I have just come across a site that I had not previously encountered, which holds the archives for all of the past 31 volumes of the Indian Philosopical Quarterly. Unfortunately, you can only select by volume initially, but you are then presented with an index of the articles and selecting one displays a PDF version, which can be read on-line or downloaded.
There is obviously a wide variety of topics, (I came across it while researching for my next book on the Mandukya Upanishad and Gaudapada kArikA-s). and the style is predominantly academic. But there is interesting material to be found! How about one which claims that the Self is located in the embryo part of the brain?! (Volume 18, No. 4 – ‘Inner Self Located’) (Note that J. A. I. Bewaji, in Volume 20, No. 3 says: “This conclusion is simply ridiculous”.)
As readers will know, this site is wholly dedicated to Advaita as the teaching of the non-dual nature of reality. But I came across a reminder today that there are other sources for this truth! It is an extract from a book on Hasidic Judaism, which was posted by Jerry Katz to his NDhighlights Ezine. It reads like pure Advaita:
Reb Yerachmiel ben Yisrael 19 Tevet 5636
My Dear Aaron Hershel,
You ask me of God: to define the Nameless to place in your palm the ultimate secret. Do not imagine that this is hidden somewhere far from you. The ultimate secret is the most open one. Here it is: God is All.
I am tempted to stop with this-to close this letter, sign my name and leave you with this simple truth. Yet I fear you will not understand. Know from the first that all that follows is but an elaboration on the simple fact that God is All.
What does it mean to be All? God is Reality. God is the Source and Substance of all things and nothing. There is no thing or feeling or thought that is not God, even the idea that there is no God! For this is what it is to be All: God must embrace even God’s own negation. Continue reading →
We have recently been receiving large numbers of what appear to be spurious subscriptions to the site, presumably for the purpose of spamming.
Accordingly, new subscriptions have temporarily been suspended and a number of existing subscribers have been deleted. The criteria for deleting these were as follows:
. Username unnecessarily long, with random alpha characters or numbers.
. No Name field entered.
. Email address suspect in a similar way, or closely resembling those of other subscribers.
. No posting activity since subscribing.
(If there had been posts or if a name had been entered, then the subscriber was not deleted.)
My sincere apologies if any valid subscriber has been deleted but I am sure you will understand and accept the error. Please re-subscribe and ensure that you enter your name and preferably use a Username that does not look as though generated by a computer!
If I have inadvertently deleted anyone who was not guilty of the above misdemeanours, then I doubly apologize!
I will reinstate the subscription facility in a few days.
In the comments following the Question and Answer on the subject of mAyA and Ishvara – Q.325, Peter and I began the following exchange on the subject of ‘reflection of Consciousness’ (between the <<< >>> marks below). We continued this discussion off-line. Now that this has been concluded, we are posting the discussion so that others may, perhaps, benefit from the clarification that ensued.
PB: 2. The easiest misunderstanding to resolve is the distinction between ‘original consciousness’ and ‘reflected consciousness’: there is NO difference. To explain this we are given the analogy of light. Any opaque object is seen because it reflects light. One can say that the light reaching our eyes from the object is ‘reflected light’. But what is the difference between ‘reflected light’ and ‘original light’? There is no difference: light is light. ‘Reflected light’ is merely the name given to ‘original light’ seen together with a reflecting medium (the object). In the same way, ‘reflected consciousness’ is the name given to ‘original consciousness’ seen together with the reflecting medium of the perceptible gross and subtle universe. ‘Original consciousness’ is given the name Brahman. Continue reading →
Much of the Brahma Sutra can be extremely tedious. In particular the fourth section of the third chapter is really only of interest to the pUrva mImAMsaka, since it discusses the finer points of various rituals prescribed in the Upanishads. I have to confess that, when listening to this in the talks of Swami Paramarthananda, I eventually had to give up and move onto chapter 4! Only to discover that the first few adhikaraNa-s of chapter 4 really ought to have been included in the previous section!
But I persevered and am very pleased that I did so. It does so often happen that, in the midst of some particularly sleep-inducing material, something really interesting crops up! And verse 4.1.2 is no exception. This topic is discussing the practice of shravaNa, manana, and nididhyAsana (i.e. j~nAna yoga, Atma vichAra etc) and, in particular, whether this needs to be done once only or repeatedly. But the interesting aspect dealt with by Swami Paramarthananda relates to the spiritual path in general. Continue reading →
If you enjoy wildlife television programs, and you live in the UK, then you’re probably watching ‘Secrets of our living planet’ presented by Chris Packham. If, on the other hand, you’re not particularly interested in wildlife programs, you really ought to give this one a look because it is not the run-of-the-mill type. (And if you live outside the UK, watch out for it because it is almost certain to be in your area soon.) In fact, it is actually about ecosystems and some novel connections are highlighted, which you will almost certainly not have heard of. These have something of the ‘wow’ factor of those books by Lyall Watson, such as ‘Supernature’, although this series seems to be grounded in genuine scientific observation. Continue reading →
Most seekers who have investigated the teaching of Ramana to even a small extent will be aware of the concept of manonAsha. This is often presented as the idea that enlightenment is synonymous with the ‘death of the mind’. And indeed this is its literal meaning. Consequently, some writers claim that, following enlightenment, the j~nAnI literally no longer has a mind. This goes along with similar ideas such as that, for the j~nAnI, the world literally no longer exists.
This way of thinking is unfortunate. Shankara himself emphasised that we should not discount either our experience or reason, when it comes to interpreting the scriptures. And, speaking for myself, whenever I have encountered writings on Advaita which significantly contradicted my perception of what seemed to be ‘reasonable’, they have always proved to be misguided or incomplete, if not plain wrong. Continue reading →
While philosophy may remain satisfied with the conceptual comprehension of the absolute and science with the never-ending search for it, religion points out the way to its immediate apprehension. Swami Satprakashananda (Methods of Knowledge according to Advaita Vedanta, Swami Satprakashananda, Advaita Ashrama, 1965. ISBN 81-7505-065-9. Read Extract from this book, which is highly recommended.)
Science relies on making observations as its fundamental starting point. From these, inferences may be made, theories postulated, predictions made on the basis of those theories and experiments devised to test those predictions. But, again, those experiments rely upon further observations. No definite, conclusive statements may be made because further observation might show them to be false. A classic example of this was the belief that swans were white. So entrenched was this belief up to the end of the eighteenth century, because every swan that anyone had ever seen had always been white, that one text book on logic used the statement ‘All swans are white’ as an example. And then an exploration to Australia found a black swan… Continue reading →
The universe and everything in it, including the objects that are being investigated, the person doing the investigation and the discipline of science itself are all mithyA – they are not themselves real at all. Here is a short definition of mithyA that I give in the new edition of ‘Book of One’:
Literally, the word means ‘incorrectly’ or ‘improperly’ and this refers to our treating things as independently ‘real’ when they are not. The word ‘independently’ is important here, because we are not saying that the chair on which you are presently sitting is illusory – obviously it is not! What is being pointed out is that it is not a substance-in-itself. It is probably made of pieces of wood, connected together by special joints and adhesive. The final form is designed to be suitable for sitting upon comfortably. In theory at least, you could disassemble the chair and use the pieces to build a table. ‘Chair’ is simply the name that you give to this particular form. The actual substance is wood. Continue reading →
Although science is good at investigating objects, even there it is doomed to fail – because the essence of objects, too, is ultimately the same non-dual reality. As Atmananda Krishna Menon puts it, in his ‘Notes on Spiritual Discourses’: “As long as the least trace of subjectivity remains, objectivity cannot disappear. And until objectivity disappears completely, the real nature of the object can never be visualized. This is the fundamental error committed by science as well as philosophy, both in India and outside, in trying to approach the Truth through the medium of the mind.” (Vol 3 Notes, 1386)
Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda: Volumes 1, 2 and 3, Shri Atmananda and Nitya Tripta, Non-Duality Press 2009, ISBN 978-0956309129 (Vol 1) Buy from Amazon US or Amazon UK. Continue reading →