The Mystery – Part 3

Continuing this 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.

This third part is entitled ‘Pointers to Consciousness’ and answers questions about the nature of existence, reality, truth and consciousness. See the Contents List or go straight to Part 3 of the series.

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

The aim of Advaita VIsion

about2

If you click on ‘About’ in the menu bar at the top of the page, you will be taken to the page that lists the aims of this blog and the associated website at www.advaita.org.uk. This page was written by Peter Bonnici (with assistance from Ramesam), with whom I initiated Advaita Vision around 4 years ago. (As most readers will know, Peter is unfortunately no longer with us.) Despite its ease of accessibility, one wonders how many visitors actually read it. Certainly it would seem that some have never done so. Accordingly, I reproduce it below, since its content is so important.

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This site provides a platform for all who are attracted to the vision of non-duality and like to share their views and their approaches.

Here’s why Advaita Vision will be an open platform for all committed to self-enquiry:

  1. People are at different points on their spiritual journeys.

Therefore different expressions of the fundamental principle of advaita are needed to meet their specific different needs. Continue reading

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 21

िये प्रकाशं परमो वितीर्य

स्वयम् धियो अन्त: प्रविभाति गुप्त: ।

धियं परावर्त्य धियो अन्तरे अत्र

संयोजनान्नेश्वर-दृष्टिरन्या ।। —२४

dhiye prakAsham paramH vitIrya

svayam dhiyo antaH pravibhAti guptaH

dhiyam parAvartya dhiyaH antare atra

sanyojanAnneshvara dRiShTiranya—24

dhiye = to the intellect; prakAsham = sentiency;  paramH = Supreme; vitIrya = lent;

svayam dhiyo antaH = Itself (being) inside the intellect;  pravibhAti guptaH = shines while being hidden; dhiyam parAvartya = having turned intellect;  dhiyaH antare – within intellect;  atra = here; sanyojanAt = by uniting; na Ishvara dRiShTiranya = Ishvara vision (takes place)not by anything else.

The supreme having lent sentiency to the intellect, shines while being hidden inside the intellect. Having turned the intellect, here, within the intellect, by uniting, Ishvara vision takes place not by anything else.

The organs and mind are material in nature, by themselves inert. The all-pervading consciousness also available in the mind, lends sentiency to them. They, by nature are extrovert.

Man, has a tendency of feeling inadequate in many ways. This makes him search for something to make him more fulfilled. He resorts to the external world through the mind and organs. This is innate to all and has to be deliberately changed.

The first step to changing is to discriminate between the real and the unreal. Coming to this stage itself takes along time. Years of conditioning has led man to believe he is getting happiness and peace from the world. He has time and again been credulous enough to believe so, never questioning it, accepting it as the norm. On the other hand, he has been incredulous at the fact that the truth is something diametrically opposite. Continue reading

Science vs. Philosophy – Part II

Y – I can not parse your meaning, i.e. I have no idea what you are trying to say.

Still have no idea what you are trying to say.

X – What I’m trying to say is to point at core insights within Eastern philosophy (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism), particularly in advaita Vedanta – but also in Christianity and Islam in their highest metaphysical conceptions. If you are not interested in any of this, that’s alright.

Actually, whatever science – and its highfaluting ‘scientific method’ – is is shot through with difficulties and controversies, including the sacrosanct falsifiability principle (or dogma). Just read the Wickipedia article on this (and on rationality, etc.) and the respective positions of Khun, I. Lakatos, and P. Feyerabend among others. You must know something about all this already if you are scientifically inclined.

Y – What “core insights”?  There is nothing insightful about making up unevidenced tosh, anyone can do it and each piece of tosh has exactly equal validity, none.

And with regard to your ludicrous and unfounded “criticism” of the scientific method, I have one response, yea shall know them by their fruits.

Continue reading

Science and Vedanta (Part 1)

P1030138_tonemapped-1Part 1 of a 3-part essay by Dr. K. Sadananda, AchArya at Chinmaya Mission, Washington.

Science is Objective

The word science is derived from the root ‘scire’, meaning to know. Hence science really means knowledge which reveals a fact or truth. In Sanskrit, ‘vid’ means to know, and ‘veda’ means knowledge. Combining these two statements we can say that Veda means science. Vedanta means that which reveals the ultimate knowledge or absolute truth. From this, it follows that Vedanta is the ultimate science. This is not a fanatical statement but a statement of fact, as in ‘Light travels at 299,792,458 m / s’. This is not an opinion or belief but just plain fact, whether one believes it or not. We will examine here why Vedanta is the science of absolute.

Epistemologically, the word ‘knowledge’ without a qualifier, cannot be defined. The qualifier objectifies the knowledge as in ‘knowledge of Chemistry’ or ‘knowledge of Physics’, etc. It is always knowledge of something. It can be knowledge of the physical or phenomenal world, or knowledge of some subtle entities such as emotions, thoughts, intellectual concepts, etc. The former can be considered as the knowledge of gross entities that can be known via sense input, while the latter can be called the knowledge of subtle entities and can be known without the need of any sense input, or can be inferred indirectly from the sense input. Continue reading

A Comparison of Bhagavad Gita Versions

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are very many versions of the Bhagavad Gita in print, although you will have to look to Indian bookstores to obtain most of these. This can be very worthwhile. Not only are they a lot cheaper there but it is not necessarily the case that the best versions are those which are most popular and are therefore available through Amazon.

You really need to look at each of them yourself to decide which ones appeal most. I can make a few general observations but only you know what your priorities are. (It goes without saying, of course, that the Bhagavad Gita is a ‘must read’ for anyone seriously interested in Advaita!) If you want to see original Devanagari, you are restricted in choice. If you want Romanised transliteration, again not all will provide this.

If you want word-by-word translations, only a few give this (see Refs. 1 – 3 below). If you are interested in the Sanskrit – parts of speech and which verses contain which words, you want Ref. 16 (but this contains neither the text nor a commentary).

If you want the most comprehensive, understandable commentary and expense and time are no hindrance, then Ref. 15 is a no-brainer!

Finally, there is the all-Devanagari version with Shankara’s bhAshya (Ref. 18). This is a huge, hardback book, beautifully produced but, of course, totally useless unless you can read Sanskrit very well indeed. I have a spare copy of this and hereby offer to send it to anyone in the UK free of charge (or anyone elsewhere in the world if they pay the postage) in exchange for the following: you agree to be available to provide a literal translation of any (short) text by email from time to time if I need this for my writing. Email me if you are interested in this offer. Continue reading

There are no beliefs here

I’ve heard that in the sage, everything happens spontaneously.

Yes. And do you want to know what else? In everyone, everything happens spontaneously. In you, everything happens spontaneously.

I don’t experience it like that.

Exactly. That’s the difference.

Do you believe that the Understanding can happen to anyone?

I don’t believe anything.

What?

There are no beliefs here.

That’s an extraordinary statement.

Not at all. It’s really quite simple. You either know something or you don’t. If you know something, you don’t have to believe it’s true or have faith that it’s true; you know it beyond doubt, it simply is, and there’s no belief involved. On the other hand if you don’t know something, the honest thing is to simply say you don’t know. But of course there are many psychological and political and social reason why people can’t admit, even to themselves, that they don’t know something, so they create a belief; which is essentially saying that you don’t really know something is true, but you’re going to pretend you do. It’s all activity in the dream. There’s really only one thing which is not of the dream, only one thing that can be known, and that is the basic consciousness, “I Am.” Everything else is just a concept, a construct of mind in the dream, something “I don’t know.” Everything.

Okay, but can this Understanding happen to anyone, any body/mind?

Of course.

Could it happen to me?

No, of course not. That’s the difference. But it could happen in the case of the body/mind organism which at the moment you think is you, and then there would be the understanding that there never was a ‘you,’ a ‘me’ for anything to happen to, and that who You are is the Consciousness in which all this appears to happen. The Understanding and the belief in a ‘me’ are mutually exclusive: if one is there the other will not be.

From ‘Perfect Brilliant Stillness’, David Carse, Non-Duality Press, ISBN: 954779282.
Extract Link, Review Link
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Topic of the Month – Belief

The topic for Aug 2014 is belief.

People believe all sorts of things. Over time, these may prove to be true but all too frequently are found to be false. Are we ever ‘justified’ in believing? There is clearly some overlap with the Advaitin’s concept of shraddhA, faith, here!

Here is a quote I used in ‘Book of One’: A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind. Robert Bolton

Please submit your quotes, short extracts or personal blogs on this topic!

Bhakti – Limitation of Accepted Paths

In our search for Truth, beginning with an examination of the world before us, we use
as our instrument the faculty of reason. This reason can well be divided into two. One
is lower reason, which is exercised by the mind in examining the mutual relationship
of objects, from intellect down to the gross world. The other is higher reason or
transcendental reason, which is exercised in examining the mind and its objects –
gross or subtle – with a view to discover their real content.

There are usually three accepted paths to the Truth. They are the paths of devotion,
yoga and jnyana. Of these three, devotion and yoga deal only with relative things
falling within the sphere of the mind and sense organs, taking into consideration only
experiences in the waking state. Their findings, therefore, can only be partial and
incomplete.

The jnyana path looks from a broader perspective and comprehends within its scope
both yoga and devotion. It takes into consideration the whole of life’s experiences – comprised in the three states – viewed impartially. It demands a high degree of real
devotion, in the sense that the aspirant has to have a high degree of earnestness and
sincerity to get to the Truth. This is real devotion, to Truth; and it is infinitely superior
to devotion to anything else, which can only be less than the Truth.

The yogin controls, sharpens and expands the mind to its maximum possibilities,
attaining samadhi and powers (or siddhis) on the way. But in the case of those who
follow the jnyana path, the mind is analysed impartially and minutely; and proved to
be nothing other than pure Consciousness itself, beyond which there is no further
power or possibility of development.

So it is through jnyana alone that Truth can be visualized, while yoga and devotion
only prepare the ground for it.

Note 63, Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda: Volume 1, Shri Atmananda and Nitya Tripta, Non-Duality Press, ISBN: 978-0-9563091-2-9. Buy from Amazon US
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Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 18

क्वभातिदिक्कालकथाविनाऽस्मान्

दिक्काललीलेहवपुर्वयम्चेत्।

नक्वापिभामोनकदापिभामो

वयम्तुसर्वत्रसदाचभामः॥१८

Kva bhAti dikkAla kathA vinAsmAn

dikkAla lIleha vapurvayam chet

na kvApi bhAmaH na kadApi bhamaH

vayam tu sarvatra sadA cha bhAmaH —18

 

asmAn vinA dikkAla kathA Kva bhAti = without us where does the saga of space-time shine?edikkAla lIleha vapuH vayam chet = when we identify with the body, the play of space-time begins; na kvApi bhAmaH na kadApi bhamaH = we do not exist in a place; we do not exist at a time; vayam tu sarvatra sadA cha bhAmaH = we exist everywhere at all times.

 

Where does the saga of space-time shine without us? When we identify with the body, the play of space-time begins. We do not exist in a place, we do not exist at a time. We exist everywhere at all times.

Atma is not localized at a place or time. Space and time are appearances in the self. Yet, due to ignorance we find ourselves localized in the space time framework. On gaining knowledge we know that it is only the body which is limited by space and time. The self is limitless spatially and temporally. Continue reading