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#3284 - Tuesday, September 9, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -     


Prior to the I Am: The End of Self Consciousness: I Am That I Am Part 3.

Stephen Wolinsky (order all DVDs and experience a guided meditation) (watch video samples) (order this DVD)  

Review by Jerry Katz 

This video features Stephen Wolinsky serving up his understanding of Nisargadatta Maharaj's most profound teachings. Two points of power are noted in this DVD. One is Nisargadatta Maharaj's confession of the primordial advaita. The other is 9 minutes of footage of Nisargadatta speaking to a group of people in his home.


In this video teacher Stephen Wolinsky says that Nisargadatta called "prior to the I Am" the primordial advaita. Stephen says, "Even the sense of beingness as well as presence, and witnessing, awaring, is part of the I Am and an illusion. Prior to the I am, in the primordial advaita, they are not."

The primordial advaita is a power point because there's nowhere else to go from there. It is "prior to." Today's teachings that are classified as neo-advaita speak from "prior to." Primordial advaita is Nisargadatta's version of neo-advaita.

"My words, if planted in you, will remove all other words and concepts," Nisargadatta said. That's all neo-advaita confessions or the confessions of "prior to," of primordial advaita, can do. And they can do it. This DVD can do it.

Primordial advaita is a power point within this production. Through Wolinsky's explanations and meditations, you are brought to where you can confess the primordial advaita yourself, if you are inclined to.

If Nisargadatta's words can become planted in you, or have become planted in you, then Wolinsky is like a growth stimulator of planted words, whether the gardener was Nisargadatta, Tony Parsons, Bob Adamson, or anyone. Any guru. We learn from Nisargadatta in his own words that, "Gurus are like milestones. It is natural to move from one to another."

Primordial advaita, or "prior to the I Am," is one thematic power point.


The other notable power point consists of nine minutes of footage of Nisargadatta Maharaj speaking to a group of men and women. This film takes the DVD out of the hands of Wolinsky and leaves you with Nisargadatta himself.

I thought the 9 minutes with Nisargadatta was very much like being with him. He was speaking to a roomful of Indian men and women. There was no translator, so the interaction seemed more direct, relaxed, and naturally paced. The natural sounds within the room, Nisargadatta's voice, the noises from busy street outside added to the reality and intimacy. The subtitles are very good. I love how Nisargadatta laughed with the people as though something common was shared about being human. I sensed that in his laughter Nisargadatta revealed all "this" as a humor-evoking magic trick.


--Wolinsky addresses these comments by Nisargadatta which we see him speaking in authentic footage: "You have faith that you are. On what does it depend on? The faith that you are ... nobody investigates on these lengths. Why is there beingness? How am I? Why am I? On what does it depend on?"

--You may have sudden insights, as when Wolinsky tells you, "Even the space between two thoughts is not it. Actually, the space between two thoughts and the thoughts themselves are made of the same substance."

--I enjoyed the discourse on truthiness: "Truthiness is a satirical term coined by Stephen Colbert in reference to the quality by which a person claims to know something intuitively, instinctively, or `from the gut' without regard to evidence, logic, facts, or intellectual examination. Truthiness is used as an appeal to emotion and comfort." (Wikipedia). Wolinsky says, "What gurus say feels good but you need to differentiate between what they're saying and what you're feeling. First, is the information accurate? Faith is not enough." Later on, he says, "People fall in love with their perception of the personality. Most people don't know the teacher and the teacher doesn't know them. They don't know what's going on in the guru's life. You're missing the point by attracting to the teacher, the sadhana, the practices."

--Deconstructing Deconstruction: Wolinsky teaches, "Witnessing, beingness, awareness, and presence are all functions of the I Am; they either happen or they do not. They are not you. The are `states' which are I Am dependent, and hence illusions to be discarded."

--Meditations. There are a few meditations through which you are led by Wolinsky. Here is a fragment of one on deconstructing deconstruction:

"Without using your thoughts, your memory, your emotions, your associations, your perceptions, is there a logos, no logos or neither? Notice the knower or awarer or the witness of the logos/no logos, source/no source dichotomy, and the witness. What happens if the witness or the knower of the logos/no logos dichotomy, and the dichotomy itself happen through a biochemical reaction in the abstraction process, but there are no chemicals?" He repeats this meditation with several other dichotomies, such as path, plan, purpose, self, emptiness, void. At end he says, to "keep part of your awareness `back there' beyond knowing, beyond yes and no. When you open your eyes part of your awareness can be here."


Stephen Wolinsky is brilliant in two ways in this DVD. First, he goes as far as any teaching can go, it seems, by deconstructing deconstruction. Second, he's not simply confessing the "state" of primordial advaita, as neo-advaitins do, or as the Avadhuta Gita does, a scripture he refers to at the end of the video; he's explaining the primordial advaita very, very carefully, repetitively, clearly, borrowing seriously from Nagarjuna's eight negations. He's leading you to the experience of primordial advaita through meditations. There is no state and no experience of primordial advaita, but those words are used.

There are four DVDs in the Nisargadatta/Wolinsky series. If you are comfortable with the teachings of the Avadhuta Gita and you don't mind hearing that the witness, the `source', the I Am are illusions to be discarded, then start with this DVD. Watch all four if you want a penetrating course in nonduality, the essence of advaita, and the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj.  

Prior to the I Am: The End of Self Consciousness: I Am That I Am Part 3.

Stephen Wolinsky (order all DVDs and experience a guided meditation) (watch video samples) (order this DVD

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