Advaita in the Vedas – meaning of samudra

We don’t have to dive deep into Advaita to come across the imagery of a drop of water and the ocean or many rivers flowing back to the sea. Whilst it is more prominent now, we find the same idea in classic literature,

Just as flowing rivers go down into the sea,
Leaving name and form behind,
The one who knows, freed from name and form,
Reaches the highest Supreme Self.
— Mundaka Upanishad [1]

The meaning is clear — the rivers are likened to name and form and the sea to the Supreme Self. When Advaita is realised, there is the vanishing of name and form, which is the rivers flowing back to the sea. This is very common imagery for illustrating the truth. What we may not know is that it also features in the Vedas. Continue reading

Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt 23


Part 22

6 Moksha
6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala

6-2-15 Jnana-Phala 6(27 to 32), 13(27 to 35), 18(49,54,55)

6-2-15-1: 6(27 to 32)                                                                                                         A person who has realized Brahm and has transcended passions (born of rajas) by meditation claims the bliss of Brahm which is manifested in peace and serenity of mind. He does not forget his true nature of bliss in the face of adverse situations. He sees the non-dual Brahm in all beings. There is no duality, no fear. Differences are superficial and mithya. He cuts the veil of differences with the sword of knowledge. In his vision, God is in all beings and all beings are in God. Gold pervades all ornaments and all ornaments are in gold. A jnana-yogi is the highest devotee of God because he knows God fully, the God that is not different from him. He is not separate from God. His mind is so expanded that he does not see any difference between himself and other beings. ‘Other’ has disappeared from his vocabulary. He has the same response to others’ sorrow and joy as his own. Continue reading

Q.546 – Mind and Soul

A: There is nothing OTHER THAN Consciousness in reality. (‘Beyond’ implies that there are other things.) Consciousness is the foreground as well as the background! It is the mind that grieves when it thinks that ‘I am the body’. Consciousness never ‘does’ anything at all (including thinking).

A: There is no universe in reality; there is ONLY Consciousness (Brahman). Please do not ask why there is the appearance of a universe, when there is only Brahman. Advaita does not really have an answer for this. The j~nAnI still sees a world but knows that it is Brahman. It is the mind that perceives ‘form’ and gives this a ‘name’.

Advaita in the Vedas – Rig Veda 1.164.39

One of the mantras which captures, not only the essence of Advaita, but also the Vedas themselves, is Rig Veda 1.164.39 —  

“To one who does not know the supreme syllable of the Rig Veda, in which, in heaven, all the devas have taken their seats, what use is the Rig Veda?” 

The mantra also appears in Shvetashvatara Upanishad [1]. The Rig Veda gets its name from the type of mantras it contains, known as a ‘ric‘, which literally means “praise”. These mantras focus on invoking and worshipping devas. “To one who does not know the supreme syllable of Rig Veda,” means not knowing what is being worshipped and invoked, the syllable pervading every word of every mantra. The devas take ‘their seats’ in this syllable because it is their source. Knowing this syllable is to know, not only the source of the devas, but also what the entire Rig Veda is in praise (ric) of. Continue reading

Q.545 – How can I ‘do’ anything?

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Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt 22

Part 21

Part 23

6 Moksha 6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala
6-2-13 Stithiprajna 2(52 to 59, 69 to 72)

6-2-13-1: 2(52 to 59) Karma yoga purifies the mind and makes it fit to pursue Jnana yoga. Knowledge is an event in mind when it is free from delusion arising due to non-discrimination between Self and non-Self. Before gaining knowledge, the mind is distracted by various goals of life mentioned in Vedas. On gaining knowledge, the mind is steadfast, unshakable, and is established in Self. There is dispassion for what has been heard or ought to be heard as they are irrelevant. Having got an opportunity to learn about one who has Self-knowledge, Arjuna asks Sri Krishna to explain the features of a Stithiprajna. He wants to know about a man of steady wisdom: how does he speak, how does he sit, how does he walk? Prajna means knowledge. Arjuna has some ideas because he describes him as established in samadhi and he wants to know more.

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Q.544 – Evil in the world

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Advaita in the Vedas – Rig Veda 1.115.1

The imagery of the Sun features throughout the teachings of Advaita. It appears multiple times in the Upanishads and is first found in the Vedas. But what is its significance and how does it relate to the ultimate reality of Brahman? 

The meaning Rig Veda gives us couldn’t be clearer, 

The Sun is the Self of the whole world both moving and non-moving and rises with its own effulgence in heaven, the earth and atmosphere. [1]

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Q.543 Life-coaching

A: Fundamentally, everyone is already the Self/Brahman/Absolute (whichever word you prefer), since there is only the nondual reality. But of course most people do not know this. They are only interested in pursuing money/fame/relationships etc. and would never accept the truth or even be interested in listening. Assuming that you, yourself, are convinced of the truth, you would simply be wasting your time attempting to explain this.

Nevertheless, again assuming that you fully accept Advaita, you know that these ‘others’ are in fact your Self, so why would you want to propagate their mistaken view of life? The only reasonable approach is to be available to help them move towards the truth if they actively seek to do this, but simply to let them continue in their ignorance otherwise.

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Bhagavad Gita (Topic-wise) Pt 21

Part 20

6 Moksha
6-1 Preparation
6-2 Jnana, Jnani, and Jnana-Phala

6-2-9 Saguna and Nirguna 12(1 to 5)

Sri Krishna has talked about meditation on the Saguna God and Nirguna God. Arjuna wants to know who is better: one who meditates on Saguna or one who meditates on the Immutable and Unmanifest Nirguna. Sri Krishna does not intend to do a comparison. He says that those who constantly worship and meditate on Saguna God with Sraddha are among the best yogis. In the next verse, Sri Krishna says that a devotee of Nirguna God reaches him. He mentions some qualities of a devotee of Nirguna God. He has controlled the sense organs, he is even-minded, and is devoted to the welfare of all beings. He recognizes his very Self as omnipresent, indestructible, eternal, undefinable Brahm. Sri Krishna avoids any comparison because it serves no purpose as there is no option to do one or other. Both are to be done sequentially because it is difficult for a person who is attached to mind and body to worship unmanifest Nirguna God. It requires a mature mind. Worship of Saguna God for sufficient time is necessary for knowing Nirguna God. Sagun God is a means to Nirguna God. Nirguna God is formless and cannot be perceived by sense organs. Self is the same as Nirguna God and abiding in this knowledge is Its worship.

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