Jerry Katz
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Nonduality Salon (/\)

Highlights #388

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With Bannanje Govindacharya and
Andrew Cohen

AC: In the West at this time, there's literally an explosion of
interest in Advaita philosophy, mainly due to the influence of
Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, H.W.L. Poonja
and Ramesh Balsekar. And there are also now a number of
Western teachers propagating the advaita or nondual teachings.
In Advaita, what is emphasized is the unreality of the world--
the unreality of manifest existence . And in that, what's being
stressed by many teachers is also the unreality of the ego .
Therefore, it is said that the sadhaka need not make any effort
to struggle against the negative ego in their pursuit of inner
freedom because the very object that they're trying to free
themselves from--the ego--is merely an illusion. The teaching
goes: Simply realize that the ego never existed and then live
happily in the knowledge of one's own inherent freedom.

Now my view on this is that it's only the rarest of rare realized
persons who could get away with saying such a thing--that the
ego is an illusion--and that therefore one need not make any
effort to liberate onself from its corrupting influence . Indeed, only
the rarest of rare individuals, someone like Ramana Maharshi or
Ajja, could say something that absolute, that outrageous, and
it actually be true . Why ? Because those rarest of rare beings
are already finished--their ego has been utterly destroyed, burnt
in the fire of spiritual experience until there was nothing left. But
to encourage a seeker who is very, very far away from that kind of
extraordinary attainment to presume that their ego is an illusion
appears to be a dubious form of instruction. In fact, it could be
dangerous in some cases because it opens the door for self-deception
and/or self-indulgence . The seeker could easily, under the guise
of enlightened understanding, abandon all effort to censor or control
impure motivations or tendencies that actually do exist within them.
In other words, "Well, the ego doesn't exist; everything is unreal,
so nothing really matters anyway ."

BG: Just to deny ego is of no consequence at all. If somebody
merely says that they have no ego, THAT is ego--that is the
greatest ego . "I don't have ego so I need not reject it" is a foolish
statement. Somebody who says, "I don't have ego," is at the
same time EXPRESSING his ego . This is against our experience .
It's just escapism through philosophy . These people say the ego
is false and not existent and that therefore they don't have to reject
it. But what is existent then? Does that mean everything is
nonexistent? Then why practice? Practice is nonexistent! If the
whole thing is false, if it doesn't exist, and if only the real essence
exists, then why practice? A REALIZED person can say that
they don't have ego because it is a self-ASSESSMENT; it is not
self-assertion. THEY can say it. But not ALL people can say
it. It is not a common, general statement.

You see, the problem is that in Advaita there is no acknowledgment
of individuality . Advaita says that all is only one ATMAN [Self].
But Advaita is just a certain sect in India; it's not the whole of Indian
philosophy . In fact, Shankara, who lived in the seventh century, was
the only major Indian philosopher who preached Advaita . Later
philosophers--Ramanuja, Bhaskara, Nimbarka, Madhva--everybody
condemns Shankara . Nobody accepts him. But nowadays, Advaita
has become a fashion.

Any comment?



Dearest and most wonderful brother KKT,

Your posts always bring a smile as you seem to have such breadth in
everything. Advaita, Krishnamurti, U.G., Ramesh, Osho, in fact, anyone who
can be named.

Dear KKT, your reflections are profound as they often address the immediate
questions of creating a bridge between "what to do?" and "how to be?" in the
spiritual context. Perhaps such a bridge is made of tears only from the life
struggles, but I love the spirit of your company and the attitude of honest
inquiry. Of course, Advaita is just one school of thought. It does not
if it is in fashion today. Fashions indeed come and go and following any
fashion can exact a price.

How can we be concerned with fashions without having an investment in it.
People such as BG are concerned that some aspirants are "falsely" denying
ego while the "TRULY REALIZED" "authentically" denied the ego as it had been
destroyed in them. BG may be a wise person and that concern might be very
genuine. But after all, it is BG's concern and not ours. It is for BG to
out his concerns and un-entangle himself from his involvement about fashions
and non fashions, etc., if such exist in him.

My beautiful friend, all the wise sayings and fashions and non fashions and
opinions and views of great people, and poetry and commentaries of subtle
profound nature are left behind and fall away into nothingness.

Now and then, once in a while, in some life, we hear the words of a friend,
"You are the light, the Truth, and the Way, and you will come to your Self
through your Self." That friend is the Guru and only a reflection of the
Self. Those words work in a flash when the time is ripe and then dissolve
into the Self.



Ego/not an ego
Me/not me
Expert/not an expert

Who is constructing
these dichotomies?

For every side that can
be taken, there is
an opposing side.
Every opinion is met
my another opinion.

Peace/No Peace,
Dan/not Dan


Andrew Cohen always seems to hit the nail on the


And once Harsha and Dan have spoken, I may as well
go back and lay in the hammock. :)


Can I join you there, Glo?
I want to hear about Lalla...



GLO adds:

Sure, Dan, anything for you. So glad you are back, have
some lemonade and listen to Lalla.

Siva is with a fine net spread out
He permeath the mortal coils
If thou whilst living canst not see
Him, how canst thou when dead
Take out Self from Self after pondering over it

I saw and found I am in everything
I saw God effulgent in everything.
After hearing and pausing see Siva
The House is His alone; Who am I, Lalla.

Siva pervades every place and thing;
Do not differentiate between Hindu and Musalman.
you art intelligent recognise thine own self;
That is the true acquaintance with God.


DAN, MARK, Everyday Stuff:


Mark, you're right.
The birds and the car
are heard within the silence.
And where are you while you're


Sorry Dan,

I don't hear any birds or cars. The stereo (TransEuro Express by
Kraftwerk) is here, oh what's this?... cars...Metal on Metal...
I'm in the toolbox, awaiting the next need for me.
Breakfast is swimming nicely inside. Coffee sitting next to the computer.
This is a new album to me, and I like this song. My body is relaxed, a
little warm. There is a clarity flowing through. Through what? no need
to answer this one, it's just flowing nicely through... Yours is a useful
question without a useful answer. the question can remind me of the habit
of continuity and help me let go. The ego thoughts continue to rise, the
difference is that I disagree with them now. Looking, I also see that
the silence is there, not forced or willed. That's VERY nice. So I am
here within the silence just as the birds and cars are. Yum. Shabda
yoga on the stereo now. Have a lovely day Dan.

Hi, Mark.

Now, what the heck is an "ego thought"
and why is it worth disagreeing with it?

I'm not having a day, the day is having
me. I hope I'm tasty.

As we're here in Silence, let
me just say this about that:

Amen, brother.
But at least
we can reassure each
other that it's
all "under God"

So is this some puritanical insistence on the missionary position?

Submitted by MATTHEW:

Andrew Cohen from "Halfway up the Mountain, Premature claims to
enlightenment" by Mariana Caplan.

Many mistakenly feel relieved from the burden of responsibility for
their own behavior because of erroneous conclusions drawn from their
spiritual experiences of no-separation. Realizing that "everything is
the Self", they concluded that therefore there was nothing and nobody
to be responsible for. In this way of thinking, responsibility
implies duality, and any notion of responsiblity is therefore seen to
be an expression of ignorance. In this view almost any mode of
conduct becomes acceptable- when one proponent was asked why he
habitually acted rudely and with dishonesty, he said "oh that is not
real, that's just my personality."
Another student said, "Nothing matters because it is all the Self".
Others have answered with incredulity when asked about responsibility
for behavior, "How can there be responsibility for Freedom? Who's
responsible?".....Many people do have profound experiences when
exposed to such teachings, but the teachings usually have the effect
of enslaving a person to a deluded view that they ae completely free
simply because they had a glimpse of the fact that there never could
have been a separate entity who could be bound in the first place. It
is at this point that the Advaita view, as it is frequently
proclaimed these days, becomes completely ridiculous. Such a view can
make a person extremely confident, because any difficulty can
be "Advaited" by saying that it is all unreal or all the Self anyway.

I think this is usually called the 'Advaita Shuffle'. Timothy Schoorel
speaks of
in-responsable versus ir-responsable in his book, if I recall correct. My
Alexander Smit had a nice term for this: "spiritual autism".

One thing that comes up for me is, "how can we draw the line?".

We are on this journey. We're on the path, then we're off, then on again.
Along the way we arrive at so many points that are either satisfactory,
or seem like "home". Each individual takes a different journey.

So where are we in this journey? Perhaps I have come to some fabulous
realization that helps me feel O.K. Why shouldn't I stop there? Perhaps
I am better off than when I first started. I can stop now. Am I "me"
focused? If I am "me" focused, my "high" isn't going to last long. I
am too separate. This separation IS the cause of grief. If there is
grief, it is because I am "me" focused. If there's no grief because
I've wiped out compassion, that is "me" focus.

"If" one becomes truly Self realized, and looses the "me" focus, a
different urgency is seen. There exists the possibility of complete
and utter liberation in this lifetime. 100% dedication to Self
Realization. That has nothing to do with me.

XAN submits Papaji:

First of all, most important, is burning desire for freedom.
Burning desire for freedom alone is enough, you see.
Then if you have burning desire for freedom,
it will come to you to still your mind ...
wherever the mind goes bring it back to the center.

There is no separation.

Don't believe it
Not even for a nanosecond.

All is one.
Believe it or not.


Peace - no exceptions to prove the rule - Michael

I realized that I needed to separate from being separate
to be whole.



Yum!!! (but is this true?) It looks from here that there are infinite
separations (layer upon layer), but only one "together"... Can you
become completely joined with the separation you mention? Fear is love
if you look hard enough... (I think...) The thought of separation is
VERY clever!!!! (You have to just love it, like a rascally child...)
100% (so much more than Ivory...)

I was thinking about the enneagram. There are two shock
points. The first has to do with attention and the second has
to do with the transformation of negative emotions. I have
been thinking about the first shock as active and the second
as passive. As I keep my attention and not display negativity
the emotion can at times turn or transform. It is not something
that I actively "do" but that seems to be done through me.
Anyway it was during those ponderings that the thought occurred
to me that separating from being separate was a connecting or
a making whole again. When "done" consciously by means of
transformation of negativity, it is a separation from being separate.
Make sense?

yes it does.. People do not always think in the same directions. I
think I tend to think of the transformation of negative emotions as an
active process, that I can "do". Energy is what one does with it. (I
think...) In fact, I think this may be the same as what I said earlier
today about disagreeing with ego thoughts. Dan asked what they were,
which helped point me to the realizazation that thougts are thoughts,
and the label "ego" may not have meaning. ("Now, what the heck is an
"ego thought" and why is it worth disagreeing with it?")

What I meant by "ego thoughts" was the concept that I am limited in some
way, and that there is searching for a solution to that problem. When I
get "close" to "realization of LOVE", thoughts arrise that I am not
ready, or that it can't happen to mortals, or that it will happen
sometime in the future, when I am "ready". I've seen through these (at
least temporarily...). The fun thing is that I see the extrreme
cleverness that these thoughts have created to survive!!! (such fun!!!)
It swas such a problem Friday, and it is such a source of joy today!!!
Who knows about tomorrow? I don't (and that''s fine!)) Intent is so


Oh, lookit me! I'm so separate from myself :=))))))

Oh, lookit me! I'm so connected to myself. :"))))

GAHD! I'm laughing so hard I can harldy type!

You know, the I AM is having a ball with us! Ain't we a hoot!


Peace - Surrender Dorothy! - Michael

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