Answers

I would like to announce publication of my book ‘Answers… to the Difficult Questions’. It will be ‘in the shops’ (if you know of a shop that sells this sort of book) on March 27th.

All seekers encounter problems periodically. A question arises which appears to challenge the veracity of their chosen path. If an answer is not found quickly, there is a great danger that the particular teaching will be abandoned and another sought. I cannot speak for other teachings but I know that traditional Advaita has answers to all (seeker-related) questions. This book records the questions from hundreds of seekers over the years and the answers I gave. (I first invited questions to my website in 2005.) It would be surprising if your particular worries are not covered somewhere and it is likely that there will be answers to many questions that have not yet occurred to you! (If you have one which is not answered, contact me via the website!)

The questions that are covered (over 450) can be read here but there are several problems with doing this. Firstly, the questions here appear in the order in which they were asked; questions covering a particular topic could be anywhere. Secondly, my own understanding and knowledge has obviously increased over the 15 years since I first began answering questions. Accordingly, my answers to early questions may not be as informed as they would now be. Thirdly, there is no introductory or summary material for the various key topics in Advaita.

This book does not simply record the questions and answers as originally made. They are grouped into 7 sections and 57 sub-sections, and I provide additional introductory and clarifying material. Each section in the book begins with an introduction. This is then followed by the questions that have been asked, which relate to this topic. I retain the chronological numbering of the original questions so that reference back to the original material will still be possible but I have often reworded my answers or added additional comments in order to make them clearer. There may also be introductory material at the beginning of a sub-section. Finally, a summary of the key points is provided at the end of a section or sub-section, where this is considered to be helpful.

Most seekers picking up this book will already be familiar with most of these Sanskrit terminology so the answers (and sometimes the questions) often use these words without any explanation. For those readers who are not familiar, however, all terms are defined in the Glossary at the end of the book.

The topics and sub-topics that are covered are as follows:

What is Advaita

Teaching

Scriptures

Summary

Seeking the Truth

Other religions/philosophies

Neo-Vedanta

Direct Path

Satsang teachers

Neo-Advaita

Science

Art

The State of the Person

Emotions

Body

Mind and Thinking

Ego

Desire and Fear

Happiness

Suffering

Ignorance

States of consciousness

Meaning

The State of the world

Appearance

World

Creation

Summary

Good and evil

What we can do

Seeking

Preparation and Practice

Yogas

karma yoga

bhakti yoga

j~nAna yoga

Meditation

samAdhi

pramANa-s

Experience

Free Will

Introduction

Knowledge

The Teaching of Advaita

General points

General concepts

dharma

karma

Death and reincarnation

Ishvara

mAyA

Brahman

satyam and mithyA

Teaching Devices

Language and Sanskrit

Guru

Advice on teachers/scriptures

General comments and questions

Ramana Maharshi

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Ramesh Balsekar

Osho

Other Teachers

Summary

The Goal

Enlightenment

Some miscellaneous observations

Enlightened Man

Nature of Self

Reality

Summary

Links to pre-order the book are given below. The publisher has asked if anyone intending to buy it might place an order during February so as to raise the profile in the Amazon ‘popularity’ tables. Because the book is large (over 700 pages – I had suggested it be published in 3 parts), it is also expensive. The list price is £32.99 in the UK and $48.95 in the US. I would like to think it is worth it, however – a lot of effort went into answering each question! The Amazon price may, of course, be lower as they often offer a reduced price for advance orders. If you would prefer to purchase the E-Book version, this will undoubtedly be cheaper but it will not appear until sometime after the hardcopy version – I do not yet have a date for this.

Buy from Amazon US

Buy from Amazon UK

2 thoughts on “Answers

  1. Dear Dennis,

    I’ve been browsing and delving into your book this weekend. It is a superb anthology, developed over so many years, of answers to questions, that any aspiring seeker is likely to have at some point or other. I even found one of my questions there!

    I’d suggest it is not one to read cover to cover. Read the first chapter, and the very end – the final question ‘A simple summary of advaita’. And then delve into it as and when questions arise.

    Thanks Dennis for the meticulous and patient work in putting this together. I’m sure many seekers on the Advaita path will find this really helpful.

    Best wishes,
    venkat

  2. Dear Venkat,

    Many thanks for that – comments much appreciated. (Posting this as an Amazon review would be even more appreciated!) I agree that ‘delving’ is the way to approach the book; way too much to read cover to cover.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

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