om copy

Everyone (reading this blog!) has heard of the syllable ‘OM’. The Devanagari for this is the immediately recognizable ॐ but it is made up of three letters, a, u and m. Thus, it could actually be represented as औम् and the ITRANS, instead of being written OM, would be ‘aum’.

How OM can function as a symbol for brahman or the entirety of creation is elucidated by Gaudapada and described in my book ‘A-U-M: Awakening to Reality’. Here is the section that describes the Sanskrit aspects:


The spoken word ‘OM’ is actually Sanskrit. The written ‘OM’ is its ‘Romanized’ representation (i.e. using the English alphabet). In its original language, it actually looks like this:

If you have ever been to India, this character will be very familiar and it also frequently appears on New Age items and jewelry. But this is in fact a special, shorthand representation and the word is actually formed from three separate letters. (Only this word, in the entire language, has a special symbol – this is an indication of how important it is considered to be.) Continue reading

Serialization of Yogavasishta 3

yogavasishta2Professor Sri Kuppa Venkata Krishna Murthy, Chairman and Managing Trustee of I-SERVE, the Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas, has kindly given permission for Advaita Vision to serialize his 6-volume ‘Musings on Yogavasishta’. Written in Telugu, the work has been painstakingly translated by our Dr. Ramesam Vemuri and published by Avadhoota Datta Peetham.

Rather than reproducing successive extracts from the books each month, as has been done with our other two serializations, the books themselves will be made available for download in PDF format. Each part will be associated with a page at the main website, which will contain a Contents List for that volume. Links to all of the volumes will be provided on a general Contents Page.

The third part to be published is Part 2 (THE CONDUCT OF A SPIRITUAL ASPIRANT). (We began with Part 7 of the Series as it provides an overall summary of the Non-dual teaching and is a better introduction than simply jumping in at Part 1.)

Please go to the Contents Page to read the Announcement and general introduction from Ramesam. The page for this Third Volume, Part 2 (THE CONDUCT OF A SPIRITUAL ASPIRANT) also contains the download link for the PDF file (0.9MB).



Belief can be a dangerous thing, as Galileo discovered to his dismay early in the 17th century, when he was denounced to the Inquisition because of his claim that the earth went around the sun and not vice versa. Unfortunately for him, the Catholic Church was committed to the opposite belief so he never stood a chance. Nowadays, of course, we know better and happily acknowledge that Galileo was correct, despite the fact that everyone still talks about sunrise and sunset!

(Although I did not have it in mind when I began this blog, I should mention here in case anyone is not already familiar with it, that this is a frequently encountered metaphor for the change that occurs upon self-realization. Just as we recognize the truth of heliocentricity, yet still talk as if the Sun revolved around the Earth, so the realized man still acts as though he lives in a dualistic world, even though he now knows that everything is Brahman.) Continue reading

Vedanta the Solution – Part 26


VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem by D. Venugopal

Part 26 examines the nature of AtmA, utilising the ‘descriptions’ from the Brihadaranyaka, Kena and Mandukya Upanishads. How can we ‘know’ the Self, when it is not an object?

There is a complete Contents List, to which links are added as each new part appears.

Tattvabodha – Part 11


Part 11 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Part 11 looks at the five organs of action and the nature of the causal body.

There is a hyperlinked Contents List, which is updated as each new part is published.

The Brahman Experience

Let’s discuss the possibility that Brahman is nityaptasvarupa, no exceptions. Let’s talk about what it means to truly live from a place where Brahman is all that is – our ideas, experiences, loves, violence. I’ll start with some of the comments made on a previous post, ‘Consciousness of Choice’, because let’s face it, Dennis made some great points!

Continue reading

The Mystery – Part 1

bimal_coverA new, short series presenting the booklet by Bimal Prasad, in which he answers some ‘Rarely Asked Questions’ on Life. Primarily from the perspective of Advaita, questions addressed include the nature of happiness, consciousness, mind and ego. There is also practical guidance on meditation in the final chapter. Answers are relevant and succinct, so that many of the issues of interest to the seeker are covered.

See the Contents List or go straight to Part 1 of the series.

The complete (electronic form) booklet may also be purchased from Amazon.

Free Will Again


Isn’t free will an endlessly fascinating topic? When is an action voluntary? On the face of it, if I want to do something and I do it, the related action is clearly voluntary. But, on analysis, we find that there is a whole spectrum of relationships between actions and the so-called volition that triggers them.

In the book ‘The Questions of Life’ (Ref. 1), Fernando Savater suggests the following scenario. I am on a train and, with my mind elsewhere (contemplating the thorny problem of free will versus determinism perhaps), I am absentmindedly playing with my rail ticket. Having been bending and re-bending it, twisting it here and there, I eventually screw it up and throw it out of the open window. Eventually, the ticket inspector arrives and asks for my ticket. Upon emerging from my intellectual reverie, I realize what has happened and I’m forced to tell the inspector that I threw it away unintentionally. Continue reading

Adi Shankara

lamp and grassMost people (or at least those who visit this website!) will be aware that the dates for Shankara’s birth and death are a trifle hazy. It is generally assumed that he lived around the ninth century A.D. and had a fairly short life, dying at around the age of 32. Fewer people will know, however, that one of the principal Maths – namely that at Sringeri – actually has his date of birth as 44 BCE. And 509–477 BCE are the dates based on records from other Maths!

In fact, there are endless discussions in the academic world over details such as these. The sort of argument that is used takes a quotation from some writing attributed to Shankara, in which another person, place or quotation is used. If the date of that cited material is known, then it can be concluded that Shankara must have been living at a time later than this. (Such arguments enable the BCE dates to be discounted.) Unfortunately, in most cases, the dates of the cited person or place are not known either! Basically, Indians in the past have not been particularly good at recording their historical events. Plus, enlightened sages are not in the slightest bit interested in having their name associated with any recorded words or in having anyone record their biographies. Continue reading

Teasing Apart Maya’s Tricks – Black Hole Complementarity and Observer-Dependent Reality

blackhole This article was previously published in two parts on the Beyond Advaita blog maintained by our Dr. Ramesam Vemuri, in continuation of an ongoing series of articles exploring the relevance to Advaita of some of the latest research in theoretical physics. Science is converging to a view that no description of reality can be complete without the observer, and that so-called “objective reality” is really more of a holographic illusion than anything truly solid or substantial. Today’s scientists are busy trying to tease apart Maya’s tricks to see how this illusion works. Leonard Susskind’s theory of Black Hole Complementarity (BHC) — the topic of this article — provides a good example of this driving curiosity in action.

Continue reading