Q: There are moments when I think I am the one that is creating my world with my specific positive thoughts – is that true?
Or is it the concsiouness bringing me those positive thoughts or negative thoughts? I know that I don’t have to ask for anything because in that way there is an infinite possibility of something fresh and new and totally different.
How do I pray? In silence only doing meditation?
A (Sitara): Yes, it is true. Your experiences (positive as well as negative ones) are constructs of your mind. The question is, what do you do with this information?
It seems that all of your questions are about, how to get a different life. For that you would like to know the mechanism of what in New Age (or Yoga, magic etc.) is called materialization of things, events, persons etc. Continue reading →
Q: As you know, all spiritual traditions in Tibet, many in India and even the early Christians took reincarnation for granted.
In Advaita however the idea is blatantly refused. Balsekar says, since there is no ego and the idea of an individual person is an illusion, what or who is there to be reincarnated?
Does this mean that the other traditions are wrong or is it a question of understanding, meaning that the people who argue differently do so from a different level of understanding / consciousness? Continue reading →
Q: What happens to creativity (writing painting music… ) when you awake from the dream of dualism ?
A (Peter): What happens to waves when they are known to be nothing but water? Do all waves lose their distinctiveness? Do they suddenly freeze mid-motion?
It is an error to believe that either there is a blank, distinctionless ‘non-duality’ or a rich, exciting, variegated universe. There is only consciousness and every exciting, beautiful thing – gross and subtle – is an expression of it. The painting, the act of painting, the impulse to paint, the paint, the brush, the painter are all an expression of the secondless, non-dual consciousness. Continue reading →
Here are a few more short Q & A’s which do not merit a separate post of their own: (Dennis’ answers, so don’t blame any of the other bloggers!)
Q: Nisargadatta says : Delve deeply into the sense ‘I am’ and you surely discover that the perceiving centre is universal, as universal as the light that illumines the world. All that happens in the universe happens to you, the silent witness. On the other hand, whatever is done, is done by you, the universal and inexhaustible energy.
My question in two parts:
1. If my awareness is the absolute one and there is no other – then yours does not exist?
2. If they both exist as the Absolute but are separately perceived by two minds why am I not aware of your experience as well as my own?
So far as I can see, without reliance on solipsism, non-duality/Vedanta must posit a reality where the Absolute is being “dipped into” by separate minds? Continue reading →
We are honored to have input from Swamini Atmaprakashananda, a direct disciple of Pujya Swami Dayananda for this week’s question!
Q: My question is, as a mother is it ever possible to not be very attached to my child, and be a mother only by Dharma and karma, and ease from the clutches of Moha for my child. How do I do that? I would greatly appreciate if anything here can help me because I truly am looking for it, and struggling with the issue for a long time.
A (Sitara): Advaita does not really make a distinction between different kinds of attachment. While it is true that the bond between a mother and her child is especially strong, it still needs to be dealt with like all other kinds of attachment.
So how to deal with it?
First of all: Trying to overcome attachment by dealing with it directly will only work to a limited degree. So I recommend to deal with it both ways, as described below. Continue reading →
Q: I can see I need to live more austerely, and I am prepared to sacrifice much to bring about a more lucid and disciplined spiritual practice, but if I am honest, sacrificing those pleasures will have their cost and I will miss them. I would give up nearly anything to find a way forward, but I have heard that unless giving up pleasures is seen as so necessary it isn’t actually a sacrifice, it won’t produce any progress, making it pointless. I am confused. Living austerely definitely means sacrifice, and I could do it, but what’s the point in doing it if it won’t work? I hope I have been clear. If you could tell me what you think, I would be most grateful.
A (Sitara): Your emphasis on austerities and sacrifice indicates that you are influenced by a tradition other than Advaita Vedanta. While following dharma (an ethical lifestyle) has its place in Advaita Vedanta, it does not require austerities. It just means “be fair”, i.e. treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated. Also following a spiritual practice of meditation and prayer is thought of as beneficial for the seeker; but there is no need for much sacrifice here either, except for remaining with it even if sometimes inconvenient – having to get up a little earlier for example. Continue reading →
Q: I read about the above topics in your book and struggled with them, not only because there are a number of things to remember, but also because how exactly they function is complex.
I thought about what you said regarding svadharma and how not going with it, with the example of Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, would have been bad for ones karma and thought about Hitler.
You might say that it was Hitler’s svadharma to do as he did and that to go against that, in other words, to be an ordinary politician or something for example, would have given rise to bad karma for him, the same way as going against his duty would have caused Arjuna bad karma, as explained by Krishna: ‘slay thy foes’. But then that seems unfair to him (Hitler), since surely his ‘bad actions’ (genocide, etc.) that his svadharma would have had him following would have brought him bad karma any way, so either way, things, from that perspective, looked pretty bleak for him? Then one might say that what Hitler did was not really his svadharma, but this I personally would agree with, as a ‘person’ cannot act outside of Brahman, that is, everything we do, feel, think is Brahman, so even Hitler’s ‘evils’ were also Brahman? Continue reading →
My teacher is a teacher of traditional advaita. I believe she is the only such teacher in the UK, if not in Europe. Some might look at what she teaches – Gita, Upaniṣads, Prakaraṇa Granthas (philosophical treatise) and stotras (devotional hymns) – and believe that they too, not only follow traditional advaita (because they too read these texts), but also have an additional, and arguably more powerful, key in the form of meditation or yoga or other such practice. Despite the surface similarity, however, I stick to my opening claim and will attempt to open up clear blue water between the teacher of traditional advaita simply by making clear what is mean by ‘traditional advaita’.
Two words set apart the traditional approach to teaching advaita from all others: sampradāya and pramāna.
Sampradāya is the established approach to unfolding the vision of Vedanta transmitted from one teacher to another. It is the traditional interpretation with a traceable lineage of teachers. Continue reading →
Namaste! Let me start by thanking Sri Dennis Waite and Sri Peter Bonnici for having invited me to think aloud amidst you and share the traditional wisdom of Advaita Vedānta with you. This very site and all its contents are for the amelioration of the Individual and through that, the whole Society and hence a lot of puṇya accrues to them. May them and their families and friends be blessed by īśvara.
Over a series of blogs, I intend presenting the complete Vision of Advaita Vedānta, not swerving from the tradition and yet applied to current day context. There will be continuity of Ideas between the blogs and I would like readers to be aware of this when they read the individual blogs; afterall, isn’t the individual always connected to the total? I shall endeavor to publish the blogs within reasonable time of each other so that the overall vision is not lost.
I commence my first blog entitled “Success”, with my prayers to īśvara that may my attempt in presenting the Vision of Advaita Vedānta be successful and may its readers benefit from the wisdom contained therein.
Everyone wants to succeed in life, whatever be their definition of success. The definition varies according to the stage in life in which they are. For a Student, it is success in exams, for a Youth, it is success in love, for a Married Middle Aged Person, it is success in his profession and for an Old Person, it is healthy life.
Whatever one’s definition of success be, one has to setup “Clear Goals” with timelines and measurable indicators for one to assess oneself as successful. Unfortunately, most of us do not have enough clarity on our Goals; that needs to be fixed first. “Goal Setting” is not my topic and hence let us assume that one has a very clear idea of one’s goal; now it becomes important to know what the factors that contribute to success are. This is what ṛṣis (seers) have to say in this regard; Continue reading →