Click here to go to the next issue
Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day
#2135 - Friday, May 6, 2005 - Editor: michael
A primer on Advaita
Advaita is a sanskrit word that literally means "not two". Synonyms of Advaita are non-duality (nonduality, non duality). Advaita is not a philosophy or a religion. Non-duality is an experience in which there is no separation between subject and object; a "me" and the rest of the universe; a "me" and God. It is the experience of consciousness, our true nature, which reveals itself as absolute happiness, love and beauty. Consciousness is defined as that, whatever that is, which is aware of these very words right here, right now.
A sage is one who knowingly lives as consciousness. Since awareness is impersonal and universal, there is only one sage beyond the apparent distinctions of race, gender, age, etc. A sage is not necessarily a spiritual teacher, and a spiritual teacher is not necessarily a sage. Ramana Maharshi, Krishna Menon and Jean Klein were such sages who taught in the 20th century. Ramana Maharshi used the self inquiry method with his less advanced disciples. The student who practices self inquiry keeps his attention focused onto the source of the I-thoughts and I-feelings, whenever they arise. Once enlightenment has taken place, the process of self inquiry continues effortlessly. The attention spontaneously reverts to the source at the end of each thought and feeling and there is no need to focus the attention any longer. More advanced students can be taken directly to the experience of their true self by hearing the truth from the lips of the guru and/ or through his silent presence. This is called the direct path, the path used, among others, by Ramana Maharshi, Krishna Menon and Jean Klein. The process of self realization continues spontaneously until the body-mind-world firmly abides in peace and happiness. Everything that can be said about the experience of non duality is, at best, a pale approximation at the level of concepts, a mere pointer. Zen Buddhism uses the metaphor of a finger pointing to the moon: although the finger points to the moon, the finger and the moon belong to two different worlds.
Advaita transcends all religions, philosophies and nationalities. It doesn't divide, but rather unites. Fanatic members of different religions can never agree about their concepts of God, but sages from different backgrounds can never disagree about their shared experience of non duality. The founders of all great religions were sages.
|Nonduality is at the core of Hinduism,
Sufism, Zen Buddhism, Kashmeerian Shivaism and of the
teachings of Christ:
Hinduism: "That which is not (the objects as separate from the Self) never comes into being, and that which is (The Self) never ceases to be". (BaghavadGita)
Hinduism, Kashmeerian Shivaism: "Oh Marvel! This illusion, although expressed in multiplicity, is no other than consciousness-without-a-second. Ha, all is but pure essence aware of itself." (Abhinavagupta)
Sufism: "There is nothing but God"
Zen Buddhism: "Question:
When a sound ceases, does awareness cease?
Hinduism, Kashmeerian Shivaism: "The universe awakens when You awaken and vanishes when You withdraw. Therefore the totality of existence and non-existence is one with You." (Abhinavagupta)
Christianism: "Jesus said: "I" is the light (of awareness) that shines upon all things. "I" is the All from which everything emanates and to which everything returns." (Thomas, 186)
Enlightenment is the sudden recognition that non-duality is, has always been, and will always be the reality of our experience. Duality is an illusion. Consciousness is not private and personal, but impersonal, universal, and eternal. There is no limited personal entity, no conscious ego. The ego is a perceived object, not the all perceiving awareness.
Self realization is the subsequent stabilization in the peace, happiness and freedom of our natural state. The world, seen in the light of impersonal awareness, reveals itself as a permanent miracle, a divine display that celebrates its invisible source.
A living guru (spiritual teacher) is, in most cases, necessary to facilitate both enlightenment and self realization. Although the karana guru (the guru whose role is to help the disciple trough the last stages of realization) appears to the disciple as a seemingly separate human being, he or she is knowingly established as universal consciousness. He sees the disciple as his own Self. Consciousness in the disciple, being recognized for what it truly is, resonates with the silent presence of the guru. The mind of the disciple becomes gradually and mysteriously quiet, with or without the use of words, until the student has a glimpse of the causeless joy of his natural state. A relationship of love, freedom and friendliness that leads to the eventual spontaneous stabilization of the disciple in happiness and peace gets established.
A true karana guru never sees himself as superior or inferior to anybody, nor does he or she take himself or anybody for a sage or an ignorant, for a spiritual teacher or a disciple. This impersonal attitude creates an unmistakable perfume of friendship and freedom that is a prerequisite for the success of the final stages of the self realization process.
copyright 2000, Francis
WHAT IS ADVAITA?
Advaita means in Sanskrit "non-duality"; 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 the subject-object relationship. The concept of non-duality has acquired meaning in the West through the latest discoveries of nuclear physics.
Sanskript) represents one of the three Systems of thought
in Vedânta; its most important representative is >
Shankara. Advaita-Vedànta teaches that the manifest creation,
the soul, and God are identical. Just as particle physicists have
discovered that matter consists of continually moving fields of
energy, so the sages (rishis) of Vedânta recognized that
reality consists of energy in the form of consciousness (»
chit) and that human begins perceive a gross universe by
means of gross senses, because of identification with the
ego-limited body. That which is real and unchanging is
superimposed in the mind (* vikshepa) by the notion
of an ever-changing manifest world of names and shapes (>
Shankara's best-known example is the piece of rope that in the dark is taken for a snake. Anxiety, repugnance, heart palpitations are induced by a snake that was never born and never will die, but that exists only in one's mind. Once the rope is recognized under light as a rope, it cannot turn back into a snake. The initial error involves not only nescience of what is, but also the superimposition (vikshepa) of a notion that has nothing to do with what is. Advaita teaches that we in essence of the ritual, understood beyond the mere enactment of the rite, which in reality serves to prepare and sustains the practice of contemplation.
Notes On Advaita
Advaita means "not two." It means that there is no longer subject and object. There is no longer separation.
When one realizes the self, they see that there is nothing but consciousness. There is nothing that is not made out of consciousness. Einstein proved this as a scientist. That all is made up of one energy. This energy is an aware energy.
Thus it is called consciousness. It is awakeness. It is awareness.
To experience that everything is of one energy is the most pleasurable, satisfying experience.
There is no end to the exploration of this, for consciousness is eternal, it is everywhere. To know experientially that you exist and everything exists as consciousness is termed self-realization. It is the realization of your true essence.
For me it was as though a long, painful dream was over, the joke was on me. There was and is a constant rush of energy moving through me and as me, a strong vibration that becomes stronger and stronger. When I am alone, sitting in silence, this bliss increases. The physical, mental forms fade sometimes completely and there is just energy, just awareness. It is incredibly nurturing, loving, peaceful, beautiful. It washes away everything, it seems to even heal my physical form to some degree. I could go on forever about the qualities of resting in this essence, but could not describe it accurately. It is the essence of happiness, contentment. It is divine. It is everything you truly ever wanted. You seek it in everything you want, yet when you get the object you want, it does not deliver this bliss that this essence delivers and so you find another object to desire. But what you truly desire is contentment, and this is your very nature in your essence.
To experience your essence, which is not yours or mine but essence itself, you must strip away everything that you think yourself to be. To find who you you are, you have to strip away the layers of how you dress yourself up. It takes humility, surrender. It takes your entire focus on the present moment.
So in this moment, notice your experience. Close your eyes. Notice how you feel as a body, notice your breathing, notice your thoughts coming an going but remain present. Thoughts constantly invite you to live in them. If a thought comes about meeting someone tomorrow and you jump into that thought, suddenly you are in your imaginary projection of tomorrow. You are meeting that person, you are going to lunch, you are having the conversation. They are even speaking back to you! But it is all unreal. It is all imagination. Yet this is how people exist. They see themselves as the result of their past and their desires and fears of the future. But the only realness about them is in this moment. In this moment only are you tangible, the rest is simply imagining you are somewhere else.
So right now, notice your experience of you. Beyond your thoughts notice the feeling of you being alive in this moment. It is an impersonal you. It cannot be separated from this moment. It is pure awareness, simply being, the feeling of "I am." Only when you add thoughts do you become an individual, a person with desires and problems.
So your essence is your experience in this moment beyond thoughts, emotions, physical experience. It is awareness, a vibrating energy. In this awareness, there is nothing separate from awareness. There is no other at this state of simply being. There is no beginning and no end to you. Thus, not two, Advaita, the experience of being consciousness itself, the essence of what you are.
If you are seriously committed to Self-Realization, I highly recommend the following:
One, most importantly, spend time every day sitting in silence, watching your experience in the moment and allowing it to be the way that it is. I offer an audio/CD meditation course called Ocean Euphoric, specifically designed to be listened to while sitting in silence. It has a sound technology that washes you with enlightened energy. It will greatly enhance your experience of peace, bliss, clarity and ability to stay present. This is not some mind toy that slows down your brain waves, Ocean Euphoric carries the energetic of truth/enlightenment consciousness, it is like nothing else you have tried before on audio CD. For those truly interested in advaita/enlightenment, I highly recommend listening to Ocean Euphoric during your sitting but it's up to you. Click here if you would like more information.
Two, if possible, spend time sitting with one who is awake/enlightened. They also carry this energetic that helps you experience greater focus, bliss, and clarity in the moment. No need to swear over your life to someone or join an ashram. Just spend time sitting with a teacher, meditating and surrendering to the moment.
Three, live a balanced life with diet, exercise and most importantly, awareness. Awareness is most important. Once you start to taste the peace in this moment, your body will automatically reject certain foods for other healthier vibrant foods. When you make peace your focus, you will automatically want to take better care of your body, create less distractions and sufferings.
Yet, all of this happens by itself. The ego wants to do things in order to get something. But the truth is that you are the truth, and everything is happening by itself. All one can do is rest here in this moment, letting all thoughts, emotions and sensations be as they are and notice what is here. Then all of this happens very beautifully and easily.
Advaita means non-dualism. Advaita means that everything is of god, truth, consciousness. That there is nothing that is not consciousness. This is not a belief system to acquire. Reading and understanding through the mind will only give you more mind. You must drop the mind, drop all beliefs and notice what is here. You must seek out this moment yourself and find the truth yourself.
from Swami Beyondananda
1. Laugh Every Day. Seriously ... laughter is good for you. And when things just arent funny -- thats the most important time to laugh. Try this at home: Watch Funniest Home Videos with the sound off and Spike Jones playing instead.
2. Dont Worry, Youre Already Funny. Instead of trying to be funny, learn to see funny. Especially learn to see whats funny about you. Imagine God watching the Comedy Channel, and you are whats on.
3. Bring Laughter to
the Outernet. Take the best of those jokes you get on the
internet and share them on the outernet. Practice by
telling the same joke to five people. Short jokes are fine.
Remember, its not the length of the joke that matters, its
how much pleasure it
4. Savor and Save Humorous Healing Stories. A good laughsitive cleanses the system and leaves the mind open to receive nourishment. Keep a notebook of jokes that enlighten as they lighten. You will find yourself remembering and using them just at the right time.
5. Turn Worry Into Laughter. When you find yourself worrying about something, step back from the worry and see if you can find something in the situation to laugh about. Worrying has no proven benefits. Laughter does. Did you know that one Youngman of laughter -- the mirth contained in the average one-liner -- can release up to a megahurt of emotional pain?
6. Reframe Suffering as Comedy in Disguise. Sing the blues when you are angry, sad or frustrated. If you must complain, complain creatively -- and thoroughly enjoy your complaining. Say, You know what I love about this ....? Look for the comedy hidden in this picture. (e.g., Im not on the verge of bankruptcy. Im just having a near-debt experience.)
7. Build Critical Muscle By Pumping Ironies. Looking for the inherent contradictions and incongruities in situations helps build a strong body politic 12 ways. Train your inner child to ask, How come that emperor isnt wearing any clothes? When you watch the news or read the papers, be on the lookout for truth disguised as humor.
8. Develop a Comic Alter Ego. A shy, mild-mannered man named Edgar Bergen went inside and found a brash, outrageous alter ego which he called Charlie McCarthy -- who would do and say things that would make Edgar blush. Even if your character never makes it beyond your bathroom mirror, a comic alter ego is a great way to give voice to daily frustrations and lovingly laugh at your own shadow. One of the best ways to break the addiction to your own personality is try some other ones on!
9. Write Your Laugh Story. Spend an afternoon or evening writing your life story as if it were a comedy. Which comic actors could play your family, friends and foes? Who would you get to play your part? Give your story a title. A friend of mine calls his Dont Do What I Did!
10. Play Regularly. Have you ever felt the Creator is toying with you? Well then, follow Swami Beyondanandas sage advice and become a creative plaything. Bring the childlike quality of play back into your life. Run up the down escalator. Dress for Halloween -- any day the mood hits you. Plant the seeds of harmless fun wherever you go.
top of page