALKS WITH RAMANA MAHARSHI published by Inner Directions

Hundreds of questions are answered here. Ken Wilber called
this book “The living voice of the greatest Sage of the
twentieth century”

To that I say ditto.


Everything Sri Ramana Maharshi ever wrote is here in this

#10. SILENCE OF THE HEART by Robert Adams.

Robert spent some years with Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Robert communicates well in modern American English.

#11. I AM THAT By Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Excellent communication in modern English.

Ronda LaRue's list.

A Sense of the Morning: Nature Through New Eyes, by David B. Hope
As It Is, by Tony Parsons.
Avalanche: Heretical Reflections on the Dark and the Light, by W. Brugh Joy, M.D.
Addiction and Grace, by Gerald G. May, M.D
Bio-Spirituality, by Peter A. Campbell & Edwin M. McMahon
Dancing Wu Li Masters, by Gary Zukav
Dialogue with Death: The Spiritual Psychology of the Katha Upanishad, by Eknath Easwaran
Discovering Your Soul’s Purpose, by Mark Thurston.
Doing Nothing, by Steven Harrison.
Dream Work, by Jeremy Taylor
Experience and Philosophy, by Franklin Merrell-Wolff
Loving What Is, by Byron Katie.
Mystcs As A Force for Change, by Kisirkumar Ghose.
Path of the Kabbalah, by David Sheinkin, M.D.
Society of Mind, by Marvin L. Minsky
Soul Prints, by Marc Gafni
Spectrums of Consciousness, by Ken Wilber
Tao Te Ching (New English Version), by Stephen Mitchell
The Black Butterfly, by Richard Moss, M.D.
The Essential Ken Wilber, Shambhala
The Gurdjieff Work, by Kathleen Riordan Speeth
The Hidden Gospel, by Neil Douglas-Klotz
The Holographic Universe, by Michael Talbot
The Magnificent Addiction, by Phillip Kavenaugh, M.D.
The Myth of Freedom
, by Chogyam Trungpa
The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle.
The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav
The Second Miracle, by Richard Moss, M.D.
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak Chopra
The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James.
Think On These Things, by Krishnamurti
Toward A Psychology of Awakening: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal and Spiritual Transformation, by John Welwood

List from

# The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram
# Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing by Robert Wolff
# My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization by Chellis Glendinning
# Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization by John Zerzan
# The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image by Leonard Shlain
# Language Diversity and Thought: A Reformulation of the Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis by John Arthur Lucy
# Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought by Dedre Gentner
# The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language by John McWhorter
# The 'Language Instinct' Debate by Geoffrey Sampson
# Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction by William Lycan
# A Companion to the Philosophy of Language by Crispin Wright
# Language and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language by Michael Devitt and Kim Sterelny
# Beyond Theology: The Art of Godmanship by Alan Watts
# The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas
# Enlightenment for Beginners: Discovering the Dance of the Divine by Chuck Hillig
# The Myth of Enlightenment: Seeing Through the Illusion of Separation by Karl Renz
# Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy by David Loy
# Advaita Vedanta: A Philosophical Reconstruction by Eliot Deutsch
# The Book of One : The Spiritual Path of Advaita by Dennis Waite
# Awake in the Heartland: The Ecstasy of What Is by Joan Tollifson
# What's Wrong with Right Now Unless You Think About It? by Sailor Bob Adamson
# Presence-Awareness: Just This and Nothing Else by Sailor Bob Adamson
# Awakening to the Natural State by John Wheeler
# Shining in Plain View by John Wheeler
# Oneness by John Greven
# Being: The Bottom Line by Nathan Gill
# I Hope You Die Soon: Words on Non-Duality by Richard Sylvester
# The Albigen Papers by Richard Rose
# If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! The Pilgrimage of Psychotherapy Patients by Sheldon Kopp
# Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible by Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau
# What Would I Believe if I Didn't Believe Anything: A Handbook for Spiritual Orphans by Kent Ira Groff
# To Know as We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey by Parker J. Palmer
# A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen
# The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen
# The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century by Thom Hartmann
# The Prophet's Way: A Guide to Living in the Now by Thom Hartmann
# Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
# Demian by Hermann Hesse
# Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse
# Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
# The Day Philosophy Dies by Casey Maddox
# The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham



Such stories abound at this website. Among the most accessible are those of Jan Barendrecht, Greg Burkett, Douglas Harding, Harsha, David Hodges, Gene Poole, Phil Servedio, John White, John Wren-Lewis. There are others, but many of the names listed are people one can actually write and talk to. As I've said, there are others listed at the website, only a few have been mentioned.



Sadhana, here, is defined as the practices, techniques, actions, work arising out of a life that is already Real or Spiritual. Sadhana is action that comes out of Realization and that is prescribed for one seeking Realization. It is not restricted to activities of a student, devotee or seeker. It also describes the action of a Realized One. From the disposition of Truth or Realization, these actions are done. From the disposition of the student, these actions need to be done. So even the enlightened one is performing sadhana.

There are various kinds of sadhana, their purpose being to take one to the ultimate stage of sadhana: "complete absorption in the infinite Being," says Swami Sivananda, whose book, "Sadhana, A Textbook of the Psychology and Practice of the Techniques to Spiritual Perfection" is over 700 pages in length and describes scores of kinds of sadhana.

There is no single kind of sadhana that leads to nondual awareness. The better question may be: What sadhana is generated by nondual awareness?

Sadhana is not something one does. It is already performed out of nondual awareness. It is captured by those whose calling it is to teach, and then given shape by them, and then prescribed to seekers. The seeker never does sadhana. The seeker attends to what sadhana is. As a result of that attention, certain practices, actions, works appear to be accomplished.

If one is told that sadhana includes chanting OM three times a day for twenty minutes, and he or she does that, that is not necessarily sadhana. It is only sadhana if the student attends to the significance of sadhana, to what it really is, to the best of the student's understanding. There must be meaning and understanding attached to practices, actions, work.

If one has an intuition that it reflects the life of the Realized One, that it is really spiritual, that is serves to bring fullness to awareness, then the chanting of OM three times a day for twenty minutes may be sadhana.

There is no sadhana without intuition of its source. Though some may say that going through the motions is better than nothing, I would want to know who is saying that and whether they are a genuine teacher. The genuine teacher would do nothing less than constantly cast light on the places where intuition resides until intuition comes to that light.

The purpose of this portion of the Nondualism FAQ is not to bring anyone to sadhana, just to give a flavour of what sadhana is.

Swami Sivananda mentions three essentials for God-realization: "constant remembrance of God, cultivating virtues, and spiritualizing your activities." He further says that these three "constitute the noble eightfold path of Lord Buddha. These also correspond to the 'Sermon on the Mount' of Lord Jesus. These are the essentials in all religions. So, kindly, practice these, and attain God-realization. Love all. Be good and do good. May Lord bless you all." Please remember that the preceding quote is elaborated upon throughout Swami Sivananda's 700 page textbook on sadhana.

The only elaboration I would make here is to offer that "constant remembrance of God" is achieved gradually by formal practice in meditation. Its purpose is to purify the mind. Cultivation of virtues (non-injury, truthfulness, celibacy) is associated with purity of thought, speech and action. Spiritualization of all activities is surrender unto the Lord; all thought, speech, action is performed from the disposition of "I am Thine; all is Thine; Thy will be done."

Swami Sivananda and the Divine Life Society offer only one opportunity for the seeker. There are several excellent teachers and Schools. No single one is recommended. The sadhana required by anyone would hold to the three essentials described here.