Q: I have seen from articles and questions on your website that Brahman cannot ‘know’ or ‘do’ anything; that it (as if) acts and knows only through the body-mind of the jIva. What I would like to know is: why would anyone want to become enlightened if this means the end of rebirth, and ‘becoming’ one with Brahman? OK, this may mean the end of suffering but does it not also mean the end of enjoyment? If ‘I’ (even though this is only a reflection in the mind) cease to exist (when the body-mind finally ceases to exist) on the death of the enlightened person, then there is no more experiencing of any kind for me as that person, and none for the Brahman that I (as it were) become.
You will perhaps say that, as Brahman, I will still experience through all the other body-minds but this does not sound like enlightenment to me! And don’t I do that already anyway since there is only Brahman? In which case what is the meaning (and point) of enlightenment? Continue reading →
Q: It seems like a contradiction to me to say that we are the observer and not the doer and, at the same time, suggest that we can do something such as paying attention. I encounter this “apparent contradiction” often when I read about Advaita. If there is no doer, why are there suggestions as to how to remove ignorance, for example? Who would remove the ignorance if there is no doer?
- Is it that in the dualistic world it appears as if there is a doer and therefore we act “as if”, even though we might know that there is no doer?
- If we realize that there is no doer but we act “as if”, is it like playing our part in a “game”?
There is no Whole without a ‘h-o-l-e’ in it. There is no hole without the whole around it.
The whole never contracted to become the hole. The hole cannot expand to become the whole.
Pain is our struggle to keep up the identity and separateness of a “me” – the survival struggle for existence of a separate “me” has been going on for millennia of years. That story is behind the Theory of Evolution.
Suffering is our effort to become back again One Whole – the seeking for integration propels us towards Self-inquiry. That story is behind the Theory of Liberation.
The whole and the hole together simply “are.” That is Oneness. So just Be.
Questioner:“I am Brahman” is the simple and straightforward message of Advaita. Brahman is synonymous with Beingness, Consciousness and Happiness. If I = Happiness, I should be always happy, should never be depressed. But I am overcome by the feelings of unhappiness, I get depressed. How come?
Well, the answer is “You” (I) can never not be Happy.
Out of Beingness – Consciousness – Happiness, the first two are self-evident. We do not require an external proof to tell me that I exist or that I am conscious. Can you ever say “I am not here” or “I am not conscious”? You have to be there and be present to say, “I am not here.” Similarly, I have to be conscious to say, “I am not conscious.”
In the same way, “I” can never ever be other than Happiness.
What is then the “feel” of unhappiness or depression that arises?
The “feel” cannot be “I” nor can it belong to “I”. That “feel” must obviously be something other than “I”. That is to say that such a feeling cannot be real because Brahman is the only “thing” that is Real. If the feeling is not real, it has to be an imaginary thing for, “I” would never say: “I am unhappy.”
But a Ramesam or a Tom or Dick do “feel” unhappy and say: “I am unhappy; I feel depressed. I am suffering.”
[As students of Non-duality, we often come aross situations that apparently seem to be at variance with the Non-dual teachings. Here is such a Question raised by a friend of mine and felt that it would be interesting to share our exchange with a wider audience for possibe further discussion -- ramesam.]
Questioner: How could there be no cause and effect? How can things happen randomly with no purpose? I just can’t accept that meeting you was random, or that I found nonduality, and fell in love with it. It seems to appear everywhere. Jesus said seek and ye shall find. There is no randomness in that. We set goals, work hard, then accomplish them. Some people live for fun, engage in risky behavior, then get in trouble, how could it be completely random that some people are in the wrong place at the wrong time, then others are in the right place at the right time. Then there are the people who seem to do everything “right”, then some horrible fate befalls them. Have you ever read anything by Malcolm Gladwell? He wrote The Tipping Point, Outliers, and some other books. His research into why some people are successful and others are not is fascinating.