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#3593 - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 -
Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights - The first periodical publication on nonduality - Submissions welcome
Greg Goode continues to develop the Sri Atmananda page: http://www.heartofnow.com/files/atmananda.html
The introduction is included below.
It is an extraordinary web page for nonduality, featuring three free downloadable books and ongoing video commentary on Sri Atmananda's Atma Darshan. Sri Atmananda stands alongside Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj as a great expressor of the way things are.
Thanks to Greg and Sri Atmananda's family for making these teachings available at no cost.
Sri Atmananda (Krishna Menon) was a teacher whose teachings flow from the fountain of nondual wisdom known as Advaita Vedanta. He lived in Kerala, South India from 1883 to 1959. This was in the same modern era shared by Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) and Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981). Like Ramana and Nisargadatta, Atmananda inspired Easterners and Westerners. And like Ramana and Nisargadatta, Atmananda even has a giant book of insightful dialogues rich enough to be contemplated for years, which has the ability to help establish one as nondual awareness.
Sri Atmananda is much less well known than Ramana or Nisargadatta. As I write this paragraph, there isn't a Wikipedia entry on Atmananda, and there are relatively few published books either by him or about him. Yet, speaking for myself, I resonated more quickly and solidly with Atmananda's teachings than with Ramana's or Nisargadatta's. Atmananda uses concepts very well suited to a modern Westerner accustomed to logical or scientific discourse - concepts that seem simple and intuitive, and yet when examined, totally dissolve under scrutiny. This feeling of having the rug pulled out from under one is part of the experiential teaching that has direct and tangible effects as one proceeds with it.
What is my association with the teachings? Atmananda has had well known students, some of whom became teachers in their own right. Examples include John Levy, Jean Klein, Wolter Keers, and Paul Brunton. My own association with the teaching comes through the Jean Klein branch via Francis Lucille. Francis gave me a copy of ATMA DARSHAN one day, and I read it with the attention and respect I felt went along with such a gift. This short book resolved in a wondrous flash a subtle question I had been contemplating for several years about the difference between subject and object. Here in ATMA DARSHAN were several sections devoted to the exact issue I had been pursuing, issues I had never seen touched upon in the hundreds of other books on Advaita or Western philosophy I had read.
Like Idealism, but goes much further
There's something else too in my case. When one first encounters Atmananda's teachings, they can seem similar to the Western philosophy of Idealism, especially as taught by George Berkeley (1685-1753). It just so happened that I had been seriously studying Berkeley's teachings and before him, Brand Blanshard's (1892-1987) teachings as part of my own academic training in Philosophy. This had been going on for 25 years before I encountered Atmananda's teachings, during which time "physical" objects had lost their associated feelings of hardness, opacity, heaviness and brute physicality. I experienced physical objects as ideational.
And this is very very similar to the way that Atmananda first approaches his teaching. He starts by having you contemplate a physical object and acknowledge that it can be 100% accounted for by visual, tactile, auditory and intellectual "forms." And that apart from, say, a visual form that arises only as something in knowledge, it makes no sense to think that we "see" an object. We simply never experience anything "of" an independent object other than this form. So we have no way to establish that this form is "of" the object. We have no experience that there's an object independent of this form.
Unlike Berkeley's published works, Atmananda's investigation goes much further. He applies the same sort of scrutiny to the sense modalities, to the body and to the mind. We simply never witness anything external to witnessing awareness. There is no evidence for a limitation to seeing, or a gap between subject and object. There is also no evidence that awareness is personal, separate, limited or compartmentalized. And so nothing is missing.
How much further? All the way!
This awareness is our very self, since we don't stand apart from it and see it. It is our very seeing itself, as us. It is not separate or personal. It is clarity and openness. As Knowledge, it never feels that anything is missing. As Love, it is always accepting to everything that arises, never prohibiting or saying No to anything. As Happiness, it never suffers."
I have been reading Hafiz without a great deal of understanding.
Pleasure, yes...understanding, no. For he is a man of advanced
simplicity and I remain far too complicated to understand his state of
ecstasy as he walks about the universe with wings on his feet.
What he does is lift us up momentarily to his lofty state of childlike
bliss. He tucks us under his arm as he wanders across cloud tops and
lovely fields of waving grain. He rides us on an ass with him as he
makes love to the universe.
And the universe cannot help but make love back at such a one....even if
we do not experience his direct state of samadhi. I love picking up The
Gift, translations by Daniel Ladinsky and reading lines like this:
And Hafiz knows
There is no one in this world
Is not upon
His Jeweled Dance
When my husband was dying and I was being tortured by his suffering, in
a strange way I knew then what I keep forgetting. That it is all a
dance of love, even while whirling in a blind fog. That it is all well
with our souls, even while the music seems to stop and our hearts crack
into pieces like a shattered mirror. On this day, many years ago, we
drove our only daughter, then seven years old, to the hospital for the
last time. Asked if she wanted to lie down, she said, No, I want to
see the sky and the trees. A dark time followed...many dark nights
stitched together only by faith and patience.
But something puts us back together, calls the musicians back to play
another waltz. Someone reaches down from heaven and pats us on our head
while opening our hearts. Hafiz speaks again:
What I have learned
I am so eager to share:
Every ill will confess
It was just a lie
When the golden efforts of your love
Lift the precious wine
to your mouth.
Remembrance of our dear Friend
Lowers the souls chalice
So from reading Hafiz to putting down my own thoughts about him, I learn
more about myself. How is this possible if I do not possess the
potential for such a state? His words call for more
unbridled pleasure in every atom of existence...for more experience at
being open to miracle and praise. Thanks, Hafiz...jewelled tears contain
the promise of eternal love.
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