More short Q and As

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQ: I’ve read something in Advaita about making meaning out of meaningless events. Are there any events to which meaning can be given?

A: You need to be a bit more specific here. But you are in any case talking about the empirical level of experience, not absolute reality. Time (and hence ‘events’) is within the former; it is not absolutely real. Similarly, there are no separate ‘objects’ (or ‘people’) in reality. Whether or not an event is ‘meaningful’ is going to be a subjective opinion! If you want my subjective view, there are probably only two meaningful events: when you commit to Self-inquiry and when you realize the truth!

 Q: I am confused over the concept of Now or the Present Moment. As our brains register things nanoseconds AFTER they happen, and as we each experience nanosecondly different nows, is there an ACTUAL now? I wonder why so many books are being written about something that vanishes as soon as it is experienced? Is the marketing of Now just another distraction?

A: Your last sentence just about sums it up! The concept appeals to people whose concerns are related to the world and my (ego) happiness. The only real relevance is in respect of discipline, control of mind and senses etc which are pre-requisites to Self-inquiry. The only thing that matters is Self-knowledge. Who-you-really-are is outside of time, space and causality. Read my next book (due out early next year): A-U-M: Awakening to Reality. It is a (hopefully readable and understandable) presentation of Gaudapada and the Mandukya Upanishad, which addresses the nature of reality and the states of consciousness.

 Q: I am seeing this? Is this Self, in this body, at this time, on this earth, haphazard and meaningless? So ‘be with life’ and dance freely until this body takes its last breath?

A: The Self is not ‘in this body’; the body, if you like, is ‘in the Self’. In reality, there are no bodies, no earth; there is ONLY ‘Self’ (brahman). All else is just an appearance; name and form of brahman. The best you can do with your seeming life in this body is to realize the truth of this.

 Q: Would a serious Advaitin prepare a Will (for the purpose of passing on property etc. to another after death)?

A: Yes, of course! Even the most ‘accomplished’ Advaitins, e.g. Shankara, Swami Dayananda, teach ‘others’, write books etc. The world has empirical reality and has to be treated as such whilst in these bodies, even if we know that, from the standpoint of absolute reality, nothing has ever been born.

 Q: How do you know if you will be reincarnated or not? How do you know if you are enlightened? After years of meditating and studying advaita, I had an experience of oneness that lasted a few days. I have read that people do not stay in this state of enlightenment. I do have cravings, habits in this world- will these cause me to be reborn? If I really do not have the desire to live in this world of materialism, etc., will I still be reborn?

A: You are not differentiating between absolute and empirical reality (paramArtha and vyavahAra). Also, enlightenment is not an experience; it is firm Self-knowledge. If you are totally convinced of the fact that Consciousness is the non-dual reality, the world is not real from the absolute point of view, and you are that non-dual Consciousness, then you are ‘enlightened’. It makes no difference what your experiences are – you will still have habits and desires, but you know that they are irrelevant to your true nature, which is unlimited existence-consciousness. From this standpoint, there is no such thing as reincarnation.

 Q: I heard a lot that, everything is our projection. Even I was told, it didn’t happened it is just my projection. Please explain this to me.

A: Advaita tells us that there is only Brahman or Consciousness. There only appears to be a world but the world is really only Consciousness. Similarly, there appear to be people. Who you really are is Brahman. Consciousness is ‘reflected’ in your mind (which is also Consciousness) and gives the impression of individuality. This mind imposes separation on ‘objects’ in the world by virtue of identifying forms in the ‘world-consciousness’ with names. So it is effectively the ‘giving of names to forms’ that ‘creates’ separation. It is in this sense that the world could be considered to be our projection.